Do you ever wonder how people afford things?

United States
March 12, 2009 7:58pm CST
We've always had a rather tight budget, and we pretty much stick with basic necessities. We haven't paid for cable in probably about 3 years, we have basic home phone service, a relatively cheap internet, no car payments, no cell phones, our rent is very inexpensive, we live in a mobile home. Yet for some reason we're still hardly making ends meet each month, according to our budget. Yet I see others who have so much more than we have even though they make the same amount of money, or even less. For instance... my brother. He has been unemployed for quite some time now, and even when he was working all he could get was a part time position. His wife makes the same amount as my husband does, yet they have a beautiful home in a wonderful neighborhood, they both have brand new cars they're making payments on, they both have cell phones and only recently got rid of their home phone. They have cable TV and cable internet, and their kids have the best and most expensive clothes and toys. I just don't know how they do it! Do you know anyone who seems to have more than you do, even though you know they earn less or the same amount as you? Do you ever wonder how they manage their bills, or how they can afford to have everything they have?
2 people like this
12 responses
@jesssp (2742)
• Canada
13 Mar 09
I know what ya mean. The two of us do pretty well, we have a modest home with a modest mortgage and we have a payment on my vehicle. That's it for 'financed' items. My fiance drives a '95 Corolla that might not be too flashy but gets the job done and costs next to nothing to drive. We have a few little extras, he has a 'show truck' that used to be his grandpa's and we also have an old beater pick up that we use for renos and going to the garbage dump, but we don't have payments on those things. We also don't have kids so we have a lot more disposable income right there but once we decide to have a baby things will really change for us. Right now we're able to go on vacation if we want and buy the odd big ticket item but we save for those things, we never finance them. I think that's the biggest reason people seem able to live beyond their means, they finance everything over insanely long terms with ridiculous interest. Then at the end of the month they have nothing left after all their payments come out so they put all their living expenses on credit cards. They're able to make their monthly payments and minimum payments just fine until someone loses a job or something, then everything is upside down. I say enjoy your cute little mobile home, your beautiful family and your lack of car payments, you'll be farther along in the long run!
1 person likes this
• United States
13 Mar 09
I wish I could have been more like you when I was that age! Honestly I feel like hubby and I have done everything so backwards. Granted we had kids long before we were ready to, and that threw us into a tailspin. And me not being able to work has also made things more difficult. Sometimes I do wish I'd gone about life the proper way. You know, get a job and have financial stability first. Buy a modest home, get a couple decent cars, get married... THEN have the kids. I feel like hubby and I have been living like teenagers since we've been together. We haven't lived on our own really. We had a house owned by his cousin which we weren't paying rent on, then we moved into a place we couldn't afford and got evicted. Since then we were living in the home his parent's owned. At one point we did both have cars we had to make payments on, but we couldn't afford them because our credit was bad and the interest was high, and both cars were repo'd. Here we are, 34 and 28 years old, finally living on our own for basically the first time in our lives in a home that we actually can afford. We're finally being smart about our finances and both own cars we do not have to make payments on. Finally now we're doing things the right way! I know it will get easier for us from here on out. The kids will get older and in maybe 4 or 5 years I will be able to work because my youngest will be in school and my oldest will be old enough to babysit (maybe sooner). So we're finally on the right track. I just wish it didn't take us so long to get here!! I admire you for being so smart about your finances, and I hope the both of you continue to be smart about it. Yes, children do upset the financial balance, but from what I know of you... I don't think you'll let it be a problem for you guys!
1 person likes this
@jesssp (2742)
• Canada
13 Mar 09
We were lucky in a lot of ways, just smart in others I suppose, but unfortunately not everyone has the luxury of doing things in the way/order that we did. You guys are on the right track now and that's all that matters. You are still young, there are plenty of families in much worse situations who have ten years on you guys. I'm sure now that everything is going the way it is you'll just keep making more and more progress.
1 person likes this
• United States
13 Mar 09
Well yes, that is true. I was speaking the other day to a woman who's daughter is in dance class with mine. She's older than me by probably 10 years or so, she's been married for 15 years and has 3 kids, and her family is living with her parents, and apparently have been for quite some time. It certainly made me feel less alone!
