Author Topic: When to spend money when spending money isn't so simple anymore....  (Read 10205 times)

hoodedfalcon

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 441
  • Location: Deep and Dirty
So, I love MMM and everything people stand for here, and I am a believer. My problem is that I find it very difficult to legitimize spending money in most non-typical cases, because I have 6 figures of student loan debt. My savings rate is around 50%. I live in a low low COL area (housing PITI is less than $600/month, as an example).

How dare I spend money on anything other than loans, I say. How dare I....But LIFE. It happens, and it costs money.  Here are some examples:

1. I have a brother who is fighting for custody of his daughter. I believe my brother getting custody is in the best interest of the child for many reasons. My brother has a decent job, but makes bad decisions with money. Before the custody thing. I had been helping him with that (pointed him to Republic Wireless, MMM, etc) and I think he is getting better, but he has no money other than his 401K to pay legal fees for the custody battle. I feel compelled to help him with the legal fees, but I am not sure if this will be enabling, and even if it is, does it matter if it means he gets custody of his daughter/my niece? COST: 1-10K depending on how nasty it gets.

2. For years I have wanted to buy a nicer road bike. I have been riding my single speed steel road bike from the late 80s for 5 years and I love it, but I can't really do the long rides on it. These longer rides are hobby/recreation/exercise rides and the steel road bike is fine for around town. I didn't even go look at nicer bikes bc debt was looming over me. But I am getting tired of waiting, and cycling is one of the only forms of exercise that doesn't aggravate my bad knee (odd, I know). COST: 1K

3. Other hobbies: pottery, beekeeping, coffee roasting. These are not amazingly expensive on their own, but they have costs associated with them. I work at the pottery studio in exchange for studio time and access to materials, so that keeps costs down. Beekeeping costs about $100-300 per year depending on the supplies. Coffee roasting is on my wish list, but I know over time I will probably make money back....I could sell pots, honey, and roasted coffee, but I have this problem of just giving stuff away...:) COST: $200-$500/year

I guess the problem is I want to do fun things now and not wait until all my student loans are paid, because that would mean my life is totally on pause for the next 8 years, and I have already been on pause for 7 years.  I feel compelled to save save save and pay on the loans, but it's not like a few thousand dollars will take years off my debt repayment. My budget can absorb some of these costs (legal fees may require dipping into my emergency fund).

Am I just complainypants here? Any thoughts?

***edited for bad typing
« Last Edit: June 02, 2014, 08:54:05 AM by hoodedfalcon »

BFGirl

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 715
Re: When to spend money when spending money isn't so simple anymore....
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2014, 08:29:38 AM »
Not a complainants.  You still have to live life.  Keep chugging away at your debt, but don't beat yourself up about spending some money for things you enjoy.

As far as custody, sometimes you have to help family and that has value of its own.  I helped my sister with attorney's fees when she was not working and her husband of 20 years moved out.  It gave her the ability to fight on an even playing field in the divorce.

apfroggy0408

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 215
Re: When to spend money when spending money isn't so simple anymore....
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2014, 08:34:19 AM »
Not a complainants.  You still have to live life.  Keep chugging away at your debt, but don't beat yourself up about spending some money for things you enjoy.

As far as custody, sometimes you have to help family and that has value of its own.  I helped my sister with attorney's fees when she was not working and her husband of 20 years moved out.  It gave her the ability to fight on an even playing field in the divorce.

This.

Do what you can with what you can.

I'm frugal, but I would help my brother or sister to keep custody if it came down to it, no questions asked here's a check.

warfreak2

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1140
  • Location: UK
    • Music by me
Re: When to spend money when spending money isn't so simple anymore....
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2014, 08:35:26 AM »
Eh, I don't think you are really allowed to beat yourself up about a 50% savings rate. $1k on a bike is fine - it's a bike, you're already way ahead! Your hobbies don't sound particularly expensive or wasteful (they are even productive!). That just leaves the family legal aid which is a decision only for you, and I doubt you'd get much criticism on here either way. Some things just have enormous effects on our lives, which strangers will never have enough information to judge.

lackofstache

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 313
Re: When to spend money when spending money isn't so simple anymore....
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2014, 08:40:55 AM »
The legal battle is your choice, I wouldn't loan the money, but if I were in a position to help, I probably would.

