High income/high debt thread - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-19-2013, 07:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just paid bills. Gah. I'm bummed now. Where does it all go? It's been an expensive month. I was hoping since March is a 3-paycheck month for me that I would see some extra and be able to save extra, but that didn't end up happening for a variety of reasons. I couldn't even make a full payment on my student loan (which I'm a month ahead on, but still). I think I'll start seeing the effects of the 3-paycheck thing a little later though. My paycheck is biweekly and my husband's is twice a month, so right now they are in sync but it's going to now start shifting to mine coming a little earlier. But it's just another way of looking at the same money. 

 

My husband keeps overspending his budget and putting it on the credit card, and I just paid off the effects of that from last month. We talked about it again. I'm not sure if I am or am not allocating him a reasonable amount for household expenses. 

 

Blah. 

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Old 03-20-2013, 12:34 PM
 
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I finally had time to come back and read the rest of the thread.

 

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Originally Posted by erigeron View Post

 

We've thought about moving, but I dunno. We have lived here less than 6 months. It is a nice house and we like the area apart from the fact that we can't walk anywhere. I'm skeptical that we'll be able to get a house that my husband will tolerate for significantly less than we paid for this one, and if we rented we'd probably pay almost as much in rent as we do now on our mortgage. I haven't ruled out moving, but I don't think it'll be a financial panacea.

 

You would also have to factor in moving costs, which can be pretty steep.  Unless you sell your house yourself, you have to factor in realtor fees/commission.  You also have legal costs for transfering title, etc., Misc. moving expenses (even if you move yourself - boxes, renting a moving vehicle, eating out while moving, getting utlities hooked back up, etc. etc.)  Even without realtor fees or commissions you could easily spend $10k.

 

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I read something several years ago that really "felt" true for me.  And that was that while there are *economic* choices, you can't ignore the emotional aspect of them.  So, experts might suggest 3-6 months of expenses in an emergency fund (and some would suggest up to 12 months) but if that doesn't feel right TO YOU, then it's not right FOR YOU.  The example given was a couple who did have six months of emergency funds, but for the wife that was simply not enough.  She felt constant stress about "what if" (and it's not as if they had high risk jobs).  The expert said that FOR THAT COUPLE, a two year emergency fund was worth the economic "hit" (since they would be earning little interest on it compared to if they invested the money for long term) but the quality of living is important, too--- and for her, the additional savings made her life BETTER than if she had the extra money invested in the market.

 

 

I feel like this is so true.  For me, "financial security" means being debt free.  I don't need to have money in an emergency fund (at this point) because I have a LOC that I could use in case of emergency and I'd rather put all my extra money towards paying down debt so that I am not paying interest on it.  I have a friend who insists that I should be investing money right now since interest rates are so low anyway, but all I think is "Ya, but what happens when they go up??"  I am paying less than 3 percent interest for all my debt.  When my parents bought their first house, interest rates were 13 percent.  A few years before that, they were 18 percent.  That's like putting a house on your Visa!!!  So, it seems like there is now way that rates can go any lower, but there is a very good chance they will go up before my debt is all paid off.  My goal is to have as little debt as possible by that time, and to be debt free by 40 (that gives me 8 more years).

 

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Originally Posted by LoveOurBabies View Post

 

Thank you mama, very much. You've done extremely well and you deserve the peace of mind of being debt free. It's hard to not give into the toys and the bigger homes. We know this all too well. Personally we live in an 800sq ft home - It's what we could afford. Meanwhile, all the families we know wouldn't dream of such a small space and shared bedrooms for the kids, but we know we're doing the right thing. DH and I drive used cars that are paid for. We don't do the whole upgrade thing. More like wear it out to the ground. :) We are definitely the oddballs amongst DH's colleagues.

 

 

 

This is us too.  We have 2 vehicles (but really only drive 1).  Our primary vehicle is 7 years old, and I think that we should be able to drive it for 4 more years or so.  Our other vehicle, a truck (for camping, trips to the dump) is 15 years old.  We will own it 'till it dies.  We have lots of friends with brand new, $60 or even $80k vehicles and it blows my mind.  Our combined investment in the two vehicles we have (not counting purchasing new tires for them when each was purchased) is less than $10k.

