In Discussions, Money, Wealth

Almost Rich: Earning $160,000 – $200,000 a year and barely making it

There was an article shared by Single Mom, Rich Mom in her post Judgey McJudgeypants referencing a Toronto Life article entitled: “Almost Rich: an examination of the true cost of city living and why rich is never rich enough”.

FYI, SMRM makes more as a single income earner than any of these people, and she is even more frugal than I am, which isn’t saying much because I don’t really consider myself super frugal (more of a conscious spender if that exists)… but I thought I ought to point out! 😛

As a short recap, these people earn about $160,000 – $200,000 gross a year and are saying that it still isn’t enough to live the way they want and save. Toronto Life writes:

…the threshold for the top one per cent of income earners is much lower than you’d expect: $196,000, in the latest Statistics Canada numbers.

That’s no small amount of money, but hardly the means for a life of leisure.

In an increasingly pricy city like Toronto, where we pay a premium for everything from milk to car insurance, $196,000 can seem positively middle-class.

I am no good at reading these expenses in a huge paragraph, so I made graphs for two profiles I thought were the most interesting:

At the end of the month, after all the bills are paid, they usually find they have nothing left. “We have a weakness for designer furniture,” says Suzanne. “In 2010, we spent $5,000 on a table and Eames chairs for our dining room.”

THE LEWIS-KOONINGS BUDGET:

I estimated that they earn $125,000 net a year after taxes.


NOTES I’D LIKE TO POINT OUT:

  • They’re saving 1.18% of their income for their kids and 0% for themselves
  • …but are spending 4.73% of their income on Wine and 3.78% on Eating Out
When you prioritize Wine and Eating Out over saving for your kids or yourself, something is wrong, unless I’m missing the big picture and they have an INCREDIBLE retirement savings plan from their employers (very possible, especially if they work for the government).
 Craig-Haynes-Toronto-Life-Profile-Almost-Rich

He tries to stay debt-free, but occasionally he splurges on travel or a big-ticket toy, like the $7,500 Royal Enfield motorcycle he bought last year. “People think I make a lot of money,” he says, “but I lose so much of it in tax.”

THE HAYNES BUDGET:

I estimated that he earns $115,000 net after taxes.

Updated Note: Retirement should be “Need”, not “Want”, although he has a solid saving balance at the end of the year.

NOTES I’D LIKE TO POINT OUT:

  • I don’t think his budget is that bad…. because he prioritizes what he wants to do!!!
  • He also seems to be saving a total of about $40,000 a year based on his budget ($20K in retirement and $20K in budget leftover).
  • I’m sort of curious about his quote about not making a lot of money and losing most of it in tax — he’s a single income household earning about $115k net a year which is a phenomenal amount of money

Read the Toronto Life Article here.

THEY EARN PLENTY TO SAVE, THEY JUST SPEND TOO MUCH

Same old, same old.

I will admit, I was reading the article and I was a bit shocked that they think what they earn, is not enough, but maybe that’s just Toronto Life’s spin on things to garner some shock so that the article goes viral.

I earn $30,000 less than the lowest earner, and I think what I earn is more than enough as a dual income no kids (DINK), although BF and I don’t share our income, we do split the essential bills 50/50 like Rent, Household and Groceries.

For those couples who say that they don’t seem to have money at the end of the day (Lewis-Koonings), they need to re-examine their budget.

The rest, seem to be saving, although not as much as they’d like.

EVERYONE PRIORITIZES WHAT THEY WANT TO DO WITH THEIR MONEY

They either want to spend it on Wine and Eating out instead of saving for their kids or their own future (Lewis-Koonings), or they decide that Wine is important, but they still make it a point to sock away the maximum for their retirement (Haynes).

I am not saying that NO ONE should be able to eat out or have a great bottle of wine a week.

I’m saying that if you feel like you don’t save enough, and you’re always living cheque to cheque then you need to re-examine your budget and put your money where your mouth is.

People who claim that they HAVE to eat out because they don’t have time to cook when they get home or are tired, are people who are not organized and conscientious about their money to be prepared for those weekly challenges.

