Author Topic: Where did it all go, and where am I headed?  (Read 4577 times)

ImReadyShesNot

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 10
Where did it all go, and where am I headed?
« on: April 12, 2018, 09:30:42 AM »
Topic Title: Where did it all go, and where am I headed?

Life Situation: Married (Me-35, Her-33, 2 little ones(5,6), and a MIL)
From 2005 to 2011, we grossed approximately $30k to $60k a year together, and lived paycheck to paycheck, she got a degree during this time, and started her first real job.  I worked in a warehouse.
2012, We started saving money because of a promotion at work and we had “extra” money for the first time.  Gross is ~$75
2013-2015, lifestyle inflation, spend it as fast as we make it.  Gross was $75k-$90k
Late 2016-Mid 2017, opportunity for a promotion results in a costly move, house upgrade, 6 months of unemployment for the wife and finally ends with our current situation and salaries

Gross Salary/Wages:
My Salary-$101,300
My Possible Bonus - $20,260
My Possible Stock - $11,000
Her - $41,000
MIL pays $500 monthly to live with us

Individual amounts of each Pre-tax deductions
I was contributing 8% to 401k, but just raised to 10% to coincide with my annual raise.  I get 100% match up to 5% contribution.
I don’t fully understand my wife’s state retirement plan/contributions and need to figure it out.  She just started this job in the last year.  She also pays for our health insurance now.

Other Ordinary Income: My wife’s mom contributes $500 a month, which we use towards the house payment.  She moved with us from one state to another, and the cost of living is higher here, than where we used to live.  She wouldn’t be able to find a nice apartment near us, for what she used to pay.  We spent $16k when we moved, to build a MIL suite in our new home’s basement for her.

Qualified Dividends & Long Term Capital Gains:  I’ve been getting RSU’s that vest 33% a year, for the past 3 years.  I’ve sold the stock each time it vests,

Adjusted Gross Income:
My Bi-Monthly Paycheck Net - $2840
Her Every 2 Weeks Net - $1130

Taxes: Federal, state/local, and FICA.  We figure about 28% of our gross is taxes

Current expenses:
Mortgage P&I $1007
Mortgage T&I $575
Electric $175
Heat $75
Water $50
Auto Payments $654
Auto Gas $200-$300
Auto Insurance $100
Grocery/House Hold $800 (We go every week to a big box and spend $150-$200 on groceries and house hold items)
Dining Out $200-$700 (On the months I complain about eating out, we spend $200, on the months that we go back home and take our parents out for dinner, have a date night, live like ballers, we can spend $700…..crazy…I know)
Cell Phones $150(includes $55 worth of device payments @ 0%)
Medical/Prescription $100 (this has been hard to budget, my daughter has allergies/asthma and gets sick often, so we are in/out of dr office a lot)
Dance Classes $150
Water Softener Rent $23
Netflix $14

Everything above is the fixed/average monthly costs that I can predict.
Where the rest of our money went in the last year……… Disney Vacation($5k), Caribbean Cruise($3k), Stamped Concrete Patio($6k), Landscaping($2k), Patio furniture($1k), Riding Mower and Snow Blower($2k), Tools and tool box($1k), New Computer($1k), Xbox One X and monitor($1k) , New tires for both cars($1k), Old Medical Bills($3k), Target, Kohls, Walmart and anyone else that would take our money.

Assets:
2012 Jeep Compass
2014 Dodge Caravan
401k – $88k
Vanguard Roll-over 401k - $28k
Vanguard Brokerage Account - $2k
Primary Home - $250k - $255k
Savings - $10k emergency fund
$13k net bonus just received
$9k net stock check on the way
$6k tax return on the way


Liabilities:
Mortgage Balance $220,710.53
2012 Jeep Compass Balance $13,645.89 @ 2.99% @ 280 per month
2014 Dodge Caravan Balance $9,397.29 @ 2.99% @ $374 per month
My wife went back to school last year for her Master’s Degree, and we paid the $6500 out of pocket last year.  We have a $4040 bill coming for her summer classes in May, and another $2020 for a class in August, followed by some more classes, and then some more…..All together, she has about $12k worth of schooling left, to finish at the end of Fall 2019.  We Plan to just pay for this as the bills come.

We have a $15k remodeling bill on the way, for additional work finishing out our basement(adding another bedroom, office, and family room) .  This should increase the value of our home by $7.5k-$10k I would think/hope.

Specific Question(s):   
Are we doing even remotely good @ life!?!?  We both come from paycheck to paycheck families, and don't share our financial information with anyone, so why not strangers on the internet?

The primary reason I typed all this up, was to force myself to look at the numbers, and try to assess how we are doing.  We absolutely have to get a handle on our spending if we ever want to retire, be able to afford vehicles for kids, college, weddings and anything else life sends our way.  After my wife finishes school, and we have our basement work completed, I don’t anticipate any more large expenditures besides family vacations.  I don’t feel like we are living an extremely lavish lifestyle, but we aren’t saving a whole lot either, but we have been able to pay cash for some rather large purchases over the past 18 months, so I feel good about that, but also feel like we aren’t making progress.

What I’m afraid of, is that I moved my family away from friends and family for better life possibilities (early retirement?), just to waste and squander the money away.

I think my hair is on fire, but I'm in denial.........Let the face punches begin?

Easye418

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 467
Re: Where did it all go, and where am I headed?
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2018, 10:21:27 AM »
Looks fine to me honestly.

You are going to get crushed about your cars.  Not from me, but the mob will be coming.

Your dining budget is just silly, you know its silly, stop spending so much, you like to splurge, I get it, this might be a lifestyle thing for you guys though. 

You make great income......!!!  I didn't read all of this completely.


Everything above is the fixed/average monthly costs that I can predict.
Where the rest of our money went in the last year……… Disney Vacation($5k), Caribbean Cruise($3k), Stamped Concrete Patio($6k), Landscaping($2k), Patio furniture($1k), Riding Mower and Snow Blower($2k), Tools and tool box($1k), New Computer($1k), Xbox One X and monitor($1k) , New tires for both cars($1k), Old Medical Bills($3k), Target, Kohls, Walmart and anyone else that would take our money.

Better have a Kevlar vest with all this spending... I initially didn't see this when I started commenting above.  Again, the mob will come for you on this.