 

Did you find some areas almost impossible to reduce cost in? Giving up the toys, bigger house etc is not really something we struggle with. Our utilities, grocery and gas bill are awful though and drain a lot of funds. And how did you keep going at those times when you felt you had had enough already? Did you set up a monthly allowance for spending or a reward system for every goal you had acheived? Currently the budget allows for zero spending money, unless the kids need new clothes/school supplies, their are holes in DH shoes/workshirts or we have a birthday party to attend or host. That's about it. No take out - No holidays - No fricken fun at all!

 

Groceries, utilities and gas, same as you, are very hard to reduce on.  This year I bought a quarter of beef, so did save some on that (although less than I could have because I bought grass raised beef, hormone free, etc. rather than conventional) and I have gotten better at not buying "extras" at the grocery store.  Canada also doesn't really have couponing to the same extent as the US.  We do budget spending money.  Well, actually, we are bad because we don't really budget.  We have a certain amount we put towards debt from every pay cheque.  The we pay fixed costs first (mortgage, utlities, taxes, insurance, child care, etc.).  Then we just spend the remainder on whatever we need/want (because we put $$ towards debt first, and it is a fixed amount).  I do have a general "number" in mind for groceries weekly, but that's it.  If we have to spend more one month on house repairs, we spend less on activies, or whatever.  We eat out probably less than once a month, DH and I rarely go on dates, etc. so I don't feel bad for splurging once in a blue moon.

 

 

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So, what do you all find particularily frustrating about this "lifestyle" (high income/high debt/ high COL)?

 

I would say I get most annoyed when people who live in a low COL area make blanket statements about costs.  Like, "I would NEVER spend $x for a house" and that number is something that would *maybe* pay for an old trailer home in your area.  Or *maybe* a one bedroom condo.   I see a lot of absolutes like this on the internet ("No one NEEDS to spend $300K on a house", "I found daycare for $400/month" etc...).

 

Kindof the same as you.  DH and I both grew up in a much lower COL area, where his family still lives.  BIL and SIL just built a beautiful house that is probably 4 times the size of our house and they paid half of what our house is worth to build it, including the lot.  They don't understand why we don't just "buy something bigger" or why we drive old cars when we make more than them.  They don't pay for childcare either, because my MIL takes their kids when my SIL works.  That same childcare would cost them $1800 plus here per month.  Sometimes my BIL will say something like "Well it's a good thing you make so much money" and I find it hurtful, but can see why they don't understand.

 

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Originally Posted by erigeron View Post

 

My husband keeps overspending his budget and putting it on the credit card, and I just paid off the effects of that from last month. We talked about it again. I'm not sure if I am or am not allocating him a reasonable amount for household expenses. 

 

 

I'm dealing with the same thing.  Could you look into a credit/debit card, so the money comes right out of his/your account?  Would he consider getting rid of his C.C.?  DH has finally agreed to this.

 

Some PPs had mentioned how hard it is to reduce expenses.  I agree, it is.  One area that I managed to cut back on this year, and it is saving us about $200 per month, is on insurance.  If you haven't done so recently, shop around for home/auto insurance to see if you can get a better rate elsewhere.  Also, I got rid of all of the loan protecter insurance that I had on our mortgages and LOC (for myself).  I have disability as well as life insurance through work, so I didn't NEED to know that my mortgage payments would be made if I went on disability.  I will be able to make them with the disability payments from work.  DH doesn't have any benefits at his job, so we are keeping the insurance for him, but not for me.  This is saving us close to the $200 per month.

 

I also changed DHs cell phone plan (my plan is payed for by my employer) to a better plan, which costs more $$ per month but is saving us $$ because he isn't paying for extra minutes or long distance anymore.  We also got rid of our landline.

 

If anyone else has tips, I'm all ears!


N, wife to my goofball K partners.gif and mamma to my EC grad D (July 2010) and my new little love S (May 2013).  Exploring the uncharted territory of tandem nursing with my two boys.

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Old 03-20-2013, 02:54 PM
 
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If anyone else has tips, I'm all ears!

 

I was travelling for work and have just read through all the posts as well. 

