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Old 02-07-2008, 11:44 AM
 
Location: Home is where the heart is
15,400 posts, read 25,823,369 times
Reputation: 18992

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I like your attitude, Montana Mom. Some luxuries are great, but as you point out there are so many things that we pay extra $$$ for and don't really enjoy all that much, anyway.

There's an extra bonus to living without lots of those expensive little luxuries. When it comes time to retire, it won't be a hardship to remove those luxuries from your life because you never learned to be dependent on them in the first place.

It's amazing how many ways you can cut down on spending without feeling deprived.

For example, this year we need to paint the house. Now, some parts of the house need a professional painter, but I'm tackling the rest of the project. You certainly don't need to hire someone to paint the garage or the walk in closets. And while I'm at it, I can do the closets and the garage, etc. with "oops" paint.

Oops paint is usually a beige color that was custom mixed to match another painted wall. If the color doesn't turn out to be a perfect match, they sell it at a big discount. Home Depot sells oops paint for $5/gallon--compare that to $20-25 for a regular gallon of paint. I have a lot of closets and bathrooms and basements and other spaces, so that saves me a lot of money after awhile. I don't need to have a precise tone of beige to paint a closet--oops paint is just fine for the job.
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Old 02-07-2008, 11:48 AM
Status: "0-0-2 Game On!" (set 1 day ago)
 
Location: The beautiful Rogue Valley, Oregon
7,297 posts, read 15,347,934 times
Reputation: 9468
Quote:
Originally Posted by normie View Post
For example, this year we need to paint the house. Now, some parts of the house need a professional painter, but I'm tackling the rest of the project. You certainly don't need to hire someone to paint the garage or the walk in closets. And while I'm at it, I can do the closets and the garage, etc. with "oops" paint.

Oops paint is usually a beige color that was custom mixed to match another painted wall. If the color doesn't turn out to be a perfect match, they sell it at a big discount. Home Depot sells oops paint for $5/gallon--compare that to $25-30 for a regular gallon of paint. I have a lot of closets and bathrooms and basements and other spaces, so that saves me a lot of money after awhile. I don't need to have a precise tone of beige to paint a closet--oops paint is just fine for the job.
I tried that once and ended up with an appalling muddy mustard color that I ended up painting over because I couldn't stand it. The color sample on the can looked fine, but the wall? Hideous.
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Old 02-07-2008, 12:58 PM
 
Location: Home is where the heart is
15,400 posts, read 25,823,369 times
Reputation: 18992
Quote:
Originally Posted by PNW-type-gal View Post
I tried that once and ended up with an appalling muddy mustard color that I ended up painting over because I couldn't stand it. The color sample on the can looked fine, but the wall? Hideous.
LOL--yes I would recommend sticking to the light beiges.
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Old 02-07-2008, 01:47 PM
 
Location: Oxygen Ln. AZ
9,321 posts, read 16,579,200 times
Reputation: 5692
Quote:
Originally Posted by normie View Post
Yes, there are too many people who just don't think about the long term consequences of their actions.

I have friends who are in the late 50's. Intelligent people, both with masters degrees (but apparently that doesn't mean you're smart...)

They were married 23 years. In their 20s and 30s they lived the high life and they were a little bit snooty about it. But even though they might look down on you if you aren't wearing designer clothes, they had a lot of redeeming qualities that made up for this.

About 5-6 years ago they got serious about saving for retirement and even though they got a late start they managed to amass a decent amount. The simplified their lifestyle, and they seemed very happy.

Last winter, the wife lost her job. She spent the next several months watching movies--and apparently these movies gave her the idea that her life was boring. (Note a red flag here--she blames movies and not herself for a very bad decision...)

In July she decided she was "bored" and suddenly walked out on her marriage. She had some crazy idea that she would take the money and live a more glamorous life.

Apparently nobody was having an affair, and there was no abuse going on, it was just about boredom. She spent the next several months blowing the retirement savings on luxuries that didn't make her happy. She found out her "boring" life wasn't so bad after all--but it was too late to go back.

Guess what she found out the hard way? A 58-year-old woman can't get away with the same lifestyle she had when she was 18. Men are no longer standing in line to take her out to dinner. She had a hard time getting a job, and the job she found did not pay well. She had a very hard time finding new friends. Instead of becoming more glamorous, her lifestyle is starting to become stark now that she has run through the money.

Overnight, a foolish whim turned this intelligent woman's life into a disaster. She says she regrets it, but she can't undo it. She tried to go back to the husband, but when he refused she retaliated by starting a nasty divorce proceeding which is wiping out much of the rest of their savings.

They had a good life and were financially secure--now both of them are in trouble. Neither one will be able to retire because somebody didn't think about the long term consequences of her actions. It will be sad to watch them as the years go by, to see them working and struggling much longer than they had planned. It's very sad.
Ben Stein said "love the one you're with." He was aiming that statement at the over 50 crowd, because divorce after 50 can be devistating to the pocketbook. Great story normie.
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Old 02-07-2008, 05:21 PM
 
Location: New Jersey/Florida
5,438 posts, read 10,520,601 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by montanamom View Post
Here in the United States, the vast majority of people already have the absolute necessities that they actually "need" to survive - some type of shelter, enough food to eat and not starve, clothes on their body shoes on their feet, basic transportation, clean water. So marketing has been created to convince us that many things that are really just "wants" are things we "need" or "must have". We do not really "need" junk food, cable T.V., fancy cell phones that take pictures, the latest fashions each new season, vehicles that change radio stations at the sound of your voice (too much trouble to push a little button?), ever larger houses (and ever larger energy bills), etc. Because so many Americans, unfortunately, seem to lack independant thought, they see others with these things and feel like they have to have them too, whether they have to go into debt "up to their eyeballs" or not. I think it's a lack of personal self-esteem and "trying to fill the empty places" that drives so many to strive for lifestyles they cannot truly afford. We are a "got to have it now" society, borrowing for things that people used to save for and pay for in cash. It's hard to save when your're in a lot of debt.

