Author Topic: 2 High Income Households - How Mustachian Are You?  (Read 24018 times)

slowplod

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2 High Income Households - How Mustachian Are You?
« on: June 22, 2015, 06:08:16 AM »
For those couples that have two high incomes and work 40+ weeks, how frugal do you manage to be?

My wife and I own a home, no kids yet, and both work 50+ hours a week.  We're really struggling to keep up with the basics - grocery shop, cook healthy for ourselves, exercise, clean the house and mow the lawn.  It really eats up all of our (limited) down time. 

Do you manage to insource all these activities?  How do you do it?  It's tempting sometimes to outsource some of these things since it represents such a small part of income, but we're trying to do the best we can

Gray Matter

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Re: 2 High Income Households - How Mustachian Are You?
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2015, 06:26:25 AM »
I think you have to find your own balance.  We used to do everything ourselves, and then I felt so burned out that I told DH something had to give.  I thought what would give would be full-time employment for me, but in talking to a mentor at my job (who warned me that going part-time would likely stall my career), we decided to outsource more.  I hired a nanny (full-time during summer and half-time during the year to pick the kids up from school, work through homework, do their laundry, etc.), a house cleaner (once a week), and a gardener (twice a week).  My philosophy at the time was that I'd rather work at a job I enjoyed in order to have money to pay someone to do the things I don't enjoy. 

That worked for a few years--it alleviated a lot of stress--but then I started getting restless in my job, wanting to do work that made more of a difference in the world, so a year ago I left the for-profit world and now work 80% in the non-profit world.  We no longer have a nanny during the school year and only part-time during the summer and we clean our own house and do our own yardwork.  And I'll be honest, I'd love to outsource those things again, but don't want to spend the  money.  If I were in my old job (where I made more than twice what I do now, I probably would).

I think MMM believes that DIY has intrinsic value beyond the money you save, but I don't feel that way about it.  I find cooking, cleaning, yardwork, laundry tedious and don't get much satisfaction from doing them.  In theory, the increased satisfaction I get from my new job makes up for that, and most days it does, but not always.

Like so many things in life, it's about trade-offs.  What's more valuable to you--time or money?  What's more scarce?  What are you willing to trade today for something tomorrow (money spent on outsourcing today will net you time today, but that's time you won't have later if it delays FIRE, but time today has value, too).

We save about 40% and did when I earned more and outsources more and do now that I earn less and we DIY less.  It's not great, but it's not terrible, and we seem to be able to live pretty comfortably at that savings rate.

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Re: 2 High Income Households - How Mustachian Are You?
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2015, 06:37:42 AM »
My husband and I both work 50-60 hours a week; often I have to work weekends. We do all the activities you state for ourselves. Without kids, it seems like there is plenty of time.

Sometimes he gives up going to the gym to mow on a weekday if it looks like it will rain on the weekend, but generally mowing and laundry get done on weekends; grocery shopping is done on a near daily basis on the way home from work, as is going to the gym- before he even gets home (I work out in the basement every other day); I clean the house as needed with a few large chores scheduled, he cooks dinner from scratch almost every night.

We only "go out" maybe once or twice a week though- kayaking on Sunday, and I have quilt guild weekly on Monday nights.  Perhaps you have a lot of other activities that are filling time.

cripzychiken

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Re: 2 High Income Households - How Mustachian Are You?
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2015, 06:42:55 AM »
It's a lot of planning and maximizing value, but it's actually easy to stay frugal with no time. The main thing is see what you actually enjoy doing (my neighbor loves mowing his yard, I don't), and what you value your time at (I like to start at my free time is worth 1.5-2x my salary, more on the weekends).

Shopping.  I favor big trips once a week over multiple smaller trips for fresh foods every night.  For 2 people I tend to spend $100/week on food, but some weeks I'll spend $200 if there's a lot of good sales (especially on staples or ours that don't go bad - like canned beans).  I only shop at one store once a week.  So yes I leave some savings on the table, but I value my time and don't want to spend my entire weekend shopping to save $5. 

Meal Planning - this goes with shopping, but plan meals around a single shopping trip.  We tend for fresh veggies on Sun-Wed, and frozen on Thurs-Sat.  Best of both worlds, and frozen veggies are a hell of a lot better than I remember from being a kid.  If we want a sandwich item (hamburgers, bbq sandwich, etc) those tend to be earlier in the week so the rolls are still fresh. Pasta, tacos, chicken and rice are all good late week items - easy to cook, don't go bad.

Crockpot cooking!  This is amazing, set it up the night before, plug it in before you go to work and full cooked meal that night.

Leftovers.  We cook each meal for 4 people.  Eat the same thing (or very similar) for 2 nights.  It's takes almost no noticeable extra time to cook 4 cups of rice over 2 cups, but it's a last faster to nuke it the next day than it make a new pot of rice.

Mowing the lawn - I outsource that to a neighborhood kid.  I know it's not MMM-approved, but it saves me time and teaches the kid the value of hard work.  Plus, that's what I did in the summer as a kid to make money - so why not support the next generation.

Cleaning the house - another non-MMM activity, we have a maid come once a month, mainly to scrub the bathroom and kitchen (the things the wife and I disagree on what is considered 'clean').  Once again, this is valuing my time more than the maid charges.  On the non-maid weeks, we'll vacuum the house, wipe down counters, pickup crap.  This takes 30minutes max.  We do this on Wednesday nights so we aren't losing weekend time (which I value even higher than weekday time) and when the maid does come, it is on Wednesdays, so the house is usually clean for the weekend.  Depending on the size of your house - maybe a romba to help keep some rooms looking better.


sidenote - before you can even think of outsourcing simple jobs, make sure you have your finances under control.  Spending is controlled, bills are all automated, no CC-debt, only mortgage and student loans that are being aggressively paid down, retirement is on track, e-fund in place, tons of savings, etc.  If you have $15k in CC debt and are trying to decide if a maid is worth it, go slam your hand in a door, it isn't worth it to pay someone else until you have everything else under control.

Guesl982374

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Re: 2 High Income Households - How Mustachian Are You?
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2015, 06:54:02 AM »
For those couples that have two high incomes and work 40+ weeks, how frugal do you manage to be?

My wife and I own a home, no kids yet, and both work 50+ hours a week.  We're really struggling to keep up with the basics - grocery shop, cook healthy for ourselves, exercise, clean the house and mow the lawn.  It really eats up all of our (limited) down time. 

Do you manage to insource all these activities?  How do you do it?  It's tempting sometimes to outsource some of these things since it represents such a small part of income, but we're trying to do the best we can

My wife and I fight this all the time. It's a balance that everyone needs to find for themselves. Like most things in life, I look at MMM principles and realize its a framework. It's not going to fit everyone exactly right everytime. Find what you are your wife are confortable with and move forward.

With that being said, evaluate how you are spending your time over the course of the week and I think you'll find you waste a lot more time than you currently think. You'll realize that it's a priotization issue vs. a lack of down time issue.

Caoineag

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Re: 2 High Income Households - How Mustachian Are You?
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2015, 07:02:29 AM »
Hubby works 55+ hours so I am responsible for household planning and any cooking. Cleaning is not a huge priority, it gets done as we notice bad spots. I try to batch cook something on the weekends (to pack for lunches), hubby does laundry on the weekends and runs the dishwasher every day. Gardening is on the weekends as well but our yard is pretty low maintenance. Grocery shopping is list based and done once per week, usually on the way home from work. I try to do various chores throughout the week as I am able. Main thing is a lot of tasks get put off until later.