 

One thing that we do that adds a little extra to the budget is credit cards that offer rewards.  As a Canadian expat living in the US, I'm pretty sure this is an American thing because I don't recall Canadian credit cards offering the same incentives.  Anyway, I have a pretty rigorous credit card system to maximize the amount we get back.  The American Express card gives us 5%, 3%, and 2% cash back on gas, restaurants, and hotels/airfare, respectively.  We use a Chase visa that offers 1% on everything, plus 5% on various categories (e.g. drugstores, gas, restaurants) that chages every three months.  We opened another account a year ago because it was interest-free for 12 months, plus a $400 bonus cash back if you spent $1000 in the first 2 months (we did).   

 

If you pay your cards off every month like we do, its not a bad deal.....we get back ~$140/month on stuff that we're buying anyway (groceries, gas, utilities, insurance).  When I'm traveling for work (which I'm doing more frequently again), this is even more of a budgetary bonus because we get money back on expenses that I'm reimbursed for.  It's not much effort, but adds up to a chunk of money.


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Old 03-20-2013, 10:24 PM
 
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we pay fixed costs first (mortgage, utlities, taxes, insurance, child care, etc.).  Then we just spend the remainder on whatever we need/want (because we put $$ towards debt first, and it is a fixed amount).  I do have a general "number" in mind for groceries weekly, but that's it.

 

I do this too. Get paid - Pay off mortgage, utilities, non mortgage debt, put away money for groceries and fuel then put a set amount into savings.. Then there is some money left over that I think I should also spend less of and save more of and therein lies the stress. I think I need to remove this restriction or better yet - this obligation that I need to be pouring every single cent into debt and savings. It's so hard. Because I manage the finances in this house, I feel that the burden of whether or not we make it financially, is entirely held on my shoulders and so there is this obligation to do the right thing by my family and keep that money going where it should be. It makes it so hard to spend on non essentials.


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Old 03-20-2013, 10:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I do this too. Get paid - Pay off mortgage, utilities, non mortgage debt, put away money for groceries and fuel then put a set amount into savings.. Then there is some money left over that I think I should also spend less of and save more of and therein lies the stress. I think I need to remove this restriction or better yet - this obligation that I need to be pouring every single cent into debt and savings. It's so hard. Because I manage the finances in this house, I feel that the burden of whether or not we make it financially, is entirely held on my shoulders and so there is this obligation to do the right thing by my family and keep that money going where it should be. It makes it so hard to spend on non essentials.

This, totally this! I could have written every word of this. I angst out about all purchases, second-guess them... yeah, we don't NEED that new lamp, new article of clothing, whatever. We COULD survive without it and be fine. So how do you decide when to loosen up? I went to one of those awful direct sales parties tonight and now I want about $80 worth of jewelry, which my husband thinks isn't unreasonable, but I have $400k to pay off... but on the flip side, I have $400k to pay off, what's $80 one way or another once in a while? It's not like it's going to make a big huge difference. (key words: once in a while.) Maybe I should make the decisions on what non-essential items I do and do not purchase on some basis OTHER than whether the money would better go to debt repayment. 

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Old 03-20-2013, 10:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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"You would also have to factor in moving costs, which can be pretty steep.  Unless you sell your house yourself, you have to factor in realtor fees/commission.  You also have legal costs for transfering title, etc., Misc. moving expenses (even if you move yourself - boxes, renting a moving vehicle, eating out while moving, getting utlities hooked back up, etc. etc.)  Even without realtor fees or commissions you could easily spend $10k."

 

Yep. All this is pretty much why I'm not seriously entertaining the idea of moving to help our financial situation. (I am idly entertaining the idea of trying to move to a more walkable neighborhood, but that's a totally separate issue.) It doesn't seem like, with the expenses of moving and the amount we'd save and having to buy again in a few years and probably not get as good a rate on a mortgage, it really makes all that much sense. Plus we don't have equity to speak of so I would worry that we wouldn't be able to sell for what we paid. The other thing I thought of was trying to rent out our house and rent somewhere else for a while, but then we'd have to be landlords and that seems like a giant pain too. I think I have accepted that this ship has sailed. And I think back to last summer when we started house-hunting. We really did need to move. Probably another rental would have been a better idea, but what's done is done and I do think we're happier here than we were there, all my angsting about debt aside. 

