Author Topic: Living in St. Louis on a $55,000 salary  (Read 3785 times)

SpendyMcSpend

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Living in St. Louis on a $55,000 salary
« on: August 01, 2018, 08:00:31 AM »
I was kind of shocked by this money diary.  It seems like they are on the trend line to ruin, not because they aren't "making it" currently, but because there are several bombs about to go off.  They are living on one salary, they have two very high car payments, they have a loan about to come due that is $1200 a month, and they want to take on more debt (a house).  This one made me super nervous.

https://www.refinery29.com/money-diary-st-louis-mo-strategic-projects-salary

Njdealguy

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Re: Living in St. Louis on a $55,000 salary
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2018, 08:11:42 AM »
Wow just briefly glanced at the monthly expenses and she is making monthly loan payments on her own engagement ring?  Wow people do that thought the fiance is supposed to buy it.   Also making payments on the guy's laptop from previous job!  Wonder how high of a model it must be that is requiring $100 a month payments for however long.

SpendyMcSpend

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Re: Living in St. Louis on a $55,000 salary
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2018, 08:13:51 AM »
In the comments, she wrote in response to someone who questioned how she could afford a house, that there were great programs out there that let you buy a home with zero down.  Other commenters shouted down the ones who were concerned.

FIRE@50

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Re: Living in St. Louis on a $55,000 salary
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2018, 08:18:54 AM »
It is interesting how detailed this is. I'm confused by the skim milk/whipped cream combo in the coffee.

PoutineLover

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Re: Living in St. Louis on a $55,000 salary
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2018, 09:02:20 AM »
I wonder how much worse she'd be doing if she couldn't expense random silly purchases like coffee and a book, and if she didn't have her fiance's parents buying them food and groceries. I'd be super pissed if my partner bought me an engagement ring to be paid off $70 bucks a month, or had a laptop payment at $100/month when laptops aren't even that expensive and he doesn't even have a steady job. Also, why the fuck would you snooze 1-2 hours a day when you could be sleeping for real? Don't know why I read the whole thing, I just wanted to slap her the whole time.

enFuego

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Re: Living in St. Louis on a $55,000 salary
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2018, 09:17:20 AM »
Am I reading this article correctly that the fiance was laid off from the same technology company she works at, and this technology company can't afford enough network connections for all its employees... your $55,000 a year may not be all that secure.  This is the biggest risk for them right now with all the debt.  Although it seems they are actually getting have a safety net of getting a lot of financial support from their parents, probably more than is admitted to in this article.

@PoutineLover ... I was typing something very similar.  When the alarm clock goes off you're kind of supposed to get up.  Yes, I do snooze mine too often, but... and hour plus every day?!  Just set the thing for 7am instead. Either get up early and get a good productive start to your day or acknowledge that you don't and set the thing appropriately.  I got the impression reading how they spend their time that neither of them is particularly motivated, but maybe I'm reading into things too much.


YoungGranny

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Re: Living in St. Louis on a $55,000 salary
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2018, 09:26:03 AM »
If it was a case study my biggest areas to cut would be:

Rent - do you really need to spend 1,200 on a place in St Louis? Seems high (but I'm not super familiar with St Louis, that's more than I spent living in Chicago though)
Car Loan Payment - She mentions it's $135 for her car and $500 for her fiances fancy-show car but that just seems like an ungodly amount given the circumstances.
Electric and Gas: $200 - for an apartment? I spend on average $100 a month for a house...
Car Insurance: $130 - I live in a no-fault state and that still seems high to me for 1 car. I pay $70 a month; similar age
Cable/Internet: $115 - NO!
Work Laptop: $100 - what??
Access to Netflix/Prime/Spotify for free and they still pay for cable and hulu? Nope.

Not to mention all the coffee, going out to eat, etc expenses that seem to pile up. I get their situation is only temporary and he plans to return to work BUT their hair is ON FIRE with $30k of credit card debt so even if he had a job it's time to get serious about paying that off! Instead she seems content if they don't continue going backwards each month.

SpendyMcSpend

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Re: Living in St. Louis on a $55,000 salary
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2018, 10:02:55 AM »
I forgot they had cc debt too!  I am just fearing they will end up in bankruptcy really fast if they don't watch it.

