Author Topic: NYT Article: Breakdown of spending for six families  (Read 3086 times)


DadJokes

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Re: NYT Article: Breakdown of spending for six families
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2021, 06:37:25 AM »
And they're not all terrible, but the first family is a big oof.

ender

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Re: NYT Article: Breakdown of spending for six families
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2021, 07:00:01 AM »
They must also spend money on a NYT subscription ;-)

chemistk

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Re: NYT Article: Breakdown of spending for six families
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2021, 07:51:46 AM »
Very interesting to look through. I felt like I was looking at something I wasn't supposed to, though - almost too much of an intimate picture into these people's lives.

Clearly these are all cherry-picked, nobody here was living in abject poverty but also there was no image of a 'wealthy' family with a huge income and huge house. Probably so that the majority of  people reading it either get the "hey these are people like me" vibe or get the "wow, I have it better than they do and now I feel guilty" feels.

I haven't adjusted our family spending categories in a few months, but I'd say that in the worst months we're somewhere around $4k a month, averaging closer to $3500. I think our snapshot would be a heck of a lot more boring than these.

Also, Lancaster PA (the first family) is in the region where I live, and having been in and around Central PA a lot, I can absolutely confirm that the Desper/Bibbus family is a very applicable stereotype for the type of person that lives in Lancaster City & many of the outlying boroughs and towns. Like, a lot of people have life situations like theirs and strong resemble them.




kite

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Re: NYT Article: Breakdown of spending for six families
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2021, 07:55:34 AM »
And they're not all terrible, but the first family is a big oof.

Ya. Dodged child support but gets the dog groomed.  I think there's a really peeved ex who is reading this article. 

Weisass

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Re: NYT Article: Breakdown of spending for six families
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2021, 08:18:17 AM »
Lol I just posted this article elsewhere. Fascinating what some folks consider “essential,” and eye opening how medical debt drags folks down.

Dicey

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Re: NYT Article: Breakdown of spending for six families
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2021, 08:27:43 AM »
Re: first profile. Wait, he owes back child support,  he knocks you up, ghosts you and your kid for ten years, then come back and you make more kids with him? Am I reading that right?

Weisass

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Re: NYT Article: Breakdown of spending for six families
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2021, 08:49:52 AM »
Re: first profile. Wait, he owes back child support,  he knocks you up, ghosts you and your kid for ten years, then come back and you make more kids with him? Am I reading that right?

That does seem to be the subtext.... what a “soulmate,” eh?

Dicey

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Re: NYT Article: Breakdown of spending for six families
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2021, 09:13:07 AM »
Re: first profile. Wait, he owes back child support,  he knocks you up, ghosts you and your kid for ten years, then come back and you make more kids with him? Am I reading that right?

That does seem to be the subtext.... what a “soulmate,” eh?
One of the things I am most grateful for is that I was able to support myself and save for retirement until the right person came along. Hell, I was FI by the time I got married, and together, we both are.

Imma

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Re: NYT Article: Breakdown of spending for six families
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2021, 10:00:52 AM »
Re: first profile. Wait, he owes back child support,  he knocks you up, ghosts you and your kid for ten years, then come back and you make more kids with him? Am I reading that right?

You forget that in the mean time, it seems the guy also got another lady/ladies pregnant and probably did the same to them, because he owes so much child support that they can't marry. I suppose that back child support is not a couple thousand $.

I'm actually surprised that she's only on the hook for that if they marry, not if they live together. In my country, the second you move in together the partner is on the hook too. Otherwise many unscrupulous parents would use the "not get married" trick to avoid paying child support.

The sad thing is, their mortage and utilities are very reasonable. If they put in some effort (like not spending $1500 on groceries as well as $900 in restaurants - how much do these people eat?!) they could probably live very well on their income, pay the child support the father still owes and have a wedding.

rockstache

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Re: NYT Article: Breakdown of spending for six families
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2021, 10:10:33 AM »
I suppose that back child support is not a couple thousand $.

It’s hard to know what other people consider too much. We have a guy at work that owes an ex and has it garnished from his check. When i joined the department, the lady who was showing me around (who had the same salary as me), told me that the balance was so high that no one could ever pay it off. That balance? $14k.

