Live below your means - Page 2 - Talk About Marriage
Financial Problems in Marriage When financial times are tough, it adds to the stress we deal with on a daily basis. This section is for talking about how financial problems affect our relationships and ways to cope.

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post #16 of 67 (permalink) Old 02-08-2015, 03:11 PM
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Re: Live below your means

"Tennessee is also unlikely to fall into the ocean anytime soon."

This is really funny.

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post #17 of 67 (permalink) Old 02-08-2015, 05:56 PM
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Re: Live below your means

When you have zero housing payment and live with older cars, family of 7 on $2200 a year isn't actually all that hard. You just have to live without the extras. We keep our thermostat set at about 60 in the winter (which I admit sucks in upstate NY where it's usually below freezing and often even below zero), no A/C in the summer, don't eat out more than once a month (with 5 kids restaurants aren't much fun anyway), no car payments, no credit cards, health insurance for the kids is through the state so premiums are low, if my kids want extras (like electronics) they know to go to my ex because he can afford that kind of thing and we can't. All clothes come from thrift stores and garage sales. Books, CDs, movies are only bought used as well. We go to the library for internet access rather than having it at home. My cell phone is provided by my employer which is the only reason I have one.We're also very into self-sufficiency - we have a huge veggie garden every summer, also a lot of fruit trees, we do a lot of canning and preserving. We have chickens, we get milk from a neighbor who has a dairy farm, we bake from scratch rather than buying store-bought. Now I know people in urban and suburban areas don't have those options but in the country a little hard work can save a lot of money.

I am working on my master's degree but very slowly as I am already working 3 part time jobs just to make ends meet. Once I have it I hope to get public teaching job with some real benefits. My sister (who is the other adult, there is no adult male in our household) works one part time job during school hours and takes care of the kids the rest of the time. I get a decent amount of child support each month, she's in the process of trying to get survivor benefits for her kids as her husband died last month. It will actually RAISE our income - he was horrible about paying his child support.
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post #18 of 67 (permalink) Old 02-08-2015, 06:28 PM
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Re: Live below your means

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"Tennessee is also unlikely to fall into the ocean anytime soon."

This is really funny.
We have a few tornadoes and you might be trampled at the grocery store if it starts to snow, but we aren't falling into the ocean.
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post #19 of 67 (permalink) Old 02-09-2015, 03:09 PM
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Re: Live below your means

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Living below your means: if you do this long enough, you can bank a good chunk of your raises and build savings. We lived as if poverty stricken for 3 years to save down payment on a house and funds to renovate it. Both of us worked 2 jobs; at one point husband had 3 jobs. Wouldn't trade those 3 years for nothing. Taught us how to live always below our means. Probably could not be a SAHM if it wasn't for building that foundation. And wouldn't have had expendable capital to flip houses if it wasn't for that 3-year foundation. We still save for extra things we want even though we have the money to buy it. We only withdraw from savings for emergencies. All because we live BELOW my H's paycheck.
We so relate to your beginning years TheFAM....

No house flipping for us though (that has to be a lot or work!)....we had enough of trying to fix up our 2nd house (we called it our investment) with the plan to sell when we found what we wanted.. We spent 2 straight yrs ....work work work ..we made a profit, but it wasn't huge...did manage to sell it in just 3 weeks though.

When we learned we were having a baby a few after getting married...it was a little scary to quit my full time job--he was only making a few dollars over minimum wage....we always had $$ saved though ...or I couldn't have done it... I am a worrier about things like this...

A few yrs later...when living in our 2nd house....I worked smaller jobs around his schedule ...building upon our savings...we wanted as much to put down on our next house as possible...to have lower monthly payments ..

So we scrimped, wasn't one to eat out much....did all our own home improvements /car repairs, we'd get manuals from the Library if we had to..

I always made sure we enjoyed family vacations though...to Sea World, 18 hr drive to Disney, but we'd never stay on property...visits to museums, amusement parks...things to build memories...you gotta live life!.. You realize money doesn't come easy, but it's there to be enjoyed too !!..it's not all work and no play..

Always used coupons/ rebates, BOGO, consignment shops were my friend, Ebay for their video games, etc....

