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Old 01-17-2008, 09:10 PM
 
Location: The Big D
14,874 posts, read 23,520,634 times
Reputation: 5787

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Quote:
Originally Posted by new2sa View Post
McKinneyDeb,

That is by far the most informative and educational post I've read on here in a very long while!

It take more courage and wisdom and strength to downsize and get one's priorities straight than most will ever be capable of mustering in their lifetimes!

I applaud you! You have surely "gotten it right"!
I agree. Good job!!!

I also want to point out that it is VERY possible to live in the Dallas metroplex in a very good area w/ good schools on a salary of less than $100K. We have SEVERAL friends that both are teachers (and you know they are not bringing in 6 figure incomes). A couple of these families have 3 kids and one w/ a kid in college. Their kids are involved in activities but their parents live WITHIN THEIR MEANS and put their foot down on frivilous spending w/ the kids. Now they do have new cars but they wait till the other one is paid off and drive it for a year or two then shop wisely for the new one when it is NEEDED! Most have bought a new house but a house to be a home and not a monster house either. Furnished nicely as they made wise and sound decisions even when it came time to buy furniture. They buy quality even if it means more on their purchases. One of these families of 5 w/ both parents as teachers has a kid in college now.

We also have employees that their income alone is less than $100K. Every single one of our employees OWNS a home. We don't have a single employee that does not own their own home right now. Now they do have benefits like health insurance and such so that helps keep their costs down. But it CAN be done. Some of these people do go out and buy a new vehicle but only after they have driven the other one a few years after it was paid off. We have a couple of guys whose wife stays home and they live off of the 1 paycheck that is less than $100K. They take vacations but more like trips for the family to go camping and such. Their kids are not deprived either and also involved in sports and activities.

When my husband and started out 15 years ago we made COMBINED less than $40K (looking back it was probably more like $35K). We bought a home on that income and moved into and spent our first night of marriage in that new house (first night in the new house too). Both of our cars were paid off and we owed NOTHING in credit card debt or student loans - NOTHING. A year later I quit working full time and did a side job before we had our first. I've been a stay at home mom ever since. I tell the story of dh asking how much childcare was when I was due w/ #1 and I said about $250. He was like, "not bad for a month". WHAT!?!??! No honey, that is A WEEK! He then told me I was going to be staying home PERIOD! LOL!!! I've worked for him ever since and we have taken on a new business (when #1 was 6 months old ). We survived fairly good on that measly little salary back then and used it wisely.

So yes, a family CAN live a VERY comfortable life in the Dallas Metroplex on a little over $100K a year.
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Old 01-18-2008, 08:28 AM
 
Location: Lake Highlands (Dallas)
2,395 posts, read 5,651,454 times
Reputation: 986
Quote:
Originally Posted by mckinneydeb View Post
My "sabbatical" ended about 4 months ago. Our crisis was over, we were just paying off the loan and once again putting money away in savings when I returned to work. Although our combined income is above what it was when I quit work 5 years ago, we decided to continue to live frugually. We give more than 10% of our income to church and social service agencies and save agressively for retirement. We recently bought a modest house ($125K) and a few new pieces of furniture (well some came from Craigslist). I don't think we want to return to our previous living level which I now see was far more than comfortable. I have a much greater appreciation for the ability to walk into any Wal-Mart store and purchase the 12 pack of Charmin rather than the 6 pkg of store brand. But I also understand I don't need the Charmin brand, afterall, both brands are used for the same thing and get the job done. I prefer Charmin and can afford it but I wouldn't have a hard time giving it up if I needed to. It's all a matter of your priorities and what you feel you have to have to live "comfortable".
Kudos, Deb! I personally take my hat off to you. Wonderful examples. Living below your means and consiously making that decision is not an easy thing to do - especially in the consumer driven world we live in. So, I have to ask, now that you continue to live frugally, but have the two incomes, do you feel your personal stress levels are lower than the last time you were working (when you were spending more)?