Like I said above, I'm not going to say you shouldn't have taken vacations, gotten a stamped concrete patio, and all this other stuff, but it is clear, you are a spender, you enjoy spending money and using it while you are carrying debt.

You need to stop ALL crazy spending until you pay those two cars off and the remodel off.

I would have liked to see your 401K/retirement accounts higher for your age. 


Are we doing even remotely good @ life!?!?


Don't let anyone answer this for you, especially not a bunch of judgmental frugal people, who you are asking help from.  I don't care if you blow money out your ass and you are in debt until you die, nobody has the right to tell you if you are doing good at life.  It is YOUR life, own it.

Make some changes, make some sacrifices, get EVERYONE on board,  take control of your life and finances.  Don't plan on early retirement if you aren't willing to do this, it's just not going to happen. Really ask yourself if you want the life you are talking about, maybe you don't. 

PS Adjust your tax withholding, you are giving the government a $6K loan for free.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2018, 10:29:29 AM by Easye418 »

ysette9

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3744
  • Location: Bay Area, CA
    • Insert Snappy Title Here (Journal)
Where did it all go, and where am I headed?
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2018, 10:37:58 AM »
Your cars are crushing you. You are spending as much on two depreciating assets as you do on your mortgage.
At the end of a mortgage you will have a place to live. At the end of your car payments you will have something that is worth significantly less than you paid for it and still gets bad gas mileage. At your income and asset levels I don’t think TJ’s is a wise choice of where to put your money. Personally, I’d get rid of those two beasts, kill the loans, and buy a couple of used Hondas for a few thousand each. You don’t need a van or an SUV with two kids. Last I checked, kids are smaller than adults, and adults fit find in something like a Civic. Our family car is a VW Golf (okay, GTI :)).

It all comes down to priorities. What is important to you? Have that talk with your wife over a glass of wine (at home!) and sketch out where you want to be and what is really important to each of you. That helped us put things in perspective when we had that talk. Once you have identified what the  top one or two priorities are, then each time you are thinking of purchasing a riding lawn mower or a new patio, as yourself whether those purchases align with your big goals or detract from them. This website is about frugality, yes, but more importantly it is about making you aware of your spending and ensuring it aligns with your values. Each time you sound a dollar you are voting. Make sure you vote for something you care about.

savedough

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 128
Re: Where did it all go, and where am I headed?
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2018, 11:25:48 AM »

Where the rest of our money went in the last year……… Disney Vacation($5k), Caribbean Cruise($3k), Stamped Concrete Patio($6k), Landscaping($2k), Patio furniture($1k), Riding Mower and Snow Blower($2k), Tools and tool box($1k), New Computer($1k), Xbox One X and monitor($1k) , New tires for both cars($1k), Old Medical Bills($3k), Target, Kohls, Walmart and anyone else that would take our money.

My wife went back to school last year for her Master’s Degree, and we paid the $6500 out of pocket last year.  We have a $4040 bill coming for her summer classes in May, and another $2020 for a class in August, followed by some more classes, and then some more…..All together, she has about $12k worth of schooling left, to finish at the end of Fall 2019.  We Plan to just pay for this as the bills come.

We have a $15k remodeling bill on the way, for additional work finishing out our basement(adding another bedroom, office, and family room) .  This should increase the value of our home by $7.5k-$10k I would think/hope.

You make a good income.   You have some silly car payments.  Those are not the issues that I see.  You can afford to do everything listed above eventually.  The problem is you want/tried to do everything ALL AT ONCE.

Spread it out.   Did you have to stamp your patio the same year you went to Disney?   Do you need to remodel your house while paying tuition?   I don't think you have a clear idea what your priorities are as a family.   Family time is a priority - it doesn't mean a $5K vacation is necessary.    School is a priority so you can't have tools and patio furniture this year.    I wouldn't spend the $15K on the basement until her Master's is complete, but YMMV. 

Two other notes - Is your MIL paying a market rate?  Does she provide other monetary benefits - babysitting, food?   $500 for room and board is a great deal and I don't mind you supporting family if you need to.

10K is not enough of an emergency fund.   Beef it up to at least 6 months expenses since you are essentially a single income family.

formerlydivorcedmom

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 587
  • Location: Texas
Re: Where did it all go, and where am I headed?
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2018, 12:05:16 PM »
Doesn't it feel good to cash-flow a college education?  I did a happy dance when we wrote our last tuition check in January. 

Have you and your wife identified your financial goals?  When my husband I got married 5 years ago, we wrote ours down.  The key is that the goals need to be specific and measurable and come with a time frame.  We revisit them every year and add short-term goals.

As an example, here are our long-term goals:
1) Save $50k per kid in college funds (needed in 2024, 2025, 2027)
2) Save $1.5M for retirement by age 50 (2028)
3) No credit card debt ever
4) Minimum of one vacation per year

Short-term goals:
1) Husband gets a degree (woohoo, almost done!)
2) Replace husband's 2005 car within the next 2-3 years (~$15k)
3) Major renovation of backyard (~$5-7k)

We prioritize them.  For us, 1-3 of the long-term goals and #1 on the short-term goals are the most important.  Vacations and the other short-term goals depend on whether we have the money, that is, whether we spent like drunken sailors on other stuff or socked away cash. Some years we overspent on the short-term goals and daily life, so our vacation was a long-weekend at a friend's house 2 hours away. Next year, we're going on a big family cruise.  The backyard renovation was the #1 short-term priority until husband decided to go back to school...so I managed to do one phase of about $1k, and then it got pushed by 3 years.   With the car added, it'll be another year or two.

I highly encourage you and your wife to sit down and come up with financial (and life) goals for your family.  That's one way of judging whether your spending is at the right level for your family.

ImReadyShesNot

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 10
Re: Where did it all go, and where am I headed?
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2018, 12:33:18 PM »
Thank you everyone for the feedback and comments so far.

I think a sit down with the wife about our life goals is the first step.  I've been reading the MMM blog/forum and thinking how great ER sounds and living a less consumerist life sounds, but need to have this first conversation with the wife.