We got our hands dirty & did some Crazy things looking back.. didn't like our gas bill, we built a chimney & installed a wood furnace...bought a 4x4 truck (in pieces)...cab separated from the bed, motor tranny laying over there (price -$700 but thousands in new parts)....hauled it home on a flatbed..(I was worried they'd never pull that off!).....but him & a friend ..they did it...took our 1st drive down the road 3 weeks later.. His Project truck...he was so proud..

H learned so much about mechanics during that ..this saved us so much in vehicle repairs over the yrs.... all of these little things.. they add up in the cost of living & managing of finances.. My H still prefers older cars for this reason...

I bought this in our early marriage... The Complete Tightwad Gazette: Books...used to listen to the Suze Orman show.

We, too, look to our early yrs determined to live below our means.... 16 yrs ago he got a better paying Job.. we eased up some.. a little more liberal with the spending.. but still it's been a way of life ...

A good health insurance plan...without that..no matter how frugal a family is...they could be wiped out within days of saving for a lifetime.. this was always a huge concern of ours..we always figured these costs in the job prospects he had... (So much is changing here, fewer employers offering it at all)...

Probably all savers do this.... seeking credit cards with the highest cash back awards.. so long as one pays in full every month, they can earn hundreds in perks....
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post #20 of 67 (permalink) Old 02-10-2015, 12:04 AM
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Re: Live below your means

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We so relate to your beginning years TheFAM....

No house flipping for us though (that has to be a lot or work!)....we had enough of trying to fix up our 2nd house (we called it our investment) with the plan to sell when we found what we wanted.. We spent 2 straight yrs ....work work work ..we made a profit, but it wasn't huge...did manage to sell it in just 3 weeks though.

When we learned we were having a baby a few after getting married...it was a little scary to quit my full time job--he was only making a few dollars over minimum wage....we always had $$ saved though ...or I couldn't have done it... I am a worrier about things like this...

A few yrs later...when living in our 2nd house....I worked smaller jobs around his schedule ...building upon our savings...we wanted as much to put down on our next house as possible...to have lower monthly payments ..

So we scrimped, wasn't one to eat out much....did all our own home improvements /car repairs, we'd get manuals from the Library if we had to..

I always made sure we enjoyed family vacations though...to Sea World, 18 hr drive to Disney, but we'd never stay on property...visits to museums, amusement parks...things to build memories...you gotta live life!.. You realize money doesn't come easy, but it's there to be enjoyed too !!..it's not all work and no play..

Always used coupons/ rebates, BOGO, consignment shops were my friend, Ebay for their video games, etc....

We got our hands dirty & did some Crazy things looking back.. didn't like our gas bill, we built a chimney & installed a wood furnace...bought a 4x4 truck (in pieces)...cab separated from the bed, motor tranny laying over there (price -$700 but thousands in new parts)....hauled it home on a flatbed..(I was worried they'd never pull that off!).....but him & a friend ..they did it...took our 1st drive down the road 3 weeks later.. His Project truck...he was so proud..

H learned so much about mechanics during that ..this saved us so much in vehicle repairs over the yrs.... all of these little things.. they add up in the cost of living & managing of finances.. My H still prefers older cars for this reason...

I bought this in our early marriage... The Complete Tightwad Gazette: Books...used to listen to the Suze Orman show.

We, too, look to our early yrs determined to live below our means.... 16 yrs ago he got a better paying Job.. we eased up some.. a little more liberal with the spending.. but still it's been a way of life ...

A good health insurance plan...without that..no matter how frugal a family is...they could be wiped out within days of saving for a lifetime.. this was always a huge concern of ours..we always figured these costs in the job prospects he had... (So much is changing here, fewer employers offering it at all)...

Probably all savers do this.... seeking credit cards with the highest cash back awards.. so long as one pays in full every month, they can earn hundreds in perks....
I really like the part about spending money to build memories rather than have stuff (which probably will be unappealing or obsolete before long).