I’m tired too. I get home, it’s late, I’m annoyed, but I cook ahead of time so that I don’t go hungry and start eating condiments and spices.

I AM NO SAINT… BUT I DO SAVE MY MONEY

I am no saint. I definitely spend when I want to spend, and I do what I want with my money, but that’s because I can afford to and I know it.

I save when I can, and when I feel panicky or anxious that I might be turning into a McSpenderson, I cut back and start re-evaluating my goals.

I always review my budget each month that I track with my budgeting tool, I set very lofty goals for my net worth (perhaps too lofty…), and I have significant savings outside of my retirement plans.

I try to be conscientious about my money, but I also want to live my life and be happy, even if it means spending $2.50 on a single macaron! (OK who am I kidding, I eat 4 macarons at a time… so make that $10.)

SO, IS A 6-FIGURE INCOME MORE THAN ENOUGH FOR YOU?

 

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Am my own Sugar Daddy. Am a millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using TheBudgetingTool.com. I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I have 11 side incomes that are on track in 2020 to make me $50K - $75K. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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64 Comments

  1. Dazed

    Hi,
    I live in Toronto uptown with my spouse no kids, and our household income as of 2017 is 225K including bonuses etc. Looking to buy condo that we live in which is ~800K +/- 25K. We live in a very nice and convenient location so don’t want to move. We dont intend to have kids. We are in our early 40s-mid 40s age group.
    Currently our rent is $2,850 and our total household monthly expenses are about $5800 including shopping/eating out/discretionary items. Nothing outrageous in our budgets (minimal alcohol ($20/month), grocery $400, eat out $350. We would like to travel over the next years $5-8K annually. Depends on level of income/savings.
    We currently save about $4500 per month. We have enough to downpayment of 20% in buying condo but that would leave us with savings of only $150K, in addition a government pension of 80K (only available in retirement) and increase our mortgage plus maintenance fee to about $4200 instead of $2850 rent we are paying. This would also mean our monthly savings would be down to $3500 or less.
    We moved to Canada <5 years ago so trying to understand if this level of savings will keep us going in retirement if we buy this condo. We don't expect to increase lifestyle anymore than where we are and we are very disciplined about savings. But not sure if $40K-$50K annually is reasonable or if we need to find a cheaper condo to buy.

    Any thoughts?

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      1. If you love where you live and location is great, location is #1, #1 #1. Toronto will always have some of the best real estate values just because of sheer immigration and volume of people there. You cannot go wrong.

      2. $54,000 a year is a HEALTHY amount of savings at about 24%. most people save 5% here in Canada, but you don’t want to be there. 10% is the minimum but 20% is my recommendation.

      3. If you don’t plan to have kids, this is a real bonus.

      4. I would definitely lock in a low mortgage rate now (rates are going up this year), and buy if you plan on staying.

      If you aren’t sure you will stay, don’t buy. Make sure you don’t plan on upgrading either, and this is not your “starter condo”.

      You sound like you’re in a good position. Most people say you should only buy 2X your income (house value), but these days in Toronto it is 3X.

      Go for it, as long as you know what the fees are, you know you CAN cut back in your discretionary as well and you aren’t throwing every penny towards your mortgage.

      You can contact me for more info if you’d like 🙂 Contact

      Reply
      1. JW

        thanks for the article. my wife and I make combined $500K annually. Our household expenses total $10K a month. Our highest expenses are our mortgage ($2800), schooling for our kids ($2500) and our car payments ($1400). We save roughly $125K a year through tax deferred products and investments. We set aside an additional 5K a year in a separate education savings program for our kids. The goal is make post-secondary tuition free for them, so that the money they earn will cover their own spending and living expenses while away.

        What I find is that there’s not a lot of cash left between expenses and putting money away for retirement, so cash flow month to month is touch and go. I know we could obviously save a little less, but find that if we don’t keep cash flows restricted, it’s often easier to spend it. “Out of sight, out of mind” works well for us. Pre-authorizing deductions is a thing of beauty.

        With respect to savings, does anyone have advice on whether to save more money (and put it in tax-deferred type accounts/investments) or is paying down the mortgage better?