Some Reasoning/Excuses for Past US
-She never took vacations as a child, so taking the kids to Disney was a big thing for her.  We took the cruise to celebrate our 10 year anniversary.
-Our current home was new construction and came with nothing but dirt for a yard.  We "needed" the landscaping to meet C&R's.  We wanted a patio for outdoor family time/bbq.
-The basement addition of the bedroom/office/family room is not *needed*, but we would like to have a place for guests to sleep, so they don't have to get hotels, sleep on the floor. We miss friends and family and hope this helps drive more visits.
-Her van was bought brand new.  Would it really make sense this late in the loan to get rid of the van after I've already eaten most of the depreciation on it?  This thing should easily last us another 5,10 or 15 years?
-I'm way upside down on the Jeep Compass, because I bought a midlife crisis Dodge Challenger and was paying $500 a month.  I downgraded to the Compass, and rolled negative equity into it.
 
Right now I think there is much more that can be addressed with our spending in the terms of food, dining out, clothing, random crap we buy, big purchases.  I want to start tracking our spending better, to see exactly where it's going each month.

ImReadyShesNot

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 10
Re: Where did it all go, and where am I headed?
« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2018, 12:41:37 PM »
Doesn't it feel good to cash-flow a college education?  I did a happy dance when we wrote our last tuition check in January. 

Have you and your wife identified your financial goals?  When my husband I got married 5 years ago, we wrote ours down.  The key is that the goals need to be specific and measurable and come with a time frame.  We revisit them every year and add short-term goals.

I highly encourage you and your wife to sit down and come up with financial (and life) goals for your family.  That's one way of judging whether your spending is at the right level for your family.

It does feel good to be able to pay for her college without loans this time.  Her bachelors degree was financed, and has been paid off for a couple years, so not having to get loans this time around has been nice.

Her and I need to sit down and come up with goals.  Obviously we've been flying by the seat of our pants.

formerlydivorcedmom

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 587
  • Location: Texas
Re: Where did it all go, and where am I headed?
« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2018, 12:42:40 PM »
If you're just getting started on this path, I recommend that you ready Your Money or Your Life.  It's a great book to get you started thinking about your financial philosophies and whether your spending matches your goals.

They repeat a lot that there's no shame, no blame.  It's not the amount of spending, it's ensuring that your spending matches what is important to you.  Which may mean annual trips to Disney to make great memories for your kids.

That book, more than anything else, stopped the waterfall of spending at Walmart/Target.

Basenji

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1028
  • Location: D.C.-ish

nurseart

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 69
Re: Where did it all go, and where am I headed?
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2018, 01:11:46 PM »
Great job posting this case study and talking to your wife about finances. That is a huge step that lots of people don't get to!

You guys are in a strange new world of not having to live paycheck to paycheck! In my unprofessional opinion, folks who grew up and spent their early adulthood living paycheck to paycheck can have a hard time getting out of that cycle. To me, it makes sense that you spent money on those extra vacations and things, you could and you had the money. Good for you!

What you may choose to do at this point is something new and exciting which is thinking beyond the next paycheck or even next year. What are your goals? What do you want? When do you want to retire? What do you want your retirement to look like? Once you and your wife figure that out, you can use all the resources on this page to get there. Maybe that looks like slashing spending, never eating out again, never going on vacation, moving into yurt in your friend's backyard with the MIL and kids, getting rid of all your cars and spending $100 a month on groceries and retiring, like, soon. Maybe it means keeping with your current lifestyle and hoping everything is okay when you are 65 and kinda depend on social security. Or most likely it will be somewhere in the middle. Where in the middle isn't really for me or anyone else to decide. In addition to checking out MMM, I personally like frugalwoods as it focuses on the joy that can come from frugality.

Ben Kurtz

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 129
Re: Where did it all go, and where am I headed?
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2018, 01:58:31 PM »
Assets:
2012 Jeep Compass
2014 Dodge Caravan

Liabilities:
2012 Jeep Compass Balance $13,645.89 @ 2.99% @ 280 per month
2014 Dodge Caravan Balance $9,397.29 @ 2.99% @ $374 per month

I think my hair is on fire, but I'm in denial.........Let the face punches begin?

Your hair is on fire.

You have a good family income, but you are frantically spending on everything, to the point where it has become too much and is preventing you from building a net worth. You aren't suffering credit card interest at 22%, but your spending frenzy tells its own story.

Part of is was expenses involved in the big move to get the big promotion, and in some sense those expenses will not recur. But did you have to buy a brand new house as soon as you moved to a new city? There were no old houses that didn't require costly finishing work? No 4br apartments you could have rented the first year while getting your bearings? And masters degree tuition needed to be financed at the exact same time? The attitude and approach towards life which led to that spate of moving expenses is within you, and that means that -- absent some change -- something else will always pop up. Even your cell phone bill tells a story -- you are financing fancy new smartphones rather than buying last-year's mid-range model for $200 and getting low-cost pre-paid plans for $25 per line per month (no, you don't need untold gigabytes of 4G data so you can stream YouTube cat videos in 4k while sitting on a bench in a public park), which is the thoughtful way to buy cell phones when you are not already a millionaire.

Going forward, I'm going to go for my usual hobby horse and tell you to downsize your automobile fleet. I'd guess your current fleet has a market value of around $25,000, which is way too high for a non-millionaire. My usual rule of thumb is that the value of your car fleet should not exceed 10% of family income, ideally capped at $10,000 of value across two cars. In your case, I'm going to suggest you keep the Caravan, which is a good family hauler, and ditch the utterly pointless Compass in favor of a 10 year old Honda Civic. Whoever has the longer solo commute uses that car. That at least gets you more or less within the 10% rule.

Once you've right-sized your auto fleet, you should "pay yourself first" by increasing your 401k withholdings to eat up the monthly payment that used to go towards the Compass. You should also, as others have said, increase your emergency fund by another $10,000. By your expense tally I would guess that you have a monthly burn rate of easily $5,000, below which it would be quite painful for your family to cut (postponing tuition is one thing... postponing groceries is another). Having at least 3-4 months of cushion, instead of just 2, would be strongly advisable.

Longer term, your gasoline bill suggests that your new house is remote from everything and that you all have very long soul- and wallet-sucking driving commutes. I know you just moved in, but as you spend time in your new town you should really think hard about whether there are places you could move to that would optimize your travel patterns -- near amenities, in a good school district, and close to at least one persons's job (and not a terrible commute to the other person's school / job). I'm not pretending to know what you'll find, but you should start looking, and with an open mind.