Paper Chaser

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Re: NYT Article: Breakdown of spending for six families
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2021, 12:06:04 PM »
It would be fascinating to know how/why these specific families were selected, and if any others were not published.

The farm family was interesting to me. Having no housing/utility costs probably more than offsets the high medical insurance.

englishteacheralex

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Re: NYT Article: Breakdown of spending for six families
« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2021, 12:30:31 PM »
I was shocked at how much folks are spending on food. I thought my own family of four was sucking at our food budgeting and I always blamed our high food spend on living in Hawaii (groceries are pretty expensive here). But taking a look at the food budgeting of these families was eye-opening. I guess I'm doing ok.

For the record, we average $800 on groceries and $200 on restaurants each month. So $1000/month on food. I'm capable of dialing this back--$1000/month is my woo hoo I buy what I like budget.

ExitViaTheCashRamp

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Re: NYT Article: Breakdown of spending for six families
« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2021, 12:50:10 PM »
CREDIT CARDS $ 1,134

"Paula: I have a few credit cards: Capital One, Merrick Bank, Children’s Place, Walmart, Macy’s, Fingerhut. I owe money on all of them."

 Mumma mia ! Groceries are already on their own hefty line - so that 1.1k is just one months CC debt repayment ? How much balance are they carrying and why are they so keen to give money in interest to the banks ?

"The Walmart credit card — that is for groceries, and they just upped my credit."

 Hurrah ! They have saved you - quick, spend more on groceries !


$344 on cell phones ? $899 on restaurants ? $365 on kids activities ?

"There are some days you just want to give up, you want to crawl in a room and sit there and cry and not want to do it, but who’s going to pay my bills?"

 Hope she has a friend that can gently suggest that there is some scope for reduction in outgoings a little while..

NumberJohnny5

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Re: NYT Article: Breakdown of spending for six families
« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2021, 01:09:41 PM »
I was shocked at how much folks are spending on food. I thought my own family of four was sucking at our food budgeting and I always blamed our high food spend on living in Hawaii (groceries are pretty expensive here). But taking a look at the food budgeting of these families was eye-opening. I guess I'm doing ok.

For the record, we average $800 on groceries and $200 on restaurants each month. So $1000/month on food. I'm capable of dialing this back--$1000/month is my woo hoo I buy what I like budget.

Same. At one point (between 5-10 years ago, I won't say exactly) we had budgeted exactly $110/wk (it was $100, we upped it $10 after our third was born) for groceries, $50/wk for restaurants, and $50/wk for dates (which could be to a restaurant if we wanted). The $110/wk groceries included everything bought at a grocery store (Coles, Woolworths, Aldi...we were in Australia at the time). So if we bought shampoo (sometimes) or nappies (always) at a grocery store...that came out of the $110. If we bought some cookies at a non grocery store (some cookies at The Reject Shop for example), that also came out of the $110. If we bought non-groceries (aforementioned shampoo) at a non grocery store...then it did NOT come out of the $110 (you'd think this loophole would be exploited, but no...I bought what we needed where it was cheapest). Now, our grocery spending and restaurant spending has most definitely gone up, but we are not spending thousands every month. Occasionally my wife gets on a "must buy expensive food because reasons" kick and there goes a few hundred in a single week...but then it's $50 the next, under $100 the next...and we don't go out to eat every day or even every other day (I try to take one or more kids out once a week, and I try to go out with my wife once a week). I think we spend too much, but if we compare ourselves to these people...we're not spending near enough. The scale says we are eating more than enough, so I dunno.

mizzourah2006

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Re: NYT Article: Breakdown of spending for six families
« Reply #15 on: May 19, 2021, 02:20:33 PM »
Car Payment: $694/month

"It’s nice to have a beater car. It allows you to be a little more relaxed when you go into places like San Francisco where you don’t want to park in certain areas."

At least none of these families have to pay for daycare. That's by far our most expensive monthly budget item. I guess not by far with the recent refi to a 15 yr though.

Dicey

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Re: NYT Article: Breakdown of spending for six families
« Reply #16 on: May 19, 2021, 02:23:13 PM »
Car Payment: $694/month

"It’s nice to have a beater car. It allows you to be a little more relaxed when you go into places like San Francisco where you don’t want to park in certain areas."