The bike; a geared road bike needn't be new, a quality used bike can be much nicer for much less. An old steel bike can be great, gears are what you'll need for distance.

Coffee roasting; get a $30 poppery, $5/lb green beans & you'll actually be saving money very soon.

Pottery; sounds like you've found a great way to do that, kudos!

Beekeeping; hobbies are slippery slopes, if you enjoy something, though, and will do it long enough to pay off (raw honey ain't cheap 'round here) I say go for it.

Bottom line: Live life, but do it frugally. I don't spend every dime on debt/savings, though when I go on vacation or make a purchase for a non-essential, it has to make sense.

hoodedfalcon

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 441
  • Location: Deep and Dirty
Re: When to spend money when spending money isn't so simple anymore....
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2014, 08:44:11 AM »
The legal battle is your choice, I wouldn't loan the money, but if I were in a position to help, I probably would.

It wouldn't be a loan. Any money I gave would be a gift with no expectation of being repaid.

Quote
The bike; a geared road bike needn't be new, a quality used bike can be much nicer for much less. An old steel bike can be great, gears are what you'll need for distance.

I have been looking for a nice used road bike in my size for over a year. Apparently I am either horrible at shopping on the used bike market, or there just aren't a bunch of shorties selling road bikes in my area. :)

former player

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4441
  • Location: Avalon
Re: When to spend money when spending money isn't so simple anymore....
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2014, 08:49:44 AM »
Like you, I love MMM, the forum, the people here and the advice that is given.  But if I had one quibble it is that the forum will sometimes focus on minimising costs and exclude the other parts of the MMM message: we stop spending money unnecessarily but it is not frugality for its own sake, it is frugality which makes our lives better while not trashing the planet.

Everything you are talking about spending money on will make your life better without trashing the planet.  Beekeeping, coffee and pottery could have a (small) line in your expenditure budget which will in due course be balanced by a extra line in your income statement.  Your savings rate might be slightly under 50% the month you buy your bike and the months you contribute to your niece's wellbeing through giving her father legal aid, but overall it's not going to throw you off track and from what you say they are highly likely to be worth more to you than the equivalent amount in investments.  Good luck.

hoodedfalcon

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 441
  • Location: Deep and Dirty
Re: When to spend money when spending money isn't so simple anymore....
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2014, 08:53:13 AM »
Eh, I don't think you are really allowed to beat yourself up about a 50% savings rate. $1k on a bike is fine - it's a bike, you're already way ahead! Your hobbies don't sound particularly expensive or wasteful (they are even productive!). That just leaves the family legal aid which is a decision only for you, and I doubt you'd get much criticism on here either way. Some things just have enormous effects on our lives, which strangers will never have enough information to judge.

I think the part that I beat myself up about is even with the 50% savings rate (half of which is debt principal paydown) I feel like I am making such slow progress. In reality, my networth has increased 40K in the last year (currently-50K). Which is huge! Debt really is a soul crushing thing....My hair has been on fire so long there is nothing left to burn :)

I am committed to helping my brother with the custody battle, thought the unknown of how much it's going to cost is a little stressful...once you start down that road you kinda have to stay on it.

Thanks everyone. I do feel better about things. I know I am doing okay, all things considered. I am just so ready to shake off these chains...and I am very goal oriented. Anything on the way to the goal involves major evaluation.

Argyle

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 909
Re: When to spend money when spending money isn't so simple anymore....
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2014, 09:06:21 AM »
Why doesn't your brother put the custody battle on his credit card or on loans?  You did it for your schooling.  Or let him deplete his 401(k).  Would you give him retirement money?  No so do the equivalent and let him use his.