You have an income that could, used wisely, propel you swiftly towards freedom and financial independence. But all your choices seems to be classic consumer American. Not particularly irresponsible, irrational or absurd by classic consumer American standards, but well within the thoughtlessly profligate mainstream -- the kind of culture that thinks a 10% savings rate is a heroic accomplishment that puts you at the head of the class. To members of this particular counterculture, a mere 10% savings rate is a tragedy and flashing red light that something is very wrong (unless, of course, that particular family has already saved up enough money to be financially independent and the breadwinner has chosen to semi-retire).

Read the entire blog first post to last. On reflection, I think it is aimed almost exactly at someone in your shoes. By being just a little more thoughtful and analytical about your purchasing decisions, and cutting back a on a few things a bit at the margins, you can turn your well-above-average income into a fountain of wealth that will transform your life over the next 10 years, while enjoying a standard of living that is functionally no different than what all of your neighbors enjoy.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2018, 02:06:18 PM by Ben Kurtz »

ImReadyShesNot

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 10
Re: Where did it all go, and where am I headed?
« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2018, 03:12:28 PM »

Your hair is on fire.

OTHER Very Good Things.


Thank you for the thoughtful and reflective response Ben.  Some answers and thoughts to your questions below.

The home purchase was a complete nightmare.  The move in general was the single scariest moment of our lives with all of the unknowns.  We were coming from a real estate market where the norm was to offer 10% less than asking price, and settle somewhere between that, and list price.  We went into an area with the best school district, within a 15 minute commute of my new job location.  I made an agreement with my wife that she could work, or not work, when we moved, since this was for my career, and a huge sacrifice on her part.  Because of the MIL, we needed something that would offer us some privacy, and her a living space.  We made several offers on homes and were outbid multiple times.  Waiting lists for apartments were several months long in nice areas, plus some benefits of my relocation package would expire if we didn't purchase a home within a certain time frame. IE, They paid closing costs, They paid for transportation of household goods.

The home we ended up getting, buyer backed out, and we were able to make offer before it was officially re-listed.  Felt like it was meant to be.  Feels like a money pit now, but we are nearly done with everything we need/want.

The cell phone is stupid, I should just pay them off, but its no interest, so I figured why not.  She always want's the latest and greatest phone, and then I end up with her old phone(It's pink by the way....ugh).I can't defend the data usage on the cell phones, other than to say I really really like watching PUBG chicken dinner videos.

I think FMV on the cars is about 9k for the van, and 8k for the compass.  I got myself into a bad spot here, and feel like another vehicle change is just making it worse.  I won't ever buy new again, and already downsized from a sports car to the 4 cylinder compass.  The 4x4 came in handy with the winter weather for the wife's commute.  She has the 45 mile one way commute and does it in the van, with no severe weather.  The security feeling of the 4x4 will be tough to give up.  We'll discuss it once we sit down and come up with some goals.

We both like our jobs.  We love our neighborhood, and we really really like the school district.  They've been outstanding dealing with my daughter's allergy and speech needs.  We are trying to cut back, but we travel back home to see friends and family often(leave Friday night, drive back sunday), sometimes twice a month, which drives some of the gas cost.  $300 is on those months.  $180-$200 if we don't go home.

I think you are definitely right that if we don't make changes to our lifestyle, something will always come up.  Thanks again.

OkieM

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 48
Re: Where did it all go, and where am I headed?
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2018, 05:14:19 PM »
Your wife is commuting 90 miles a day for a $40k/yr job? After taxes and driving she’s basically getting minimum wage. There is a huge opportunity to improve your lives there.

Cassie

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4899
Re: Where did it all go, and where am I headed?
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2018, 05:28:52 PM »
At this point I would keep the cars and drive them until they die.

MrsWolfeRN

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 792
Re: Where did it all go, and where am I headed?
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2018, 06:01:54 PM »
Welcome, you are new at this. Punch yourself in the face a few times then start getting to work.

I'm with Ben Kurtz on the cars, ditch the compass and get a used Prius for the wife. Just make sure you use actual snow tires in winter. Call around to get cheaper rates on your insurance too.

FI 180 has a blog post on how they cut a few expenses every month, and how the small changes added up to big savings. Can you start with that water softener? Just buy one instead of renting it.  Bonus points if you install it yourself .
Next tackle the phone. Pay it off and switch to a cheaper carrier that lets you bring your own phone.
After that start working on the groceries, etc.
Put the money to work for you and start a snowball of awesomeness.

Ben Kurtz

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 129
Re: Where did it all go, and where am I headed?
« Reply #15 on: April 12, 2018, 06:09:07 PM »
The cell phone is stupid, I should just pay them off, but its no interest, so I figured why not.  She always want's the latest and greatest phone, and then I end up with her old phone(It's pink by the way....ugh).I can't defend the data usage on the cell phones, other than to say I really really like watching PUBG chicken dinner videos.

It's an emotional and philosophical problem, more than a basic financial problem. Today, we're well past the point of diminishing returns: my first pocket cell-phone was a quantum leap in life efficiency and convenience. Every one after that was a take-it-or-leave-it incremental step. My first pocket smartphone was another quantum leap (though I was late to that party, too, out of sheet Ludditude); after that, the increased functionality of new models is far more marginal so I've only bought new ones, grudgingly, when the old ones ceased to function. An out-of-date midrange smartphone will still do all the important things that really make your life better, at a fraction of the price. You just need to write down what the key features really are and be thoughtful about it.

Or does your wife need the latest and greatest as a status symbol among her friends, more than out of a technical need to get great things accomplished with all the extra computing power?

... The 4x4 came in handy with the winter weather for the wife's commute.  She has the 45 mile one way commute and does it in the van, with no severe weather.  The security feeling of the 4x4 will be tough to give up.  We'll discuss it once we sit down and come up with some goals.

Get some snow tires.

The Jeep Compass serves no rational purpose. It's needlessly inefficient on paved roads and has a pointlessly low clearance and weak chassis for true off-road applications. Unless your driving routine entirely involves moderately (but not too severely) washboarded and muddy dirt roads, it is simply the wrong tool for the job.

And did you just say that your wife drives 90 miles each day she commutes; is that 5x per week?!? For any kind of solo long-distance commute is imperative that she drives something extremely efficient and also reasonably safe and not in some hulking monster minivan. You can drive that on your short commute, or figure out if you can leave it at home and take a bus or a bike. Frankly, if she is commuting 450 miles per week you really need to sit down and figure out if whatever she's doing on the other end of that is even worth it. That's a huge soul- and wallet-sucking travel commitment, and it's hard to imagine that she can't find something equally useful to do with her time inside of a more reasonable commuting radius.