1 person likes this
@lilybug (21148)
• United States
13 Mar 09
I would bet that a lot of those people have major credit card debt. That is one thing that you and your hubby steer clear of. That is probably why they seem to have so much more than you.
1 person likes this
• United States
13 Mar 09
That very well could be, but eventually the credit cards get maxed, they can't get anymore cards, and can't afford to pay the bills anymore. That hasn't seemed to happen to my brother yet. I know for awhile he was charging stuff on my mom's card. She gave each of us a CC in her name for emergency purposes (this was just a few years ago, not when we were kids!). Around holidays and stuff she'd tell me I could spend X amount on her card to buy gifts from her for me, hubby, or the kids, and that's all I ever used it for. No matter how bad things got I never used the card for anything except when she told me I could. My brother on the other hand used her card for like every vehicle maintenance he could. Her card bought him new tires, and oil changes every few months, and all sorts of other stuff. She would often complain about how much he was charging on her card that was only meant for emergencies!
1 person likes this
@lilybug (21148)
• United States
13 Mar 09
That was the emergency I guess. They spent all their money on things they did not need, so they had no money left for the things they did need.
1 person likes this
@rocketj1 (6960)
• United States
13 Mar 09
The situation in our nation's economy is an indicator that most people are living waaay above their means. They really cannot afford the things they are purchasing and will pay for it in a big way sometime down the road! They are just fooling themselves. Have you noticed how houses are getting bigger and bigger. Everyone has to have a new car? Same thing. It's all on credit!! It was a house of cards and it's now Crumbling!!
1 person likes this
@polachicago (19077)
• United States
13 Mar 09
It is all about proper management. I don't make much, but I think twice before I spend my money. I have may basic spending and everything else goes into saving. I don't buy anything I don't need. This way I can live i nice house. I have old car and I don't use credit cards. I can afford big things, because I save on little unnecessary spending.
1 person likes this
@mizstress (719)
• Philippines
13 Mar 09
its all about magaging your money flow.. you need to budget everything and make sure to follow that budget so you can assure that youll have a saving for that alloted time.. you can also cut on some of your expenses ang change it into savings.
1 person likes this
@cynthiann (18619)
• Jamaica
13 Mar 09
well, the reason could be a number of things. It may be that they are up to theior eyes in debt! Or else they are receiving an income that yui do not know about. Or, the wife has been left money. who knows? You are doing very well and you have your dream and you alsoi have 5 children. There has tpo be extra money coming in to that household.
1 person likes this
@gemini_rose (16193)
13 Mar 09
I know a lot of people like this yes, I find it quite frustrating especially when I know the people with everything were the ones not working!! I have a friend now who is in the same position as us, her hubby was made redundant from the same place as my hubby and they have more to pay out than us and are getting the same amount as us yet they seem to live like they are loaded and I just do not know how they do it at all!!!
1 person likes this
@dodo19 (31960)
• Beaconsfield, Quebec
13 Mar 09
There are times, when I do wonder how some people can afford some things. I'm a curious person, which is probably why I am curious about this fact. Nowadays, with the way that the economy is going, things are going to get difficult for many of us, to say the least.
1 person likes this
@bubblyapple (2655)
• Philippines
13 Mar 09
Yes, I do know a lot who seems to have more than I have. But as much as I can, I don't focus on it. Because if I do, I would not like it a lot. :)
@4ofmyown (1119)
• United States
16 Mar 09
My husband and I say that all the time!! Especially since he works retail he sees people all the time buying carts full of things that cost in the hundreds of dollars. He has told of people spending $500 - $600 at one time!!! That is about what I spend on groceries for a month...and even that is splurging. We have a neighbor like that. I assume they make the money to live like that and if they do, good for them. Personally, even when we do have "extra" money I still shop, cook and save like I normally do.
@snowcat46 (2323)
• United States
15 Mar 09
They're living on credit. That's the reason our country is in the trouble it's in now, people living on what they don't have. I have a girlfriend who can barely pay her rent, or gas, but she goes to the movie theater 3 nights a week. Their priorities are skewed!
@Ramsay (131)
• Canada
13 Mar 09
They are probably in debt over their heads. some of us spend money wisely, and others spend every cent we get. There are other ways to get money too but arent illegal. I beleive many people do that too. Or they just have so much credit they use one card to pay another