Samuel

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Re: Living in St. Louis on a $55,000 salary
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2018, 10:17:08 AM »
I get the impression the daily spending log is them on their best behavior as they're being monitored and trying to "live on one income" during this period of unemployment.

But yeah, it's the time bombs they're overly comfortable with that worry me the most. 167k in student loans with $200 payments that will eventually jump to $1200? over $600 a month in car payments? Minimum payments on an undisclosed amount of credit card debt "from when I was in law school"? A financed engagement ring, an upcoming wedding and plans to buy a house next year???

Yikes. They're very close to a cliff and don't seem to know it.


tralfamadorian

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Re: Living in St. Louis on a $55,000 salary
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2018, 01:05:43 PM »
+1 what everyone has already said. She mentions that the loans reset to $1,200 next month!

I lol'd when I saw in the comments that her finance's rare sports car that can't be out in the rain with a $500/mo loan is a ford focus.

SpendyMcSpend

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Re: Living in St. Louis on a $55,000 salary
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2018, 01:08:15 PM »
I thought Ford Focus's were lower end?  They are the typical rentals when I do the economy at a car rental.

PoutineLover

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Re: Living in St. Louis on a $55,000 salary
« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2018, 01:28:21 PM »
Well apparently it's a fancy car:
(from the comments) A Focus RS is not a typical Ford Focus. For all of us non-car people, its the racing hatch version. Meaning, it has a turbo engine, racing seats, suspension that changes based on what mode its in with the click of a button, it has launch control and drift mode for different types of racing/drifting, and they drive really freaking fast. They are more of an European thing (where they do most of their sales) and one of the things we both love about the car is that its not flashy, but if you know a lot about cars you know what a beautiful machine it is.

Totally worth it [/s]

SpendyMcSpend

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Re: Living in St. Louis on a $55,000 salary
« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2018, 01:46:56 PM »
Well apparently it's a fancy car:
(from the comments) A Focus RS is not a typical Ford Focus. For all of us non-car people, its the racing hatch version. Meaning, it has a turbo engine, racing seats, suspension that changes based on what mode its in with the click of a button, it has launch control and drift mode for different types of racing/drifting, and they drive really freaking fast. They are more of an European thing (where they do most of their sales) and one of the things we both love about the car is that its not flashy, but if you know a lot about cars you know what a beautiful machine it is.

Totally worth it [/s]

Just googled and it says from $41,000 which mean they probably spent $50k plus the bells and whistles.

PrairieBeardstache

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Re: Living in St. Louis on a $55,000 salary
« Reply #13 on: August 01, 2018, 02:11:56 PM »
Well apparently it's a fancy car:
(from the comments) A Focus RS is not a typical Ford Focus. For all of us non-car people, its the racing hatch version. Meaning, it has a turbo engine, racing seats, suspension that changes based on what mode its in with the click of a button, it has launch control and drift mode for different types of racing/drifting, and they drive really freaking fast. They are more of an European thing (where they do most of their sales) and one of the things we both love about the car is that its not flashy, but if you know a lot about cars you know what a beautiful machine it is.

Totally worth it [/s]

It's not a regular Focus but coming from a pretty serious car guy, it's not worth fussing over that much...

tralfamadorian

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Re: Living in St. Louis on a $55,000 salary
« Reply #14 on: August 01, 2018, 04:18:32 PM »
Well apparently it's a fancy car:
(from the comments) A Focus RS is not a typical Ford Focus. For all of us non-car people, its the racing hatch version. Meaning, it has a turbo engine, racing seats, suspension that changes based on what mode its in with the click of a button, it has launch control and drift mode for different types of racing/drifting, and they drive really freaking fast. They are more of an European thing (where they do most of their sales) and one of the things we both love about the car is that its not flashy, but if you know a lot about cars you know what a beautiful machine it is.

Totally worth it [/s]

It's not a regular Focus but coming from a pretty serious car guy, it's not worth fussing over that much...

From all the pampering she included in the journal, I thought it was going to be a used aston martin, jaguar, maserati, something interesting.

frugalecon

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Re: Living in St. Louis on a $55,000 salary
« Reply #15 on: August 01, 2018, 04:38:07 PM »
I was struck by two things from a quick skim:

1. “G’s” parents sure pick up the tab for a lot...my guess is that will continue. They face what might be called a “soft budget constraint.”

