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Posted: 12/18/2005 1:25:41 PM EDT
A little history:

I've been married for 16 years. The first 5 were tight (less than $20,000 a year combined annual income). After that our combined averaged $45k-$55k for years. For the last three years I've been in school full time and working part-time, but our income was around $60k.

Now it is just me and my wife. We max our IRA and 401k contributions, always make sure we have at least $5k in the bank, and up till this year owned our house outright. We still own it (renting it out, and it looks like our renter will buy it in Feb). Only have one car payment ($273 a month). Whenever a big expense hits (like the $2000 septic repair, $1200 electrical work, etc.) we pay it. Looking over our expenses and bills, we usually end up bringing in a little more than we spend each month, and this is with us buying a lot of items recently that we normally wouldn't.

That is where I am having a problem. We are now finally making very good money, I have a job that is in high demand and I am finally in a career that I don't have to worry about layoffs. My wife has been with her company for 5 years now, works from home, and at least on the surface looks like her job is secure.

So why do I worry about buying things? I hate owing money, even though the furniture, stereo gear, new computer, fridge, Washer/Dryer, and bed we have bought in the past 4 months have been things we have done without for a long time. All at 0% interest, and I am paying those amounts every month so that they'll be paid off before the interest kicks in.

However, I still second-guess myself whenever I buy things. I guess I feel like doom and gloom is lurking around the corner, and I'll be stuck with all these bills - but we have done without for so long that we have gotten tired of waiting. I figure I'm 39, don't really have any major expenses or renovations in the future for the house, cars are doing fine, so why shouldn't I enjoy myself, buy some toys, etc.? Hell, at 0% interest, as long as I pay them off in the time allotted, it is like paying cash for them.

I guess I'm just a pessimist when it comes to my financial situation.
Link Posted: 12/18/2005 1:30:11 PM EDT
That's the tough part of making and keeping a budget, how do you put in $1000 for a new AR15 for example?

One thing you can do after a couple $2000 repair bill for the sewer system and the like is to budget and keep a separate fund for home maintenance for example, put in $100 to $200 a month in it and when a repair bill comes up, take it out of that fund.

For buying other stuff, like appliances, etc, budget for it, and when you have enough $ for it, buy it. Then you wont feel as guilty.
Link Posted: 12/18/2005 1:31:47 PM EDT

It sounds like you're on track to be wealthy. That's kind of the general feeling I get about people who are uncomfortable spending lots of money.

It often comes from years of scarcity...think depression era people. You can go one way or the other--when the money comes in, you either want to spend it because you finally have it, or you want to save it because you remember what it feels like to have none.

Jim
Link Posted: 12/18/2005 1:37:55 PM EDT

Originally Posted By AssaultRifler:
That's the tough part of making and keeping a budget, how do you put in $1000 for a new AR15 for example?

One thing you can do after a couple $2000 repair bill for the sewer system and the like is to budget and keep a separate fund for home maintenance for example, put in $100 to $200 a month in it and when a repair bill comes up, take it out of that fund.

For buying other stuff, like appliances, etc, budget for it, and when you have enough $ for it, buy it. Then you wont feel as guilty.



That's a good idea. I currently just sort of "wing it" when it comes to a budget. My wife makes the exact same thing every month, I fluctuate about $300-$500 depending on overtime. Our basic bills are pretty consistent, especially with all the credit lines (by that, I mean the Select Comfort bed, the fridge, the Home Depot stuff, the furniture) - but my credit card that I use for everything (I pay it off in full each month) fluctuates depending on toys, eating out, etc.

I always keep the $5000 in the bank and don't touch it unless it is a real emergency, and that hasn't happened in a long time. At the end of the month if it looks like I have an extra $500-$1000 after everything, then I'll often throw it at one of the credit lines to get ahead, or even pay it off.
Link Posted: 12/18/2005 1:42:02 PM EDT
I live a frugal lifestyle, even though I can afford to loosen it up a bit.

I think it's genetic.
Link Posted: 12/18/2005 1:42:54 PM EDT

Originally Posted By KS_Physicist:
It sounds like you're on track to be wealthy. That's kind of the general feeling I get about people who are uncomfortable spending lots of money.

