Author Topic: Case Study: Ridiculous Spending  (Read 13174 times)


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Case Study: Ridiculous Spending
« Reply #50 on: August 05, 2016, 06:41:46 AM »
The cable TV you've already addressed.  Nice to have, but a luxury.

Preschool is also a luxury.  Plenty of studies have shown that for middle class kids in nurturing homes, preschool allows kids to start a step ahead ... but that step ahead disappears within the first couple years of elementary school.  It is not in any way a need.  Preschool was started as a way to help at-risk kids learn the things that nurturing homes teach automatically -- colors, shapes, letters and numbers.  (One of my kids attended preschool, the other didn't; last year when they were both in college, they were both on full-ride scholarships.)  If you're using it as a way to have a few hours to yourself every week, you might find a mother's morning out type program at a church -- or trade babysitting with a neighbor. 

As other people have pointed out, your car expenses are insane, especially when you're at home with the kids.  Do you NEED two cars?  Note that I didn't ask whether two cars are convenient; I asked if they're NEEDED.  Could you take your husband to work 1-2 days a week so you could have the car for errands?  Could he occasionally take an Uber car to work, leaving you the car for errands?  In an emergency, you always have the option to call for help, so that's not a reason to maintain a car all the time.  Getting rid of one car would allow you to put away quite a bit of money; remember, it's not just the payment:  it'd slash your insurance in half, your gas spending in  half.  And if you put that money aside now while you're young, compound interest works for you.  My husband and I shared one car for the first three years of our marriage, and it was one of the best things we did financially.  No, it wasn't always convenient because we lived out in the country and had no public transportation, but it allowed us to put away money EARLY, and that has made all the difference in our finances.  Keep in mind, too, that becoming a one-car family NOW doesn't mean you ALWAYS have to remain a one-car family.

Windows.  Okay, maybe not the best decision ever, but it's done.  Don't beat yourself up over what can't be changed -- plus you're on the downhill side.  When this debt is gone, throw that money towards other debt. 

"Mad money".  This is crazy.  We're in the two-comma club, and we're only supporting our youngest college child financially ... and we don't have this much allotted to us.  When we were younger and in your shoes, our "mad money" allotment was 0.   

Lots of ambiguity in these categories -- household includes toilet paper, but wipes fall under kids' expenses?  I think you'd be wise to nail these down better. 

Kids' activities really ramp up in late elementary school and can be mind-boggling in high school.  As someone else said, dance (and other things) explode in price:  Your child starts out with one class per week, then suddenly there's pressure to add a second and third class, and of course that means additional recital outfits -- suddenly what was a little activity is eating up your budget AND your time /gas money.  Other activities are the same:  Karate tournament fees, travel expenses for swim tournaments, etc.  Establish your family expectations early. We did church youth group +1 activity per child at any given time, and it was a good compromise between organized activities and time to be a kid.  Remember, too, that the kids will in no way "suffer" without activities.

Groceries aren't bad at all, if you're eating three meals a day at home. 

You mentioned life insurance for you both -- good -- but do you also have disability insurance?  The worst thing that could happen to your family -- and I'm going to be cold-hearted here as I say this -- would be for your husband to be seriously injured.  If that were to happen, your income stream would end, AND he'd have medical bills, AND you'd have to spend time caring for him as well as the children, preventing you from going back to work.  A "close second" in terms of tragedies would be for you to be seriously injured.  That'd leave him working full time, AND covering your medical bills, AND needing to pay for child care while you're healing.  Statistically, you're more likely to be injured than killed at your age.  None of us are immune from the possibility of disability -- drunk drivers, for example, have no respect for your youth and good health.  You should be SURE you're protected from these situations through insurance. 
« Last Edit: August 05, 2016, 06:54:42 AM by MrsPete »


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Case Study: Ridiculous Spending
« Reply #51 on: August 05, 2016, 02:05:40 PM »
My kids both dance. It costs us $70/year in total. In our previous town, this included costumes, now they can use some sort of nice dress. The reason? We chose traditional folk dance. You can often find these kinds of classes in expat clubs, cultural centers, etc. As they grow, they will soon be able to pay for the classes by being teaching assistants, or even make money by performing for tourists.


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Re: Case Study: Ridiculous Spending
« Reply #52 on: August 06, 2016, 09:24:11 PM »
Congratulations on getting started and keep working on it.

Your household spending jumped out to me.  Is this engraved t.p. you are buying?  Diamond studded?  Character themed diapers?  I don't see what about those things should be expensive.  Diapers cost $20-30 per month per child.  Four people in my house wipe their butts for 3.50 plus tax each and every month. 

Those training pants keep the child in diapers longer.  I hope you are not buying those overpriced disposable underwear. 

The necessity or lack thereof of preschool depends on the parent.  A child needs to be taught every day- manners and tidiness and colors and numbers and ethics and shapes and a dozen others- You determine by whom. 

Anyway, if you set your mind to change your spending habits, you can.  But you have to want it.  It seems that you do, so good luck.  Please don't be one of those people who gripe about being broke while sipping their Starbucks.  This is a wonderful land of opportunity.  I hope you find the financial security you are looking for.


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Re: Case Study: Ridiculous Spending
« Reply #53 on: August 09, 2016, 02:45:30 PM »

  Four people in my house wipe their butts for 3.50 plus tax each and every month. 

oops. Messed up the quote. Sorry

I love that you know how much it costs to wipe the household butts. Maybe if I tracked this and told them how much it was costing I could get my children to use less.  I never put my kids in preschool because I wanted to be the person teaching them. I stayed home with them on my husbands very modest salary. We ate lots of beans (still do) but it was worth it to us. My kids didn't know about standing in a line or sitting criss cross apple sauce (Indian style to us old people) until kindergarten, but who cares? All three could read before they started school.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2016, 02:50:25 PM by Spiffy »