I think you are definitely right that if we don't make changes to our lifestyle, something will always come up.  Thanks again.

I'll re-iterate -- read the blog first post to last. Many of your exact considerations and responses are dealt with square-on in those posts.

It starts with an attitude shift: We are blessed to live in a vastly productive, technologically advanced and largely peaceful western world. Our economies are so productive that it is possible to obtain all the necessities of life at very affordable prices. At the same time, advertising, avarice, clever marketing and human emotion make it very easy to spend infinitely on the same categories of goods and services. The attitude shift comes from realizing that the former -- food, clothing, basic transportation and adequate shelter being objectively cheap and easily available -- makes it possible to opt out of the latter, if only you put some thought into designing your lifestyle intelligently from the ground up.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2018, 06:11:17 PM by Ben Kurtz »

AccidentialMustache

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 157
Re: Where did it all go, and where am I headed?
« Reply #16 on: April 12, 2018, 06:49:12 PM »
Right now I think there is much more that can be addressed with our spending in the terms of food, dining out, clothing, random crap we buy, big purchases.  I want to start tracking our spending better, to see exactly where it's going each month.

YNAB: You Need A Budget (or a simple google spreadsheet that's what we do. I'm willing to share the template -- PM me.), you need to start tracking. Having to face down the numbers monthly is the first step to fixing it.

You're making well over 2x, possibly 3x (bonus, stock) the average US income. You are more than able to not spend at the prodigious rate you are, because literally half the households out there get by on <50k because they have to.

CU Tiger

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 462
  • Location: Mid-Atlantic USA
Re: Where did it all go, and where am I headed?
« Reply #17 on: April 12, 2018, 08:49:58 PM »
Where the rest of our money went in the last year……… Disney Vacation($5k), Caribbean Cruise($3k), Stamped Concrete Patio($6k), Landscaping($2k), Patio furniture($1k), Riding Mower and Snow Blower($2k), Tools and tool box($1k), New Computer($1k), Xbox One X and monitor($1k) , New tires for both cars($1k), Old Medical Bills($3k), Target, Kohls, Walmart and anyone else that would take our money.

But it was your anniversary. But your wife wanted to take the kids to Disney. But, but, but.

It was just one year, but you spent like drunken sailors on shore leave.

There is ALWAYS a reason to spend money rather than investing. Always.

Talk to each other, get a plan to save and invest, and set up automatic transfers to Vanguard so you do not have to decide to do it each month.

You can take cruises and Disney vacations -but space that kind of thing out.

 Get your food spending under control, because $700 is crazy. Planning your menu ahead of time and shopping the sales would help that.

Chrissy

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 802
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Chicago
Re: Where did it all go, and where am I headed?
« Reply #18 on: April 12, 2018, 10:46:46 PM »
Some questions to start:  do you have life insurance?  What's the rate on your mortgage?  Will you have to assume financial responsibility for any of your parents?

With the MIL's rent, you're bringing in $8,440/mo.  You're spending $4,873/mo on regular stuff, not including patios and Disney trips.  So you have a potential profit of $3,567/mo, and that doesn't even include $31,260/yr in windfalls.  You've gotten some good advice about how to cut expenses--take it. 

$383k in assets minus $244k in liabilities = $139k net worth.  And, you have another $27k in planned, one-off expenses coming.  To give you a little perspective... you've worked 15-20 years, but you're worth less than ONE YEAR of salary.

Now, you're officially doing great on the income side of things.  Congratulations!  But, you're low on net worth, and, instead of catching up, you're right, you're growing your spending to meet your income.  Remove temptation by doing some forced saving: start by maxing out your 401k.  At your income level, taxes are the enemy anyway, so you're killing two birds with this.

If your wife can do a 401k/403b/etc., you should max that out, too.

You and the wife can each do ROTH IRAs, and you should.  You can probably automate it.  That's $11k/yr ($5,500ea).

Start having conversations with your wife about how much of the kids' college you want to fund.  If your state gives a tax credit for 529 contributions, you might want to get those started.  This is another good place to automate monthly savings!

savedough

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 128
Re: Where did it all go, and where am I headed?
« Reply #19 on: April 12, 2018, 10:52:28 PM »
I just noticed your username.    Unless the XBox was for your wife, you aren’t quite ready either.   I think it might be unintentional, but you excuse a lot of your spending as the wife wanted it.   Own your role and your contribution to the position you are in.

ImReadyShesNot

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 10
Re: Where did it all go, and where am I headed?
« Reply #20 on: April 13, 2018, 06:01:04 AM »
Your wife is commuting 90 miles a day for a $40k/yr job? After taxes and driving she’s basically getting minimum wage. There is a huge opportunity to improve your lives there.
Definitely see your point that she could net more, doing something closer.

She makes $22 an hour, which comes out to $45,760.  I'll update the numbers above.

Her health insurance is much better than mine, and about $300 a month cheaper than mine as well.

She loves her job, and can only do it, where she's at.  Civil service has other rewards than money I guess.

ImReadyShesNot

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 10
Re: Where did it all go, and where am I headed?
« Reply #21 on: April 13, 2018, 06:04:48 AM »
Welcome, you are new at this. Punch yourself in the face a few times then start getting to work.

I'm with Ben Kurtz on the cars, ditch the compass and get a used Prius for the wife. Just make sure you use actual snow tires in winter. Call around to get cheaper rates on your insurance too.

FI 180 has a blog post on how they cut a few expenses every month, and how the small changes added up to big savings. Can you start with that water softener? Just buy one instead of renting it.  Bonus points if you install it yourself .
Next tackle the phone. Pay it off and switch to a cheaper carrier that lets you bring your own phone.
After that start working on the groceries, etc.
Put the money to work for you and start a snowball of awesomeness.

Rome wasn't built in a day, and our lives won't change over night.  We talked last night about developing a budget and just slowing down.  We've been on a bit of a roller coaster since moving.

ImReadyShesNot

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 10
Re: Where did it all go, and where am I headed?
« Reply #22 on: April 13, 2018, 06:07:04 AM »
Where the rest of our money went in the last year……… Disney Vacation($5k), Caribbean Cruise($3k), Stamped Concrete Patio($6k), Landscaping($2k), Patio furniture($1k), Riding Mower and Snow Blower($2k), Tools and tool box($1k), New Computer($1k), Xbox One X and monitor($1k) , New tires for both cars($1k), Old Medical Bills($3k), Target, Kohls, Walmart and anyone else that would take our money.