Brian
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Old 01-18-2008, 08:57 AM
 
Location: Allen, Texas
670 posts, read 2,031,247 times
Reputation: 189
Deb that is awesome!

I know we live pretty comfortably for our standards for around $100K and we have 5 people, 1 dog and 5-7 fish in the family. It just depends on what you define as comfortably. My inlaws make less than half of what we make and do okay in a more rural area, enough so that my MIL goes to Europe or Brazil about every 12-18 months and does not exactly go "super cheap."
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Old 01-18-2008, 09:20 PM
 
150 posts, read 595,265 times
Reputation: 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by lh_newbie View Post
Kudos, Deb! I personally take my hat off to you. Wonderful examples. Living below your means and consiously making that decision is not an easy thing to do - especially in the consumer driven world we live in. So, I have to ask, now that you continue to live frugally, but have the two incomes, do you feel your personal stress levels are lower than the last time you were working (when you were spending more)?

Brian
Brian, I have started to answer your question at least 5 times. But it is a very complex answer so I'm not sure I can put into words exactly how I feel. Maybe what I say will help others understand too. In the past my personal stress level was directly related to how much time I was required to work in order to have the money to buy the things I thought we needed. So yes, I guess our personal stress levels are lower but I attribute that to our faith that all our needs will be provided, not all our wants.

A couple of months after we sold our last house my father's health deteriorated. I was able to leave the state and be with him when he passed away. I helped out with some of the bills and I continued to stay with my mom for a few weeks. I have made several trips back just to "be" with her. If I had been working full time I would never have taken that much time away from work to be with my parents. Maybe that was part of the big plan too. I feel blessed that I didn't have to worry about whether or not I would get paid for all those weeks I was away. Last year when a crisis arose with my daughter, I was once again free to be with a family member who needed me. And even though that crisis cost us our liquid savings you can't put a price on the life of your child. Another lesson in what is really important. In times when my salary was needed, it wasn't there and we managed. Who would have thought? And in times when my personal stresses were the highest, money was the last thing on my mind.

I had found a calling in helping those whose toughest choices were related to whether to buy groceries or pay the rent. Often time’s basic necessities were not an option even though a parent (or sometimes both) was working. What I learned is that I can't save the world (not even one family at a time) but I can support agencies that can. My returning to work was 1) to help cover my daughters COBRA insurance until she was at a point where she could handle a full time college schedule, 2) to help support individuals and nonprofit agencies aimed at helping families become economically self sufficient so the cycle of poverty can be broken and 3) put aside money for a retirement where my husband and I can both work to help those in need not only physically but spiritually.

I'm sorry, I've rambled. Did I answer your question? If not, I can delete this post and try again.
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Old 01-19-2008, 08:33 AM
 
Location: Lake Highlands (Dallas)
2,395 posts, read 5,651,454 times
Reputation: 986
Deb -

Thanks for the response. Very insightful. I can concur about your faith that your needs will be provided for. My wife and I also have the same belief. One of the things I attribute to our faith is that God has provided the ability for us to distinguish the difference between needs and wants, the ability to meet all our needs and the wisdom to not buy all our wants; instead, we focus on tithing and saving for retirement. It is, without a doubt, a difficult path. By the depth of your response, it is obvious to me you clearly have your head on straight. Again, thanks for the response.

Brian

PS: Have you done any work with Habitat for Humanity? That's one of the organizations I believe does wonderful things for people. Kindof a "teach a man to fish" type company since they require people to put in sweat equity.
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Old 01-19-2008, 02:57 PM
 
4,175 posts, read 4,045,591 times
Reputation: 1182
Costs vary so much by family. Only you know your patterns. Get a $50 copy of Money or Quicken and do the budgeting. It will also let you plan your longer term goals.
Cheers!
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Old 09-09-2009, 08:59 PM
 
1 posts, read 13,688 times
Reputation: 10
As a retired couple on a $50,000 annual income is it possible to live in the Fredericksburg, Boerne, New Braunfels area.
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Old 09-09-2009, 09:28 PM
 
Location: Dallas, Texas
563 posts, read 1,024,788 times
Reputation: 393
Quote:
Originally Posted by mckinneydeb View Post
I can see where scyogi could be on the right track.

