The more that I write about money, the more I end up talking with people about money. And the more that I talk to people about money, the more I understand that many people believe it is difficult to "get ahead" financially, which is probably a fair sentiment. I'm really too privileged and lucky to comment on such phenomenon one way or the other.
However, I have had enough conversations to realize that a lot of people who espouse such beliefs will ultimately be just fine. It's not that they are financial geniuses or frugalistas or anything like that; they've just taken an adult view towards their money and have begun to make more good decisions than bad decisions which I believe will persist over the course of their remaining five to six decades on this planet.
Given a long enough time horizon and no major upheavals in the structural integrity of the free market system, these people will most likely succeed in getting ahead. They'll continue to grow their careers, they will reign in their spending, they'll pay off their student loans, invest for retirement, switch careers, have babies, lose jobs and get jobs, pay off their house, and over time they will realize, "Hey, we somehow got ahead! Fancy that."
On the other hand, I worry about some of the other people that I talk to. Their mindset is so trapped in the state of broke that they truly think that financial peace, financial independence, and choices are the playground of the one percent. In the Western world, this does not have to be true which is why I am taking the time to outline a few financial fallacies that I worry are keeping my friends broke.
If you've fallen prey to these fallacies you will have to do the hard work to break free because only you can prevent financial insecurity.
August 2015 Spending $3300.02
My apologies to all you money voyeurs. I normally look forward to this spending and net worth post with great gusto, but I've found myself in the clutches of morning sickness which was exacerbated by the pungent aroma of Subway each time I attempted to leave my office building during the last two weeks.
Because I had to go into the office for two weeks, I decided to drag my husband and Kenny along for a "work-cation." Generally speaking, "work-cations" are poor idea, but it is helpful for us to combine work trips with personal travel, so that we can have the opportunity to see our families more frequently. During the trip, Kenny developed an affinity for Costco hot dogs and morning popsicles, courtesy of my mom who babysat during the times that Rob was working on his school work. Meanwhile, I had my Minnesota card revoked for proclaiming the weather too cold when the lows never dipped below 55 Farenheit.
However, my personal woes are not the reason you're reading this post. This month's (non-giving) spending came in at a very reasonable $3300.02. Childcare comprised $1200, and travel (two plane tickets, bus passes, and tanks of gas to visit Rob's family) accounted for $641.19. All my other spending was comped, and my husband and son spent no money outside of the aforementioned transit.
The only other spending of note was $388.91 spent on our car which included a 30 mile tow from the airport to a car repair shop and a new alternator. Our average car spending this year is now up to $197/month on an average of 350-400 miles per month of driving (and this is with shockingly low fuel prices for most of the year). Yikes!
We're hopeful that our car repair/replacement fund will actually have a few thousand dollars in it 6-7 years from now when we replace our dear Camry, but at the rate we're going, we'll have to dip into some other savings to deal with our future tragic loss.
Overall, we were pleased with our spending and of course the opportunity to see our families.
The confusing thing about privilege is an ongoing series.
Part One discusses that Privilege is essentially the absence of unnecessary struggle which isn't fundamentally a problem, but the unequal distribution of privilege aligns with alarming social trends which are a problem.
Part Two discusses the difference between inherited and earned privilege, which in the comments I refined as being Respect vs Privilege.
Part Three discusses that privilege makes saying, "No" easier
Today's confusing thing about privilege is that other people's opinions matter even though they shouldn't.
Today, I am going to tell you about my second best financial move ever. I would tell you about the best move ever, but the story is so boring that it will literally only take one sentence. You still want to know? Okay, our best financial move is spending less than we earn.
The second best financial move, is much more interesting. Our second best financial move started on December 15th, 2014, and is a move that I see persisting at least until my husband graduates and possibly until we decide to opt out of society. What is this move? It's having a roommate.
Our roommate, Matt, lives in our basement. He perseveres with our renovating craziness, rarely asks when we will put the trim up in his room, and he sometimes eats dinner with us. He's a grad student in the same program as my husband, and he likes to play video games, eat Dunkin' Donuts, do work in the lab, and talk about IRAs (sometimes- he's sort of like a real life personal finance friend). He's pretty much the best roommate you could ask for.
The trade-off for having a roommate is awesome. We get $450/month (plus he puts money towards shared groceries), and all we have to do is let him occupy 400 square feet (and use our utilities).
The best part is, he thinks he's getting a great deal because previously he was paying more money to live further from campus in a smaller room.
If you've ever dismissed the notion of roommates because you have kids or because you love privacy, I would urge you to keep reading, because having a roommate has been the epitome of easy money.
I'm a wife, a mom, an employee, and a personal finance nerd who is devoted to spreadsheeting my way through life.