Agree about the need for affordable health insurance. I recently enrolled and realized my employer pays for less than half of the cost. I knew this company was ungenerous and had the leverage to factor that into my salary demands. But can you imagine having to pay for a family plan (>$600 per month) on a blue collar salary? (75% of all employees are production workers).

Overall, I agree there has to be a balance between spending and saving. However, I think many people err on the side of not saving enough. IMO, you need to plan very conservatively for retirement:

* You can't count on good investment returns when we went through a decade of low to flat market performance not long ago.

* You can't assume you will work until full retirement age if you get sick or hurt.

* You can't assume you will match your old salary if demand for your skills decline (learned that one the hard way).
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post #21 of 67 (permalink) Old 02-10-2015, 01:40 AM
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Re: Live below your means

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Yep, there is a balance that has to be achieved. Too much spending is just reckless. Not enjoying your life is also reckless. It turns life into a drudgery.
Agreed.

There's got to be a balance in life.

I don't necessarily think debt in terms of a mortgage as a bad thing as it can be an investment. We have a mortgage and sure, if we didn't it would free up cash-flow. We could have bought a property that meant either being mortgage-free or lower payments ...granted we did go slightly above our budget when buying our recent home but to us it is worth it. We love the place and also feel there's strong potential to capitalize when the time comes to resell. We're aware of this in the decisions we make for the property - both how we'd like it to be as our home, as well as the value we are adding to the place.

In saying all of this, the theory of living within means is certainly not one that can be argued with. I'm more budget-conscious than my husband. He's more the risk taker. And the balance is there between us. He's shown me to loosen up and enjoy it. I've demonstrated what being frugal can achieve. Interestingly, he has stated that if we were raising a family that would make him more cautious.

To me, the question with saving/earning/investing more money is knowing the why. Why does one need to earn more, invest more, save more... what's the driving motivation and is that the way to achieve it?

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post #22 of 67 (permalink) Old 02-10-2015, 01:46 AM
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Re: Live below your means

For those with families who have found ways to live with minimal financial concerns, I absolutely tip my hat to you.

There are wise choices to make, sometimes sacrifice and having smarts about you.... and there's sometimes just a matter of luck in this life. I think luck combined with savvy and sometimes taking risk/being bold can lead to certain goals being met.

Music belongs in a place with hearts beating and brains dreaming and people falling in love. - J.Buckley
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post #23 of 67 (permalink) Old 02-11-2015, 03:28 PM
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Re: Live below your means

Living below your means does not mean poverty or even being frugal. It means don't spend what you don't have. And that is only one part of the strategy for financial independence. What hasn't been mentioned (so far) is the savings and investment end of it. Get and read Bogleheads Guides to Investing. Visit the forum and Wiki.

The goal is financial independence. Living below your means is just one part of it.
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post #24 of 67 (permalink) Old 02-12-2015, 08:19 AM
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Re: Live below your means

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I really like the part about spending money to build memories rather than have stuff (which probably will be unappealing or obsolete before long).
By stuff..everyone cares about different things..... for instance, I carried around an old tracfone (cost for a cell about $85 a year) for 10 yrs.. I never cared..... it was for emergencies, good enough for me...and I gave it to him on those morning drives to work icy/snowy in case he broke down..

Just 2 months ago, I bought my 1st android..(hey that's a big deal!)...Love it by the way..... still a tracfone.. our oldest car is a 1991.. it's got that iron duke engine and we love this car-so faithful !@#....had it for over 10 yrs...oh he had to replace a gas tank & some other things, nothing huge... .bought it for $2,000 (only 33,000 miles on it)..... we keep the paint job up.. we just don't need newer cars...doesn't bother me if we don't have the cd player & it's got winder winders (I even prefer those)...

If we wanted, we could buy a couple brand new cars & pay cash but we never would, for us, that would be the biggest waste imaginable.. though it's true, we often look at someone and probably judge by the vehicle they drive... many would think we must be really poor or we'd have newer.. but it's just not the case..

On the other hand, I wouldn't think anything of buying a $1,000 lap top, a new SLR...or something that really meant something to the kids...a specialty guitar they had their heart set on... We plan to go to Family resort , stay in a house...9 of us (bringing a couple friends )... just 2 nights.. over $2,0000 ...did this last year..and they want to go back.