At least none of these families have to pay for daycare. That's by far our most expensive monthly budget item. I guess not by far with the recent refi to a 15 yr though.
Yeah, that was pretty funny, too.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2021, 05:37:44 AM by Dicey »

habanero

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Re: NYT Article: Breakdown of spending for six families
« Reply #17 on: May 19, 2021, 02:52:18 PM »
I was bit put off by listing this as spending:

INVESTMENTS/SAVINGS  $3067

Weisass

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Re: NYT Article: Breakdown of spending for six families
« Reply #18 on: May 19, 2021, 02:52:57 PM »
I was shocked at how much folks are spending on food. I thought my own family of four was sucking at our food budgeting and I always blamed our high food spend on living in Hawaii (groceries are pretty expensive here). But taking a look at the food budgeting of these families was eye-opening. I guess I'm doing ok.

For the record, we average $800 on groceries and $200 on restaurants each month. So $1000/month on food. I'm capable of dialing this back--$1000/month is my woo hoo I buy what I like budget.

I was definitely looking at the food budgets too and scratching my head. Our family of six feels like big spenders at $1000/month. It is hard to imagine how a family of three gets close to that.




TrMama

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Re: NYT Article: Breakdown of spending for six families
« Reply #19 on: May 19, 2021, 03:18:53 PM »
I was shocked at how much folks are spending on food. I thought my own family of four was sucking at our food budgeting and I always blamed our high food spend on living in Hawaii (groceries are pretty expensive here). But taking a look at the food budgeting of these families was eye-opening. I guess I'm doing ok.

For the record, we average $800 on groceries and $200 on restaurants each month. So $1000/month on food. I'm capable of dialing this back--$1000/month is my woo hoo I buy what I like budget.

I was definitely looking at the food budgets too and scratching my head. Our family of six feels like big spenders at $1000/month. It is hard to imagine how a family of three gets close to that.

My mom manages to spend almost that much by buying a bunch of types of fancy cheese and then letting it go bad. All cheese in their fridge is blue cheese. Most of the produce in the crisper is in varying states of decomposition. She's always been like this and I was in my 20's, married with a baby on the way before I figured out that you don't have to throw out so much food every week. In fact, you don't have to throw out any food if you manage your inventory better.

I'm guessing the people in the article toss a huge amount of food in the trash every week.

LearnTo

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Re: NYT Article: Breakdown of spending for six families
« Reply #20 on: May 19, 2021, 07:03:24 PM »
That was an interesting read.
None of the kids looked very happy, but perhaps being photographed by a stranger from the NYTimes is not much fun.

AMandM

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Re: NYT Article: Breakdown of spending for six families
« Reply #21 on: May 19, 2021, 10:54:26 PM »
Re: first profile. Wait, he owes back child support,  he knocks you up, ghosts you and your kid for ten years, then come back and you make more kids with him? Am I reading that right?

No, he ghosts you and your kid for *18* years. That first son has given her grandchildren.

Dicey

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Re: NYT Article: Breakdown of spending for six families
« Reply #22 on: May 20, 2021, 05:55:23 AM »
Re: first profile. Wait, he owes back child support,  he knocks you up, ghosts you and your kid for ten years, then come back and you make more kids with him? Am I reading that right?

No, he ghosts you and your kid for *18* years. That first son has given her grandchildren.
You're right. He also presumably has even older offspring from an earlier relationship, hence thej jail bait for back Child Support status. That may also contribute to his lack of job. Sounds more like a deadbeat than a soul mate.

Since I just re-read the article, l'll add that the whole mother's ashes in the tattoo ink squicks me out.. WTF? I don't need to do stupid shit like that to remember my parents. Here's a novel, non-disfiguring idea: print and frame a few photographs. Cheaper and much easier to change up.

When they were a thing, way before MMM existed, I did a Money Makeover with my local paper. It launched me like a rocket booster on the final path to FIRE. I hope patricipating in this NYT article does the same for these six families.

uniwelder

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Re: NYT Article: Breakdown of spending for six families
« Reply #23 on: May 20, 2021, 07:21:07 AM »
Car Payment: $694/month

"It’s nice to have a beater car. It allows you to be a little more relaxed when you go into places like San Francisco where you don’t want to park in certain areas."

