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We aren't rich, so shut up... a rant

August 12th, 2008 at 07:18 am

I met with a friend last night for dinner. She, like me, has new baby and has started working part time as a freelancer to save on daycare. She was bemoaning how she and her husband are broke and can't make it on one salary alone. They also aren't saving anything for their baby's college.

They have credit card debt. Two SUVs and two SUV car payments. Mortgage, etc. student loans too.

I know for a fact that her husband makes just as much as mine.

She thinks my family making it on one salary must only be possible because we don't have a mortgage. (we don't have one because after a long grueling Hurricane Katrina recovery, we sold our house for enough profit to buy a house in Ohio , because it's much cheaper to live here).

Well, it isn't true. Even when we lived in New Orleans, and had an exorbitant $2,000 a month mortgage and made less money than we do now, we still saved and had no debt. In Ohio, if we hadn't paid it off, our mortgage would only be about $750 a month.

I'm telling you, it isn't the mortgage. It's the other things: the car notes, the credit card debt. We don't have that. And sure, it isn't easy all the time to live with one beat up 11 year old car for two people and a baby, but we do it, because we don't like debt.

And yes, I'd like to have cable television and maybe some fancy clothes every once in a while, but when it comes time to shop, it just doesn't seem as important as putting money away for bean's college.

It's all the choices you make. Not how much you earn. Even when I was young and broke working as a waitress in the French Quarter, I managed to eventually save $10,000 in a ceramic piggy bank in my apartment. It's choices!

With this friend, it's like it's falling on deaf ears.

I guess it frustrates me. You really have more control than you think you do.

We chose to live in a smaller house in a less expensive neighborhood than they chose, we choose not to have two car payments. Why can't anyone see that?

I rue the day they found out our house was paid for!

15 Responses to “We aren't rich, so shut up... a rant”

  1. mbkonef Says:

    It always seems to me that the people who are doing the most to create their own problems thru their poor choices are the ones in the most denial. They cannot see how is is their choices that are causing the problem. Instead they seem to focus on what others have that they don't (or what they think others have) and fail to see the role their choices play. My DH had a brother who was always moaning how we had it "easier" than he did. This was the same brother who was given a house almost mortage free, money for his daughter's education etc. but he managed to rack up enough debt to be forced to sell his house, then blew thru his daughters education fund. My DH on the other hand had to take out and repay student loans and we were never given more than a savings bond when our kids were born for their college funds. We simply chose to live within our means and the brother did not. Til the day he died, (in debt, poor health etc at age 52) he could not see how his choices created his situation. Sadly, his now adult daughter is making the same bad choices and follows in his foot steps in blaming it all on everyone else. It is very sad to see but sometimes people like this are in such denial that you just cannot reason with them.

  2. miclason Says:

    Wait until you have your Tiki Bar! (which, of course, they'll think you got as a present, or as a prize in a raffle or something like that!)

  3. JanH Says:

    I think that people believe that their kind of lifestyle is the norm so that they don't realize that people who have money saved aren't living that kind of life. They assume that you make tons more money than them or something. They can't see the picture that you don't live the kind of lifestyle that has put them into the situation that they are in. And, I'm beginning to see from what many are saying here, that they can't seem to see the real picture. Some may want to change, but they haven't quite grasped what it takes to get there.

  4. momsents Says:


    I believe it simply boils down to the choices we make. You and your DH have made the choices that we were right for you. You don't need to keep up with the Joneses. Your friend obviously has. I have a brother who makes as much as my husband - but guess what we don't have a Lexus, didn't remodel our whole house at the same time, have expensive landscaping, wear Brooks Brothers clothing, etc. And we don't do Starbucks everyday or eat out two times a week. We don't have premium cable channels. Your friend is jealous that she didn't have the philosophy you did. What she thinks doesn't matter. You are doing a wonderful job for your family.

  5. monkeymama Says:

    I completely know the feeling.

    We also moved somewhere significantly cheaper, precisely so we could live on one income.

    Anyway, our financial ease mostly comes from knowing we don't have to have a $400k for a very small patch of land. As such, I find the culture very different here. They don't know what it's like to have to pay $400k for a condo (with the alternative of $1k/month rents for a studio apartment).