But it was your anniversary. But your wife wanted to take the kids to Disney. But, but, but.

It was just one year, but you spent like drunken sailors on shore leave.

There is ALWAYS a reason to spend money rather than investing. Always.

Talk to each other, get a plan to save and invest, and set up automatic transfers to Vanguard so you do not have to decide to do it each month.

You can take cruises and Disney vacations -but space that kind of thing out.

 Get your food spending under control, because $700 is crazy. Planning your menu ahead of time and shopping the sales would help that.

Results, not excuses.  Got it.

ImReadyShesNot

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 10
Re: Where did it all go, and where am I headed?
« Reply #23 on: April 13, 2018, 06:13:59 AM »
I just noticed your username.    Unless the XBox was for your wife, you aren’t quite ready either.   I think it might be unintentional, but you excuse a lot of your spending as the wife wanted it.   Own your role and your contribution to the position you are in.

100% agree that the spending isn't just my wife.

One of the things I've learned with my job is that the world is like a library, and people are kinda like books.  Every one has a story, and some might be similar, and others might be very very different.  You guys are only on the dust jacket!

I'm ready to acknowledge we have a consumption problem, and ready to change some things.

My wife is going to struggle with this, but we've always been a team on this ride, so we'll figure it out.  So I'm ready, she's not.

Ben Kurtz

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 129
Re: Where did it all go, and where am I headed?
« Reply #24 on: April 13, 2018, 06:28:33 AM »
Her health insurance is much better than mine, and about $300 a month cheaper than mine as well.

She loves her job, and can only do it, where she's at.  Civil service has other rewards than money I guess.

I'm sure that particular employer has good benefits and that her current job can't be done from home or some more convenient location.

But that's not the only civil service job in the world.

Unless you live in the Alaskan interior, there must be other town halls and government offices with good benefits and good working conditions within a much saner commute. Or other employers which offer such things, even in the private or charitable sectors.

I'm sure your wife's job is lovely, but at 450 miles a week of commuting you are running the very high risk that the conditions surrounding the job are soul-sucking, or at least sub-optimal. Even with a slightly less awesome job, but much closer, the decrease in pay or satisfaction is almost certainly more than made up by a decrease in the financial and mental costs of Oregon-trail-level commuting.

The least you could do is stop making excuses and, with her, start at least looking at alternatives.

The second least thing you could do, if you both really decide that she doesn't want to give up that particular job, is to get the right tool for the commute: both of your cars are gaping money wounds when used in that fashion. Trade that Compass down to a sub-$5,000 used Civic or something else with bulletproof reliability and 40+ MPG on the highway (and snow tires for the winter), and drive it until the wheels fall off. Then re-attach the wheels and keep driving it (happened to me once, actually, when I was a stupid kid who didn't know anything about car maintenance).

At the rate the IRS allows for tax deduction purposes (based on average American car costs, and usually around $0.50 per mile -- changes a bit each year), the estimated cost of your wife's current commute is well over $10,000 per year. Given your car choices, I would bet that estimate is spot-on. If you at the very least optimize the car for the commute, you can probably cut that in half. Given your habits, the extra $5,000 after taxes would be a useful first step at increasing your savings and working towards financial freedom.

All your excuses for doing what you have been doing are perfectly reasonable to the average American. The same average American who slaves away at a cubicle job until age 67, finds a 5% savings rate heroic, and frets about retirement in old age. But they are entirely unreasonable to the people who hang out around here. The point is to define your priorities, be ruthless about de-prioritizing concerns that don't make the cut, being honest and analytical about the trade-offs involved so that you can decide amongst your competing priorities, and designing your lifestyle to include your priorities and exclude your non-priorities. 

I'd love both to have a pony and an early retirement nest egg while working my current job. Emotionally, they are both priorities. But analytically, I know that these priorities conflict in the real world and I cannot actually achieve both in this lifetime. So I meditate on the matter, choose, implement my choice, and live with it.

Read the blog and do the same thing for yourself and your family.

Laura33

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2197
  • Location: Mid-Atlantic
Re: Where did it all go, and where am I headed?
« Reply #25 on: April 13, 2018, 06:51:49 AM »
Specific Question(s):   
Are we doing even remotely good @ life!?!?  We both come from paycheck to paycheck families, and don't share our financial information with anyone, so why not strangers on the internet?

The primary reason I typed all this up, was to force myself to look at the numbers, and try to assess how we are doing.  We absolutely have to get a handle on our spending if we ever want to retire, be able to afford vehicles for kids, college, weddings and anything else life sends our way.  After my wife finishes school, and we have our basement work completed, I don’t anticipate any more large expenditures besides family vacations.  I don’t feel like we are living an extremely lavish lifestyle, but we aren’t saving a whole lot either, but we have been able to pay cash for some rather large purchases over the past 18 months, so I feel good about that, but also feel like we aren’t making progress.

There are a bunch of things at play here, but let me focus on two of them.

1.  You need to readjust your expectations of what a "lavish lifestyle" really is.  The reality is that, for every single salary level you list -- even when you guys first started out -- there are people here who FIRE'd on that income (and they sure don't think they're deprived).  Think about that: you could be FIRE'd now if you had avoided lifestyle inflation since graduation.  Read MMM front to back -- he is particularly powerful on this topic.  The fact is, having food and shelter and clothing and reliable power and accessible medical care and all of the other things we get from living in the first world, and the mental ease that comes from not having to worry where your next meal comes from, means that you already had a lavish lifestyle.  All the stuff you piled on top of that was just trimmings. 

Not that this makes you wrong -- it just makes you normal.  That's how we are all raised.  And it is especially true when you come from more humble beginnings:  when you grow up with not a lot, things like six-figure salaries seem like massive amounts of money.  And so when you get there, you just assume that now you can have the house and the cars and the vacations and the snowblowers and the patios and everything else.  And then you wonder where the heck did all the money go, right?  [Ask me how I know]  When you are in that cycle, it can be rather depressing, because you make so much more than you ever expected, and yet you are still not getting ahead.  It feels like everyone else is in on some secret, and you just didn't get the memo.