At least none of these families have to pay for daycare. That's by far our most expensive monthly budget item. I guess not by far with the recent refi to a 15 yr though.
Yeah, that was pretty funny, too.

I'd like to think they have a newer car with the $694 payment, and then a second older vehicle thats considered the beater.  Not sure from what I read.  The NYT does seem to put these stories together in a sloppy manner, focusing on little quoted tidbits that don't give much context.

As a separate issue, I don't understand how the monthly expenses are calculated.  For a listed $1,100/month credit card expense, are those for items being purchased, because if so, they should get categorized someplace, or are they just covering the interest payment?  If its all going to interest, wouldn't that be something like a $35,000 balance?

uniwelder

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Re: NYT Article: Breakdown of spending for six families
« Reply #24 on: May 20, 2021, 07:25:28 AM »
Re: first profile. Wait, he owes back child support,  he knocks you up, ghosts you and your kid for ten years, then come back and you make more kids with him? Am I reading that right?

You forget that in the mean time, it seems the guy also got another lady/ladies pregnant and probably did the same to them, because he owes so much child support that they can't marry. I suppose that back child support is not a couple thousand $.

I'm actually surprised that she's only on the hook for that if they marry, not if they live together. In my country, the second you move in together the partner is on the hook too. Otherwise many unscrupulous parents would use the "not get married" trick to avoid paying child support.

The sad thing is, their mortage and utilities are very reasonable. If they put in some effort (like not spending $1500 on groceries as well as $900 in restaurants - how much do these people eat?!) they could probably live very well on their income, pay the child support the father still owes and have a wedding.

Not only the groceries/restaurants, they've also listed $344 for cellphone and $290 for internet/cable.  I can't fathom how that is even possible.

ender

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Re: NYT Article: Breakdown of spending for six families
« Reply #25 on: May 20, 2021, 07:30:07 AM »
When they were a thing, way before MMM existed, I did a Money Makeover with my local paper. It launched me like a rocket booster on the final path to FIRE. I hope patricipating in this NYT article does the same for these six families.

You mean something like a case study?

better late

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Re: NYT Article: Breakdown of spending for six families
« Reply #26 on: May 20, 2021, 07:35:06 AM »
I read some of the comments section and there were a lot along the lines of “more articles like this please”.  Because I spend so much time here, I forget how off-forum people don’t talk about money - but would really like to know how others are spending and saving.

Also what is RENTALS $344 from the first story? What are they renting? She said something about a toy her kids only played with twice.

Also wondering if cigarettes, alcohol, and/or lottery tickets might be in the “grocery” category for some of these families....some of those numbers are out of line.

uniwelder

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Re: NYT Article: Breakdown of spending for six families
« Reply #27 on: May 20, 2021, 07:42:23 AM »
Also, Lancaster PA (the first family) is in the region where I live, and having been in and around Central PA a lot, I can absolutely confirm that the Desper/Bibbus family is a very applicable stereotype for the type of person that lives in Lancaster City & many of the outlying boroughs and towns. Like, a lot of people have life situations like theirs and strong resemble them.

Did you come to that conclusion after reading through their story or when you saw the first photo with all the wolf motif hangings?  Petty of me, I know, but does fit the stereotype.  I know several people that almost exclusively wear 'wolf howling at the moon' shirts.

DadJokes

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Re: NYT Article: Breakdown of spending for six families
« Reply #28 on: May 20, 2021, 07:52:27 AM »
Also, Lancaster PA (the first family) is in the region where I live, and having been in and around Central PA a lot, I can absolutely confirm that the Desper/Bibbus family is a very applicable stereotype for the type of person that lives in Lancaster City & many of the outlying boroughs and towns. Like, a lot of people have life situations like theirs and strong resemble them.

Did you come to that conclusion after reading through their story or when you saw the first photo with all the wolf motif hangings?  Petty of me, I know, but does fit the stereotype.  I know several people that almost exclusively wear 'wolf howling at the moon' shirts.

Two of my uncles wear those shirts, though I suspect that's because they are 1/8 Native American or so. One of those uncles is fairly wealthy.

