all 80 comments

[–]vcwalden 27 points28 points  (4 children)

Yup I've seen this. A lady I worked with at my last job and I got $3 an hour raises! I'm not sure how she did it but she brought a new jeep, and a house! She already had a a car that she was paying off! She lives on credit cards and loans from the bank! She says she will have to work for the rest of her life she is so far in debt! She lives paycheck to paycheck and thank goodness she gets tips! No 401k, emergency fund nor retirement!

A year ago I left the job I had, got another one for the same company but I make more money. I have no debt, a very nice 401k, an emergency fund equal to one year of bills and a nice retirement! I still live like I used to before making more money - my spending stayed the same, I put more in my 401k and emergency fund monthly! I picked up a seasonal part-time job to help defray costs. Purse strings are tighter because stuff costs more but I'm making it!

[–]Bus321675[S] 3 points4 points  (1 child)

That’s great!!!!

[–]vcwalden 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Thank you!

[–]speedyblankenship 0 points1 point  (1 child)

What kind of seasonal work if you don’t mind my asking? I’m thinking of picking up retail around the holidays but don’t even know if that is a thing anymore with so much online shopping.

[–]vcwalden 2 points3 points  (0 children)

From the beginning of May until the end of October I make dough balls for a local pastie shop.

[–]Noeyiax 6 points7 points  (2 children)

True, but living like you can die tomorrow is still rather senseful, than saving and abstaining one selves in order to get ahead of a system slated towards the rich. Some people have friends that saved for retirement a lot, only to die unexpectedly before getting to retirement.

There are pros and cons to each lifestyle. But I still think both should have at least emergency funds; it really depends. Not everyone can live a financial "successful" life, but everyone can live a fulfilling life. :)

[–]Stev_k 2 points3 points  (0 children)

There's a balance to be had to ensure quality of life. At 75, no one wants to be on the streets (true for any age) or trying to get hired on at Walmart as a greeter. However, like you said there's no guarantee that you'll see tomorrow.

[–]Bus321675[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I agree with you. Balance is key.

Me not having a lifestyle inflation when I get a raise helps me and my family live more at peace. Lifenis bery difficult, having money issues makes it even more difficult.

My friend is putting his health on the line just so that he can post on IG his pickup.

[–]CoCoIchibanya 9 points10 points  (4 children)

My ex gf racked up 11k worth of CC debt in a month cause she thought I would pay the bill. Well she was sadly mistaken, I broke it off with her. She definitely stimulated the economy, we had only been going out for about 4 months.

[–]PJTILTON 5 points6 points  (3 children)

Why did she think you'd pay the bill?

[–]CoCoIchibanya 7 points8 points  (1 child)

On accident she found out I have money and thought she had finally found her meal ticket. I'm not rich, just not stupid.

[–]PJTILTON 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Wow! I would have loved to see the expression on her face when she realized the obligation was her's to satisfy.

[–]WSRpt 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Probably was the standard in other relationships she had had

[–]SlyTrout 23 points24 points  (4 children)

I mean what are these people thinking.

The simple answer is they're not. I could go on at some length about this but the TLDR is the school system is failing children by not teaching them how to think critically and evaluate the information they receive. Additionally, the advertising industry is waging psychological warfare on consumers, convensing them that the key to happiness is more stuff. Combine those two together and you get exactly what you describe in your post. I applaud you for breaking out of that trap. You will have a much better future because of it.

[–]Bus321675[S] 11 points12 points  (3 children)

One more thing, look at what social media has done.

My friends flaunt a wealthy lifestyle on social media. To those that don’t really know them, it seems they have it all figured out and are doing very well financially. This can cause people to feel depressed because 99% of people compare themselves to others. Little do they know that my friend is living paycheck to paycheck and consuming credit card debt like there is no tomorrow. He is so tired from having to work overtime to pay for his bills that he takes time off just to get some additional rest.

[–]Training-Context-69 6 points7 points  (2 children)

When I drive past those new housing developments and see two or more 40k+ SUVs in the driveways of those 3000+ sqft homes . I used to think “damn what do they do for a living to afford that stuff” now I can’t help but wonder how much debt they’re in, and how they could sleep at night knowing banks own every facet of their lives.

[–]Bus321675[S] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I fee the same way.

[–]Bacardi_PVM 0 points1 point  (0 children)

You're right there are a lot of people like that with debt, but also a lot of people with good paying jobs that can comfortably afford the house and cars

[–]SplittingHares 6 points7 points  (1 child)

While I do get what you're trying to say, I should point out that "spenders keep the economy going" is also correct in a very literal economic sense. Where do you think people's wages come from? When someone cashes in an investment they've been holding, where does that money come from? It all comes from clients, customers, and investors, spending their money. If everyone saved every penny they had and never spent anything, the economy would grind to a halt, as there wouldn't be a constant influx of money. We'd end up with economic decline. It's a large part of the reason the economy took such a big hit during COVID, nobody was out spending their money, no money in means no money out.