But there is no secret.  No matter how much money you have, it only goes so far.  So the people who seem like they have everything either are financing with debt, or are much older than you and have much more saved/have higher salaries, or have some other form of income.  And the folks who are really wealthy around you probably don't look like it -- read "The Millionaire Next Door" if you haven't already.

2.  All of which brings me to my second point:  I think your paycheck-to-paycheck background has imprinted certain habits and thought patterns about money that are hurting you now.  People who are struggling tend to see money as a fleeting thing; there is no guarantee that it will be around tomorrow, so better spend it on something now so you can at least get the enjoyment of it.  Read everything White Trash Can has written on this topic.  I read about a reboot of the infamous marshmallow study that concluded that poor kids are actually acting rationally by taking the first marshmallow rather than waiting for the second -- because they have learned that the second marshmallow doesn't always appear, and if you wait too long, the first one goes away, too. 

And then along with that, you probably developed a list in your mind of all of the stuff that you'd have once you got money -- that picture of what your future life would be with money.  And now that you have money, you are busily working to create that picture.  Honestly, from looking at all the stuff you have thrown money at in the last year or two, it seems almost as if you are a little frantic, running around throwing money every which way in an almost desperate attempt to grab All The Stuff that your head says is necessary and that you deserve at this point in your life. 

Again, not that this makes you bad or wrong -- it's completely normal.  But those mental habits are completely antithetical to FIRE.  You need to get to the point where you understand that your happiness and success in life does not revolve around having a patio, and a snowblower, and a cruise, and all that.  And most important:  you need to stop thinking that as soon as you get past X, you won't have any other big things to spend money on.  That is just bullshitting yourself.  The reality is that no matter how big and "final" X seems, there is always a Y, and then a Z, A, B, C, and so on.  Not because all those things are necessary -- because, again, this is how your brain works.  When you view happiness and success as tied to the trappings you surround yourself with, you will always find more trappings that you need just as much as the old ones.  Look at your own history for the proof.  Something always comes up.

The way you break the cycle is to realize, as you seem to be doing, that adding more stuff doesn't make life better; it just makes the hamster wheel turn faster.  And then make a conscious choice to step off it.  I say conscious choice because it will require retraining your brain -- you have been thinking one way your whole life, and so it is natural and comfortable to want more.  In fact, it probably gives you a great (momentary) feeling to buy All The Things, because doing so reminds you of how far you have come.  You need to tell yourself that stuff does not equal happiness, that you are better and stronger than that, that Future You is just as important as Current You -- and you need to keep saying it until you see that it works and you finally believe it. 

So for now, start with those future spending plans, recognize they are all optional, and realign your spending with your real priorities.  The fact is, your values are what you do, not what you say.  As of now, today, you are choosing a finished basement over funding your kids' college, and over your own retirement.  Is that really where your priorities are?  If not, make a different choice.  You have a very healthy income that has more than ample room for both your long-term priorities and your current wants; you just can't do everything all at once.  So cut back on the things that don't matter to make room for those that do.  You can do this.

ImReadyShesNot

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 10
Re: Where did it all go, and where am I headed?
« Reply #26 on: April 13, 2018, 07:54:47 AM »
Her health insurance is much better than mine, and about $300 a month cheaper than mine as well.

She loves her job, and can only do it, where she's at.  Civil service has other rewards than money I guess.

I'm sure that particular employer has good benefits and that her current job can't be done from home or some more convenient location.

But that's not the only civil service job in the world.

Unless you live in the Alaskan interior, there must be other town halls and government offices with good benefits and good working conditions within a much saner commute. Or other employers which offer such things, even in the private or charitable sectors.

I'm sure your wife's job is lovely, but at 450 miles a week of commuting you are running the very high risk that the conditions surrounding the job are soul-sucking, or at least sub-optimal. Even with a slightly less awesome job, but much closer, the decrease in pay or satisfaction is almost certainly more than made up by a decrease in the financial and mental costs of Oregon-trail-level commuting.

The least you could do is stop making excuses and, with her, start at least looking at alternatives.

The second least thing you could do, if you both really decide that she doesn't want to give up that particular job, is to get the right tool for the commute: both of your cars are gaping money wounds when used in that fashion. Trade that Compass down to a sub-$5,000 used Civic or something else with bulletproof reliability and 40+ MPG on the highway (and snow tires for the winter), and drive it until the wheels fall off. Then re-attach the wheels and keep driving it (happened to me once, actually, when I was a stupid kid who didn't know anything about car maintenance).

At the rate the IRS allows for tax deduction purposes (based on average American car costs, and usually around $0.50 per mile -- changes a bit each year), the estimated cost of your wife's current commute is well over $10,000 per year. Given your car choices, I would bet that estimate is spot-on. If you at the very least optimize the car for the commute, you can probably cut that in half. Given your habits, the extra $5,000 after taxes would be a useful first step at increasing your savings and working towards financial freedom.

All your excuses for doing what you have been doing are perfectly reasonable to the average American. The same average American who slaves away at a cubicle job until age 67, finds a 5% savings rate heroic, and frets about retirement in old age. But they are entirely unreasonable to the people who hang out around here. The point is to define your priorities, be ruthless about de-prioritizing concerns that don't make the cut, being honest and analytical about the trade-offs involved so that you can decide amongst your competing priorities, and designing your lifestyle to include your priorities and exclude your non-priorities. 

I'd love both to have a pony and an early retirement nest egg while working my current job. Emotionally, they are both priorities. But analytically, I know that these priorities conflict in the real world and I cannot actually achieve both in this lifetime. So I meditate on the matter, choose, implement my choice, and live with it.

Read the blog and do the same thing for yourself and your family.

Your analogies and supporting facts/information are thought provoking.  Thank you!

ImReadyShesNot

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 10
Re: Where did it all go, and where am I headed?
« Reply #27 on: April 13, 2018, 08:00:24 AM »
The way you break the cycle is to realize, as you seem to be doing, that adding more stuff doesn't make life better; it just makes the hamster wheel turn faster.  And then make a conscious choice to step off it.  I say conscious choice because it will require retraining your brain -- you have been thinking one way your whole life, and so it is natural and comfortable to want more.  In fact, it probably gives you a great (momentary) feeling to buy All The Things, because doing so reminds you of how far you have come.  You need to tell yourself that stuff does not equal happiness, that you are better and stronger than that, that Future You is just as important as Current You -- and you need to keep saying it until you see that it works and you finally believe it. 