        Thanks!

        Reply
        1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

          You make a very healthy amount of money, but without a doubt, car and house payments suck out a big chunk – is your house big and your cars nice? (I don’t judge btw, my house is $600K and car is $$$$$$)… and I think if you inflate your lifestyle in those big sections, it can really soak up the money which leaves less for other things as I have discovered.)

          $125K is NOTHING to sneeze at though. Wow. I think that’s a lot of money, and admirable considering many people in your position would absolutely spend it all.

          I have so many thoughts on clearing the mortgage or tax investing instead, and the answer is that it really depends on you and your situation. Post coming up.

          Reply
  2. Simply Content

    My wife and I currently make $200,000 annually with guaranteed income increases to $250,000 over the next 4 years. We have 2 kids, one still in college (completed her bachelors and now in medical school), and our son in in the military (but we are also subsidizing his income because he makes very little money). Our mortgage is about $2000/month (largest expense), and we don’t really watch what we spend.

    We are not rich, but we live comfortably as we live in the suburbs of Denver, CO and the cost of living is quite tolerable. We don’t have a lot saved for retirement, but we’re still about 22 years away from retirement, plus we have a healthy pension coming in retirement and each have a 401k.

    We used to max out our 401k savings for retirement (planning for the future), but now we live for today. we are VERY happy with the choice to put less into retirement and spend more on the daily. And that’s the real secret to happiness… find out what works for you! There is NOT a simple formula for success. Although we don’t consider ourselves wealthy, we think that we are extremely successful!

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Live for today is a good motto. Save for the future, but enjoy your money. Thank you! I would say that even $200K as an income, depending on your kind of lifestyle (eating organic, driving 2 cars), it really adds up.

      Reply
    2. Alex Vantaggiato

      I have to say, while you do seem like loving parents, the fact that you subside your son’s income because he “Makes very little money” is probably not a good thing to teach him nor prepares him for the future. I say that based on the fact I am in the military (past active, current reserves) and while yes, starting out in the military doesn’t provide a high paycheck, people seem to forget that housing, meals and utilities are provided for free, in addition to the paycheck Soldiers receive, which then becomes 100% expendable income If that’s not what he is telling you, you might want to look into it. Please know, I’m not criticizing you; I’m a parent of 3 boys myself and it is our instinct to want the best for them; but sometime what’s best for them is to have them learn what struggle feels like.

      Reply
  3. John

    There is no right or wrong to this. Its life experience vs having $$$ in the bank.

    I know people who are 60 who have never been out of the country, never spend over $200 on a meal, never been on a boat, they own their hom, have a big nest egg, etc retired at 59 just a simple life.

    I know others who are still working at 68 and have travelled the globe, had sports cars, seen alot and have done alot, yet are still working at 68.

    I would say somewhere in the middle is best, but even that isnt the right answer, we all will die!! Enjoy your life while you still have it!!

    Reply
    1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

      What excellent advice, thank you.

      Reply
  4. Miyana

    I make a little bit over $400,000 and I live in NYC, but I’ve noticed it is still not enough for me. My mortgage is 10k, I eat out mostly but thank god the bank I work for pays for it during the week, in the weekend I usually spend 1-5k, my car is another 3k, I usually put around 6k in traveling but I never have time to travel, and then I put the rest of my earnings in savings so I end up having almost no money put in savings and 0 in retirement. What can I do that won’t affect my lifestyle directly?

    Reply
    1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

      Hmm. I’d say that with you living in NYC is a car necessary? Why not take the subway? You’re so centrally located.

      As for the weekend, maybe look at why you are spending 1-5k in a weekend. Is it shopping? Eating out? Most people only have that to live on for the whole month, let alone a weekend.

      It sounds like you have a lot of great income, you just perhaps need to budget and track your expenses to make decisions on prioritizing whether it goes into your stomach or into savings.

      I make a ton of money too, although not as much as you by any stretch of the imagination, but I have to tell myself sometimes: Is it that you want to buy this jacket (which I did) or put it into savings instead to make more money for you?