Our epic failure is that we enjoy eating out. We have both lots of healthy options and lots of ethnic options. As a result, supper during the workweek is our downfall. It will be until we retire and we accept this as the price of overtime. We save 63% of our income so this as our only vice is affordable but its a big vice.

slowplod

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Re: 2 High Income Households - How Mustachian Are You?
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2015, 07:35:30 AM »
Thanks for all the great thoughtful replies!

My husband and I both work 50-60 hours a week; often I have to work weekends. We do all the activities you state for ourselves. Without kids, it seems like there is plenty of time.

We only "go out" maybe once or twice a week though- kayaking on Sunday, and I have quilt guild weekly on Monday nights.  Perhaps you have a lot of other activities that are filling time.

I can't make this math work - I know you said you sometimes work weekends, but if you work 60 hours a week Mon-Fri that is 8 AM to 8 PM.  How are you fitting in cooking and going to the gym after work?  Eating at 9:30 at best?  Is that enjoyable? 

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Re: 2 High Income Households - How Mustachian Are You?
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2015, 07:40:29 AM »

I can't make this math work - I know you said you sometimes work weekends, but if you work 60 hours a week Mon-Fri that is 8 AM to 8 PM.  How are you fitting in cooking and going to the gym after work?  Eating at 9:30 at best?  Is that enjoyable?

I get to work at 6:30 am; sometimes 6 am, so with a 10-hour day, I am generally home before 5, maybe 6:00 on a bad day. 12-hour days are less common (because of weekends), but going in at 6, I get home just after 6.  Completely reasonable to me. I haven't taken a lunch break since I started my new job, so that keeps the day from getting too long.  (Husband does have to take a 30 minute lunch break, because food is not allowed in the lab. He grocery shops next door during his lunch break, and only buys what fits on his bike, so shopping is quick.)
I have a 5 minute commute that early in the morning, 15 minutes when traffic is awful in the afternoon.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2015, 07:57:27 AM by iowajes »

CommonCents

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Re: 2 High Income Households - How Mustachian Are You?
« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2015, 08:07:44 AM »
I think you have to find your own balance.  We used to do everything ourselves, and then I felt so burned out that I think MMM believes that DIY has intrinsic value beyond the money you save, but I don't feel that way about it.  I find cooking, cleaning, yardwork, laundry tedious and don't get much satisfaction from doing them.  In theory, the increased satisfaction I get from my new job makes up for that, and most days it does, but not always.

Like so many things in life, it's about trade-offs.  What's more valuable to you--time or money?  What's more scarce?  What are you willing to trade today for something tomorrow (money spent on outsourcing today will net you time today, but that's time you won't have later if it delays FIRE, but time today has value, too).

Yes, agree with this.

I don't see doing laundry or cleaning as having intrinsic value - it is just something that needs to be done.  Gardening at least gives me the chance to be outside and get a little exercise, but I'd be just as happy (happier) with the yardwork done and a walk outside with DH instead.  His point about trying to get everyone to do it all seems stretched to me.  I know how to paint a wall, and if I choose to hire it out and work the extra hours, that can make me better off.  (I don't, but still.)

In any event, for now we do house cleaning and yardwork ourselves.  We may move towards hiring out mowing the lawn, at least sometimes - our neighbor has a kid just the right age (and another one around after he goes to college).  Our method of getting a reel mower hasn't been as successful as we would have liked because the weeds have grown too tall early on for the reel mower to cut them.  We tend to eat out more than most mustachians do.  I try to cook a lot at home, but DH likes to eat out and when I get really busy and run down, it's too hard too fend him (I have no energy to do it myself and it's too hard to motivate him to cook something rather than run to get takeout).  But!  We have a CSA this summer, so that will really help him to agree we ought to cook.

slowplod

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Re: 2 High Income Households - How Mustachian Are You?
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2015, 08:19:40 AM »
It's a lot of planning and maximizing value, but it's actually easy to stay frugal with no time. The main thing is see what you actually enjoy doing (my neighbor loves mowing his yard, I don't), and what you value your time at (I like to start at my free time is worth 1.5-2x my salary, more on the weekends)


sidenote - before you can even think of outsourcing simple jobs, make sure you have your finances under control.  Spending is controlled, bills are all automated, no CC-debt, only mortgage and student loans that are being aggressively paid down, retirement is on track, e-fund in place, tons of savings, etc.  If you have $15k in CC debt and are trying to decide if a maid is worth it, go slam your hand in a door, it isn't worth it to pay someone else until you have everything else under control.

Amazing post, lots of great advice that I am going to try to implement.  Basically I hate cleaning, and mowing the lawn on a weekend sucks.  I will probably do it for another year but I'm questioning the value.  We have no debt other than mortgage, are saving 150/yr and are always arguing about needing to do stuff around the house. 

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Re: 2 High Income Households - How Mustachian Are You?
« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2015, 08:23:43 AM »

Amazing post, lots of great advice that I am going to try to implement.  Basically I hate cleaning, and mowing the lawn on a weekend sucks.  I will probably do it for another year but I'm questioning the value.  We have no debt other than mortgage, are saving 150/yr and are always arguing about needing to do stuff around the house.

If you are saving 150k a year (I assume that is what 150/yr means)- hire it out.  With that kind of savings (and presumably income) you can be a job creator.  Pretty much everyone in our neighborhood mows their lawn on the weekend, so that is the norm around here, people use services to treat their lawns, but I don't think anyone hires it out. Lots of people use monthly housekeepers, but I don't know anyone with a weekly or more frequent service. But I doubt anyone I live near is near the figure you just stated.

I consider us high-income, (and our tax bracket sure does too!), but we only make slightly more than that combined each year (and save about 50-60%); saving that is a whole different level of high-income.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2015, 10:30:56 AM by iowajes »

Axecleaver

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Re: 2 High Income Households - How Mustachian Are You?
« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2015, 08:23:58 AM »
It's an ongoing balance. I used to err on the side of trying to do everything myself, but after a few years of working 60-80h weeks and stuff not getting done, I had to admit that some things needed to be outsourced for our home to run efficiently.

So I outsource most significant home repair jobs, especially skilled trades - furnace repair, plumbing, and electrical work, and most car repairs. Mrs Axe and I take on siding repair, gutter cleaning, painting, laying new tile. I spend a lot of quality time gardening and landscaping (and mowing) because I enjoy doing it. We used to outsource this but I'm happier now that we've taken ownership of those tasks back, and I like the results much better. No one cares how good your property looks as much as you do.

Part of the decision making process is if we have that skill already. If it would take me 20 hours to learn how to do something and then do it, or hire someone to finish it in 2-3 hours, that makes the choices easier.  I agree there is intrinsic value in learning a skill and being able to apply it for your entire lifetime. But, with 3000 hour a year work schedules, it simply isn't possible to fit in everything that needs to be done.

cripzychiken

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Re: 2 High Income Households - How Mustachian Are You?
« Reply #12 on: June 22, 2015, 08:45:36 AM »
It's a lot of planning and maximizing value, but it's actually easy to stay frugal with no time. The main thing is see what you actually enjoy doing (my neighbor loves mowing his yard, I don't), and what you value your time at (I like to start at my free time is worth 1.5-2x my salary, more on the weekends)


sidenote - before you can even think of outsourcing simple jobs, make sure you have your finances under control.  Spending is controlled, bills are all automated, no CC-debt, only mortgage and student loans that are being aggressively paid down, retirement is on track, e-fund in place, tons of savings, etc.  If you have $15k in CC debt and are trying to decide if a maid is worth it, go slam your hand in a door, it isn't worth it to pay someone else until you have everything else under control.

