This topic contains 169 replies, has 22 voices, and was last updated by Silje 2 months, 1 week ago.
- July 26, 2017 at 12:29 pm #695131
I know that I shouldn’t compare. Most of the time I am good at it. Just lately I am hating some stuff. Like my appliances are OLD, really old and my couch now has a hole from my son. But I don’t want to go into debt or go into my emergency fund so I just save a little at a time but it might be a year before I have enough saved.July 26, 2017 at 1:03 pm #695136
Can’t tell if these have been mentioned, but I’ve also found some good advice in the personalfinance and financialindependence subreddits. Personalfinance is general advice on finances while financialindependence is more hardcore saving with the goal of early retirement – if you look around, users’ flair tends to be their savings rate and/or years to retirement.July 26, 2017 at 1:08 pm #695137
Here’s a recent post on the “keeping up with the Joneses” pressure, I found the comments positive and useful: https://www.reddit.com/r/financialindependence/comments/6kzpmn/how_do_you_avoid_keeping_up_with_the_jonesesJuly 26, 2017 at 1:13 pm #695140
I hear you CSP. I so badly want to tear up our kitchen and redo it. It’s my favorite room in any house and I would love my dream kitchen. That’s a minimum of three years away if I’m being optimistic. Realistically, five because we both also value travel. The condo upgrades will take longer because of that. It’s a trade off so I try not to dwell on it.
As for furniture or appliances, a lot of places have 0% financing for a year. If you can buy it now and pay it off before the 0% runs out, I’d consider it. Like, take a look and if the payments would be what you’re putting away now, then you’d be ok.
And Kate’s 100% right about cost of living.July 26, 2017 at 1:52 pm #695146
I know lots of people who have declared bankruptcy multiple times so don’t believe everyone has their shit together. My husband and I have a nice big house, but we saved (lived with parents) we paid cash for our house as a forclosure and it was 4-6 months of diy hard work before we could actually live inside. People don’t know this, they just know we have this big house. We live Day to day really cheap. We cook almost all our meals, don’t buy coffee out. We usually only go visit family for vacation. We still are paying off my husbands college loans and it’s a struggle but just because they have nice things, or can go on nice trips does not mean they are handling money well.July 26, 2017 at 2:51 pm #695152
Some of us don’t have a lot of debt (or any debt) And still manage to have paid off our houses, cars, student loans, etc., while taking vacations, saving for retirement, etc. And no, ain’t no way I’ll ever make a six-figure salary (I’m a high school teacher, so I have a pension).
I stay away from freebie financial advice sites, etc., so I can’t speak to their credibility, but the best thing we did was to actually have a financial advisor/planner, whom we see 3-4x per year. He has been able to help us budget and plan, which was a tremendous help.
Both my husband and I have been consistently frugal; we rarely go out to dinner; we don’t have cable TV, although we do have Netflix and Amazon Prime. My husband and I go through our credit card statements regularly to see where we can trim things, or to look for patterns that can be adapted. I cook nightly (because I’m home from work earlier and had been taught to cook); we bring our lunches to work and don’t go out for lunch. Or at least I don’t; once or twice a month my husband will go out for an under-$10 lunch.
My husband’s parents were well off to the extent that he didn’t qualify for student loans (his parents were simply able to pay for his tuition out of pocket), but we were able to send me to grad school out of pocket as well. It’s partly luck: We live in a much more inexpensive part of the country (northern Utah), so that helps. We both have good jobs with decent salaries. We don’t have kids, either, so that helps financially. Not everyone goes into a lot of debt, but because we’re older (early 40s), we’ve had more time to establish ourselves financially.July 26, 2017 at 2:56 pm #695153
What I had meant to add, also, is that we both know we’ve been very lucky with our finances, and that many (maybe most) aren’t, but because of where we live and not having kids, we’ve sidestepped some of the issues that I think a lot of people face. (I’m just trying to say that our being childless has affected that, not that being childless is a better option; I do not want this misconstrued.)