      Reply
    2. rich

      First of all, learn to cook good and delicious food. Don;t eat out. It is unhealthy and gluttonous. Weekends: walk in the park and see the sights. Stop spending. Duh! Sell your car: use public transport and zipcar, uber, etc. See the city on foot. It is fabulous!!

      Reply
      1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

        I agree with everything but city on foot. It only works if you live downtown, otherwise it is really cumbersome, particularly with a toddler, stroller, etc to do anything… and in the dead of winter.

        Reply
    3. matt

      U dont need a 10k mortgage, u dont need 3k a mth for a car payment (like u have to drive a 200k vehicle) not like your damn famous.dont need to spend even 1k every weekend. I make 180-220k a year and this year alone i saved 70k. I also drive a 2011 chevy malibu ltz thats worth like 11k only and it gets me around just fine. Im also 35 attractive athletic guy who dont need bad ass car to look cool. I have some fun toys however that i got good deals on used and few bought new. jetskiis,atv,snowmobiles,dirtbike.

      Reply
      1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

        Used is the way to go, I agree

        Reply
    4. Gina

      Wow…may I ask what you do for a living?

      Reply
  5. Ann K.

    This is just insane. We live in one of the most expensive cities in the US (Seattle) in a close to half-million dollar townhouse we own. We are a one-income family of four, and as of my husband’s most recent raise, we save over 50% of our income. My husband is on track to retire and for our family to be 100% financially independent when he and I are in our early 40s, about 10 years from now. Our grocery budget for 4 people that eat meat every day and many pre-made foods (2 and 4 year old and all) is roughly $500 a month. That includes toiletries and household items. We are extremely fortunate to have what we have, and for my husband’s career to be so financially rewarding.

    People who live like these people are making choices. Almost none of that is a ‘need,’ it’s just wants that create more wants on top of wants. You want to live like that? Great! I would like to live like that someday, too. But only when it doesn’t mean selling my husband’s soul to 50+ hour work weeks for the rest of his life. They need to read Mr. Money Mustache and seriously reconsider their life choices if they really believe they’re victims to their circumstances.

    Reply
    1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

      Great points, and you have an excellent financial situation.

      Reply
    2. Gina

      Your set of circumstances aren’t common; considerate your family and situation extremely fortunate and unique. The key is finding a balance between living the ONE life you get to LIVE v. having money in the bank. That is unique to each person or family. What is more important, making memories and enjoying experiences or $ in the bank?

      Reply
  6. Priscilla

    I would recommend to reduce the wants. Can you get cheaper or less wine? I don’t mean to offend you or to sound dumb because I don’t drink alcohol so I don’t know how cheap or expensive wine tastes. Get rid of satellite or cable TV and use Netflix or amazonprime. In my house, we weren’t even watching TV and I have amazon it has free local channels and other channels like Disney, History, etc. You just browse and download the apps you want. Plus it has TV shows and movies! So I bought the firestick for $40 and I pay $9 a month for the service. Make a budget on groceries, go to Sams or Costco and buy the food you eat most in bulk. Buy fresh produce at farmers markets. Check ads. I used to spend $200 a week on groceries, now I spend between $50-$100 and that’s it. Take cash with you to the store and leave your cards at home! Stop eating out or cut back to maybe 1 or 2 times a month. Pack your lunch to work (there are thousands of ideas online or youtube for quick, easy, and healthy meal options). Try meal prepping yourself and get rid of the cook. Or instead of her/him coming weekly, have her/him come biweekly. Get an electric pressure cooker (lifesaver, it saves so much time and you basically can throw everything in the pot and walk away). I also went on youtube for recipes and to show me how to use it. Even see if you can get rid of 1 or 2 cell phones. You can use Wifi for calls or use land lines (at work). Go to the YMCA for the sports activities. If your kids are at least ages 6+, I would start giving them chores and putting them on a salary. I pay my daughter $1 a day (she’s 7) for cleaning up her messes, keeping her room clean, doing her homework without me telling her to, etc. Then she buys her own candy or toys when we go shopping. Now she’s not asking for much because she has learned that money is hard to get but so easy to spend. Sit down with your family, go over what you need to live (air, food, water, shelter) then your wants. Start scaling back. Once you break free from all of these extra, useless crap that we don’t need and all you’re doing is making yourself broke and stressed and making someone else richer, you will be so happy. Also, I would call other insurance companies for quotes. My insurance company kept going up on me and finally, I called another company and I pay $40 less (plus I didn’t know I had the best package and I only drive a Honda, I had like $250,000 if I hit someone, come on!). If you have an extra car, get rid of the rental on the car insurance because that will save you money and if anything happens you just drive that extra car. Another thing I would do and you probably might find it hard is to sell that house and get one that costs less. But that’s just me. Shop clearance and out of season. Like now, I found a northface coat for my daughter for $40 that retails for $180. Shop online now for winter coats/boots. Beginning of July for summer clothes. Sell unwanted items on craiglist. Buy at goodwill, garage sales, craiglist, etc. I know it feels good to have “nice” material things and it gives you a false sense of well being, but you will sleep so much better at night when you are not in debt up to your eyeballs. Believe me, I remember feeling like I was drowning and fighting so hard to stay afloat and breathe.