Moonwaves

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Re: NYT Article: Breakdown of spending for six families
« Reply #29 on: May 20, 2021, 08:13:08 AM »

Also what is RENTALS $344 from the first story? What are they renting? She said something about a toy her kids only played with twice.
 

It seems to have been a pacman machine. You can see it in one of the photos - some of the photos are grouped and you have to click to see more than just the one on top.
No mention of how long they rented it for or how much it cost per day though.

In general, I felt like the editing was pretty terrible. Most of the information just left me with more questions. Are we supposed to assume that the amount they spent is also what they earned? Someone spending 5k a month but only earning 4.5k is very different than someone spending 2k but earning 3k (or whatever).

With regard to miserable looking kids in the photos, it feels like that was the vibe they were going for in general and just about every photo seems to be very staged.

uniwelder

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Re: NYT Article: Breakdown of spending for six families
« Reply #30 on: May 20, 2021, 08:27:56 AM »

Also what is RENTALS $344 from the first story? What are they renting? She said something about a toy her kids only played with twice.
 

It seems to have been a pacman machine. You can see it in one of the photos - some of the photos are grouped and you have to click to see more than just the one on top.
No mention of how long they rented it for or how much it cost per day though.

In general, I felt like the editing was pretty terrible. Most of the information just left me with more questions. Are we supposed to assume that the amount they spent is also what they earned? Someone spending 5k a month but only earning 4.5k is very different than someone spending 2k but earning 3k (or whatever).

With regard to miserable looking kids in the photos, it feels like that was the vibe they were going for in general and just about every photo seems to be very staged.

Yes, I feel very much the same way.  Very poorly put together.  In one family's expenses, there was $450 house appraisal plus $380 tax filing services.  Why include an unusual one time expenses as if its a monthly snapshot of their lives?

economista

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Re: NYT Article: Breakdown of spending for six families
« Reply #31 on: May 20, 2021, 08:29:33 AM »

Also what is RENTALS $344 from the first story? What are they renting? She said something about a toy her kids only played with twice.

Also wondering if cigarettes, alcohol, and/or lottery tickets might be in the “grocery” category for some of these families....some of those numbers are out of line.

They had a picture with the Rent-A-Center van out front, so I'm assuming electronics, furniture, etc are rented. There was also a blurb about getting the kids a pacman arcade game and sending it back because they aren't playing it. It looks like the game was being loaded back into the van.

I am also assuming cigarettes, alcohol, and probably a ton of soda is part of the grocery category.

TheFrenchCat

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Re: NYT Article: Breakdown of spending for six families
« Reply #32 on: May 20, 2021, 08:43:55 AM »
I wish this article had more context.  Such as what the median family spends per month.  And how much each of the families makes.  Otherwise I don't really know how to process these numbers apart from thinking all their spending is really high.

Dicey

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Re: NYT Article: Breakdown of spending for six families
« Reply #33 on: May 20, 2021, 09:37:36 AM »
When they were a thing, way before MMM existed, I did a Money Makeover with my local paper. It launched me like a rocket booster on the final path to FIRE. I hope patricipating in this NYT article does the same for these six families.

You mean something like a case study?
For decades, Money Magazine featured a Money Makeover in every issue. The subject(s) detailed their spending and their goals. Then they were sent to a financial planner, who made recommendations. A financial reporter and photographer were involved. Lots of newspapers added a similar feature because it was so popular. When my local paper started running one, I applied and was profiled. As I mentioned, this was long before MMM got started. Do I think the Case Study idea came from that old Money Magazine series? Sure, why not?

Fun fact: The Financial Planner I was sent to was from a family of very successful FP's. I did not become her client (too expensive, lol), but i did take a fair bit of her advice to heart. Years later, I met her mother. We're both in a group of 100 women who make a significant annual contribution to a cause we support. I was seated next to her at an event, so I mentioned the article. I asked her to thank her daughter for pointing me in the right direction. I also said to tell her I was FIRE. She was thrilled, because she knew exactly what it meant. It was a fun moment.

Back in the olden days, solid financial advice was harder to come by. I did lots of reading and research, but it wasn't easy and there were very few interactive opportunities. Post-FIRE, I still hang oit here in hopes of making the path easier for others. It's also fun to chat with people who have intersecting interests.