It's not that I'm against helping your brother.  But you said he makes bad decisions with money.  That suggests to me that it's enabling him to start giving him money.  Meanwhile, someone I know has now spent over $100,000 in a custody battle.  It doesn't stop once you've won custody.  Custody can be challenged again every year.  You may think about how much you really want to be doing this, and what the consequences might be for you resenting the outpouring of your income into his bank account for the next fifteen years.

Villanelle

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2829
Re: When to spend money when spending money isn't so simple anymore....
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2014, 09:29:38 AM »
If your brother can't afford legal bills, can he afford all the costs associated if/when he gets custody? 

To me, I'd continue work to help him reduce his expenses and make better choices.  I'd help him come up with lower cost legal resources, loans to pay for the custody battle at the most competitive rates, credit cards with favorable conditions, etc.  But I wouldn't give him the money unless it reached the point where he had no alternative but to give up the fight unless I did so.  He is far, far from that point now, from the sounds of it, so for me, I would offer help and advice, but not cash. 

As for the bigger picture, it sounds like the speed of your progress isn't satisfactory.  If you've already examined the budget and find little room for fat, it may be time to look into increasing income.  Since you mentioned some hobbies that might actually have the potential to be cash positive, why not pursue that as a side hustle, rather than a hobby?  You have to commit to not giving away the fruits of your labors.  You wouldn't work for your employer without getting paid.  So just consider yourself to be the employer, and don't do that work for free.  That will allow you to spend the money necessary on bee keeping, but also increase your income, at least a bit, which in turn speeds up the debt repayment.  Once you have the bee business buzzing (ha!), if it is truly making you money and you have time and energy left, look into the coffee thing next.

hoodedfalcon

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 441
  • Location: Deep and Dirty
Re: When to spend money when spending money isn't so simple anymore....
« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2014, 09:47:37 AM »
Why doesn't your brother put the custody battle on his credit card or on loans?  You did it for your schooling.  Or let him deplete his 401(k).  Would you give him retirement money?  No so do the equivalent and let him use his.

It's not that I'm against helping your brother.  But you said he makes bad decisions with money.

His credit was destroyed a few years back when he and the GF split up 5 years ago (he makes emotional decisions sometimes...). He had been working on clearing those up when this custody issue came up, but he still has a ways to go. He recently got into a new relationship and in the last few months made some more very bad emotional $$$ decisions, again, before the custody issue came up (co-signed a loan with new gf...etc). He pays his bills but he doesn't save for emergencies. He has always paid child support and given extra money to support his daughter.

hoodedfalcon

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 441
  • Location: Deep and Dirty
Re: When to spend money when spending money isn't so simple anymore....
« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2014, 09:50:56 AM »
If your brother can't afford legal bills, can he afford all the costs associated if/when he gets custody? 

This is an interesting point to consider, but I would still help out and get the best legal help you can.

The rest is a matter of balance in your life. Stop giving away the honey and pottery, make some cash!

I think the difference is the legal costs for custody are thousands right up front. He can afford to take care of his daughter and has been paying more than the required amount of child support for the last 5 years. He used to be the sole provider for his daughter and the kids mom, when they were together. I have no doubt that he can afford to take care of my niece.

And yes, I will stop giving away the goods! You all talked me into it. I just feel so awkward taking money from people. I used to keep chickens and I would give those eggs away as well. I am a good neighbor to have. :)

hoodedfalcon

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 441
  • Location: Deep and Dirty
Re: When to spend money when spending money isn't so simple anymore....
« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2014, 09:53:08 AM »
Like you, I love MMM, the forum, the people here and the advice that is given.  But if I had one quibble it is that the forum will sometimes focus on minimising costs and exclude the other parts of the MMM message: we stop spending money unnecessarily but it is not frugality for its own sake, it is frugality which makes our lives better while not trashing the planet.