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Old 03-20-2013, 11:35 PM
 
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This, totally this! I could have written every word of this. I angst out about all purchases, second-guess them... yeah, we don't NEED that new lamp, new article of clothing, whatever. We COULD survive without it and be fine. So how do you decide when to loosen up? I went to one of those awful direct sales parties tonight and now I want about $80 worth of jewelry, which my husband thinks isn't unreasonable, but I have $400k to pay off... but on the flip side, I have $400k to pay off, what's $80 one way or another once in a while? It's not like it's going to make a big huge difference. (key words: once in a while.) Maybe I should make the decisions on what non-essential items I do and do not purchase on some basis OTHER than whether the money would better go to debt repayment. 
I used to agonize over that stuff too. Honestly, I don't think the guilt helped me save more or pay debt faster, it just made me miserable in the process. I would swear off ALL SPENDING RIGHT NOW but it never lasted and then I felt even worse.

I read somewhere that a good mix when you are above basic needs income-wise was 50% take home to needs, 30% to wants, 20% to savings and debt. We roughly follow that now and I feel much better about it and I think we're actually saving a lot more by not waffling between a no-luxuries budget and a splurge because we haven't replaced anything budget. It's still a bit tricky to categorize because some things are needs, but maybe we pay more for it than we'd absolutely have to - like the mortgage. I still categorize it as a need if its mainly a need though. So, we do 50% to mortgage, utilities, food, gas, medical co pays, etc. 30% to entertainment/eating out, cell phone, vacation, clothes, etc. 20% to student loans and saving/investment. For me, it's been a lot more sustainable than trying to be a frugality master every month, then beating myself up over every imperfection.
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Old 03-21-2013, 04:16 AM
 
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This, totally this! I could have written every word of this. I angst out about all purchases, second-guess them... yeah, we don't NEED that new lamp, new article of clothing, whatever. We COULD survive without it and be fine. So how do you decide when to loosen up? I went to one of those awful direct sales parties tonight and now I want about $80 worth of jewelry, which my husband thinks isn't unreasonable, but I have $400k to pay off... but on the flip side, I have $400k to pay off, what's $80 one way or another once in a while? It's not like it's going to make a big huge difference. (key words: once in a while.) Maybe I should make the decisions on what non-essential items I do and do not purchase on some basis OTHER than whether the money would better go to debt repayment. 

 

We could and we most likely will. We probably don't say this often enough. My problem is that I read too many blogs which say $1 here or $5 there can add up to $X in 10 years time! Every penny counts! Every penny counts! EVERY. PENNY. COUNTS.

 

dizzy.gif

 

The stress from knowing you could do more but are possibly choosing not to, is insurmountable at times.

 

I have more to say on this, but for now I have to make cabbage salad. thumb.gif


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Old 03-21-2013, 05:21 AM
 
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I used to agonize over that stuff too. Honestly, I don't think the guilt helped me save more or pay debt faster, it just made me miserable in the process. I would swear off ALL SPENDING RIGHT NOW but it never lasted and then I felt even worse.

I read somewhere that a good mix when you are above basic needs income-wise was 50% take home to needs, 30% to wants, 20% to savings and debt. We roughly follow that now and I feel much better about it and I think we're actually saving a lot more by not waffling between a no-luxuries budget and a splurge because we haven't replaced anything budget. It's still a bit tricky to categorize because some things are needs, but maybe we pay more for it than we'd absolutely have to - like the mortgage. I still categorize it as a need if its mainly a need though. So, we do 50% to mortgage, utilities, food, gas, medical co pays, etc. 30% to entertainment/eating out, cell phone, vacation, clothes, etc. 20% to student loans and saving/investment. For me, it's been a lot more sustainable than trying to be a frugality master every month, then beating myself up over every imperfection.

 

I have read about the 50/30/20 strategy too. I think its a good way to look at your spending/money and your quality of life. Makes sure you focus on not always stressing about debt and enjoy living. I think I set mine up as 50 needs / 20 wants / 30 savings/debt - but its probably more 50 / 25 / 25 (since mortgage is my only debt) and savings crosses over to short,mid & long which includes "wants".


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Old 03-21-2013, 05:25 AM
 
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This, totally this! I could have written every word of this. I angst out about all purchases, second-guess them... yeah, we don't NEED that new lamp, new article of clothing, whatever. We COULD survive without it and be fine. So how do you decide when to loosen up? I went to one of those awful direct sales parties tonight and now I want about $80 worth of jewelry, which my husband thinks isn't unreasonable, but I have $400k to pay off... but on the flip side, I have $400k to pay off, what's $80 one way or another once in a while? It's not like it's going to make a big huge difference. (key words: once in a while.) Maybe I should make the decisions on what non-essential items I do and do not purchase on some basis OTHER than whether the money would better go to debt repayment. 