It often comes from years of scarcity...think depression era people. You can go one way or the other--when the money comes in, you either want to spend it because you finally have it, or you want to save it because you remember what it feels like to have none.

Jim



Sometimes, though, I do feel guilty about the amount of money I spend on toys (recently I spent $2000 on new stereo gear - though in all fairness it has been 10 years since I've upgraded my home theater stuff, and we spend a lot of time watching movies at home, and I guess it is an investment, since it should last us a long time.) - or the money I spend on food, boozee, etc.

Maybe I am just slowly realizing that I should enjoy what I make NOW instead of waiting - though I am certain that I will always make sure to do it in moderation and not go overboard. I'm still not going out and buying a $40,000 car, a $300,000 home, expensive clothes, etc. I could if I wanted to, but I don't want to be SO close every month on my budget that I can't handle emergencies.
Link Posted: 12/18/2005 1:45:24 PM EDT

Originally Posted By SWS:
I live a frugal lifestyle, even though I can afford to loosen it up a bit.

I think it's genetic.



That may be it - and my wife is 1000% worse - I have to MAKE her go out and spend money on herself. She was raised pretty low-middle class by Depression-era parents (her grandparents) and is very cheap when it comes to a lot of things.
Link Posted: 12/18/2005 1:46:34 PM EDT
My parents were depression-era children and prolific savers.

Some of that has rubbed off.
Link Posted: 12/18/2005 1:50:42 PM EDT
I'm the same way. The car lot I just bought my V-6 firebird at for 6 grand had a WS-6 Trans am(super bad ass) for 22k. I could have afforded either. I hate being in debt though so I went with the chick version. Together my ex wife and I made over 100k. She had HORRIBLE spending habits and we lived check to check. It made me even more money paranoid. Nothing wrong with it.


By the way, your sigline pisses me off.
Link Posted: 12/18/2005 1:53:08 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Dusty_C:



By the way, your sigline pisses me off.



Then it has served its purpose!
Link Posted: 12/18/2005 1:57:49 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Greywolf2112:

Originally Posted By Dusty_C:



By the way, your sigline pisses me off.



Then it has served its purpose!

Good to know I could give it a sense of fulfillment without my having had been violated
Link Posted: 12/18/2005 2:35:43 PM EDT
At thirty, I have reached a point where I quit "counting money". I lived tight for a long time, and I always have numbers in the back of my head, but I found that there is a point where it just doesn't matter. That doesn't mean got out and blow a bunch of cash, but in time by working/spending smartly, everything will take care of itself.



Link Posted: 12/18/2005 2:57:50 PM EDT
Save, save, save for a rainy day.

You never know when or where one comes from, or how long it will last.

Link Posted: 12/18/2005 3:01:44 PM EDT
We are DINKS "dual income no kids". Financially we are blessed in that we lack for needs.
We were both raised through difficult financial times. I have difficulties having my wife spend money on herself. On the other hand whenever someone on either side of the family requires financial help she has a fast draw holster on her checkbook! She'll endure discomfort in order to help someone in worst condition.
I have a decent "toy collection", however i drive a 20 year old car (priorities). Whenever I "invest" in a new toy I ask myself: Is it a good deal, if not will it likely get more costly? Will it lose value over the long haul? Do I need it (sounds dumb)? Do I want it bad enough that I need it? After all these mental exercises I usually sleep over it. If the "fever has not broken" I will get it.
Then I'll get the buyer's remorse for a couple of days.
Link Posted: 12/18/2005 3:06:03 PM EDT
Yes, I do. I'm always waiting for the other shoe to drop


Inevitably, something bad comes along and knocks me down again.


Luckily, I'm blessed enough to survive it, and keep making forward progress despite the setbacks.0
Link Posted: 12/18/2005 3:06:18 PM EDT
Are you scotish by chance? That is my excuse
Link Posted: 12/18/2005 3:10:36 PM EDT

Originally Posted By VTHOKIESHOOTER:
Are you scotish by chance? That is my excuse



believe it or not, the Dutch are even stingier than the Scots.