RetiredAt63

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Re: NYT Article: Breakdown of spending for six families
« Reply #34 on: May 20, 2021, 10:08:16 AM »
Also, Lancaster PA (the first family) is in the region where I live, and having been in and around Central PA a lot, I can absolutely confirm that the Desper/Bibbus family is a very applicable stereotype for the type of person that lives in Lancaster City & many of the outlying boroughs and towns. Like, a lot of people have life situations like theirs and strong resemble them.

Did you come to that conclusion after reading through their story or when you saw the first photo with all the wolf motif hangings?  Petty of me, I know, but does fit the stereotype.  I know several people that almost exclusively wear 'wolf howling at the moon' shirts.


I have 2 "wolf in forest" sweat shirts.  But then I am a biologist and I also have a "loon on the water" sweatshirt.  And my wolf head earrings were what I wore to Cub meetings when I was Akela.   Wearing "wolf howling at the moon" tops all the time would be stereotypical though, and boring.

chemistk

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Re: NYT Article: Breakdown of spending for six families
« Reply #35 on: May 20, 2021, 01:26:35 PM »
Also, Lancaster PA (the first family) is in the region where I live, and having been in and around Central PA a lot, I can absolutely confirm that the Desper/Bibbus family is a very applicable stereotype for the type of person that lives in Lancaster City & many of the outlying boroughs and towns. Like, a lot of people have life situations like theirs and strong resemble them.

Did you come to that conclusion after reading through their story or when you saw the first photo with all the wolf motif hangings?  Petty of me, I know, but does fit the stereotype.  I know several people that almost exclusively wear 'wolf howling at the moon' shirts.

Generally the whole story, the house is also a very common layout and in a very typical condition for the area. They also 'look' like a lot of people from the area - nothing to do with race. It probably speaks to a more regional type of family (as in, Mid-Atlantic/Central Appalachian).

Actually now looking at them again, there is an excessive amount of wolf decor...

johndoe

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Re: NYT Article: Breakdown of spending for six families
« Reply #36 on: May 23, 2021, 07:16:30 AM »
Family 1:

Interesting that their healthcare seems great at $55 but their dental is huge at $474

so the child support he owes doesn't even count toward their $8k /month?

I didn't see anyone else comment on the pets, so I'll give my heartless take: wow.  I am not a pet person, but $740 per month?!  Go volunteer at a shelter or, even better, care for other people's pets so you can profit from people's irrational love for their animal-captives.

My total budget is about equal to their pets, clothes, and "rentals".  Lol

how often do people like this get approved for multiple credit cards?  I'm surprised it's profitable for companies, assuming many folks default. I guess that's what actuaries are for but man, seems like a risky "investment"

Tinker

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Re: NYT Article: Breakdown of spending for six families
« Reply #37 on: May 23, 2021, 02:35:02 PM »
It's an abstract, removed feeling for me to read about people blowing through 50-100% of my yearly spending in a month and live in what looks like poverty

maisymouser

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Re: NYT Article: Breakdown of spending for six families
« Reply #38 on: May 23, 2021, 04:08:31 PM »
I wish this article had more context.  Such as what the median family spends per month.  And how much each of the families makes.  Otherwise I don't really know how to process these numbers apart from thinking all their spending is really high.

Yup, leave it to the NYT to pull a few anecdotes and make it into an article.

I'm a subscriber, but I struggle with most of their lifestyle and financial "journalism".

Paper Chaser

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Re: NYT Article: Breakdown of spending for six families
« Reply #39 on: May 23, 2021, 07:20:51 PM »
Family 1:

Interesting that their healthcare seems great at $55 but their dental is huge at $474

so the child support he owes doesn't even count toward their $8k /month?

I didn't see anyone else comment on the pets, so I'll give my heartless take: wow.  I am not a pet person, but $740 per month?!  Go volunteer at a shelter or, even better, care for other people's pets so you can profit from people's irrational love for their animal-captives.