Comfort and quality of life differ from person to person for sure. I have come to realize that for my family, gradually giving up that golf course home, the pool, the new cars and lavish vacations actually improved our quality of life.

For us, our perspective changed when I quit work almost 5 years ago to volunteer with the homeless and (in the politically correct term) disenfranchised. With one teen still at home, we sold our house along with most of the furniture and moved into a 900 sq ft apartment. Although I worked on and off at times during those 5 years, we learned to live on 47% of what we used to. It wasn't too difficult until a family crisis resulted in the sudden use of our liquid "emergency savings"( approx 3 months living expenses) and the need for more. We were lucky enough to have the ability to take out a small loan on my husbands 401k.

My "sabbatical" ended about 4 months ago. Our crisis was over, we were just paying off the loan and once again putting money away in savings when I returned to work. Although our combined income is above what it was when I quit work 5 years ago, we decided to continue to live frugually. We give more than 10% of our income to church and social service agencies and save agressively for retirement. We recently bought a modest house ($125K) and a few new pieces of furniture (well some came from Craigslist). I don't think we want to return to our previous living level which I now see was far more than comfortable. I have a much greater appreciation for the ability to walk into any Wal-Mart store and purchase the 12 pack of Charmin rather than the 6 pkg of store brand. But I also understand I don't need the Charmin brand, afterall, both brands are used for the same thing and get the job done. I prefer Charmin and can afford it but I wouldn't have a hard time giving it up if I needed to. It's all a matter of your priorities and what you feel you have to have to live "comfortable".
Excellent post! I have recently gone through something similar...I grew up poor, and basically struggled with money until about 3 years ago. Then suddenly, I had a very cushy salary in corporate America. Well...I recently lost my job and have been reminded of my prior life. And have realized that, although I have never been materialistic, I was spending too much money on stupid things. And I was working at a job I told myself I would never work in (business/corporate America) mostly for the paycheck.

Well...now I'm going to go get my teacher certification. And I will be making much less, and I've realized I can survive on much less just fine. And I can devote my life to something meaningful.

I guess in short..."living comfortably" varies from person to person. All I really want is a decent/safe roof over my head, the ability to eat out once in a while, and enough money to travel somewhere on vacation for a few days once (or twice if I'm lucky!) a year.

I think you could very easily live on that amount. When I was married before, which was only 3 years back, we were a family of three. Me, my husband, and his son. And we bought a $150k house. And my salary was $48,000, and he would bring in maybe $1000/month while he was in school. It was tight but not unbearable.
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Old 09-09-2009, 09:46 PM
 
Location: southwest michigan
1,061 posts, read 2,247,967 times
Reputation: 479
I am quite surprised that someone would suggest that $100K to $200K would be required to live comfortably in the DFW area. My family of 5 (soon to be 6!) lives on a single income of $70K per year in Southern California, and we are not debt free (yet!) and we have 2 car payments. Our children attend an excellent school, take swimming and gymnastics lessons, and we do not eat Ramen every night. I am just extremely frugal, and we prioritize our 'needs' above our 'wants'. We don't have a flat screen tv, or video game systems, but we are happy. If we can do it on $70K in SoCal, you can do it on $100K in DFW.
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Old 09-10-2009, 05:58 AM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
49,542 posts, read 41,487,763 times
Reputation: 21201
Quote:
Originally Posted by newtxman View Post
One of my co-workers asked me this question, and I really could not say what I thought was a great amount. Knowing how good the City-Data Forums are at these kinds of questions,I turn here asking you, what income would be needed for a family of 4 to live comfortably in the Dallas area?

How well off would a family of 4 who combined makes just a little over $100k a year?
It depends where in the DFW area, the age of the kids and outside interests.

I think 100,000 would be livable.

Nita
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