Everything you are talking about spending money on will make your life better without trashing the planet.  Beekeeping, coffee and pottery could have a (small) line in your expenditure budget which will in due course be balanced by a extra line in your income statement.  Your savings rate might be slightly under 50% the month you buy your bike and the months you contribute to your niece's wellbeing through giving her father legal aid, but overall it's not going to throw you off track and from what you say they are highly likely to be worth more to you than the equivalent amount in investments.  Good luck.

Thank you for this. I try to find the happy middle ground but I still struggle with the guilt....

Basenji

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1036
  • Location: D.C.-ish
Re: When to spend money when spending money isn't so simple anymore....
« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2014, 10:10:09 AM »
And yes, I will stop giving away the goods! You all talked me into it. I just feel so awkward taking money from people. I used to keep chickens and I would give those eggs away as well. I am a good neighbor to have. :)

Where are you? ; ) (jk)

Jack

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4734
  • Location: Atlanta, GA
Re: When to spend money when spending money isn't so simple anymore....
« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2014, 10:24:15 AM »
3. Other hobbies: pottery, beekeeping, coffee roasting. These are not amazingly expensive on their own, but they have costs associated with them. I work at the pottery studio in exchange for studio time and access to materials, so that keeps costs down. Beekeeping costs about $100-300 per year depending on the supplies. Coffee roasting is on my wish list, but I know over time I will probably make money back....I could sell pots, honey, and roasted coffee, but I have this problem of just giving stuff away...:) COST: $200-$500/year

These are not hobbies; they're side businesses waiting to happen. Money used to implement them is not "spent," it's invested in the business.

(This assumes that you do eventually try to turn a profit, of course.)

hoodedfalcon

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 441
  • Location: Deep and Dirty
Re: When to spend money when spending money isn't so simple anymore....
« Reply #15 on: June 02, 2014, 10:29:59 AM »
3. Other hobbies: pottery, beekeeping, coffee roasting. These are not amazingly expensive on their own, but they have costs associated with them. I work at the pottery studio in exchange for studio time and access to materials, so that keeps costs down. Beekeeping costs about $100-300 per year depending on the supplies. Coffee roasting is on my wish list, but I know over time I will probably make money back....I could sell pots, honey, and roasted coffee, but I have this problem of just giving stuff away...:) COST: $200-$500/year

These are not hobbies; they're side businesses waiting to happen. Money used to implement them is not "spent," it's invested in the business.

(This assumes that you do eventually try to turn a profit, of course.)

I don't know why I haven't turned pottery into profit yet. The beekeeping is new and I don't have surplus honey at this point, but I imagine I will starting next year. I am going to give all of this serious thought though. You guys are encouraging!

Villanelle

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2829
Re: When to spend money when spending money isn't so simple anymore....
« Reply #16 on: June 02, 2014, 10:45:55 AM »
For me, it would help prevent some awkwardness if I can a price sheet of some kind--something to make it look official which would indicate to people that this is a business.  You heard I keep bees and you love local honey?  I'll email you my price sheet, and here is my business card.  It doesn't need to be anythign fancy, but something you type in a word doc with a bee clip art piece stuck in the corner. 

Same thing with the pottery.  If you have the skills (or can trade) set up a web page with pictures of some pieces and prices.  You can refer people there is they want to purchase your stuff.  Also, look in to any local craft fairs, especially in the pre-holiday season, where you might buy a table for cheap and sell some pieces.

Maybe it's just the way my brain works, but I'd feel less awkward when someone says, "You have eggs/honey/pottery?  I'd love to have some," if I could reply with, "Great, here's the info!" *hands sheet that mentions prices and thus makes it clear I don't just give this away and it is a business*, than I would saying, "My honey is $5 per jar, if you want some."


hoodedfalcon

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 441
  • Location: Deep and Dirty
Re: When to spend money when spending money isn't so simple anymore....
« Reply #17 on: June 02, 2014, 10:56:39 AM »
For me, it would help prevent some awkwardness if I can a price sheet of some kind--something to make it look official which would indicate to people that this is a business.  You heard I keep bees and you love local honey?  I'll email you my price sheet, and here is my business card.  It doesn't need to be anythign fancy, but something you type in a word doc with a bee clip art piece stuck in the corner. 