    Reply
    1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

      You have some wonderful tips and great advice in this comment. Thank you for sharing it with others.

      Reply
  7. Kim

    I hear the pain of this family. We make just over $180,000 per year. Our taxes alone are outrageous normally $40k just in federal. Our problem has been a school loan that always hangs over us and medical bills. My personal medical last year was just over $65k. I am very, very ill. Unfortunately all my money can’t save me, but thank God for an above average income. But we also help support our parents. It is funny how when we made $30k, sells people did not try to spend our money and now they gouge. Not every situation is the same. But please don’t just judge without walking a mile in another’s shoes. Everything is not always as it appears.

    Reply
    1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

      I’m sorry you’re ill. You are right that money doesn’t solve everything.

      You are also very kind to be helping your parents.

      Reply
  8. Daisy

    My fiance and I make about $300,000 total per year which comes out to about 15k/month after taxes. We are 31 and have no children and no student loans or other debt so that helps. Our expenses are: 2k groceries and dining out, 1k mortgage, .5k household help (cleaning), 1k travel, 1k shopping (mainly business clothes), 1k car + insurance, 3k retirement (we each max out 401k) and 3k investments. We spend a lot on dining out and could save there but feel good because we save and invest ascot 6k/month.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      !! $6000 a month is excellent savings.

      You are both doing a great job.

      Reply
    2. matt

      2k a mth in food is mind blowing, alot of expensive food is overpriced cheap food. A chicken is a chicken right? ok. Or u guys are performing glutny a deadly sin of way overeating.

      Reply
      1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

        A chicken is not just a chicken. I daresay I can taste the misery in a mass market Costco chicken in a blind taste test. The meat is completely different.

        Reply
    3. Gina

      may I ask what you and your fiancé do for a living? That is a significant amount of $ for your age. Congrats! You are fortunate and genuinely in a very unique situation.

      Reply
  9. Anon

    I make $47k a year and I own my own house. I have a fancy fridge with heaps of food in it. We have all the mod cons. I live in one of the most expensive cities in the world. I support my partner with her studies. Kind of don’t save a lot yet, but at the moment I’m just thinking of changing jobs. Im not fused about savings. My home will be freehold by the time I’m in my early forties and I’ll rent it out and by some land out in the country and hopefully will have broken away from my dead end customer service job and can work remotely for my self part time and farm part time.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      I think you are off to a great start. You must not spend a lot on frivolous items.

      Reply
  10. TrampolinePuss

    This sounds just fine. 125k/year is not luxury life…

    Reply
  11. Kathy

    $900 on wine and eating out? Or $900 on wine alone for the single guy. Yikes, don’t complain about not making ends meet if you have the kind of money to spend on that. And too bad about designer furniture. So you live in an expensive city. So do a lot of people who make significantly less than you. Move to the suburbs. I know that everyone is always better at managing someone else’s budget, but for crying out loud, these numbers are just absurd.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Hey I’m with you! I read those numbers and did a double take. I am OK with people spending $900 on wine and living in an expensive city and so on, having a great lifestyle… but DON’T WHINE ABOUT IT. 😛

      Reply
  12. JZ

    We earn approx 120,000 a year gross and it is not enough. We cannot afford alot and get in trouble all the time, but then we have 7 children plus pay for child support for one more and I cannot work. We are looking at jobs which earn 150,000 gross and even then we i do the numbers, it helps but its still not enough, we need to earn at least 194,000 to live off and thats not including savings!