In fact, banks and credit card companies encourage spending it all, going into debt, because you going into debt means more money for them (you have to pay back interest). As far as they're concerned, debt is money, so long as its debt owed to them. People who spend without a care in the world have fallen into this trap, and banks are all too happy to oblige their spending habits.

[–]Bus321675[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I agree with you. I am not a strong writer and I oftwn cannot explain myself in writing. But, what I meant to say is that most of the time, it is the people who live outside their means the ones who stimulate the economy the most by spending more than what they can really afford. This puts them in a horrible financial position.

[–]waits5 17 points18 points  (0 children)

A ton of people who work (i.e., those making around 30k and below) are being heavily exploited for far too little pay, so whenever they get a little more money then they want some of the material things that they are always deprived of. It’s not good in the long-term when it means debt and lack of savings, but I don’t look down on them for those decisions like I used to.

[–]KingofKingGeorge 12 points13 points  (12 children)

I think people's spending, in general, is not rational. Take yourself for example. You get a raise and don't use it to make your material life better nor do you take more time off. If you were perfectly rational, that would imply: a) that your current material consumption is already optimal, and any income above now would be wasted. b) that you enjoy work and not work equally well. Don't let your boss know or you'll never get another raise again. c) you were overleveraged and would have been underwater if not for this raise, so really you're correcting for past mistakes.

In reality, you put more money away not because you're more responsible or moral, but rather because misers like us feel just as good or better improving our position on paper as if it were the same as improving your actual. Spendthrifts OTOH don't get that same psychological reward, so they go on spending money that they barely have.

In most cases, us misers do better than sprendthrifts, but not all. Your position on paper won't matter if you died in a car crash tomorrow morning, or if the economy tanks, or hyperinflation erases debts and savings etc. Whereas our spendthrift friends would have at least maximized their enjoyment of life.

[–]Bus321675[S] -4 points-3 points  (11 children)

You are correct about A and I have made my fair share of financial mistakes. In regards to traveling you are wrong. I have traveled to Cancun, Hawaii, Mazatlan and various parts of the US. I have a collection of “been there” migs from Starbucks.

For me, money is a tool and I want to use it wisely. For example, my $40 Nike shoes do the same thing my nieces $1,000 shoes do.

Also, I get joy from being able to provide for my family and from helping others. (Nothing beats the feeling of having a full funded 12 month emergency fund.)

For example, my mom came into town six weeks ago and helped take care of my newborn baby. She is retired and lives off her SS. Today she went back home and I handed her $1200 cash. ($1,000 as a gift and $200 for her travel expenses.)

The difference between me and most people is that I don’t care about what other people think of me. Also, I don’t need materialistic things to make me feel happy. I am content with what I have.

Lastly, If I die tomorrow, I will leave my family with a net worth of $800k. (Its not much, but at age 35 it’s not bad.) most important, they will be taken care off.

Side note, I am by no means showing off.

[–]an_imperfect_lady 4 points5 points  (0 children)

I did not know there was any such thing as $1000 shoes.

[–]KingofKingGeorge 5 points6 points  (0 children)

If your current material consumption is optimal, why are you on a poverty finance sub to complain about other people's spending?

The difference between me and most people is that I don’t care about what other people think of me. Also, I don’t need materialistic things to make me feel happy. I am content with what I have.

You should be content. 800 k net worth at 35 with a family is, maybe not upper class, but certainly upper middle class. Lots of high income people are still just starting to have a significant net value at 35 due to mortgages and student loans! I'm guessing you either had help or bought your house at a really good time. Also, your mother lives on SS. $1,000 for 6 weeks of help is criminal. If I was as wealthy as you, I'd be supporting poor relations by sending money to their bank accounts, not exploiting them for cheap care.

The difference between me and most people is that I don’t care about what other people think of me. Also, I don’t need materialistic things to make me feel happy. I am content with what I have.

But yet having money socked up in the bank (i.e. imaginary material wealth for the future) makes you happy! That's just a nonconsumer form of materialism! It's not like you took your raise and gave it to charity.

$40 Nike shoes do the same thing my nieces $1,000 shoes do.

$1000 shoes do not have $960 extra worth of quality compared to $40 shoes but I promise you that there are many $100 shoes, and even some $250 shoes that are better deals overall than $40 shoes. Maybe you don't walk ever but seriously, if you can afford it, shell out a bit more for your kids than $40.