 

Remember the game Oregon Trail?  One of the factors we found in whether a party made it or not was in what they bought -- enough medicine, warm clothes, and tools of course, but also a small splurge on some sugar or a toy.  DS2, now 20, was talking about how to use his savings a couple of weeks ago and raised all the responsible things:  textbooks, loan repayment, some tuition.  And I told him to make sure he has some fun in there.  "It's like Oregon Trail, Honey; always budget for candy and a harmonica."


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Old 03-21-2013, 09:14 AM
 
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My problem is that I read too many blogs which say $1 here or $5 there can add up to $X in 10 years time! Every penny counts! Every penny counts! EVERY. PENNY. COUNTS.

 

 

 

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Because I manage the finances in this house, I feel that the burden of whether or not we make it financially, is entirely held on my shoulders and so there is this obligation to do the right thing by my family and keep that money going where it should be. It makes it so hard to spend on non essentials.

 

Both of these are my issue too.  My husband stays home with our two kids so I'm the only income (and source of retirement, health insurance, etc), and I take care of the finances.  I stress about every single penny....especially the intangibles like Starbucks coffee (and the $2 organic chocolate milk he buys that our kids never finish!!).  If I tell him that we need to cut back I don't think he'd have a problem doing so, but I don't want to deny every little pleasure or implement an allowance-type system that would minimize his role in our family (financially and otherwise).  However, will putting the spent Starbucks money into a college fund eventually add up to an undergraduate degree?  It's that that makes me slightly nauseated, and more than a little neurotic.


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Old 03-21-2013, 09:44 AM
 
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We could and we most likely will. We probably don't say this often enough. My problem is that I read too many blogs which say $1 here or $5 there can add up to $X in 10 years time! Every penny counts! Every penny counts! EVERY. PENNY. COUNTS.

 

dizzy.gif

 

The stress from knowing you could do more but are possibly choosing not to, is insurmountable at times.

 

I have more to say on this, but for now I have to make cabbage salad. thumb.gif

I agree with ItsBasilThyme.  I was agonizing over every penny spent, but it's just too stressful!  I am sure that over a lifetime those pennies add up, but so does the stress!!  I also found having a strict budget too stressful.  I don't want to have to worry about buying a coffee or not buying a coffee.  I want to enjoy the next 10 years of my life, and not just stress about money.

 

To do this, I've decided to focus on GOALS instead.  And as long as I am doing what I need to meet those goals, the rest is gravy.  So, I decided I wanted to be debt free by the time I am 40.  This includes mortgage debt, consumer debt, everything.  I also want to put $2500 per year towards a Registered Education Savings Plan for each child (this is the amount per year that gets you the hightest government match).  I also want to put money towards retirement, but paying down debt was a higher priority.  So, with this plan in mind, I crunched the numbers to figure out what I needed to do to make this happen.  And also to see if my goals were realistic.  Given our income and expenses, they are.  So I have built my "budget/non-budget" around these goals and the rest I don't worry about.  That being said, I have my eyes on the prize and if some unexpected $$ comes my way (like my bonus this year) it is all mostly (I will allow myself/the family some "fun money") going towards debt (unless we have some necessary expenses that we've been putting off or something).

 

Also, I think that some "rewards" are o.k. too.  DH really wants a garage.  And it would be nice to have because our house is so small, with another babe on the way (and maybe another after that?) we could use the storage and DH would be able to use it for his hobbies (painting and woodwork).  So the deal I have with DH is that if he takes work on the side, any money he makes can go towards his garage and when he's made enough he can build it.  The $$ from any extra work he does isn't factored into meeting our goals, and it would sure be darn nice to have a garage!  We could put all that money towards debt, and be done 10 months sooner, but then we'd go ahead and start saving for a garage and build one anyway, so we'd be debt free 10 months or a year sooner, but have been without a garage for 5 or 6 years longer, kwim?

 

But LoveOurBabies, maybe that approach would stress you out.  I understand the responsibility too.  My DH does work, but I am the breadwinner and manage all our finances too.  It feels like a great deal of responsibility.  I hope you find a good balance. hug2.gif


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Old 03-22-2013, 10:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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 I want to enjoy the next 10 years of my life, and not just stress about money.