At our house, we gave up cable two years ago when the cost started to get ridiculous. Why pay for a bunch of crappy shows riddled with commericals? Didn't cable start out billed as "Commercial free T.V.?" I went out and invested a couple of bucks on a few good T.V. antennas. If we really want to see a movie, we rent it. My kids moaned and groaned at first, but these days, no one misses it. We watch Law and Order, etc., and I catch the local news and Jay Leno at night. Plus, Public Television has some of the best quality broadcasting around. That's all we need. We don't miss cable ONE BIT.

I also traded "down" to a pay-as-you-go phone. Nope, it doesn't take pictures, doesn't sing me a song, and it's not hot pink be-jeweled or chocolate color. It's just silver, it rings, and I answer it. If my car breaks down, I won't be stranded without a phone. Boring, maybe, but I sure don't miss those monthy cell phone bill "surprises", and somehow my teenagers are continuing to live a social life without "texting".

We have choices, it just takes some thought about what you're really willing to pay for, and what you're not.
I agree with you, people pay 200 for cable because they need all the goodies. I'm content with my 27 inch TV that was purchased 15 years ago from sears.
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Old 02-07-2008, 09:05 PM
 
3,724 posts, read 8,282,719 times
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What you do with what you have depends on what you think you need. I do have some credit card bills, because I used them to ship our stuff from Alaska south. And about the same time it arrived, DH became totally bedridden, though he never did admit that he wouldn't get out of it again. A bit more on credit cards - when you see someone you love dying by inches in front of you and they ask for something special from the grocery store, you get it. On the other hand, I have never been late with payments, I paid off our trailer, I've never been late with space rent, and I'm paying off the credit cards. All on social security. My next door neighbors are clueless - they whine and moan constantly about not having enough $$ - they get considerably more each month than I do, but they are a year behind on their space rent, can't get anything but a pre-paid cell phone, eat fast food because she doesn't like to cook, and generally live on payday loans. Then they get something from the rent-a-center, which they then pawn to pay the payday loans. And whine "We're broke!' while watching their big screen TV or playing with the new digital camera, that they also got from the rent-a-center. It's not like they are really young and ignorant, either, there are some pre-teen children as well as a couple of adult children.
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Old 02-08-2008, 06:45 AM
 
29,779 posts, read 34,863,854 times
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Default It is called marketing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Redrover View Post
Don't you think there is a "postponement" mentality that engulfs most people? Realistically if each of us were to project our lives through to the retirement phase and make our spending/saving decisions based on what we would need to fund a reasonable retirement, we would be horrified at just how much we would have to forgo in the present to achieve the desired future. In a perfect world each of us would get an education that would prepare us for life-long steady employment in well-paying jobs. We would begin to save immediately upon starting our first job (saving for retirement as well as for any unexpected emergencies such as a job loss, car replacement, medical emergencies etc.) and most importantly, we would live on less than we make. But gee, where's the fun in that? How many of us are willing to forgo that house we can't really afford, or that big screen plasma TV, or that cruise to Alaska, or a new wardrobe whenever we get the urge? As a nation we have a sense of entitlement that convinces us that we deserve these goodies and that once we have all we need, THEN we will start to put a few dollars away for the future. We have been such a nation of spenders though that we have created a massive economy that depends on an ever-increasing infusion of new cash to keep all the balls in the air. But look where we are now - the balls are starting to fall and the only thing anyone can think of to stop it is to take money out of the Treasury and send it to taxpayers, hoping they'll keep shopping.
What you say is very true and it is called marketing. People get paid good money to develop successful ad campaigns and we worship good ads. Marketing is designed to create market for a product along with strong consumer sentiment. Much of our current problem may be a result of the explosion of mass media. Marketers now have so many more ways to reach and influence us today then they did 60 years ago. Try reaching retirement age and having money as many of us do. Suddenly we have lost all intelligence and will run out of money according to the investment marketers. Everyone wants a piece of us. Now they are trying to scare us in to worrying that we will outlive our money and we should give it to them to take a profit of and manage for us. Annuities, reverse mortgages anything to get our money. Marketing today is designed to enable companies to profit/take a cut of your wealth from craddle to grave.
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Old 02-08-2008, 06:47 AM
 
312 posts, read 981,162 times
Reputation: 162
Four words.

Visa. Mastercard. Mass overspending.
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Old 02-08-2008, 09:35 AM
 
9,807 posts, read 13,455,895 times
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many rural areas------older trailor house, newer 4 wheel drive truck,2 newer snow mobiles,2 (or more) newer 4-wheelers,a boat-------------------and a guy complaining the boss don't pay enough so they can someday build a house.
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Old 02-08-2008, 06:55 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
30,682 posts, read 49,443,611 times
Reputation: 19134
"... Most Americans spend more than they earn."

"... Americans generally want everything right now with no sacrafice or work."
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