Amazing post, lots of great advice that I am going to try to implement.  Basically I hate cleaning, and mowing the lawn on a weekend sucks.  I will probably do it for another year but I'm questioning the value.  We have no debt other than mortgage, are saving 150/yr and are always arguing about needing to do stuff around the house.

biggest thing that I had to 'learn' was once someone else was doing a chore for me, that time isn't "free time, let's slack off" it's time that I am paying someone for so I can be productive.  So if you used to spend 3-4hours a month maintaining your yard, once you hire that out, use that time to do something else productive (planning meals, shopping, fixing small issues before they become huge repairs).  Even if your productively activity is going on a walk with the SO to strengthen the relationship and keep stress down.  Just stay off the couch.

Scandium

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Re: 2 High Income Households - How Mustachian Are You?
« Reply #13 on: June 22, 2015, 10:00:47 AM »
We're in this (crowded) boat. We don't have very long work hours like some here, mostly we can do just over 40 hrs/week and be ok. But with my wife's near one hour commute (bus), a dog that needs walking 2x per day, an 8-month old and a house to maintain there isn't much time left in the day!

For now we don't outsource anything. I mow the lawn maybe every 2 weeks, and our gardening is limited. Cleaning takes much of a valuable weekened day and same with groceries. To optimize we only get groceries once per week and cook food for the whole week on sundays. During the week it's just reheating. This has been a life saver! Still, saturnday is spent cleaning up after the week and sundays goes to getting groceries and making food for the next week.

My wife has mentioned a cleaner and grocery deliver before, which I reflexively oppose, but so far nothing has come of it yet. Question for the group though; what do you think is the optimal if we were to outsorce something? In terms of hrs saved per dollar, or best thing to not have to do etc? (this is obviously subjective).

Cleaning - Significant time, plus extremely boring. Expensive, $100+ per month (?). Doesn't actually take that long once we get to it though, and I hate the price.

Grocery deliver - Easy way to get back 1 hr or more per week. Relatively cheap, $7-9/ per week, ~$30/month. Will miss stocking up on sales?
edit: our grocery store offers $17/month ($100/year) for express lane pickup. Meaning I wouldn't have to walk through the store and could get groceries with a 5 min detour after work. Maybe that's a good compromise? If we spend 1 hr/week shopping that's only $4.25/hr.

Yard work - No idea on cost. Only 1 hr every 1-2 weeks during the summer. I don't see this being worth it (for us and our small yard)

Get all meals from pizza hut - because why not?

The worst is that I can't even insource things I like to do. I've done some casual woodworking and built some furniture for our house before, and to get a kid's playroom set up I'd like to do it myself. But as my wife rightly point out: when would you have time? So we just have to look at buying stuff instead. Our custom made kitchen table sits half-finished in the garage, and that $200 Ikea table seemed tempting (ugh!)
« Last Edit: June 22, 2015, 11:59:54 AM by Scandium »

Jon_Snow

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Re: 2 High Income Households - How Mustachian Are You?
« Reply #14 on: June 22, 2015, 10:01:17 AM »
At our earning peak (before I FIRE'd) we were grossing about 230k - well into 5 figures of monthly income. We have rarely EVER spent more than 3k monthly (and we are currently conducting an experiment to see if we can come in under 2K)...I generally think a more mustachian, high earning couple may not exist on these forums. ;)

It was my ticket to FIRE anyway...and DW may be soon to follow.

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Re: 2 High Income Households - How Mustachian Are You?
« Reply #15 on: June 22, 2015, 10:10:09 AM »
Count us in that boat. I work a minimum of 55 hours a week, my husband is active duty and works way more, and generally is gone 6 months of every year.  We were killing ourselves (and each other on occasion) trying to fit everything.  Something had to give, for us, we both HATE cleaning so we outsourced it bi weekly.  Instant end to all the arguments and stress. and the best 150 a month we could spend, I have zero regrets outsourcing this.  We still do everything else. 

I don't mind cooking and yard work so that falls to me, to include the grocery shopping (can't take the husband to the store he's a MASSIVE impulse buyer, checkout lines made up of consumerist crap were MADE for him) he does the laundry on Sundays while I cook a huge meal that yields lunch leftovers and freezer portions.  I will spend a Sunday making meals for the future, so if we are going to have pizza on a Sunday, I'll make 10 and vacuum seal and freeze the rest for times when I don't feel like cooking.

Panchos

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Re: 2 High Income Households - How Mustachian Are You?
« Reply #16 on: June 22, 2015, 10:15:10 AM »
I'm always curious to hear what kinds of jobs people do and earn so much at. I'm currently a fire/medic making $60 a year base, but pull in about $20-30 a year extra with part time work. That being said, I typically work about 9-13 days a month on 24 hour shifts with the rest being downtime for family (wife is a stay at home mom with 3 kids under 4)/chores and my job is very rewarding. Not sure it's worth the trade of going to a 50+ hour M-F work week to make a little bit more... I've got a B.S. in Emergency Management and an M.S. in Occupational Safety Management. I do have the potential to transition into a different career or even go back to school, but I'd be starting from scratch again probably making $40-60k starting depending on the field. I always thought if I changed careers, I'd like something that is home based or perhaps my own business.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2015, 10:17:53 AM by Panchos »

forummm

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Re: 2 High Income Households - How Mustachian Are You?
« Reply #17 on: June 22, 2015, 10:17:34 AM »
I spend maybe 1 or 2 hours per week cooking. I just make a big batch of whatever and then we eat leftovers each night after getting home from work. Super easy. No time waiting when we get home.

We aren't "high" earners exactly (both under 6 figures), but we make more than the average person. We spend about $25-30k. Save a lot. It's pretty comfortable.

I tend to work late or on weekends. But I've been really cutting back on that. I like working less. And people are still very happy with my performance, so I'm going to keep cutting back the hours to a solid 40. I didn't work at all on my recent vacation or this weekend. I think that if I can make the job less burdensome, it will be easier for me to keep going until I'm financially ready to RE. Better quality of life now.

RelaxedGal

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Re: 2 High Income Households - How Mustachian Are You?
« Reply #18 on: June 22, 2015, 10:18:52 AM »
How Mustachian Are You?
* sigh* not very, I come here for inspiration.

Like others I batch cook for my luunches on the weekend - I made some mini casseroles and beans & rice on Sunday.  Laundry happens on the weekend.  Lawn mowing happens on the weekend.  I vowed when I was pregnant that we would get a housekeeper when the baby came. She's four years old and I am still too cheap to hire a housekeeper.  Instead the house just has a constant low level of debris that I'm OK with.

We outsourced re-plastering the bathroom ceiling (worth it!) but in-sourced the painting of said ceiling.  3 months later we finally primed and painted it.  At this point we need to do another round of sanding the walls, and then re-paint them.  We keep coming back to "should we have hired someone to do this?" 