 

...

 

And as long as I am doing what I need to meet those goals, the rest is gravy. 

You make some very good points. Probably lacking specific goals is part of my problem. Right now it's "pay debt, try to put as much as possible into savings, and live on what remains and hopefully have a little left over from this to kick into further savings." I'm having a hard time getting a handle on our variable expenses, and it does depend on who is doing the grocery shopping since DH and I have different standards. Though that shouldn't make so much of a difference. So since I'm working off a budget I made 7 months ago before we bought the house, which just estimates a lot of expenses, I should probably redo and set goals. 

 

I think part of my problem is that I hadn't allowed any money to be purely "fun money", and I think I do need to do that. 

 

So in the interests of enjoying my life rather than making it solely a giant slog towards debt repayment, I spent $45 on earrings this afternoon. And now I'm good for a little while! thumb.gif

 

Other things that come into it for me, I think... I get this irrational hatred of consumerism, but this afternoon at the mall I realized I don't have to approach it that way. It's easier to do when I don't really need anything. When I'm in desperate need of some item and I can't stand any of the available versions, I get mad at how I'm erased by the fashion industry and nothing they make suits me and I just have to lump it. But if I don't actually NEED anything and can choose to buy or not buy according to personal preference, I'm a free agent. I am free to purchase an article if I find something that I feel will enhance my life, but if I don't find anything or opt not to allocate my money there at the moment, I am equally free not to. Yeah, the consumerist machine is always trying to mess with our heads, but I don't have to either fight with it or be consumed by it. I can just let it do its thing, and I do mine. 

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Old 03-24-2013, 08:01 PM
 
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I just heard this and thought many of you would appreciate it.  I felt immediately better about DH's coffee habit!

 

http://www.onthemedia.org/2013/mar/22/how-personal-finance-led-us-astray/


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Old 03-25-2013, 09:56 AM
 
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It's great to have a place to discuss - I've followed frugal + natural living for some time, but a lot of advice seems like a dichotomy once we moved up into a higher income bracket. 

 

5 years ago, we had the opportunity to reset our budget, DH got a job and we were getting a new house so I tried to allocate money to the right places.  It's mainly served us well, since then, we've refinanced our mortgage and I was able to reduce my work schedule to half time.

 

We're still allocating money to specific goals of retirement and mortgage payoff, but I also struggle and stress with the $ left over at the end of the month. I feel like a lot of times we squander it and think the 'what if' we should be doing better with that money or we didn't have extra money then what we would do.  Sometimes I'm resentful that I'm wearing threadbare underwear but I'm literally paralyzed trying to buy new ones - those might fit nicer but they are $1/each more, how long will they last, etc...  And I want sometimes to just throw caution to the wind and buy stuff, but I know I will feel horrible afterwards.  I'm glad to hear I'm not alone in feeling this way, if anything!


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Old 03-27-2013, 11:34 AM
 
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  If you haven't done so recently, shop around for home/auto insurance to see if you can get a better rate elsewhere. 

So I decided to take my own advice, and shopped my home/auto insurance around to see if I could get a better rate.  Well, was I ever surprised!  Our home policy was up for renewal on April 15, and I noticed our rate had increased.  I called around and was able to get a different policy for over $1400 less per year!!! Insane!  The policy is a bit different (based on replacement value of our home and contents instead of a $1million solution type policy, but still provides coverage for liability and living expenses) but is adequate for our needs.  The same company is able to give us the exact same auto policy for $15 less per month, so not a huge difference but still a savings.


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Old 04-15-2013, 12:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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^^^That's pretty awesome that you saved that much!

 

I get mine repriced periodically but so far the company I've been with continues to be cheapest.

 

How's everyone doing? I feel like we've had a couple of expensive months and next month is not going to be any better because of some expensive stuff we already put on the credit card for this month. I am way ahead in payments on 2 of 3 student loans (the other is only $150/month and I stay current but don't overpay on that) but I haven't been making full payments for the past couple months, let alone overpaying. I'm still ahead, just not as ahead as before. I like the feeling of burning through principal but I haven't been able to do it. We shelled out for a tax preparer this month, which I do think was worth it because our taxes just keep getting trickier. Next year we should probably file separately to get the full tax credit for the kid.

