I know exactly how you feel! We married and started a family early and had 3 kids by the time we were married 10 years.
We were independent from the start, living in towns far from any close relatives. I saved a little $$s in a 401K (about 6K in 3 years) and we bought our first home. The only way I could save that money was to have it automatically taken out of my check so I never saw it. So that’s how we bought our first home.
Now after 25 years and a divorce 🙁 I look back and realize that we made a lot of money but working and having kids at a young age and having to pay for child care is costly. I remember lamenting that I didn’t have any really nice furniture and I shopped for clothes at thrift stores and yard sales. We also invested heavily in the kids sports, travelling extensively as part of elite club teams.
Cha ching. It all adds up. And the debt!! Well that’s always been in the picture. We paid off credit cards three times using our home equity only to run them back up. Now that I’m dealing with half the income, there’s no hiding from it. I have to turn and face the debt and careless spending monster headon and just stop the madness. I feel encouraged and optimistic about the future, and feel that I’ll be in control of the finances. I think the key is learning to live within your means and not spend more than you make. As the kids grow up and leave home, AND you remain debt free, there’ll be less stress on the marriage and more $$s in the bank.
As far as buying stuff, I’ll never buy furniture, cars or any other similar big ticket item new again. It takes some work to find, but there are bargains out there to be had on beautiful possessions and in the future I’m committed to staying away from “payment plans” by finding these deals.
One way to think of how much you pay for things, is to divide the cost of the item by the amount of money you get paid on an hourly basis. Then, you realize how many hours you work just for that particular item.
When you realize that if you make $10 an hour and you just have to have a new pair of Jordan sneakers at $250 a pair, you worked 25 hours or just over 3 typical workdays just for those shoes.
P.S. I use these as an example, as I saw people on the news recently sitting outside stores waiting for them to go on sale for that price. His newest ones.
I just thought of something. Near where I live is a second-hand store. It’s connected to a pawn shop. People who need money sell their furniture and appliances to this place and they clean it up a bit then put it up for sale. They also go to auctions. Have you tried auctions? My dad’s bought a lovely couch at an estate auction (elderly man moving out after wife’s death) for only a dollar. Nice couch just nobody wanted it. Sure, it’s used but quite often furniture goes cheap in auctions unless two or more people really want a particular thing.
How does your dad know when these auctions occur? I’ve tried to find out about them in my area but have had little luck.
My dad gets flyers in the mail. Often they’re listed in newspapers. Look for auctioneers in the phone book. Call them up and ask if they have any sales coming up. I bet they’d give you all kinds of info because they get paid a percentage of the sales. To register to bid you’ve got to provide ID and I think most places use your address to mail you flyers about upcoming sales. Sometimes we’ve gone into restaurants or stores and they’ve had flyers up by the register or posted on a bulletin board. Hope this helps.
Recently I heard a man asking Dave Ramsey how to get sofas while paying off debt.
Apparently the man asking had sofas that were falling apart. Dave told the caller to hit garage sales in the upscale neighborhoods in his city – and to get a very high quality sofa that way for a few hundred dollars.
I usually find auctions in the local newspaper. In the summer they are listed with the garage sales. The estates sells are usually the best, they sell everything from a lawnmower to the house itself! Good luck!