Okay, I have one that I just have to gripe about. It's not quite work, but one of the women I ride the train with causes me regular cringing. I try to cut her some slack b/c she has a 6-month old baby and I'm sure that puts a lot of constraints on her life that I don't have, but still...
-Recently was saying she was thinking of starting to drive to the train station (parking is $5/day) vs. taking the light rail (included in the montly pass that she already has to buy for the commute to the city) because she doesn't want to have to walk to the light rail station in the rain during the winter (walk is allegedly about 5 mins). She was asking me what I plan to do when rainy season starts: "wear a jacket?"
Another ongoing complaint is with childcare. She is now on her second nanny (fired the first one), and this one is not working out either. They are looking for a new nanny, and apparently is having a hard time finding one who will take less than $700/week. Apparently they "just absolutely cannot afford that, what is the point of me working???". I can sympathize that this is a LOT of money, but...
1. They aren't offering any other benefits, so if the nanny works every single week, that's just a little over $36k/year. Their current nanny is a single mother. We live in the Bay Area, not exactly cheap. I'm wouldn't be surprised if it's all under the table and the nanny is either not declaring or underdeclaring her income, but still...$700/week is not exactly a luxurious salary. They also expect the nanny to be first aid/CPR certified.
2. The nanny is being expected to work close to 10-11 hours/day because train friend and her husband work long hours and have long commutes.
I get that childcare around here can be a nightmare and I'm frankly pretty worried that my partner and I will be finding ourselves in a similar situation in a year or two, so I try to be sympathetic, but then she:
1. Books a weeklong vacation to Hawaii
2. Books plane tickets to visit family back east for Thanksgiving weekend
3. Books plane tickets to go to a wedding in November
4. Has a fancy-ass gym membership
5. Regularly gets manicures, professional hair coloring, etc.
6. Buys coffee en route to work several times a week
7. Buys lunch every day
8. Seems to go wine tasting or to lunch with friends every weekend
9. Rents a 3 bedroom townhouse and is talking about upgrading to a 4th bedroom (they are thinking of having a 2nd kid, apparently they must have separate bedrooms for each kid AND a dedicated guest bedroom).
10. Two iphones
I don't know exactly what she's currently paying the nanny, but I'm guessing it is at least $500/week, if she just cut/trimmed a few things on that list above, I'm pretty sure they could free up $200/month without too much difficulty. I think her salary is relatively close to mine (maybe even more), which means that even if she were to pay $700/week for childcare, she would still be taking home a reasonable amount of money each month (enough to max out a 401k, if nothing else). I understand that for some people childcare IS almost an entire post-tax paycheck, but I'm very dubious that that's the case for her, so hearing her phrase it so dramatically just provokes an inner eye roll from me.
Also, her husband just bought an old vintage car to fix up and apparently that's turning out to be a pricey hobby.
Something nice: I will give her kudos for having some frugal habits like checking out books/DVDs from the library, and I guess taking the train instead of driving to the city and paying for parking...