Dining out is our big bogeyman.  My husband goes out with the guys for lunch 4x/week.  Not because they get anything special, just because neither he nor I know what he'd like for lunch.  Supper is a similar problem, we go out probably one weeknight and 2 or 3x over the weekend.  One of my New Year's resolutions was to meal plan... still hasn't happened.

StockBeard

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Re: 2 High Income Households - How Mustachian Are You?
« Reply #19 on: June 22, 2015, 10:38:31 AM »
Assuming 50h of work a week + 8h of sleep per day (which is a lot. Lots of people do with 6h a night or less): you still each have 60h+ remaining every week to do the chores, cooking, eat, etc. With the 2 of you, that's more than 120 hours a week available, or 17 hours a day.

I know lots of parents (me included) who dream of the days when they "only" had to work 50h+ a week and the remaining time was theirs to use. (Sorry for the - intentionally - patronizing tone here. This is intentional, but only meant as a joke)

In a more constructive way:
- What does your commute look like? Can you reduce your lunch/break time at work to go home early?
- if your house is too painful to clean by yourself, it's probably too big, have you considered downsizing? (same for the lawn... although for the lawn I'd say it good be a good idea to ask one of your neighbor's kid to do it for a wage?). Also, get a roomba and a dishwasher (that's what we did when we got kids, in order to save some time)
- The exercise I get is when I go to work: I walk/run to and from the office. I'm saving 1h a day by combining 2 activities... can you do something similar?
- If you have a list for groceries, or generally always buy the same essential stuff, you can cut down your grocery shopping time in half



Mrs. PoP

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Re: 2 High Income Households - How Mustachian Are You?
« Reply #20 on: June 22, 2015, 11:15:49 AM »
We're moderately mustachian, I think.  We try and insource as much as we can, especially recurring items.  (Our exception is pool service - tried insourcing for a couple years, but spent as much on supplies as our pool guy costs.)  As much as I claim that I would love a cleaning woman, I don't think I'd be able to handle paying someone to scrub my bathtub. 

Weekdays are pretty packed.  Usually wake at 5.  Exercise before work.  Leave for work 7-7:15ish.  Work 8-5 (or 6 or 7 sometimes), add a 45 minute commute home.  Eat whatever food was batch cooked the weekend prior.  Go on a 20-30 minute walk around the neighborhood with one another to connect at the end of the day.  Decompress/do whatever else is needed urgently that night (ie ironing that didn't get finished on the weekend).  Bed by 9:30 usually. 

Typical weekends are not too bad.  Mr PoP has 2 lawns to maintain (ours and our rental).  I do laundry, cleaning, batch cooking.  We also embrace our robot overlords to keep us sane - dishwasher and roomba (soon to be joined by scooba when we get our new floors).  Often a few hours of work on Sunday afternoon.

Could you eat off my floors?  No.  Should my shower get scrubbed more often.  Probably.  Are there loads of fingerprints and kitten nose prints on our windows that should we washed off?  Yes.  And dust on top and bottom shelves where we don't look often?  Yup. 

Even when life is "typical", we're not doing a perfect job of keeping up with household chores, but we live with it.  We're good with 80%. 

It's all a lot more hectic when you throw a DIY gut-kitchen renovation in there, though.  2015 really has tested the boundaries of what we can fit into our schedules as we tore down walls, ripped out the ceiling and made major changes to our kitchen.  Needless to say, sanitary conditions in other parts of the house have fallen below 80% from time to time during this.  Is that ideal? No.  But by trying not to get upset about it, we find a balance. 

RelaxedGal

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Re: 2 High Income Households - How Mustachian Are You?
« Reply #21 on: June 22, 2015, 11:30:39 AM »
I'm always curious to hear what kinds of jobs people do and earn so much at.

My husband is a hardware engineer a.k.a "computer chip designer". $150K/year

I am a "computer construction worker" according to my 4 year old.  I fix whatever my boss says needs fixing.  I work in IT at a medium sized company.  I maintain the customer website (where you pay your bill and update your address) and make applications to move data from one place to another, and little internal applications like a time card for project time tracking within IT, and the Christmas party registration, and I do some server maintenance.  $90K/year

sol

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Re: 2 High Income Households - How Mustachian Are You?
« Reply #22 on: June 22, 2015, 11:34:26 AM »
We have two high incomes (scientists). And three kids, and a huge house and yard.

We outsource childcare for the youngest who isn't yet in school, and auto repairs.  That's it.

How? We work less, and we stagger our hours.  One of the great benefits of a crazy high hourly wage is that you need to work fewer hours. 

I think many of you might be missing the point. All I hear are complaints about how you make so much money that you don't have time to live your lives, instead of gratitude that you make so much money that you don't have to work such crazy hours anymore.  Cut back!  Seek balance, be happy.  Use your high income as a tool to reclaim your time, not as an excuse to work more.

Edit: I'm sure somebody here will say they can't cut back their hours without negatively impacting their career arc.  So?  If you're only a few years from FIRE anyway, how important is your career arc?  We've decided to forego promotions now in order to have our time back, rather than be all stressed out now about working harder so we can retire two months earlier.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2015, 11:37:49 AM by sol »

slowplod

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Re: 2 High Income Households - How Mustachian Are You?
« Reply #23 on: June 22, 2015, 11:42:37 AM »
Assuming 50h of work a week + 8h of sleep per day (which is a lot. Lots of people do with 6h a night or less): you still each have 60h+ remaining every week to do the chores, cooking, eat, etc. With the 2 of you, that's more than 120 hours a week available, or 17 hours a day.

I know lots of parents (me included) who dream of the days when they "only" had to work 50h+ a week and the remaining time was theirs to use. (Sorry for the - intentionally - patronizing tone here. This is intentional, but only meant as a joke)

In a more constructive way:
- What does your commute look like? Can you reduce your lunch/break time at work to go home early?
- if your house is too painful to clean by yourself, it's probably too big, have you considered downsizing? (same for the lawn... although for the lawn I'd say it good be a good idea to ask one of your neighbor's kid to do it for a wage?). Also, get a roomba and a dishwasher (that's what we did when we got kids, in order to save some time)
- The exercise I get is when I go to work: I walk/run to and from the office. I'm saving 1h a day by combining 2 activities... can you do something similar?
- If you have a list for groceries, or generally always buy the same essential stuff, you can cut down your grocery shopping time in half

There is no flexibility for less work: we make >300k.  The only catch is that 50 hours is our minimum work week and we come home exhausted.  House is too big for sure, but cost as much as our 1 bedroom apartment rental we had, plus kids are in future.  For me the job is not sustainable, dislike it too much: I'm banking a whole lot for a few years and will reevaluate.

I see some crazy schedules in thread.  Does everyone enjoy that lifestyle, or is everyone just grinding away because they are fully committed to FIRE?  Even the Mad Fientist sent an email out not too long ago about when he was in a life rut because he was focusing too much on FIRE.  I'm trying to find the right balance- to date I've been frugal but it's grinding on me and the wife

charis

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Re: 2 High Income Households - How Mustachian Are You?
« Reply #24 on: June 22, 2015, 11:53:51 AM »
I know lots of parents (me included) who dream of the days when they "only" had to work 50h+ a week and the remaining time was theirs to use. (Sorry for the - intentionally - patronizing tone here. This is intentional, but only meant as a joke)

This. I know it's hard to see from your position, but who else is demanding your time outside of work, beside you and your SO?  If you hate cleaning and mowing the lawn on the weekends, that's because you hate it, not because you don't have time to do it over the weekend.  Which is fine.  I dislike cleaning, and even without two small kids who make impossible, I would still rather have our cleaning woman come in every 3 weeks than do it myself.  We both work full time and one of our most frequent disagreements was about cleaning.   We still argue about it a little, when cleaning up for the cleaning woman :), but things are better.