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      WHOA! You have 7 kids, I think you get a pass on this 🙂

      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        @save. spend. splurge.: lol 7 kids and can’t even live properly with a yearly salary of $120,000? Please.

        My dad had 7 kids and his salary was about $30,000. How is it possible we could barely survive and yet you can’t? You can’t manager your money right that’s how.

        Reply
        1. save. spend. splurge.

          You can always manage your money to live on barely anything but it’s a question of living standards for many people. If they’re used to a middle class lifestyle, it is hard to deflate back down to a poor one.

          Reply
        2. Dawn Veltman

          Did you live on a farm and grow your own food or something? If not, did you go hungry? I am wondering because we have 5 kids and bring home net, not gross, $178,100 per year. We have three boys at home and a son and a daughter in college. Our oldest is 21, but I find that usually she needs something or other, in addition to tuition, etc. Our 19 year old is also in college but we pay his car insurance, etc. Because our still paying for so many things for our college aged children apart from just their tuition, and now, I am also buying for my ex-husband’s niece’s son whose mom was in a horrible car accident. There is always something, plus the holidays that comes up from month to month. At the end of the day, we get by although I find sticking to a budget extremely difficult. I always thought, like the I usually put some money away but inevitably some emergency comes up like a car needs a transmission or something, and we have to spend it. We have four older cars and only one car note, of $250 for an initial three year duration, of which there is about two years left. We pay $480 per month in car insurance (this does include son’s car). We go through on $450 worth of food a week. This is basic stuff, but it is in large quantity. I spend $30-$40 per month on wine. I keep my clothes for years and years and my sister finally said, “don’t do yourself like that, buy some new clothes.” So I was trying to get an outfit or two a month now. Yesterday, I found out that my grandfather needs a new (meaning used) vehicle. We can’t afford to help him get a new vehicle, but I feel obligated to cut out my wardrobe planning and cut back even some on the kids to help him get one.

          With things the way they are, we just have no savings and I am 39 and looking towards retirement. I don;t want to be a burden on the children one day.

          Reply
          1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

            You are very generous with your money and that is a choice you made for YOUR money and finances. To be honest, I am not sure I would be as generous as you are. After all, it’s only money, and as long as you’re willing to work until you have enough to retire, I say go for it. 🙂

          2. Judy

            IMO you are NOT doing your ADULT children (I define adult as 18+) a favor by paying for everything for them, especially a car. Does a college student really need one? They can walk, take public transportation, and/or ride a bicycle! Also, too many children aren’t considering the excellent opportunities available in blue-collar trades. My best friend’s son entered an Electrician’s Union Apprenticeship program @ age 18. It began @ $14/hour, with FT on the job training and mandatory night classes to move up; NONE OF IT REQUIRED ANY DEBT TO BE FINANCED. When his 4 year apprenticeship was completed, he had ZERO debt, and his starting Journeyman salary was $36/hour plus benefits. No crushing student loan debt. There are way too many kids (or their parents) financing an almost useless college degree! A degree is useful and essential for careers such as Nursing, Engineering, and other skilled work. As to Self sufficiency: Growing up, when we turned 18, it meant our options were one of 3 things: get a FT job, go to school & work PT, or join the Military. In other words, be responsible for yourself, and learn to support yourself early. Period. People cannot learn to be self sufficient when everything is paid for by the parents. $480/month for car insurance, to pay for yours AND adult children? Ludicrous. I bought my first home when I only made $28K/year gross. Yes, it was a very small, but cute home that had zero upgrades since it was built mid-century. Over the course of 20 years, I gradually upgraded stuff; new wiring; I remodeled the only bathroom, etc., with no prior construction experience. My biggest want: certain types of vintage Motorcycles. I picked some up non running for a few hundred $$$, and over the course of several years bought tools, new parts, & taught myself how to fix & upgrade them. Debt is slavery; learn to take care of YOUR needs first! Set a good example for your children by ensuring they learn how to be self sufficient early!