 

I keep putting off stuff like renewing my memberships in professional associations, but I really do want to do that. I have to keep reminding myself that we are OKAY even if things are more expensive than I'd like them to be. 

 

We got a bunch of house & yard stuff free from my husband's family, which was nice--his uncle passed away over Christmas (which wasn't so nice, of course), and we got a lot of his tools, a lawnmower, etc. so that is stuff we don't need to buy.

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Old 04-16-2013, 06:01 AM
 
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We got a bunch of house & yard stuff free from my husband's family, which was nice--his uncle passed away over Christmas (which wasn't so nice, of course), and we got a lot of his tools, a lawnmower, etc. so that is stuff we don't need to buy.

 


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Old 04-16-2013, 09:57 AM
 
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How's everyone doing? I feel like we've had a couple of expensive months and next month is not going to be any better because of some expensive stuff we already put on the credit card for this month. I am way ahead in payments on 2 of 3 student loans (the other is only $150/month and I stay current but don't overpay on that) but I haven't been making full payments for the past couple months, let alone overpaying. I'm still ahead, just not as ahead as before. I like the feeling of burning through principal but I haven't been able to do it. We shelled out for a tax preparer this month, which I do think was worth it because our taxes just keep getting trickier. Next year we should probably file separately to get the full tax credit for the kid.

 

I keep putting off stuff like renewing my memberships in professional associations, but I really do want to do that. I have to keep reminding myself that we are OKAY even if things are more expensive than I'd like them to be. 

 

It is hard to feel good when expensive months come along!

 

We are doing o.k. but I don't think going to be paying down any more debt for a while (other than regular mortgage payments I guess).  My last day of work is Thursday, and I am planning to take a full year of maternity leave.  We will have enough to pay our bills, buy groceries, etc. but not very much for any extras and nothing for paying down debt while I am not working.  Also, we will be putting a little bit of debt back on to our line of credit because we decided I should make my pension and savings plan contributions for the year I am not working.  The savings plan is a registered account so will decrease our tax payment next year, and it is also company matched.  So it's sort of a no brainer because while I hate adding debt to the LOC, passing up on thousands of free dollars would be worse.

 

We also had to buy new tires for our vehicle and get a few repairs done.  But I guess that is the trade-off of buying an older, less expensive vehicle.  The new tires and repairs are the equivalent of about 4 months of car payments, so still much less than buying a new or newer car!


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Old 04-18-2013, 12:12 PM
 
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We also had to buy new tires for our vehicle and get a few repairs done.  But I guess that is the trade-off of buying an older, less expensive vehicle.  The new tires and repairs are the equivalent of about 4 months of car payments, so still much less than buying a new or newer car!

 


I thought that we were doing well on establishing a rainy day/emergency fund, but our renters (of our old house that we couldn't sell) just alerted us that the roof is leaking and the oven stopped working.  I'm hoping that these will be repairs rather than replacements.  I guess these expenses are what we have the emergency fund for, but it's definitiely discouraging thinking that we might deplete those savings. 

 

On the upside, I'm telling myself that that the $100 I spent at the nursery yesterday on three fruit trees and a bunch of strawberry plants will cut down on our groceries.  :)


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Old 04-22-2013, 02:39 PM
 
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Ok I have an odd question...

Do you ever shop at thrift or second hand stores?

I have never really needed to buy my kids clothes up until we moved. And when I did before I always shopped clearance/sales or splurged the odd time. However we were on a strict budget before. Now that we moved and fall into this "somewhat better off" category and family have cut down on the number of clothing gifts, I'm having inner conflict. We can afford to buy most of the kids clothes brand new but we have a thrift store near to us and one in the larger city that we go to often that have some amazing kids clothes. Brand names, well taken care of. The one in the larger city the prices are higher than our local store but also have nicer stuff. I usually only buy kids clothes and books for my older daughter who devours them and reads like crazy.

I guess I'm having a small moral dilemma. We live in a city where most folks are well off but there are certainly those that struggle. We do well for ourselves but we still try and save money where we can as we don't have limitless funds either.