StockBeard

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Re: 2 High Income Households - How Mustachian Are You?
« Reply #25 on: June 22, 2015, 11:56:43 AM »
Does everyone enjoy that lifestyle, or is everyone just grinding away because they are fully committed to FIRE?
Very good point/question. I'm fully committed to FIRE, and that means sacrificing a bit of time today, for a faster RE. I would not recommend this to anyone, but it's just the way I'm wired: I have this goal to FIRE, and I can't take my mind out of it until I achieve it... which means I might as well make it happen faster, so I can focus on other stuff faster.
Most people will find that balancing things out is probably a better bet, even if that means FIRE a bit later. This is just not how I personally work, I'm a very single-threaded process.

I'm a red panda

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Re: 2 High Income Households - How Mustachian Are You?
« Reply #26 on: June 22, 2015, 12:06:56 PM »

There is no flexibility for less work: we make >300k.  The only catch is that 50 hours is our minimum work week and we come home exhausted. 

Well sure there is flexibility, we all have choices.  You could choose a different job that leaves you a lot more free time.

But since you have plenty of income, outsource. If you don't like to do chores, you don't have to.  Money gives you that option.

slowplod

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Re: 2 High Income Households - How Mustachian Are You?
« Reply #27 on: June 22, 2015, 12:10:01 PM »
I see some crazy schedules in thread.  Does everyone enjoy that lifestyle, or is everyone just grinding away because they are fully committed to FIRE?  Even the Mad Fientist sent an email out not too long ago about when he was in a life rut because he was focusing too much on FIRE.  I'm trying to find the right balance- to date I've been frugal but it's grinding on me and the wife
My schedule is probably one of the crazy ones, but I love it.  I enjoy my work.  I enjoy my time at home.  I hate cleaning and grocery shopping, and I don't do very much of either.  I'm thankful for our compensation because we will RE whenever we're ready.  I love this forum because it's helped me figure out what I value. 

I apologize if I came off as complaining about my schedule.  I'm a morning person, so I enjoy getting my workout in before most people are out of bed.  I also like getting into work before all of my coworkers.  Even on the weekend, I'm out walking my dog by 6.

Your post sounds like a good balance of being frugal while optimizing happiness actually

cripzychiken

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Re: 2 High Income Households - How Mustachian Are You?
« Reply #28 on: June 22, 2015, 12:16:41 PM »
We still argue about it a little, when cleaning up for the cleaning woman :), but things are better.

Nothing quite like the pre-cleaning lady cleaning!  Every single time.  I feel like just having a cleaning lady comes make me clean more often - why pay someone to pick up my clothes, I can do that.  Now scrub the toilet, no thanks, I'll save that for her once she shows up :)


MsFrugalista

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Re: 2 High Income Households - How Mustachian Are You?
« Reply #29 on: June 22, 2015, 01:02:01 PM »
Edit: I'm sure somebody here will say they can't cut back their hours without negatively impacting their career arc.  So?  If you're only a few years from FIRE anyway, how important is your career arc?  We've decided to forego promotions now in order to have our time back, rather than be all stressed out now about working harder so we can retire two months earlier.

+1 I am of the same mindset.

We are a $275K+ combined income household. Both of us try very hard to stay within a 40 hour work week, some weeks are more and some are less. I almost never work on weekends, and my partner is on call most times and will manage it well without letting it get in the way of our personal schedule. I am a consultant at a large firm and my partner is a software engineer. I have the flexibility of working remotely so I take advantage of this whenever possible. When I do work from home, I do the cooking and cleaning. When I travel, my partner is more than capable of handling things on his own. I am going back to work from my 6 month maternity leave next month and my partner will be taking his bonding leave for two months. So childcare will be put off for another few months. I'm sure things will change after that. As for the other items here is how we manage our schedules:

Housework: We live in a relatively small house (~750 sq ft), with a large yard. Twice a year I will get a deep cleaning done by 'professional' cleaners. I will try to stay on top of the cleaning once or twice a week. Having a small house helps greatly with cleaning the inside. Yard work can take up a lot of time, but my partner actually enjoys this very much, so he will spend 3-4 hours over the weekend outside. Do we get it all done? No, but it doesn't look too shabby either. We have been fortunate not to have had any major home repairs since buying this house a little over a year ago, but definitely something that will change over time.

Meals/Groceries: We do our grocery shopping once a week. I will send a list to my partner and he picks it up on his way home from work on his bike. This has worked well for us. Once every month or two we will do a Costco run on a weekend to stock up on large items. I really do want to start bulk/freezer meals, but I don't mind cooking on weeknights (sometimes I will do large batches that yield 3-4 meals). I may try bulk cooking when we both go back to work in the Fall.

Fun Times: We try to spend at least two weekends in a month doing something fun together as a family - either with friends or just by ourselves. This does take planning and I am usually the one that takes the initiative. Whether it's a free festival in town, having friends over for brunch/lunch, or just going for a hike. I think this is important and we enjoy the time as a family very much. We also travel 3-4 times a year, sometimes this can get a bit hectic as the housework can slip (especially the yard work), but you find a balance.

Overall we are doing well - we are still at a 75-80% savings rate (of course the high income helps). One thing I would like to improve on is to exercise more. Before the baby I would ride my bike and take the dogs out for walks during the day. But now I feel that I have been slacking on that - I have been using the baby as an excuse more than anything. I have a 10 class yoga pass which I start next week, so that's a start!

CommonCents

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Re: 2 High Income Households - How Mustachian Are You?
« Reply #30 on: June 22, 2015, 02:14:47 PM »
My wife has mentioned a cleaner and grocery deliver before, which I reflexively oppose, but so far nothing has come of it yet. Question for the group though; what do you think is the optimal if we were to outsorce something? In terms of hrs saved per dollar, or best thing to not have to do etc? (this is obviously subjective).
We opted for grocery delivery to save money.  It's been a substantial savings for our grocery bill AND eating out (always have food in the house). 

The cleaning person was a harmony thing.  When my salary increased 40% last year, we realized we fought about cleaning (and almost nothing else).  I was extremely resentful to do all of the cleaning and laundry (still do all of the laundry) when I was working longer hours and making over 6 figures (DH still earns more).  I know the cleaning person isn't mustachian, but it works for us.  Plus, the lower cleaning load has allowed me to go to the gym 5-6 days/week, which I love. 

We've talked cleaner but haven't gotten it.  If we do, it would largely for harmony.  DH hates to cook and clean.  I hate being treated as a 1950s housewife - while also having a full-time job.  It's not that he thinks I should do it all but rather thinks we should both do nada (about cleaning, cooking).  I'm not keen on living in the filth that he is (e.g. when we started dating, he had never cleaned his shower/tub once in the 5 years he owned the place).

As has been said many a time on these threads, it's cheaper than a divorce or therapy for resentful spouses.

At our earning peak (before I FIRE'd) we were grossing about 230k - well into 5 figures of monthly income. We have rarely EVER spent more than 3k monthly (and we are currently conducting an experiment to see if we can come in under 2K)...I generally think a more mustachian, high earning couple may not exist on these forums. ;)
We spend more than your budget on our mortgage, so you've definitely out mustachianed us. 