Same thing with the pottery.  If you have the skills (or can trade) set up a web page with pictures of some pieces and prices.  You can refer people there is they want to purchase your stuff.  Also, look in to any local craft fairs, especially in the pre-holiday season, where you might buy a table for cheap and sell some pieces.

Maybe it's just the way my brain works, but I'd feel less awkward when someone says, "You have eggs/honey/pottery?  I'd love to have some," if I could reply with, "Great, here's the info!" *hands sheet that mentions prices and thus makes it clear I don't just give this away and it is a business*, than I would saying, "My honey is $5 per jar, if you want some."

I actually love this idea! So much less awkward than talking about prices, and not hard to do at all! I have a stockpile of pottery currently, so I am going to be on the lookout for a craft fair in the near future. I can do this!

sirdoug007

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 587
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Houston, TX
Re: When to spend money when spending money isn't so simple anymore....
« Reply #18 on: June 02, 2014, 11:24:09 AM »
Why doesn't your brother put the custody battle on his credit card or on loans?  You did it for your schooling.  Or let him deplete his 401(k).  Would you give him retirement money?  No so do the equivalent and let him use his.

^This.

By giving him money so he can keep his 401(k) intact you are essentially going into debt (not paying off student loans) and reducing your net worth to allow him to keep his net worth (401(k) balance).

As bad as it is to cash out a 401(k) with penalties, it his fight and he should commit all available resources before expecting others to chip in.  I think the point about future legal costs is a good one too.  It is unlikely to be a one time thing and you will set up expectations with a large gift check.  Think about how you would feel if you have him a $5k check and then saw a new flat screen TV in his place the next time you get together...

On the other points, I agree that you should turn your hobbies into small side hustles since you are creating useful goods.  Keep throwing money at those loans and you will be in the clear in no time.  Enjoy your life now AND keep slashing that debt.

swick

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2884
Re: When to spend money when spending money isn't so simple anymore....
« Reply #19 on: June 02, 2014, 12:04:46 PM »
Hey hoodedfalcon,

When you are an artist, (as in life) you teach people how to treat you. You can only give away so much. The fact is you have a skill set, creativity and expenses that all have to be taken into account!

For every single piece you do give away there should be a business card included. Set a limit at the beginning of the year for how many pieces you will give away and stick to it - otherwise you will have every single organization or person trying to raise money in your community asking for a donation. If you do not value your pottery, why should anyone else?

Speaking as someone who runs a gift shop/gallery/pottery guild/art centre and puts on a yearly craft fair, you sometimes have to teach people "How" to use your pottery. Including information that they are foodsafe, can be used in the oven, etc are all important.

So is creating products that people instinctively know how to use by providing value added.  How many times have you heard "I love my pottery but it sits on a shelf and I never use it?" Or "My significant other will kill me if I come home with another pot"?

If you can make different, functional pieces, or demonstrate new uses for the pieces you have, you will stand out form everyone else selling pottery.

How can you do this? Create a mug cake recipe and include the dry ingredients and instructions in the mug.  Or fill up with some homemade hot chocolate mix (or freshly roasted coffee beans!)

Make salt cellars for the table and include a tiny package of gourmet salt (that you bought for dirt cheap in bulk)

Make garlic grater/bread dip plates and  include a little bag of spices or "Bread Dip Mix" They can grate the garlic on the middle of the plate, splash in some good olive oil, add your spice mix and have an instant appetizer.