    2. matt

      No pass on 7 kids. That is very imature to have 7 kids when u cant obviously take care of all them finacially enough as you would like. No different than broke single chicks having 1 kid these days.

      Reply
      1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

        But who got those broke single chicks pregnant in the first place? Two sides to put blame on, not just the woman who has to bear and raise the child.

        Reply
  13. ahp999

    Making 6 figures or more after taxes is a great feeling. When my income level went up, I still stuck to my living style of when I was only making 40k or less. This is great because I have been able to save 70 percent or more of my income. Though I do not spend so much on material things, but certainly that income level has given me more freedom. I have been able to do a lot of traveling to places I have always wanted to go. My priority is just different, I rather take a nice traveling vacation than buy the latest flat screen TV, toys, cars, motorcycles etc.

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      I myself like toys like great laptops and so on, but traveling has always been a passion of mine as well. Lifestyle inflation is the #1 killer of savings, and it’s a good thing you avoided it.

      Reply
  14. Mochi & Macarons

    I agree! I ate at Whole Foods every night for about 2 weeks, but by the end, I was so sick of the food, I was dying for a kitchen to cook in.

    Reply
  15. LAL

    Trust me I’ve sat here and pondered how do most moms I know that work and stay at home drive truly luxury cars?  We’re talking Lexus, Volvo, BMW, Mercedes?  Cars upwards easily of $40K?  How do you afford something like that with daycare or not working on I can’t believe they make 3x what my DH makes.  Maybe 2x if they both work, but they aren’t taking home 2x with daycare and taxes probably close to the same. 
    So how the heck are they and their spouses affording everything?  I’ve still never figured it out.  How they afford organic everything, luxury cars, eating out, and savings? I have considered if my DH and I didn’t save what we do we’d have an extra $3-4k/month so I guess it’s completely plausible on our income that we could have two luxury cars, stay at home, and eat out or only buy organic without struggling.  But then we have to save something still right?

    Reply
    1. Mochi & Macarons

      Organic food can be easy to find for cheap if you avoid places like Whole Foods…. Although it isn’t easy or AS cheap as normal stuff.
      We do a mix of organic and not.

      Reply
  16. LAL

    Absolutely.  My DH and I raise our kids in a city just as expensive as toronto with a six figure income and I cannot complain. I stay at home so what’s there to complain about?  I have such privilege.  Sure my car is older than everyone I know but heck I don’t see the point in working to buy a new car rather than spending time with my DD.  

    Now I consider working for mental sanity but definitely not for money.  We save something like 35% to boot, live on less than half of what we make and I think we’re living well.  I would never say we’re struggling and I would have to say that if worse came to worse I could be working.

    Reply
    1. Mochi & Macarons

      You have options and no fear about what would happen if things went south, but these people seem to be genuinely scared on what they’re making

      Reply
  17. Mochi & Macarons

    Exactly!

    Spend your money, DO NOT complain if it’s more than enough and you have the luxury of being able to choose to buy organic or expensive cuts of meat for yourself or your family. 🙂

    Reply
  18. Mochi & Macarons

    I think it’s just unconscious spending, which is very eerily familiar to me. *pats budget*…. now it’s a lot easier to say no.

    Reply
  19. Arianaauburn

    By having their stories published, these two households are just begging to be robbed. Those desperate with nothing to loose would think neither household would notice anything missing …[sarcasm]. Seriously, the numbers don’t lie.

    Reply
    1. Mochi & Macarons

      Well hopefully they didn’t give their addresses out….

      Reply
  20. Mochi & Macarons

    Agreed.

    I was quite shocked, myself. It’s no small amount of income, no matter where you live.

    There are plenty of people living in big cities like NYC, SF, Toronto, Vancouver, who don’t make that kind of money.