Our kids have i-pods, not cell phones.. so long as internet is available, it's just like having a phone..with the magic jack app/ free texting & all. I know some families that pay over $150 a month for phones, then a kid goes over upping their bill another couple hundred .... OMG -I'd FREAK !#@$..... But if one has a business.. they do need a unlimited plan..our oldest son found one for $12 a month.. he's pretty happy with it.

Quote:
Agree about the need for affordable health insurance. I recently enrolled and realized my employer pays for less than half of the cost. I knew this company was ungenerous and had the leverage to factor that into my salary demands. But can you imagine having to pay for a family plan (>$600 per month) on a blue collar salary? (75% of all employees are production workers).
It seems these plans can be all over the map...I have lost tract now, but I think they only take out about $250 a month for our family plan.. blue collar here too.. After reading what some pay.. It's just crazy.. I am very pleased with his plan yet I wonder what may come.. ..Ours is (or I should say was, I am sure it changed with the new year)..annual deductible $150 individual / $300 family..

Out of pocket Maximum $750 Individual/ $1,500 family.. if you stay in network that is..

Quote:
Overall, I agree there has to be a balance between spending and saving. However, I think many people err on the side of not saving enough. IMO, you need to plan very conservatively for retirement:

* You can't count on good investment returns when we went through a decade of low to flat market performance not long ago.

* You can't assume you will work until full retirement age if you get sick or hurt.

* You can't assume you will match your old salary if demand for your skills decline (learned that one the hard way).
We started a 401 K when he got the better job, no matching from employer....my H seemed to be the only guy there who got into it...I don't know why... it's been accumulating very nicely... we may reach the goal we set out for ..but who knows... with the unsteady fluctuations.....we do pay a little extra to get it "managed" as this is not a strong point of either of us.. I also started an IRA years go in case he needed to roll it over, if he lost this job...so it would be in place..

Then having term life insurance for these years.. when so much is going on...I have a policy on him till he is 58...and just got another till he is 70...he's got one on me till I am 58....

His job offers a pension... Even if my H got laid off or we both had to take lower paying jobs ....I believe we'd be Ok ....because of what we have saved ...and having no debt...

If things got really bad in later years.. there are those "Reverse mortgages"... I would absolutely HATE to use that though, would be an awful loss to the home owner, and our children... just saying.. in desperation.. it is there.. I do wonder if they consider acreage in that .. I bet they only give you like half or less of what something is worth.. I often wondered about those things. We hope to pass our house/property on to one of the kids..so it can be kept in the family.. sounds that has to be done a good 7 yrs before one dies or something.. many things to look into.. that we haven't done just yet.
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post #25 of 67 (permalink) Old 02-12-2015, 10:07 AM
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Re: Live below your means

You are amazing, SA. Such a smart consumer.


One of the deepest feminine pleasures is when a man stands full, present, and unreactive in the midst of his woman's emotional storms. When he stays present with her, and loves her through the layers of wildness and closure, then she feels his trustability, and she can relax. -- David Deida, The Way of the Superior Man
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post #26 of 67 (permalink) Old 02-12-2015, 10:39 AM
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Re: Live below your means

You guys are inspiring me...

My H and I are considering ways to live more frugally...

We make good money with both working full time, good salaries, benefits and three rental houses, but I KNOW we could be saving more and we are looking at making a game out of it by first setting one whole income aside and seeing what we can do to leave it in tact. With our son, our dog, two horses and four households you can imagine that the unexpected expenses are frequent, we have learned to build in cushions, but are wanting to increase it. What have been your favorite resources to learn ways of doing this?

I am a firm believer in no mortgage/rent or one that is no more than 10% of gross income, but I like this idea of shifting that to 10% of ONE income, not all three... we are wanting to shift to just one meeting all of our needs whether we keep all three streams or not. Yet, I also know we want to live... so this will definitely be an endeavor in creativity in meeting that balance.

I'm not sure how possible 10% of one income will be in the city we are in. Our son is in the best school district in town which comes with high real estate prices. Looking around on that one....