Make hunny pots and fill with hunny, while your at it get a local woodworker to make you a bunch of old fashioned honey sticks to create a complete set....you get the idea :)

Pottery is for many people, cheap therapy. A way to relax, process life. If it is something that you are passionate about, you should definitely keep doing it, just find more ways to get it to pay for itself :)




socaso

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 527
Re: When to spend money when spending money isn't so simple anymore....
« Reply #20 on: June 02, 2014, 12:52:39 PM »
I think you could book a booth at a local farmer's market for all three of your hobbies. Maybe set yourself a goal of doing this in the next 6 months. At my local farmer's market I notice several vendors offering non-food items. Maybe you could make some fancy pottery jars to sell the honey in and the jars can be cleaned and reused after the honey is gone. Boom! Now it's a gift item. You're welcome.

hoodedfalcon

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 441
  • Location: Deep and Dirty
Re: When to spend money when spending money isn't so simple anymore....
« Reply #21 on: June 02, 2014, 01:03:53 PM »
Why doesn't your brother put the custody battle on his credit card or on loans?  You did it for your schooling.  Or let him deplete his 401(k).  Would you give him retirement money?  No so do the equivalent and let him use his.

^This.

By giving him money so he can keep his 401(k) intact you are essentially going into debt (not paying off student loans) and reducing your net worth to allow him to keep his net worth (401(k) balance).

As bad as it is to cash out a 401(k) with penalties, it his fight and he should commit all available resources before expecting others to chip in.  I think the point about future legal costs is a good one too.  It is unlikely to be a one time thing and you will set up expectations with a large gift check.  Think about how you would feel if you have him a $5k check and then saw a new flat screen TV in his place the next time you get together...

This is what I struggle with. He would, without a doubt, spend every last penny he has to get custody of his daughter. He was talking about taking out of his 401K and I told him to hold off until we know more (we are just starting down this road). He is completely willing and ready to do that. But it's my niece we are talking about, so it's my battle as well, and I want to contribute as much as I am able. The chances of him buying a flat screen TV are basically non-existent. He is not entitled. He is a good guy, who tries too hard to make life better for everyone else at his own detriment. The reality is that beyond a certain point, I won't be able to help financially, and I need to have that conversation with him.

hoodedfalcon

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 441
  • Location: Deep and Dirty
Re: When to spend money when spending money isn't so simple anymore....
« Reply #22 on: June 02, 2014, 01:12:36 PM »
Swick - I love the idea of including a business card! So far most have been gifts to friends or family members or co-workers. Wedding presents, etc. I have donated some pieces for fund raisers as well.

Salt cellars with fancy salt = Christmas gifts to family members in 2012 :)
Garlic grater/dipping plates = My go-to house warming gift
Ceramic casserole dish or decorative bowl for table = My go to wedding present

If I do say so myself, people tend to gather when folks open my gifts. It's a good feeling. :)

But mostly pottery is my therapy. I have tried meditation, massages, and actual therapy, but nothing works as well as sitting at a wheel for a few hours centering clay and turning it into stuff.

Villanelle

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2829
Re: When to spend money when spending money isn't so simple anymore....
« Reply #23 on: June 02, 2014, 02:14:49 PM »
If you are giving away pottery in situations where you otherwise would have spent money on a gift, it's actually not so bad.  Homemade pottery in lieu of $50 for a wedding or $30 for a housewarming gift, and you've actually saved some money. 

I don't want to enable, and I do think it makes a lot of sense for you to start selling it, but giving it away in situations where doing so saves you money is different than just giving it away because someone expresses interest and you have stuff to give. 

norabird

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7967
  • Location: Brooklyn NY
Re: When to spend money when spending money isn't so simple anymore....
« Reply #24 on: June 02, 2014, 03:12:52 PM »
Have the conversation with your brother, and then help him out on custody bills since you feel able. This isn't a frill, it's family. And the hobbies aren't really frills either--they're quality of life enhancements. Give yourself permission to spend money on things that matter to you since these are not absurd expenses or thoughtless ones.