2. Their life sounds really boring to me. No thanks.

MrsWolfeRN

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Re: Living in St. Louis on a $55,000 salary
« Reply #16 on: August 01, 2018, 04:45:16 PM »
All the waste, I couldn't read past day 2.

I wonder how a mustachian money diary would look.
Day 1: $0
Day 2: $0
Day 3: spent $35 but got $17 back in points and $2 from ibotta
Day 4:, called and got my internet bill reduced by $10/ month
Etc.

hal12marls

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Re: Living in St. Louis on a $55,000 salary
« Reply #17 on: August 02, 2018, 08:08:28 AM »
She's so frustrating! She talks about how her boyfriend bringing in $50 and her getting a $40 rebate on paint (I wonder how much that ended up costing them after the rebate) make them so proud with their "tight" budget, but then they're paying $500 a month for his car while he doesn't have a job. Plus, the car uses expensive gas (apparently $38/week). What are they thinking?!

mbl

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Re: Living in St. Louis on a $55,000 salary
« Reply #18 on: August 02, 2018, 08:54:45 AM »
What is even more astounding are all the positive comments to the article there.
Amazing.
Hair on fire debt and monthly outlay.....

FIREmydebt

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Re: Living in St. Louis on a $55,000 salary
« Reply #19 on: August 02, 2018, 09:07:56 AM »
Also, the K cups REALLY upset me.  Just throw more plastic into our oceans, don't worry about the planet.  UGH.

vivophoenix

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Re: Living in St. Louis on a $55,000 salary
« Reply #20 on: August 02, 2018, 09:13:54 AM »
i try to recognize that other blogs have other purposes and so I try not judge through an MMM lens.

but some of the budget items were crazy to me. why pay for my own engagement ring loan? and she is supporting her fiance's lifestyle to her own detriment. the OP can't make full student loan payments, but she pays for her fiance's fancy car, gas, and laptop?!


OtherJen

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Re: Living in St. Louis on a $55,000 salary
« Reply #21 on: August 02, 2018, 09:42:17 AM »
Wow.

Her monthly auto insurance for just her car is what husband and I pay for both cars here in Michigan, which (I believe) has the highest auto insurance rates in the country.

Also, G’s parents sure seem to cover a lot of their adult son’s expenses.

MandalayVA

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Re: Living in St. Louis on a $55,000 salary
« Reply #22 on: August 02, 2018, 10:20:09 AM »
Ah, the madness which are Refinery29's Money Diaries.  This one isn't even that bad; the one before this had the internet up in arms:

https://www.refinery29.com/money-diary-new-york-city-marketing-intern-income

ducky19

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Re: Living in St. Louis on a $55,000 salary
« Reply #23 on: August 02, 2018, 11:50:21 AM »
Oh my, that was hard to read... Nearly $40k allowance a year, plus what she's making as an intern! Just... wow...

My favorite nugget:

"Being that everyone had the day off yesterday, I think I'll be okay getting in a couple of minutes late to work. I stop by Whole Foods to pick up a bottle of cold brew to keep at the office. It's the easiest way for me to not spend too much on coffee. $6.99"

Yeah, because seven bucks a day is a reasonable amount to spend on coffee...
« Last Edit: August 02, 2018, 01:11:02 PM by ducky19 »

AMandM

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Re: Living in St. Louis on a $55,000 salary
« Reply #24 on: August 02, 2018, 02:50:50 PM »
Even more than the impending financial train wreck, I was struck by how poorly this couple lives life: sleeping poorly, grabbing food at random, making tons of decisions on the spur of the moment without any plan in mind, staying up too late watching junk tv so you can start all over again. Even if they were spending much less than their income, this is no way to conduct your life.

enFuego

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Re: Living in St. Louis on a $55,000 salary
« Reply #25 on: August 02, 2018, 09:47:24 PM »
Quote
Even more than the impending financial train wreck, I was struck by how poorly this couple lives life

Every day it's I fall asleep watching a movie and he wakes me up to go to bed... I mean, have some sex for God's sake! ;)

ExitViaTheCashRamp

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Re: Living in St. Louis on a $55,000 salary
« Reply #26 on: August 03, 2018, 01:13:27 PM »
Fiancé's Work Laptop: $100 (We bought it from work when he left)
My Engagement Ring: $70 (We chose to put it on a 0% interest credit card.)