I agree it's hard to find very mustachian, high earning couples.  Not impossible, just hard, because often you need to work longer hours in order to get the fat paychecks and then it's all the harder to motivate to shave the pennies.

How Mustachian Are You?
* sigh* not very, I come here for inspiration.
Me too.
Me three.  I nominated myself at a 4 on a mustachian scale of 1-10 once (notably, people thought MMM himself was not a 10, and perhaps an 8).
« Last Edit: August 14, 2015, 04:21:45 PM by CommonCents »

ysette9

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Re: 2 High Income Households - How Mustachian Are You?
« Reply #31 on: June 22, 2015, 03:58:53 PM »
This is a great thread and very interesting for me. We are a high-earning household ($300k/year) and somehow manage to not be very mustachian though we don't have nice furniture, don't live in a nice house, don't drive fancy cars, barely ever go out to eat, and my wardrobe is pretty slobby right now. Our baby almost only wears hand-me-downs or clothes received as gifts and we don't spend much on her aside from daycare. And yet somehow we still manage to spend a ton of money! (I am still working on that one....)

We have house cleaners come every two weeks and that is "happy marriage insurance". We have very different standards of what "clean" is and have literally spent years fighting over it. It just pain is not worth it. My relationship is worth more than $180/month. I have considered grocery delivery and think it has a lot of potential except the part where I have to be home during the right window to take delivery of the items. If I am going to outsource that task then I want my time freed up to do something else which means the freedom to leave the house and go do something else. We definitely get a lot of non-perishable things delivered now though (Target, Amazon). With the baby, popping over to the store for a can of X just is not the easy trip it used to be, especially now that she HATES the car seat.

The landlord has gardeners come. We used to love doing the yard work but again, with the baby, that kind of stuff is way low on the priority list now. I don't work extra hours but with poor sleep, commuting, and trying to squeeze in the occasional run, I feel like my schedule is packed with very little "me" time in there. Finally, the most important thing now is to spend time with my little family. If that means paying other people to take care of the crap chores I don't like, then so be it.

Noodle

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Re: 2 High Income Households - How Mustachian Are You?
« Reply #32 on: June 22, 2015, 08:04:21 PM »
Well, I think I would consider first, is there any way to optimize household systems better? For instance, having a regular grocery shopping day made shopping so much easier, because I could easily tell when I was going to run out of something and whether to get more; there are ways to landscape that require less maintenance than a mowed lawn, etc.  I would also think about reconsidering standards. The standards for "how things should be done" have really escalated over the last couple of decades...for instance, so many more people have cleaning services that houses are expected to be cleaner, yards are much more manicured, meals are fancier, etc. Having a yard that won't get you fined by the city/HOA is a need. Having a perfectly manicured property is a want. Also, what else would you be doing with the extra time? Sleeping? (Don't underestimate sleeping) Taking care of elderly parents or caring for pets? Or watching TV?

In terms of hiring in help, I would prioritize needs over wants and one-time over recurring expenses. Once you've thought through all that, though, it may very well make sense to do some outsourcing.

(And as several people have pointed out, almost any outsourcing is going to be cheaper than divorce papers!)

brooklynmoney

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Re: 2 High Income Households - How Mustachian Are You?
« Reply #33 on: June 22, 2015, 08:40:10 PM »
I am single but make in the same range as the couples here. I travel every other week for work. I have resisted getting a cleaning person but have sacrificed cooking. I used to batch cook on the weekends must start again!

monstermonster

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Re: 2 High Income Households - How Mustachian Are You?
« Reply #34 on: June 22, 2015, 09:12:31 PM »
I am finding this both interesting and depressing to read as someone who works in the non-profit sector and makes under 40K but also works 55-75 hours/week.

Thanks for the interesting anthropology read for me.

DecD

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Re: 2 High Income Households - How Mustachian Are You?
« Reply #35 on: June 22, 2015, 09:30:41 PM »
We fit in this category- I'm an engineer, he's a university professor.  We each work ~40 hours per week.  Two kids. 

I think we do a pretty good job of being mustachian.  We almost never eat out, and I love gardening so I manage the flower and veggie gardens and we both take our turns at mowing.  We enjoy renovations, so if we want a room painted, we paint it.  If we want a new patio table, we build one out of wood sitting in the garage (just finished painting it in fact!)  We spend a lot of time together at home, and we love camping, and we manage to avoid many of the spendy habits of our neighbors/friends. 

We're non-frugal in three distinct ways:
1.  We have a cleaning service come every 3 weeks.  The amount of stress this relieves from our lives (mine particularly) makes this worth it for us.  Though it'll only last as long as we're both working full time- I'm certainly capable of cleaning my house. 
2.  We outsource childcare for the small one year round (daycare) and for the older one during the summer.
3.  Our house is larger / more expensive than necessary, and we live in a high insurance/tax area (hurricane prone/no income tax = big property tax).  This is by far the biggest factor- not only is our PITI larger now, but we have to save up enough to cover the large tax/insurance bill as long as we live in this house, even when it is paid off.  Our FIRE date is very much tied to whether we stay in the area or relocate. 

Other little things- my commute is only 5 miles, but I don't bike because it's bracketed by picking up/dropping off kids, and if I added the commute time biking would take, I couldn't make it home in time to meet my older child off the school bus and still put in an 8 hour day.  We have a pool- we care for it ourselves, but it is expensive to maintain.  However, we use it daily, and summer lasts May-September here, so it does enhance our quality of life significantly (when being outside is miserable if you're not swimming.)

As for cutting back hours- starting last September, I've set a hard hours limit at 8 per day for myself.  This allowed us to cut out after school care ($85/week) but more importantly made our afternoons/evenings far more relaxed.  My performance at work has suffered some- instead of excelling and winning bonus awards and such, I'm just doing a solid, everyday, standard good job.  But the pendulum needed to make that swing.

I will likely ask to go part time eventually.  It's just that we're banking my whole salary (a bit over 50% of our total as a couple) and I'm not ready to cut back the savings opportunities yet.  And I'm not ready to give up my responsibilities at work...not yet, anyway.  However, even with one of us having lots of flexibility (professor) and me working 40 hours at a reasonably flexible job, it's tough having two full-time jobs with kids.  I'm very glad it is not forever.


starbuck

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Re: 2 High Income Households - How Mustachian Are You?
« Reply #36 on: June 23, 2015, 07:10:15 AM »
Well, I think I would consider first, is there any way to optimize household systems better? For instance, having a regular grocery shopping day made shopping so much easier, because I could easily tell when I was going to run out of something and whether to get more; there are ways to landscape that require less maintenance than a mowed lawn, etc.  I would also think about reconsidering standards. The standards for "how things should be done" have really escalated over the last couple of decades...for instance, so many more people have cleaning services that houses are expected to be cleaner, yards are much more manicured, meals are fancier, etc. Having a yard that won't get you fined by the city/HOA is a need. Having a perfectly manicured property is a want.