Erica/NWEdible

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 881
    • Northwest Edible Life - life on garden time
Re: When to spend money when spending money isn't so simple anymore....
« Reply #25 on: June 02, 2014, 03:44:07 PM »
I give my neighbor the beekeeper $10 for the jars of honey (they are maybe 12 or 16 oz?) I buy from him. The bees forage my garden. I'm fine with it. Rather give him $10 for literal backyard raw honey than spend $6 for chinese mystery honey. Start selling your excess honey to neighbors. You aren't taking advantage to do so. OR - give as gifts in a way that offsets some OTHER thing you'd spend on, ie, like christmas gifts.

Jamesqf

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4047
Re: When to spend money when spending money isn't so simple anymore....
« Reply #26 on: June 02, 2014, 06:05:38 PM »
On the custody thing, first off, what do you think?  Try to keep emotions out of it, and ask yourself whether the kid would really be significantly better off if your brother had custody.  Too often these things just turn into a power struggle, where the goal is to beat the other party regardless of how the kid gets kicked around in the process.  This could easily set off a lawyer feeding frenzy, 'cause the mom's sharks lawyers will see  whatever your brother spends, and try to get her to raise, then your brother's will do the same...

hoodedfalcon

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 441
  • Location: Deep and Dirty
Re: When to spend money when spending money isn't so simple anymore....
« Reply #27 on: June 02, 2014, 07:30:03 PM »
On the custody thing, first off, what do you think?  Try to keep emotions out of it, and ask yourself whether the kid would really be significantly better off if your brother had custody.  Too often these things just turn into a power struggle, where the goal is to beat the other party regardless of how the kid gets kicked around in the process.  This could easily set off a lawyer feeding frenzy, 'cause the mom's sharks lawyers will see  whatever your brother spends, and try to get her to raise, then your brother's will do the same...

Thank you for bringing this up. The way I see it now, this is the kids home. Her extended family on both sides live within an hour of her. She is doing incredibly well in school and will be moving to advanced classes next year. And if the test is "best interests of the child" I think those things are things to consider. She currently spends nearly equal time with both her mother and father. Mother has some serious health issues and has a special needs baby with her new husband. They would be moving somewhere with zero family and zero support network when mom's health continues to decline. My fear is that my niece will end up being caretaker/babysitter. Part of this is emotional for me because I had that childhood, and I was a caretaker and babysitter when I had a sick and dying parent, and I'd like to spare her that if possible.

There are downsides - Both mom and dad have made some decisions that might reflect poorly in a court of law. Dad has more stable work career, mom has more stable immediate family since she is married and her husband has a good job.

The last thing I want, my brother wants, anyone wants, is a lawyer feeding frenzy. I know the mom doesn't have much money to spend on attorneys, and her husband is going to have a custody battle with his own child from a prior relationship, so they are looking at dealing with this twice, potentially.

We are meeting with the attorney this week, and will know more. I really do want to be as objective as possible about all of this, so I appreciate the questions.

Villanelle

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2829
Re: When to spend money when spending money isn't so simple anymore....
« Reply #28 on: June 03, 2014, 05:39:11 AM »
Have you suggested going through a mediator?  If neither party want so spend a fortune and the relationship between them isn't terribly acrimonious, maybe they can hash this out among themselves.  Perhaps he suggests having custody during the school year, and mom having summers and some major holiday breaks.  Unless the mom has a very, very ugly past, the courts aren't going to give your brother more than that anyway. 

They'll need to hash out child support amounts, who pays for transportation to the mom's location, etc., but maybe they can do it like reasonable human beings instead of enemy combatants.  Better for them, for the child, and for the pocketbooks. 

Cinder

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 468
  • Location: Central PA
Re: When to spend money when spending money isn't so simple anymore....
« Reply #29 on: July 14, 2014, 12:10:20 PM »
Like you, I love MMM, the forum, the people here and the advice that is given.  But if I had one quibble it is that the forum will sometimes focus on minimising costs and exclude the other parts of the MMM message: we stop spending money unnecessarily but it is not frugality for its own sake, it is frugality which makes our lives better while not trashing the planet.