    Obviously we're just rich. Wink
    What's mind boggling to me here is so many people I thought were REALLY broke come to me for financial or tax help and I realize instead of living on $30k/year as I imagined, they are living on $130k/year. (Keep in mind we were living on $50k when we had our first child).

    A lot of people here make big money but don't have much to show for it. I have an acquaintance who drives modest cars and lives in a modest home and just admitted they are in danger of losing their home because they borrowed $200k against it and can no longer afford the payments. I have no idea what their incomes are, but they both work full-time.

    Huh??? There is nothing they own they could sell to knock down that debt. I don't even understand where it all went. ??? But it's kind of the common story here.

    It's not even the cars and fancy stuff. They spent it all on eating out and amusement parks. Seriously. It goes fast when you don't bother to rein it in at all.

  6. princessperky Says:

    I can understand your frustration, we live on one income surrounded by folks on two with amazing amounts of debt and spending...they think we are rich, but we are not even close. we just don't spend on the typical items.

  7. Ima saver Says:

    I worked as a waitress for many years for very low tips, but I always mananged to save something first. I have a best friend I have been talking to for over 40 years about saving money but she still won't listen. She will have to work until she dies!!

  8. thriftorama Says:

    Thanks for your support. I just get so mad sometimes. I love my friends but some of them have a real disconnect. At least my best friends, another couple who live way beyond their means, know they are being bad and accept responsibility for their choices even if they don't want to change them. And, recognize that we live on next to nothing. (They make fun of us for it, in a good way).

    This friend I wrote about above also refuses to buy second-hand baby clothes. She shops at neiman marcus for baby clothes.

  9. Broken Arrow Says:

    Very true! It has to be one of my bigger gripes. People don't want to cut back, but they want to tell you how sad and difficult their lives are. And better yet, they get jealous that you're somehow able to "make it" but they can't because it's the economy, gas prices, job prospects, bills, or whatever else that's out there but couldn't possibly be their fault.

  10. thriftorama Says:

    If I bought half the things some of my in debt friends do, I'd be in financial trouble, too.

    It's not like we don't splurge every once in a while. It's a matter of priorities. As my hubby says, we want to BE things, we want to DO things, we don't want to HAVE things.

    We also have a mantra: Avoid anything with a monthly payment, if possible.

  11. mbkonef Says:

    I have actually told sales people wanting me to sign up for something "buy now, pay later" or with "small monthly payment" that I am allergic to debt. I always get a funny look but it seems to work.

  12. thriftorama Says:

    MBkonef:

    There is a pervasive acceptance of debt. For instance, one roofing contract I spoke to,w hen I told him his roof as about $10,000 over my budget, suggested I spend my budget then put the rest on company financing-- which is a credit card with 18 percent interest. When is it a good idea to empty your savings AND go into high interest debt at the same time?

  13. little l Says:

    My sister is that way and it frustrates me. Her daughter (my niece) is moving out to go to college. Child support payments stopped in May. My sister can no longer afford her mortgage on her townhouse because apparently the child support was figured into the loan. Umm, did she not know that when my niece turned 18 that the child support payments would stop? How was she planning on affording her mortgage?

    A couple of years ago she was bemoaning the fact that she wouldn't be able to afford things once child support stopped. Hello!!!! That's why you plan for things and not wait until the girl is moving out. She drives a SUV, has a gym membership, gets her nails done, shops, yadda yadda. I tried to tell her to "find ways to reduce your expenses". She apparently is not willing to make sacrifices. So instead she is going to rent out my niece's room and then complain what a hassle it is to have a roomate. Some people just don't get it.

  14. nance Says:

    My SIL is always talking about how they are broke, and they are broke, but it is because they have a mortgage, two car payments, on two NEW vehicles, and use shopping as "recreation". They have no savings, and no money set aside for retirement. They are pushing fifty, and the kids are grown, but they will always be broke because of their spending habits. They think we are rich, and expect DH to pay for everything when we are together. I worry about how they are going to manage when they are retirement age. I hope they stay healthy, so they can work until they die.

  15. thriftorama Says:

    Yep. I don't get it. Is it the " I work hard I deserve it thing?" or is something else going on?

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