This is our approach - we just optimized the snot out of everything. All of our finances are automated, and I use Mint to keep an eye on all of our accounts in one go. Reel mower was proving a headache so we have a hand me down electric mower that makes mowing faster, plus over the last few years we've added garden beds to cut down the amount of grass. I also only plant perennials that are hardy enough to survive my black thumb with absolutely zero intervention. We don't water or fertilize or any of that BS. Meal planning + grocery shopping only once a week, and only to one grocery store (the closest one) + 2 trips to Costco each month. Low (but still fit for company) standards for cleaning. Decluttered a TON, and all of the trim in the house (there's lots of it) is high gloss paint which makes dusting a breeze. No shoes in the house. Laundry is done on a random weeknight. We both have gyms at our offices and work out during lunch. Not ashamed to admit we eat a decent amount of frozen pizza from Costco. :)

One source of our (mustachian) success is that we are both equally capable and willing to work on all of the household tasks. Cooking, meal planning, cleaning, pet care, mowing the lawn are all shared equally between the two of us - there's no 'specialization'.

On the table for future optimizing consideration - automatic cat feeder (we already use it for when we travel) and our next vacuum is CERTAINLY going to be a tiny robot. Essentially, every time I come across something where I go 'ugh this again' I try and find a way to get rid of it, or make it easier. Our junk mail is ripe for slaughter too, now that I think of it. Honestly, the little things add up. 5 minutes here, 10 minutes there.

(For reference, we 'only' pull in about $150k household income, but are away from home about 10-11 hrs each day, plus semi-regular business travel. But we still find time for our hobbies and volunteer work, and remodeling our labor-of-love house.)

eta: oh and our average savings rate is 70%

Scandium

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Re: 2 High Income Households - How Mustachian Are You?
« Reply #37 on: June 23, 2015, 07:37:58 AM »

(For reference, we 'only' pull in about $150k household income, but are away from home about 10-11 hrs each day, plus semi-regular business travel. But we still find time for our hobbies and volunteer work, and remodeling our labor-of-love house.)

eta: oh and our average savings rate is 70%

This is where we are. So I'm ashamed to note that we make less than most of the people in this thread, but are still away from home 10+ hrs/day, but still have less time than most others, Certainly no time for hobbies, unless the dog counts I guess.. And volunteering?! hah yeah right. I'd like to, but how in the world would I have time? My wife would think it an insult if I brought it up when we can't even keep our house clean!

My parents had a cleaning service, but my issues is that we still have to pick up all the clutter before they come anyway. Once that's done vacuuming only takes ~15 min. Bathroom cleaning suck, but doesn't really take that long either. Just seems like a lot of money to not save all that much time. I'm thinking about the grocery deliver for now..

I'm a red panda

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Re: 2 High Income Households - How Mustachian Are You?
« Reply #38 on: June 23, 2015, 07:51:48 AM »

This is where we are. So I'm ashamed to note that we make less than most of the people in this thread, but are still away from home 10+ hrs/day

There are people who work this many hours to barely break the poverty line.  You shouldn't be ashamed you aren't making $300k a year!

cripzychiken

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Re: 2 High Income Households - How Mustachian Are You?
« Reply #39 on: June 23, 2015, 07:57:53 AM »
For reference, we 'only' pull in about $150k household income

We're at $115k, so you are still in the middle of this thread. 

Shamantha

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Re: 2 High Income Households - How Mustachian Are You?
« Reply #40 on: June 23, 2015, 08:48:19 AM »
Not 100% committed to FIRE but set on making the most use of the time I have, so RE is definitely on the agenda, albeit not as ambitious as some other people here on the site (10 years ahead of schedule at 57 is my target).

Living on my own, and outsourcing cleaning as well as groceries. I am abroad for work two days a week and work approximately 50+ hours a week. But of the 5 evenings at home, I cook from scratch 4 times, really nice meals (cheese fondue with a side salad tonight!). It relaxes me and I enjoy doing it. Now, ask me to go shopping or go mop the floors and you will make me so grumpy you do not want to be in the same room as me. Easy choice. Painting: anything I can't reach with a ladder (scaffolding required) I outsource. Car repairs I outsource as I don't know anything about car maintenance, but I would be interested in learning to maintain it myself. When I retire :-)

Ottawa

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Re: 2 High Income Households - How Mustachian Are You?
« Reply #41 on: June 23, 2015, 09:14:32 AM »
We are a fairly Mustachian couple with child and house grossing ~245K.  Our annual expenditure is at 31K.  We work a combined 75 hours per week during set Mon-Fri hours.  We take no work home.  We insource most things...

Krnten

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Re: 2 High Income Households - How Mustachian Are You?
« Reply #42 on: June 23, 2015, 09:35:07 AM »
Piling into this crowded boat too.  We're high income and used to be pretty frugal except that we recently blew up our housing expenses and parking expense.  It makes DH happy (he's not as mustachian as I am).  I owed him one- we lived in a neighborhood he hated for years longer than he wanted to.

We outsource cleaning 2x/ month and childcare.  It's all very expensive.  We save a huge amount too, but not of our monthly post tax income.  Our savings since we moved are primarily from DH's stock options.

It's hard for me to see most of our post tax income get spent, but I try to keep the big picture in view.  We're FI, but we enjoy our jobs and are choosing not to RE for another few years. I am about to go part time though. Our hours are reasonable.  Mine are 40/week now, DH's are closer to 50.

We have not solved the food puzzle.  We get takeout way too much and our grocery expenses jumped too when we moved to a "nice" neighborhood.

4alpacas

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Re: 2 High Income Households - How Mustachian Are You?
« Reply #43 on: June 23, 2015, 09:44:23 AM »
We have not solved the food puzzle.  We get takeout way too much and our grocery expenses jumped too when we moved to a "nice" neighborhood.
Batch cooking and freezing helped us cut our grocery budget, restaurant budget, and our waistlines (we both put on 10 pounds in a very short period of time).  I'm also a fan of using kitchen appliances--rice cooker (1/2 rice/quinoa, 1/2 frozen peas), crockpot (http://www.budgetbytes.com/2011/07/taco-chicken-bowls/ my favorite, double everything except the chicken), microwave (most used appliance during the week), blender (breakfast smoothies), air popper, and food processor (hummus, guacamole, frozen banana+cocoa powder).  We also keep a back-up comfort meal around.  It used to be a frozen pizza, but we've switched to Velveeta Shells & Cheese.  I try to make it healthy by tossing in pre-cooked chicken and peas or broccoli. 

CommonCents

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Re: 2 High Income Households - How Mustachian Are You?
« Reply #44 on: June 23, 2015, 09:54:20 AM »
I see posts saying they outsource childcare.  The thing is, it's rare that doing so doesn't leave the family *financially better off after you consider: salary, benefits (matching retirement contributions, health care), taxes (child care credit), lost career growth from stepping away.  I wouldn't call that unmustachian where people need to be almost apologetic about it this thread!  Yes, it's expensive, but foregoing the job is likely more so.

*Obviously, there are non-financial reasons people choose to have one parent stay home.

cripzychiken

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Re: 2 High Income Households - How Mustachian Are You?
« Reply #45 on: June 23, 2015, 10:22:01 AM »
I see posts saying they outsource childcare.  The thing is, it's rare that doing so doesn't leave the family *financially better off after you consider: salary, benefits (matching retirement contributions, health care), taxes (child care credit), lost career growth from stepping away.  I wouldn't call that unmustachian where people need to be almost apologetic about it this thread!  Yes, it's expensive, but foregoing the job is likely more so.

*Obviously, there are non-financial reasons people choose to have one parent stay home.