Everything you are talking about spending money on will make your life better without trashing the planet.  Beekeeping, coffee and pottery could have a (small) line in your expenditure budget which will in due course be balanced by a extra line in your income statement.  Your savings rate might be slightly under 50% the month you buy your bike and the months you contribute to your niece's wellbeing through giving her father legal aid, but overall it's not going to throw you off track and from what you say they are highly likely to be worth more to you than the equivalent amount in investments.  Good luck.

Thank you for this. I try to find the happy middle ground but I still struggle with the guilt....

It's been a while, but my wife still has trouble with the distinction between 'But you don't like to spend money' vs 'But you don't like to spend money frivolously'. 

CommonCents

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2386
Re: When to spend money when spending money isn't so simple anymore....
« Reply #30 on: July 14, 2014, 12:30:40 PM »
If you can make different, functional pieces, or demonstrate new uses for the pieces you have, you will stand out form everyone else selling pottery.

+1 to all of the ideas you listed.  To the list, I'd add a sponge holder!  Saw one at a craft fair, and I took a picture to send it to my friend to request that she make me one. 

Also, you can create one different piece a year for gifts (e.g. give everyone in your family the garlic plate one year, the next year salt shakers).

hoodedfalcon

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 441
  • Location: Deep and Dirty
Re: When to spend money when spending money isn't so simple anymore....
« Reply #31 on: July 14, 2014, 12:40:57 PM »
If you can make different, functional pieces, or demonstrate new uses for the pieces you have, you will stand out form everyone else selling pottery.

+1 to all of the ideas you listed.  To the list, I'd add a sponge holder!  Saw one at a craft fair, and I took a picture to send it to my friend to request that she make me one. 

Also, you can create one different piece a year for gifts (e.g. give everyone in your family the garlic plate one year, the next year salt shakers).

Funny you should mention sponge holder! That is my latest experiment! I've made a handful so far, so they will be the next round of housewarming presents probably. Super simple to make. I would love to see the picture of the one you saw at the craft fair!

As an update to all the other stuff - My brother has been given a large sum of money to help with legal expenses. This was given by a close family friend, the long time partner of a family member. This family friend is very well off and has known my brother since he was 8 or 9 years old. I have mixed feelings about this arrangement as it has already started some criticism of my brother, specifically his purchase of fireworks for his kid on the 4th of July. This is what happens when you mix money with family/friends! My brother has hired an attorney and they are going to pursue mediation to start, which is a requirement in my state.

Thanks to everyone for all the awesome ideas!

CommonCents

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2386
Re: When to spend money when spending money isn't so simple anymore....
« Reply #32 on: July 14, 2014, 01:19:40 PM »
Funny you should mention sponge holder! That is my latest experiment! I've made a handful so far, so they will be the next round of housewarming presents probably. Super simple to make. I would love to see the picture of the one you saw at the craft fair!

Here you go!

JCfire

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 145
Re: When to spend money when spending money isn't so simple anymore....
« Reply #33 on: July 14, 2014, 01:56:12 PM »
Easy to tell whether it's worth while -- when you're in debt, you're borrowing to make every purchase you choose to make (because the alternative is paying down debt).  The total cost of your purchase will be the initial cost plus interest on that loan.  The interest rate is the interest on your student loan.  The term of the loan is the time between now and when your student loan will be paid off.

If the initial cost of your bike is $1000, and the interest rate on your student loans is 5%, and you have 8 years left until your loans get paid off, then the real cost to you of buying that bike is $1000*1.05^8, which is $1,477.46.  If you would want to buy the bike if it cost that much and you were not in debt, and you will have a high savings rate regardless of this purchase, then you should buy it.  If the bike is worth $1000 to you but not $1,477.46, then you should not buy it.  That is how I would think about it in your shoes.

For what it's worth, I started cycling recently after developing ankle and knee issues from running (and from an orthopedic problem).  Cycling is the only lower body cardio workout I've tried which doesn't aggravate those issues so far.  So you're not the only one!