So for now, start with those future spending plans, recognize they are all optional, and realign your spending with your real priorities.  The fact is, your values are what you do, not what you say.  As of now, today, you are choosing a finished basement over funding your kids' college, and over your own retirement.  Is that really where your priorities are?  If not, make a different choice.  You have a very healthy income that has more than ample room for both your long-term priorities and your current wants; you just can't do everything all at once.  So cut back on the things that don't matter to make room for those that do.  You can do this.

Thank you for this.

poniesandFIRE

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 20
    • ponies and FIRE
Re: Where did it all go, and where am I headed?
« Reply #28 on: April 13, 2018, 08:18:35 AM »
This is echoing what you've already been told, but the quote "You can have anything you want in life, you just can't have everything," springs to mind.

Someone suggested a glass of wine and a talk together about your dreams and goals and I think that's majorly important. You've BOTH got to have a reason you can get behind and be a team on, and then the work of cutting expenses isn't as hard.

ysette9

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3744
  • Location: Bay Area, CA
    • Insert Snappy Title Here (Journal)
Re: Where did it all go, and where am I headed?
« Reply #29 on: April 13, 2018, 09:36:47 AM »
If you stick around here for a little longer you will realize that Laura33’s posts usually win the thread.

Dee18

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1572
Re: Where did it all go, and where am I headed?
« Reply #30 on: April 13, 2018, 10:28:58 AM »
When you want something, write it on a list. Wait at least 30 days.  If you still want it, ask yourself, do I need this?  Is it worth working longer?  Do I have a place to store it? Will it be maintenance-free? If the answers to all those are yes, the next question is, Where can I buy it used?
Example: People are giving away tools like crazy.  People are dying, downsizing, minimalizing.... almost all my tools (including for plumbing, electric lawnmower in great condition, rakes, shovels, etc) were given to me by people who were moving. As was a set of lovely iron patio furniture.  I recently gave away most of my late father's tools.  Those old tools are great quality. 

Quite simply, you need to stop buying.  Sometimes it's easier to not buy at all.  I persuaded my daughter (who loves clothes) to try the 30 day list.  She ended up making it 360 days of no clothes buying...at age 18. Many people on MMM have succeeded in not buying anything except food for a year.  Look for some of those success stories.

OkieM

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 48
Re: Where did it all go, and where am I headed?
« Reply #31 on: April 13, 2018, 12:40:45 PM »
Your wife is commuting 90 miles a day for a $40k/yr job? After taxes and driving she’s basically getting minimum wage. There is a huge opportunity to improve your lives there.
Definitely see your point that she could net more, doing something closer.

She makes $22 an hour, which comes out to $45,760.  I'll update the numbers above.

Her health insurance is much better than mine, and about $300 a month cheaper than mine as well.

She loves her job, and can only do it, where she's at.  Civil service has other rewards than money I guess.

You need to at least be thinking of alternatives. Ask what she likes about that specific job and see what other jobs might have similar features - maybe ones you didn’t realize had those features. You are spending $11,250 in driving costs and ~$13,500 in taxes. That wipes out half the salary even adding the healthcare stuff to the positive. So she is more like working for $11/hr, IF you have zero value on spending time with her or the death/injury risk from extra driving. It’s more like $8-9 an hour if you value her time at home/opportunity cost of her being gone at the $11/hr (I hope you value her more than that!) Maybe someone can love a job that much but her working that far away has a huge cost to your family.

formerlydivorcedmom

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 587
  • Location: Texas
Re: Where did it all go, and where am I headed?
« Reply #32 on: April 13, 2018, 01:33:17 PM »
When you want something, write it on a list. Wait at least 30 days.  If you still want it, ask yourself, do I need this?  Is it worth working longer?  Do I have a place to store it? Will it be maintenance-free? If the answers to all those are yes, the next question is, Where can I buy it used?
Example: People are giving away tools like crazy.  People are dying, downsizing, minimalizing.... almost all my tools (including for plumbing, electric lawnmower in great condition, rakes, shovels, etc) were given to me by people who were moving. As was a set of lovely iron patio furniture.  I recently gave away most of my late father's tools.  Those old tools are great quality. 

Quite simply, you need to stop buying.  Sometimes it's easier to not buy at all.  I persuaded my daughter (who loves clothes) to try the 30 day list.  She ended up making it 360 days of no clothes buying...at age 18. Many people on MMM have succeeded in not buying anything except food for a year.  Look for some of those success stories.

Dee is right...but this type of comment scared the pants off me when I was just starting out.  The idea of not buying anything except food for months seemed pretty darn impossible.

It took me a couple of years of reading here, tracking all of my spending (I use Mint.com - it's free), and then reading -and rereading - Your Money or Your Life for me to get it.  Our spending is waaaaay down, without us consciously doing much differently.   

So please don't be scared off like I was.  You don't have to go from buying All the Things to never buying anything, especially if your wife isn't 100% onboard yet. 

the_fixer

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 465
  • Location: Colorado
  • mind on my money money on my mind
Re: Where did it all go, and where am I headed?
« Reply #33 on: April 13, 2018, 09:57:05 PM »
Wow! Your spending is out of control and years from now you will look back and realize that all of this excessive spending has cost you the opportunity for future options and not really added to the quality of your life.

I am coming up on being two years into my journey and despite going from spending every penny of a 200k a year income and feeling broke to living off 45k and feeling like we are killing it and will be set for life in a few years.

I do not feel like we are missing out on anything and we are both happier than ever.

Here is a good video to watch



Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk


swashbucklinstache

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 210
  • Location: Midwest U.S.
Re: Where did it all go, and where am I headed?
« Reply #34 on: April 14, 2018, 08:59:21 AM »
Honestly, you have a great income and coming back saying you understand and want to make choices. You're at the 90th percentile of newbies in their cases studies in terms of predictive of how much better off you'll be in 10 years. At this point you just need to get started and, much more importantly, get into a positive feedback loop (maybe re-evaluate every expense every 3 months at a family meeting?). Maybe read this entire thread top to bottom twice a year with your wife.

You're well on your way and as long as you do that this will be a great thread to look back on 3 or 5 or 10 years from now, for you and for us! If you start a journal link this to it at the top so we can see where you started from :).