 Is it bad I thought that this was the total price and not a monthly debt to service ?

bacchi

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Re: Living in St. Louis on a $55,000 salary
« Reply #27 on: August 03, 2018, 01:36:56 PM »
Fiancé's Work Laptop: $100 (We bought it from work when he left)
My Engagement Ring: $70 (We chose to put it on a 0% interest credit card.)

 Is it bad I thought that this was the total price and not a monthly debt to service ?

It'd be helpful to know the terms. A used laptop that a company has already depreciated some should be cheap.

FIRE@50

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Re: Living in St. Louis on a $55,000 salary
« Reply #28 on: August 03, 2018, 01:44:23 PM »
Quote
Even more than the impending financial train wreck, I was struck by how poorly this couple lives life

Every day it's I fall asleep watching a movie and he wakes me up to go to bed... I mean, have some sex for God's sake! ;)
I kinda assumed that was why the alarm clock was set earlier than they actually get up.

Njdealguy

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Re: Living in St. Louis on a $55,000 salary
« Reply #29 on: August 03, 2018, 02:04:12 PM »
Fiancé's Work Laptop: $100 (We bought it from work when he left)
My Engagement Ring: $70 (We chose to put it on a 0% interest credit card.)

 Is it bad I thought that this was the total price and not a monthly debt to service ?

It'd be helpful to know the terms. A used laptop that a company has already depreciated some should be cheap.

When I was laid off once about 10 years ago, they never cared whether I returned the company issued laptop used for 2 years and not in great condition.  Never did nor paid for it and continued to have it for personal use till it completely broke down about a year after that.

enFuego

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Re: Living in St. Louis on a $55,000 salary
« Reply #30 on: August 04, 2018, 08:28:20 AM »
Quote
Even more than the impending financial train wreck, I was struck by how poorly this couple lives life

Every day it's I fall asleep watching a movie and he wakes me up to go to bed... I mean, have some sex for God's sake! ;)
I kinda assumed that was why the alarm clock was set earlier than they actually get up.

Ahhhh... If that's the case then don't change a thing!

Kimera757

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Re: Living in St. Louis on a $55,000 salary
« Reply #31 on: August 04, 2018, 09:02:29 AM »
Quote
Rent: $1,195 for a two-bedroom flat that I live in with my fiancé, G.

No kids. Why do they need two bedrooms? I hope one of those bedrooms is, in fact, the home office.

Quote
Car Loan Payment: $635

I assume that's for the fancy sports car that requires premium gas? They should sell it and buy something cheaper, especially since the husband-to-be isn't working steadily at the moment. (He is instead spending money on school. A good long-term idea, but they need to survive through that period.)

Quote
Fiancé's Work Laptop: $100 (We bought it from work when he left)My Engagement Ring: $70 (We chose to put it on a 0% interest credit card.)

For the first, I would expect someone in the IT industry to own their own computer, even if it was used. A friend of mine is good at IT; he built a computer piece by piece and saved some money doing so. (He even solders, but it's not like he's literally making his own chips.)

For the second... that is really sad.

Channel-Z

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Re: Living in St. Louis on a $55,000 salary
« Reply #32 on: August 05, 2018, 02:31:27 PM »
I live in Kansas City on essentially the same salary. $1,200 for a 2BR apartment isn't uncommon. I assume her salary will increase each year.

They seem to watch a lot of TV. Take a walk or something. Staring at a monitor right before bedtime is bad for sleep.


lhamo

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Re: Living in St. Louis on a $55,000 salary
« Reply #33 on: August 05, 2018, 02:58:09 PM »
Am I reading this article correctly that the fiance was laid off from the same technology company she works at, and this technology company can't afford enough network connections for all its employees... your $55,000 a year may not be all that secure. 

Not to mention all the coffees, meals and other shit she expensed during the week.  She seems totally oblivious to the fact that this company is probably on a fast track to bankruptcy land -- yeah, will be so much fun to be CHRO as you lay off every last employee....