Especially in a post about having 2 high incomes.  We pay roughly $10k/yr for childcare (and $5k is tax free thank DCA!) So we could cut that cost out by giving up at least 5x more in income (more likely is giving up 8x that based on who would stay home) - so a huge financial lost for us.  sure there are other benefits (more time with kid) but I didn't even think that childcare was a big expense giving the fact that we both work.  It's actually been bugging me that people are listing childcare as a luxury rather than a necessity. 

Now if instead of group care you have a private nanny - I can start to see why you would count that as a luxury, but even still, there is probably a lot more that goes into (pick-up/drop offs, baby food meal prep, laundry) so it would again be what is your time worth to you.

firelight

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Re: 2 High Income Households - How Mustachian Are You?
« Reply #46 on: June 23, 2015, 10:26:02 AM »
We are a high income two job family with a kid. We try to insource everything - our Achilles heel is eating out. We tend to do takeout mostly on weekend nights but try to cook over weekdays and weekends. My husband eats out most of the time, we outsource daycare and auto care and I clean house in patches. House is never 100% clean but is good enough for us. Also we do grocery delivery and Costco runs/target runs when possible. Saves a lot of time.

Axecleaver

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Re: 2 High Income Households - How Mustachian Are You?
« Reply #47 on: June 23, 2015, 10:36:43 AM »
Quote
Even the Mad Fientist sent an email out not too long ago about when he was in a life rut because he was focusing too much on FIRE.  I'm trying to find the right balance- to date I've been frugal but it's grinding on me and the wife

This is my biggest issue right now. Mrs Axe and I both grew up very poor and worked obsessively to put ourselves through college and get good careers. I work in Medicaid and Health Insurance Exchange project management with some healthcare public policy work. I've been lucky and worked very hard, averaging 60h weeks for the majority of the last 15 years. I'm in a good spot now with a 5 year contract taking 40-45h/week.

We make over 350k and spend about 120k. Taxes consume about 1/3rd. We save about 100-120k a year. Where I would like to reduce expenses and save more, Mrs Axe is (quite reasonably) frustrated that I want to save every dime. I'm trying to find a better balance where I let go of some of my inhibitions on pleasure travel. Enjoy travel while we're still young enough to get out and explore. For many years I refused to take vacations, preferring to do home improvement projects.

expectopatronum

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Re: 2 High Income Households - How Mustachian Are You?
« Reply #48 on: June 23, 2015, 11:53:30 AM »
Wow, super interesting thread.

I feel super, super lucky to be a pair of young engineers. No kids. We work around 45-50 hours a week apiece and pull about $180K depending on how you calculate it. The calculation is a little iffy (shifting sands in the life situation), but we're on track to save 70% this month...that's pretty damn cushy, and I just pray we are able to stay on track or improve it after I finish my grad program and get back into the workforce. (We have dual income this month, won't in August.) Our savings rate will fall somewhere around 30-40% (I think?) once I leave the job.

Related, but slightly OT (sorry, seem to be doing that lately) I'd be interested to know some of the following:

  • The distribution of savings rates for self-identifying Mustachians in various earnings brackets, perhaps in chart format. I'd expect the percent of people who will be able to hit 80% savings on $30K/yr to be low, and those people are rare. But how many households making $200K can hit a 95% savings rate? Is there a certain point at which you can't really save a significant portion because of the time required at work (such as a pair of surgeons who might make $200K alone, but have crazy call schedules and must outsource things like childcare, cooking, cleaning)?
  • Where is the point of diminishing returns for real hourly wage? Is there one? Or maybe, it flattens out past a certain amount...and then jumps back up, such as for a pro athlete or pop star...
  • Is there a certain income bracket that you only reach by being part of a social circle that makes it very difficult to live a pared-back lifestyle? If you're partner at a law firm, is there a certain degree of keeping up with the Joneses that's more or less required? Does median savings rate peak after a certain amount of income?
  • How background affects future savings rates. If you grew up upper middle class, it would seem a rare breed that's able to "cut back" to driving 10 year old sedans and living in an optimized space. If you grew up poor, are you more likely to spend a lot once coming into a well-paying job, or save a lot because you know what it's like being poor, and what's the psychology behind it?

Savings rate is going to vary so much by household/individual though. There are just so many factors. All about finding a balance...and over time that balance may shift the rate up or down.

Good luck to everyone. I think a lot of people on this forum just do the best they can.

slowplod

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Re: 2 High Income Households - How Mustachian Are You?
« Reply #49 on: June 23, 2015, 02:13:17 PM »
This gets into the core ideas of Mustachianism, and the book "Your Money or Your Life".

There are extra costs built into your job: your work clothes, your car, etc.  But there are also additional " work hours" and "gifts to yourself" you lose outside of the office due to your job.  Commuting, but also that wasted time you need to "destress".  Buying takeout because you can't be bothered to cook after a tough day.  The drinks after work if you have a social office.

The idea in YMOYL is to determine what your REAL hourly rate is when you factor in all of the above.  Money is something you trade your life energy for.  Is it worth buying a shirt that would take 6 hours of work for you to earn?  This is usually a way to curb unnecessary spending. 

It's interesting that it can get flipped on its head once a person has a high enough hourly rate.  For example " I make $200/hour in my job, and I love my job.  I hate to mow the lawn. I can spend $40 and save an hour of my time"

This is of course a very slippery slope.

I think upbringing has a good amount to do with people's  spending.  I grew up in a modest family and am uncomfortable regularly eating out.  I know people that grew up going to fancy restaurants 4 times a week.  Getting a $100 dinner for two once or twice a week seems completely reasonable in comparison



Wow, super interesting thread.

I feel super, super lucky to be a pair of young engineers. No kids. We work around 45-50 hours a week apiece and pull about $180K depending on how you calculate it. The calculation is a little iffy (shifting sands in the life situation), but we're on track to save 70% this month...that's pretty damn cushy, and I just pray we are able to stay on track or improve it after I finish my grad program and get back into the workforce. (We have dual income this month, won't in August.) Our savings rate will fall somewhere around 30-40% (I think?) once I leave the job.

Related, but slightly OT (sorry, seem to be doing that lately) I'd be interested to know some of the following:

  • The distribution of savings rates for self-identifying Mustachians in various earnings brackets, perhaps in chart format. I'd expect the percent of people who will be able to hit 80% savings on $30K/yr to be low, and those people are rare. But how many households making $200K can hit a 95% savings rate? Is there a certain point at which you can't really save a significant portion because of the time required at work (such as a pair of surgeons who might make $200K alone, but have crazy call schedules and must outsource things like childcare, cooking, cleaning)?
  • Where is the point of diminishing returns for real hourly wage? Is there one? Or maybe, it flattens out past a certain amount...and then jumps back up, such as for a pro athlete or pop star...
  • Is there a certain income bracket that you only reach by being part of a social circle that makes it very difficult to live a pared-back lifestyle? If you're partner at a law firm, is there a certain degree of keeping up with the Joneses that's more or less required? Does median savings rate peak after a certain amount of income?
  • How background affects future savings rates. If you grew up upper middle class, it would seem a rare breed that's able to "cut back" to driving 10 year old sedans and living in an optimized space. If you grew up poor, are you more likely to spend a lot once coming into a well-paying job, or save a lot because you know what it's like being poor, and what's the psychology behind it?

Savings rate is going to vary so much by household/individual though. There are just so many factors. All about finding a balance...and over time that balance may shift the rate up or down.

Good luck to everyone. I think a lot of people on this forum just do the best they can.