My total budget is about equal to their pets, clothes, and "rentals".  Lol

how often do people like this get approved for multiple credit cards?  I'm surprised it's profitable for companies, assuming many folks default. I guess that's what actuaries are for but man, seems like a risky "investment"

It's not very clear, but many of these expenses seem to be one-offs rather than recurring monthly expenses. The first family with a $474 dental expense probably included the $368 to fix a chipped tooth. The other families had some similar one-time expenses as well.

So this story doesn't seem to be "show us your monthly budget" as much as its "what did you spend money on last month". That, combined with the lack of detail about incomes, etc means the story isn't really a great picture of typical monthly spending. It's a snapshot, not a motion picture, and they're leaving it up to readers to fill in the blanks with whatever notions we already have.

six-car-habit

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Re: NYT Article: Breakdown of spending for six families
« Reply #40 on: May 24, 2021, 02:41:24 AM »
Also, Lancaster PA (the first family) is in the region where I live, and having been in and around Central PA a lot, I can absolutely confirm that the Desper/Bibbus family is a very applicable stereotype for the type of person that lives in Lancaster City & many of the outlying boroughs and towns. Like, a lot of people have life situations like theirs and strong resemble them.

Did you come to that conclusion after reading through their story or when you saw the first photo with all the wolf motif hangings?  Petty of me, I know, but does fit the stereotype.  I know several people that almost exclusively wear 'wolf howling at the moon' shirts.


 Out here, opposite coast, among my friends we call that " Wolf-Style " .  If a person has wolf picture clothing when you first meet them, it seems like a 75%+ chance , for every future encounter, that they will be wearing a different Wolf themed T-shirt.  Sometimes they will surprise you and have a bear or cougar themed shirt though...

  $329/ mo for Karate, plus extra$$  for belt tests ?    Kids better be there for hours every day + really progressing for that kind of coin.

 The single mom laying under all the self help/ relationship books with the son. She has a budget line item for his OTC skincare / Acne medicine. I know there can be more to it, with teen hormones, genes, and skin types contributing to acne.  But i'm still of the mindset that eating greasy, oily food is probably a contributing factor.  So maybe the kid laying on the couch eating Both strawberry donut flavored Oreos and  peanut butter cups,  straight out of the boxes.... isn't helping  - neither is it teaching him portion control.

Malcat

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Re: NYT Article: Breakdown of spending for six families
« Reply #41 on: May 24, 2021, 05:51:07 AM »
Family 1:

Interesting that their healthcare seems great at $55 but their dental is huge at $474

so the child support he owes doesn't even count toward their $8k /month?

I didn't see anyone else comment on the pets, so I'll give my heartless take: wow.  I am not a pet person, but $740 per month?!  Go volunteer at a shelter or, even better, care for other people's pets so you can profit from people's irrational love for their animal-captives.

My total budget is about equal to their pets, clothes, and "rentals".  Lol

how often do people like this get approved for multiple credit cards?  I'm surprised it's profitable for companies, assuming many folks default. I guess that's what actuaries are for but man, seems like a risky "investment"

It's not very clear, but many of these expenses seem to be one-offs rather than recurring monthly expenses. The first family with a $474 dental expense probably included the $368 to fix a chipped tooth. The other families had some similar one-time expenses as well.

So this story doesn't seem to be "show us your monthly budget" as much as its "what did you spend money on last month". That, combined with the lack of detail about incomes, etc means the story isn't really a great picture of typical monthly spending. It's a snapshot, not a motion picture, and they're leaving it up to readers to fill in the blanks with whatever notions we already have.

I mean...the article is literally titled "What We Spend In A Month", not "How We Budget".

It's not supposed to show how these people generally plan and prioritize their spending, it's a single month snapshot, so of course there will be huge gaps of understanding.

Only financially savvy people will notice or care though, and we're not the target audience of those articles.

It's not really a proper financial piece, it's a "slice of life" voyeuristic piece. It's not meant to analyze anything. It's presented without context for a reason.

CJ

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Re: NYT Article: Breakdown of spending for six families
« Reply #42 on: May 24, 2021, 10:48:34 PM »
There were a lot of head shakers in there, but I was impressed by the thoughtfulness a few of the families placed towards their values. The compostable diapers are a huge expense- in my house, we went for reusable diapers which are a lot cheaper than a service- but I felt like they outlined their reasoning well and they were putting a substantial amount into savings and early pay-off of her student loans.