Yet another reason they are almost universally hated.

Greywolf2112 - I hear ya. My wife and I current make pretty good money, although with two mortgages (and some student loans still being paid off for her) it's not like we are rolling in dough or anything. But I am extremely paranoid about spending money, and I hate not having financial security.
Link Posted: 12/18/2005 4:28:46 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/18/2005 4:31:47 PM EDT by LonePathfinder]
You have the mentality to be rich. You need to make a budget. People often have very negative conotations of "making a budget" but it doesn't have to be this way. You are simply tracking where your hard earned money goes.

You food bill should be almost the exact same every month for example.

Make categories.

Food (groceries, eating out, booze)
Home furnishings (more for your wife)
Car repair fund (put money into it even when you do not need it)
Home repair fund
Insurance (car, house etc)
Utilities (power, water, phone)
Entertainment (TV/cable/sat, internet, going out to movies or night on the town)
RETIREMENT (you need to be putting money away for this monthly)
Your monthly allowance
Wife's monthly allowance
Clothes (you may need decent looking clothes for work, incl you wife's get prety funds in here)

Sit down and make the appropriate categories for both of you. Make fixed amounts for each. Be reasonable about them. Then do NOT deviate from your amounts if at all possible.

The first month or two it will be hard, but if you appropriate amounts to said funds as soon as you get your check you will honestly not miss it. Take retirement(savings) money and invest it right away (conservative but more than bank interest) as you get your check. Ditto for food money.

If you plan to budget right you will not have any lifestyle changes. If something is a want and excedes your monthly allowance, save up like when you were a kid. You should never touch your retirement funds. By knowing where your money goes and is supposed to go you are less likely to waste money. Plus when you do throw down 2k on your new PS90 or your FS2000 you will not worry because it has come out of your allowance money you have saved up. That money was supposed to be spent on your toys and nothing went short for you to get it because you planned the budget right.

Edit: by doing a budget you will never be caught off guard about needing money. Build in emergency funds for home repair, car repair, SHTF money and you should be good. Budgets are also flexible in that you CAN CHANGE THEM if you don't like how it works. Need more money than you emergency funds allow? Review your entertainment money budget, allowance and cut back. You can scale up or back depending on th situations.
Link Posted: 12/18/2005 4:36:42 PM EDT

Originally Posted By ACK:
We are DINKS "dual income no kids". Financially we are blessed in that we lack for needs.
We were both raised through difficult financial times. I have difficulties having my wife spend money on herself. On the other hand whenever someone on either side of the family requires financial help she has a fast draw holster on her checkbook! She'll endure discomfort in order to help someone in worst condition.
I have a decent "toy collection", however i drive a 20 year old car (priorities). Whenever I "invest" in a new toy I ask myself: Is it a good deal, if not will it likely get more costly? Will it lose value over the long haul? Do I need it (sounds dumb)? Do I want it bad enough that I need it? After all these mental exercises I usually sleep over it. If the "fever has not broken" I will get it.
Then I'll get the buyer's remorse for a couple of days.



That sounds VERY similar to us.
Link Posted: 12/18/2005 6:43:33 PM EDT
Probably my biggest personal flaw, if you want to call it a flaw. I absolutely HATE spending money, it takes a lot for me to even treat myself to something outside ordinary expenses. On the other hand, it sure does make the bank account balance grow.....not that I'm rich by any means.
Link Posted: 12/19/2005 9:22:24 PM EDT
I'm single with no kids and well paid for a single guy. I still sometimes feel bad about spending money on myself. Eventually, I get over it though.
Link Posted: 12/19/2005 9:40:40 PM EDT
Yes.
I don't like spending money, but especially so in two cases.
1) Spending with credit card cause I'm not actually "spending" money at that moment, and I'm always afraid I'll forget to pay my bill.
2) Buying something off the EE via money order. I feel like I am just sending money off, and getting nothing in return.
Link Posted: 12/19/2005 9:41:40 PM EDT
Everytime
Link Posted: 12/19/2005 9:50:41 PM EDT
I don't make enough money to worry about spending it poorly. Every penny I spend should go somewhere else, in one way or another.
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