The day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to Blossom. - Anais Nin
Never underestimate the potential for things to improve in ways you cannot yet imagine. Karen Rohlf
Be soft as possible, but firm as necessary - Pat Parelli

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post #27 of 67 (permalink) Old 02-12-2015, 12:12 PM
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Re: Live below your means

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Blossom Leigh said: My H and I are considering ways to live more frugally...

We make good money with both working full time, good salaries, benefits and three rental houses, but I KNOW we could be saving more and we are looking at making a game out of it by first setting one whole income aside and seeing what we can do to leave it in tact. With our son, our dog, two horses and four households you can imagine that the unexpected expenses are frequent, we have learned to build in cushions, but are wanting to increase it. What have been your favorite resources to learn ways of doing this?
You'e done well Blossom & husband !!..... 3 rental houses.. Nice !!

If you could manage for just one year on one income...you'd be so encouraged how much you can save... it would inspire you to keep on.. .. than after the 12 months, by then...so many of the little changes will be a part of your "daily living".. some I doubt you would even miss.. ...

We never buy drinks eating out (one little rule of ours as a family)..... it's always water.. unless something special like a milkshake or frozen coke.. (I am a sucker for those)...at a brewery we have eaten a few times...we let the kids get their special root beer made there on site...a real treat.

This is a nice article with many tips...like making your own coffee, bringing a lunch, buy on sale/ in bulk, get a water filter over buying bottled water...etc etc..

Painless Penny Pinching: How to Save Big Without Feeling Deprived

What it says about the credit cards in there, It depends...I like to charge everything imaginable from food, to kids braces , to our heating oil, even taxes if they let me.. I was never one who spent more just because I had a card in my pocket though.. I have good self control here.. though not so much in other areas.. I guess we all have our weaknesses.. Credit cards are only good if one pays in full every month or they will cause much more harm & setbacks over good...

Quote:
I'm not sure how possible 10% of one income will be in the city we are in. Our son is in the best school district in town which comes with high real estate prices. Looking around on that one....
I think we are in a really low cost area.. people can buy a house in our smaller city towns...on the fixer upper side for like $30,000 .... the unemployment is high though..

Our state offers a program called "Clean & Green" to property owners with at least 10 acres-to save on property taxes.....but there are stipulations to what one can do with their land..... it could go belly up at any time though...and I expect it will in the future.. . Not sure if all states have something like this, or some form of it...if you want to sell your land in the near future ... sub dividing it though, this would put a fork into some of those plans or you'd have to pay back taxes.
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post #28 of 67 (permalink) Old 02-12-2015, 02:21 PM
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Re: Live below your means

Thanks SA... we are not debt free, but have very little debt in comparison to our assets and two of the houses pay off in November of this year... that's some super coolness right there. I am looking at placing my horses on loan to a special equestrian program to defray the cost and food is our biggest budget buster. So, I am proud of how far we've come and decisions we've made. His car is free and clear. My truck has a tiny balance on it. Thanks for the articles.

The day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to Blossom. - Anais Nin
Never underestimate the potential for things to improve in ways you cannot yet imagine. Karen Rohlf
Be soft as possible, but firm as necessary - Pat Parelli

Blossom's Road of Recovery and Reconciliation
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post #29 of 67 (permalink) Old 02-14-2015, 07:08 AM
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Re: Live below your means

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Thanks SA... we are not debt free, but have very little debt in comparison to our assets and two of the houses pay off in November of this year... that's some super coolness right there. I am looking at placing my horses on loan to a special equestrian program to defray the cost and food is our biggest budget buster. So, I am proud of how far we've come and decisions we've made. His car is free and clear. My truck has a tiny balance on it. Thanks for the articles.
THat is coolness !...There are many forums on frugality online too... something like this section on the "Simple Living" forum....

Frugality, Products & Purchases

...Or this section... Personal Finance
Getting out of debt, credit cards, socially responsible investing, money management, etc
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post #30 of 67 (permalink) Old 02-14-2015, 09:06 PM
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Live below your means

Live below our means? We do. I saved $6k by not buying the Mini Cooper JCW and had to be content with the S model
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