Additional red flag:  offering to make a 26 YO Exec Asst/"Strategist" with no apparent business sense or motivation the CHRO....

Nicholas Carter

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Re: Living in St. Louis on a $55,000 salary
« Reply #34 on: August 07, 2018, 11:30:22 AM »
I wonder how much worse she'd be doing if she couldn't expense random silly purchases like coffee and a book, and if she didn't have her fiance's parents buying them food and groceries. I'd be super pissed if my partner bought me an engagement ring to be paid off $70 bucks a month, or had a laptop payment at $100/month when laptops aren't even that expensive and he doesn't even have a steady job. Also, why the fuck would you snooze 1-2 hours a day when you could be sleeping for real? Don't know why I read the whole thing, I just wanted to slap her the whole time.
Am I reading this article correctly that the fiance was laid off from the same technology company she works at, and this technology company can't afford enough network connections for all its employees... your $55,000 a year may not be all that secure.  This is the biggest risk for them right now with all the debt.  Although it seems they are actually getting have a safety net of getting a lot of financial support from their parents, probably more than is admitted to in this article.

@PoutineLover ... I was typing something very similar.  When the alarm clock goes off you're kind of supposed to get up.  Yes, I do snooze mine too often, but... and hour plus every day?!  Just set the thing for 7am instead. Either get up early and get a good productive start to your day or acknowledge that you don't and set the thing appropriately.  I got the impression reading how they spend their time that neither of them is particularly motivated, but maybe I'm reading into things too much.
For me personally: For the first hour after I wake up, my brain is basically porridge. I can't tell how far away from me things are, I lose my train of thought while trying to speak, and I just generally blank out. So my morning routine includes waking up, eating breakfast, then laying on my couch or floor for almost an hour while my brain reboots.

honeybbq

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Re: Living in St. Louis on a $55,000 salary
« Reply #35 on: August 07, 2018, 01:24:15 PM »
Things that stuck out at me:

-exhausted every night (really? you seem to work 30 hours a week and mostly buy pizza and coffee)
- no exercise at all
- mooching off fiance's parents pretty much 24:7 from the dog, to the washer, to the food
-lots of laying around and playing on her phone (unless that's code for something else, maybe it is... I haven't been twenty something in a long time)

Very failure to launch IMO.

Can't wait to see what happens when she has to start paying her $170k in student loans. (WTF???) I didn't see what kind of degree that is but you could have gone to WashU premed for that amount.

Do they ever do updates?

carolina822

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Re: Living in St. Louis on a $55,000 salary
« Reply #36 on: August 07, 2018, 09:00:58 PM »


@PoutineLover ... I was typing something very similar.  When the alarm clock goes off you're kind of supposed to get up.  Yes, I do snooze mine too often, but... and hour plus every day?!  Just set the thing for 7am instead. Either get up early and get a good productive start to your day or acknowledge that you don't and set the thing appropriately.

If I set it for the right time, I'll be an hour late. I wish I could break the snooze habit - I've tried. I'm not there yet. Yes, my alarm clock is across the room. I can get up and hit snooze five times without even realizing I did it.

PoutineLover

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Re: Living in St. Louis on a $55,000 salary
« Reply #37 on: August 07, 2018, 09:11:09 PM »
I guess people just have different approaches to getting up. My bf sets 5 or 6 alarms at 2 minute intervals but gets up on the last one, and he's groggy in the morning so we don't talk much. I set an alarm and snooze it 3 times (15 mins) then get up and I'm ready to go. I'm not opposed to snoozing, I just think doing it for that long is a waste of good sleeping time. If I accidentally wake up too early and can't fall back asleep I usually get out of bed and do chores or something, I have a hard time just laying there.

carolina822

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Re: Living in St. Louis on a $55,000 salary
« Reply #38 on: August 07, 2018, 10:34:04 PM »
I'd love to do it differently. I agree that it's a waste of good sleeping time, but man, it's a tough habit to break.

My BF has to get up at 4am for work. I teach online classes until midnight several nights a week. It's going to be quite the adjustment when we live together, but at least I can start the snooze process a good two hours after he's gone on the rare occasions that he's here on a school night.