But seriously: Financial planner/advisor was the best thing we did, as well as being brutally frugal as often as possible so that we can do the things we want (i.e., travel and retire). YMMV.July 27, 2017 at 7:53 am #695233
@teachernerd – That is great advice. I think that will make me calm down and feel like I have a better plan in place. I understand the no kids versus kids thing, when you make a life choice like kids, there are real expenses. It isn’t a judgement, just a fact.July 27, 2017 at 8:59 am #695246
I’ll bet my bottom dollar that the folks you mentioned are in some serious debt. I know many people in my own life that flash new cars and vacations and even cosmetic surgeries on social media but know for a fact from their family that they’re struggling from tons of credit card debt. So many people live beyond their means.July 31, 2017 at 2:39 pm #695636
@csp I feel you, I quit dying my hair and doing dance/fitness classes since I have a car payment again now, and it’s a bummer. (I might try that shampoo that colors your hair, my stylist said it’s actually pretty decent for what it is.) Being responsible feel good in total, but it sucks in the specifics.August 1, 2017 at 7:00 am #695680
We have always lived below our means. We knew that we needed to travel to visit our families and so we bought much less house than we could afford. We go out to dinner once a week now but we used to only eat out occasionally and then it was fast food. We were frugal with our money. We bought a lot of clothes at second hand shops. We paid extra on our mortgage and refinanced it when interest rates dropped. That has helped us tremendously because we have now paid off our mortgage. When we first bought a house and had our son our money was very tight. As the years went by and our income climbed but the mortgage stayed the same we climbed out of that tight spot. Things slowly and gradually got easier and now that we are mortgage free we are able to do a lot that we would never have dreamed of doing. I think you need to take a long term view. You need life goals. You need to know that you can handle where you are and that things will also get easier.
We have always saved off the top. Money into the 401K at the maximum matched by the company which was and still is 7%. Then we saved more in a savings account. We lived on what was left after that. The savings has allowed us to always buy things when we needed them. If we had to have an appliance we could get it. The same for medical co-payments and home repairs and down payments on cars. Our first house was run down and we did a major project on it each year. The savings paid for the yearly projects. The savings paid for trips to visit family.
We have gone from money always being tight to things being fairly easy. We invest all of my income for retirement and put 10% of my husband’s income into the 401K. 3% isn’t matched by the company but the stock performs very well. Once we’ve been matched in the 401K we are able to diversify so we direct the stock to other funds and are moving some of it to bonds as recommended for our age.
I think it helps to know that your finances will get easier if you can keep your major expenses stable, like a mortgage. Your income will slowly climb and each year is a little easier than the year before. It’s the same with daycare costs. They are huge during the preschool years then much cheaper during the school years and then they disappear entirely.
If you can’t see any way that things will get easier over time then you need to think about other changes. Could you move to an area where the cost of living is cheaper? You could consider job training to get a better paying job.August 2, 2017 at 8:14 am #695786
I guess it depends on their salary and the size of their mortgage. We are mid 40s and live in a nice house, pay all our bills each month and save for retirement. In our 20s we lived super frugally…rode bikes to our jobs until we bought a $1000 jumker car for example. Got clothes at salvation army. Got free furniture from others or from the dump (they had a Free section). Went to grad school and got our degrees. Worked seasonal summer jobs and paid off student loans. Lived super frugally…in a one room place that was cheap. In our 30s we bought our first small house which we later sold at a profit which helped us buy a nicer second house. In those years we got some consignment store furniture, bought a nice used inexpensive car, got our first real good jobs after grad school. Had our kids. Bought kids stuff used, borrowed it, shopped at thrift stores or ebay. In our 40s we took even better jobs, moved across country, bought a slightly nicer house. We started buying some new furniture. Got our first nice car…only 3 years old! We both work hard and make a decent salary. Our kids go to public school. I guess it now looks like we have a lot but really it was about 20 plus years of being super frugal. I’m still pretty frugal actually. We pay off credit cards each month and our only debt is our mortgage payment each month. Besides being frugal and patient we had luck with selling houses and made a slight profit each time…that was just luck in timing!