I sometimes feel bad buying nice used clothing from the thrift/second hand shops, should I? Of should I go back to trying to find decent clothes on clearance or buying other new clothes full price while leaving the good thrift store clothes for those that really can't afford it. I have only bought like 10 different clothing items from the two places as I try and only buy what the girls like and need. I don't buy items just because they are cheaper. And I always have donated their previously loved clothes that no longer fit and that I am no longer keeping ourselves, instead of selling or consigning them... I just don't know what I should be doing here.

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Old 04-22-2013, 06:32 PM
 
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I shop thrift and I do not feel badly at all. IMO, The goal of the thrift shop is to generate money for the needing organization. I have seen what comes in to ours and its amazing the volume of stuff they get. I also know there are crisis centers for those in need where things are given out for free, even in my tiny hometown. Shopping thrift stores lets me allocate my tme and money to other areas. Anyway, maybe a compromise would be to shop thrift and donate the difference to charity or a women's & children program?

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Old 04-22-2013, 07:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't thrift shop much now, but it's more because I don't have time--it's really hard to thrift shop with a baby in tow. This summer I will finally have some free Saturday mornings and I intend to do a lot of yard saling to stockpile clothes for my daughter to grow into. IMO there are plenty of used clothes to go around. I wouldn't worry that by buying them you are taking items away from people who need the cheap price more than you do. 

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Old 04-22-2013, 09:25 PM
 
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I have bought some stuff at thrift stores, but haven't had a ton of luck finding nice clothes for a good price.  I think girls clothes would maybe be easier to find.  The true "thrift" stores don't have much nice stuff because a lot of people take the nice stuff to consignment and then drop what the consignment place won't take because it is too worn or stained off at the thrift stores.  I have purchased a few things at the consignment store, but find I can do almost as well buying new.  I usually buy ahead for DS.  So at the end of last summer, I bought a ton of t-shirts on sale and now don't need to buy any shirts for this summer.  I like to get GAP shirts for DS, and wait to buy when they have an "additional 30% off the last ticketed price" sale.  I've gotten several brand new t-shirts for around $3 (although usually it's more like $7) from GAP, so buying a used one for $5-10 just doesn't make sense.


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Old 04-23-2013, 10:14 AM
 
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I don't shop at thrift stores because the perfume smell from most commonly used detergents, bothers me a lot (migraines and allergies). It's such a pain to remove with several washes, so I just avoid..

 

Instead I buy brand new on sale. I wait till the sales start and buy ahead. We also do hand me downs from the eldest to last child of the same gender, so that helps keep costs down too.

 

I don't think you should feel bad about buying from thrift stores. The stores are there for everyone - regardless of income. Their main goal is to raise funds and you're helping them to do that. You don't have to justify how you spend your money simply because you have a higher income. Don't feel bad mama. hug2.gif


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Old 04-23-2013, 10:44 AM
 
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Even when we were making more than enough money, I still shopped at thrift stores. My reasoning is for the environment. I don't want to contribute to pollution by buying new all the time. I have zero guilt about it! There are so many people that get rid if perfectly good stuff, it's seems a shame that just because you have enough money that you should feel like you have to buy new.

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Old 04-23-2013, 10:47 AM
 
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Let me clarify. I often shop at resale or consignment stores not thrift stores or goodwill. Only because the quality and condition are usually better. The items typically cost more money, and yes I probably could find similar items for cheaper but I'd rather buy used for the environment.

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Old 04-23-2013, 10:47 AM
 
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Let me clarify. I often shop at resale or consignment stores not thrift stores or goodwill. Only because the quality and condition are usually better. The items typically cost more money, and yes I probably could find similar items for cheaper but I'd rather buy used for the environment.

DH(9/04) DS(12/08) and DD(5/11)

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Old 04-23-2013, 06:49 PM
 
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Thank you! I do feel they probably need the money more and that's a large reason why I shop there. To support these business'. I donate almost all of my extras to charities and give when I can. But I'd rather "buy new" when it comes to items that fall into a category of "saftey" toe and buy used where I can.

The last couple times I have been in them I felt odd and out of place and I started to wonder if "frugality" and saving was just so ingrained in me that I was committing some sort of moral faux pas.

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Old 04-23-2013, 07:29 PM
 
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I think as long as you're not doing something that would be construed as throwing your relative wealth around no one probably even notices. But I guess I have that relative anonymity of living in a large city where everyone is just focusing on their own business. If I were in a smaller town I might feel more like you do.

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