    I guess it depends on how you see yourself living your life.

    If you’ve ever watched those ‘Princess’ or ‘Til Debt do you Part’ shows on Slice with Gail Vaz-Oxlade, the things people will say, shock me sometimes.
    There was a girl on an episode yesterday who had a personal driver because she was sick of driving herself around. That’s the kind of behaviour I expect from someone making millions.

    Reply
  21. Mochi & Macarons

    Ah I see!

    I separate out “Groceries” from toilet paper and so on. 🙂

    You make a good point. It’s more that the groceries you buy, have to be tradeoffs. In my cheese example, I wouldn’t spend $30 on cheese everyday. Perhaps once a month, as a treat.

    Reply
  22. jdonline

    I don’t feel sorry for them even if they live in an expensive city. I think its terrible when privileged people complain about how bad they have it. Especially when they live in the first world and in the richest continent (North America) that the world has ever known in the history of the world. 

    Our first world problems are rather nice compared to what the rest of the world is facing. 

    Anyway, there are always ways to cut costs and save no matter where you are. The first family would benefit by cutting out on spending too much wine, eating out, and their other entertainment needs (phone, cable, etc). Maybe stop buying too much designer furniture.

    Normally I don’t have a problem with someone spending $5k on furniture, $500 on wine….if they can afford it. But if a person feels that type of spending would squeeze them financially then I can’t feel bad for them. Especially when they make more than the rest of the population ever will.

    You know I like watching movies, fine dining, wine, and nice electronic gadgets, I think everyone does but there’s away to have the nice things without spending yourself into debt. Like saving up for every purchase. I know affluent people that have stayed rich because they don’t spend everything they make. 

    Reply
    1. Mochi & Macarons

      The designer furniture told me that they spend impulsively and unconsciously.

      They’ve probably never tracked their spending for a whole month or longer, or made a budget in their lives. They seemed to live very in-the-moment.
      My parents are a bit like that, and from experience in living as a kid with them and helping them learn how to budget now, it is NOT a sustainable long-term solution.

      Reply
  23. Mochi & Macarons

    I was trying to think how groceries cost so much, but if you buy organic and fancy cheeses, it really adds up. The other day we bought fancy cheese for $30!!!! For one meal for 2 people that is outrageous, but it was fab cheese….

    Reply
  24. Mochi & Macarons

    But you don’t live in the city?

    Reply
  25. Amy

    It is enough!  My husband and I make less than either of your examples, and we live in an expensive city, too (Washington, D.C. area).  We used to make more, until I cut back to half time at work.  We decided that quality of life meant more than the money, and, yes, we are frugal.  Enough so that we could pay off our first house (we’re renting it out now), and buy a second house in a better school system for our son.  I’m actually on the path to starting a second career that is potentially more lucrative (this is what I’m doing with the extra time now), and will hopefully pay back in the future in spades.  One of my goals is to own more rental homes (it’s great mostly-passive income!).  Saving up for houses is also a great incentive for saving in general, since they’re so expensive.  We’re in the process of looking for a 3rd house for rental income.  We both also max out our retirement savings and contribute a significant amount to our son’s education fund.

    Reply
    1. Mochi & Macarons

      You are both on the right track then! Any big city is very expensive and I am in NYC right now, so I KNOW expensive living :/

      Reply
  26. Leigh

    Uh, yeah, a six-figure income is more than enough. I save at least 50% of my net income and I don’t see why I would spend that much more than that. I don’t spend my bonuses- those go to savings. The only reason I spend so much on clothes though is that I have all this income and got tired of saving it all, so I figured I should wear nicer clothes than t-shirts and jeans.

    These people say that living the Toronto life is expensive. Well, yeah, it is. But is that really what they want to be doing?

    I’m guessing that the couple didn’t examine their budget at all when they had kids… Daycare at $2,500/month is a huge expense.

    Reply
    1. Mochi & Macarons

      $2500 sounds reasonable to me for 2 kids. I know from my siblings that it is not easy. It is $600 a week per kid (what they pay) and it depends on their ages too.

      Reply

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