This is Getting Old

Can someone please explain what I’m doing wrong?

I make more money than the vast majority of my friends. I don’t make doctor or lawyer money, but I do make experienced software engineer money.

I drive a 7 year-old Subaru station wagon. I haven’t bought a new computer in 5 years. Or TV. The only A/V toy I’ve bought in that time is a $100 DVD player. Nor have I bought any new furniture in that time. I only shop for new clothes a few times a year. I can’t remember the last time I bought a new CD. I don’t eat out more than a couple times a week at most. When I go out on the weekends I don’t drink much, so I don’t rack up huge bar tabs. It takes me months to go through a bottle of scotch. I live in PA because the rent’s cheaper. Occasionally I buy a DVD or video game off of the bargain rack. This past weekend was the first time I’ve shelled out for a plane trip in nearly 4 years.

Yet I barely scrape by from paycheck to paycheck, I have to pay bills late, and my credit card debt steadily accumulates. Somehow, in a country where people who make half what I make live in nice, fully-furnished houses and have home theatre systems, I don’t make enough money to support our modest existance.

What the hell am I doing wrong?!!!

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  1. are you using drugs…Avdi? *stares questionatively*



    Do you own a house? if not consider buying a two-family….it might help, you write off the interest on the mortgage. In fact mortgage will likely be about the same as your rent. You do have to pay insurance, etc. But with a second rental income coming in you might find things a tad easier.

    Plus…all of the $$$ your paying goes into your own equity and not someone else’s.

  2. What is your biggest expense, do you find? We have the same problem it seems – I’m running around in a 1997 Ford Escort and don’t even have a telephone, but it seems that everytime we manage to save up, some evil mishap comes along and takes our little nest egg 🙁

    1. It all adds up… rent is obviously the largest single expense, but between electricity, natural gas, telephone, water&sewer, car fuel and maintenance, DSL, car payments (thankfully finished, finally), insurance, groceries, pet supplies, paying down the credit card, paying down stacey’s old debts, medical bills (copayments and non-covered treatments), clothing (particurly for the kids), just about all of my paycheck is spoken for.

      Add the inevitable evil mishap or one-time expense that seems to come along every month, and I find myself in the red.

      1. Don’t I know it!

        I don’t even have a credit card, or school loans to pay off, and we quit dining out 3x per week, thereby saving $320 a month, and I put myself on $20 a week spending money (!!!)..but somehow, we just manage to eek by…

        I swear, some days the prospect of taking on a 4th job is mighty tempting.

  3. >Somehow, in a country where people who make half what
    >I make live in nice, fully-furnished houses and have
    >home theatre systems, I don’t make enough money to support
    >our modest existance.

    Are you sure you make twice as much as said people? I know a lot of people downplay their income to not seem uppity or of a different “class”, but 99 times out of 100, the proof is in the proverbial pudding… just my $0.02 (…or is my $18.67?)

  4. Food perhaps??

    The only thing that I noticed in your post that sounded like it could be cut is eating out a couple of times a week..

    and I eat out like once or perhaps twice a month, tops… Our Grocery bills–which is for 2-3 people during the week and 5 people on the weekends–average around $100 a week total…

    Granted, we have a kick ass grocery store here in town called Woodmans that is absolutely fucking spectacular–makes “discount” places like Cub foods seem a bit pricey–but it does make a big difference if you bring your own lunch and don’t eat out.. A decent dinner for two people at any restaurant is going to cost around $30-40.. and 3 times a week would make that around $100/week.. which is around $5,000 a year…

    Only other thing I can say is that old debt sucks ass… the key is quite literally to leave your credit cards at home when you go to work during the day.. if you don’t ever use them.. then they cant accumulate.. 🙂

    I must note also, however, that I also sell bodily fluids for Cash… I go to the plasma center twice a week, which adds up to $40-50/week.. I put half of this money away–saving it up for a tattoo. and then limit all of my spending money to the other half..

    anyway.. gotta get back to work..

    1. Re: Food perhaps??

      I tend to agree with tricstmr, with two additional ideas. One is that paying old debt while accruing new debt doesn’t make sense. Get to where you aren’t gathering new debt before you try to right old debts. And perhaps give some thought to pet ownership – those bills can add up, maybe no new pets for a while? Taken on new pets when already bobbing at the borderline can really guarantee the last of any loose change is spoken for.

      1. Re: Food perhaps??

        And perhaps give some thought to pet ownership

        My bad here. It was selfish and inconsiderate of me to insist on getting another grey. For as wonderful as she is, are the vet bills worth it? Canute’s euthanization hadn’t been paid in full yet. And then after all that we had to put our new grey in the kennel for the time we were gone to the tune of $105. But give her back? I don’t think I could. I just don’t know.

  5. You’re right. I live in Southern California, own my own home, drive a Mercedes, and my monthly expenses don’t really exceed $1200 a month.

    But, I’m only supporting myself. I don’t have a wife and kids, and I don’t have any debt. No credit cards, either.

    The only way for you to know is for ALL of you to write down every penny you spend, so you can see where your money is going, then form a budget.

    When came to visit me, we went shopping, and she managed to feed both of us for 10 days on about $40 worth of groceries, and we ate like kings! So, I know it can be done.

  6. One thing that is money-saving…

    Jay and I only grocery-shop once a month, limiting ourselves to $200 worth of groceries, all non-perishables and stuff that goes in the freezer. That’s alot less than the average weekly-shopper spends when you think about it. We also own a washer that runs on only cold water.

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