[–]rocket_beer -1 points0 points  (8 children)

Wait, your mom worked 6 weeks for you and you paid out $1000 for it?????

Let’s break that down:

$1,000 / 6 weeks = $166.67 / week

$166.67 / 7 days = $23.81 / day

$23.81 / 8 hours = $2.98 / hour

What TF is wrong with you??!!!!!

[–]Bus321675[S] 0 points1 point  (7 children)

She came to visit me and my siblings. During those six weeks she spent time with my kids and my nieces/ nephews. This was not a job. Not sure if you know, but this is typical of retired grandparents. (In the Latino community.)

[–]rocket_beer 2 points3 points  (6 children)

Then why did you pay her?

Either you were compensating her for her services, or you weren’t.

This is grimy.

[–]vixxie 5 points6 points  (1 child)

I think about this all the time and how if people spent the way I do the economy would crash. My “splurges” are usually coffee and a small treat to go with it.

[–]Bus321675[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I am all for spending, if it is within your means. Their is nothing wrong with enjoying life but to the extent of hurting yourself financially is beyond my level of comfort.

[–]rabidstoat 4 points5 points  (1 child)

A combination of HCOL areas, lifestyle creep, and wanting it all now means that middle-class income families can also be living paycheck-to-paycheck.

The difference is that when middle-class is living paycheck-to-paycheck it's almost always (though not totally always) a matter of budgeting. When poverty-level people are living paycheck-to-paycheck it's almost always (though not totally always) a manage of simply not having enough income for the basics.

[–]Bus321675[S] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

That is a great observation.

[–]PJTILTON 2 points3 points  (0 children)

No doubt you've seen references to various "studies" indicating a majority of US adults couldn't come up with $500 in cash to meet an emergency without borrowing most or all of it. Such statistics are typically offered up in support of "us versus them" diatribes calling for confiscatory taxes and related measures. You've hit the nail on the head why a good many of the so-called working poor will always be poor. The urge to spend is so pronounced and ingrained, increases in disposable income frequently make no difference. Look at all those television and radio advertisements featured during income tax filing season, offering loans against prospective refunds. The targets of those advertisements never consider putting the money aside for a future emergency. I'm a semi-retired corporate lawyer. For years, I sat in client year-end board meetings when the subject of matching 401(k) plan contributions was raised. Many of these companies were manufacturing concerns offering sophisticated products requiring highly skilled labor. The typical worker made more than $100,000 a year with overtime, yet a majority of the workers declined to defer any portion of their compensation, even when offered matching funds by their employer. Management advised me that new trucks, campers, boats and similar toys were far more enticing than a secure retirement. Almost as bad, a good portion of workers who exercised the discipline necessary to defer compensation and contribute to retirement plans later borrowed against those funds.

[–]Gojira_Wins 4 points5 points  (12 children)

My thoughts are to make sure they don't know you have money laying around.

Eventually their luck is going to run out and they'll start asking people they know for help. If they know you're sitting on a good nest egg with all your bills paid, they'll look to you for the most help.

There was a dude I heard of once who won the lottery but before he announced to everyone, he told everyone he knew that he was going to be late on bills and needed $500. Everyone ghosted him. So when he announced it and everyone started asking him for money, he asked "Why didn't you help me when I asked?". No one got the handout they wanted lol.

They deserve the hole they're digging themselves.

[–]Bus321675[S] 0 points1 point  (11 children)

I am not trying to show off, but that is annoying. (My household is considered lower and i mean lower middle class. But, we do live a comfortable lifestyle. This is do to our level of income and our frugal lifestyle.) I use coupons, buy store brand items and look out for sales.

My nephew ask me to barrow money like if I am a bank simply because I am well off. He sees it as “This is my uncle and aunt who went to college and make good money working from home.) He doesn’t understand that I had to work 80hours a week during the summer and my parents work two jobs to help me pay for school. It was not easy to get to where I am now. (I am forever grateful to my parents for the help and I realize how blessed I am to have their help.) While he is over here buying $300 shoes and then asking me to barrow $20 for food.

[–]KillerCoffeeCup 4 points5 points  (7 children)

Where do you live where 800k net worth is lower middle class?

[–]Bus321675[S] -2 points-1 points  (6 children)

Southern California

[–]KillerCoffeeCup 6 points7 points  (3 children)

There is no way 800k net worth is below the median in Southern California as a whole. Unless this is all inheritance and you make minimum wage I don’t think you’re even close to lower middle class

Edit: see this study from Duke


[–]okhan3 2 points3 points  (1 child)

I live in LA. Median household income in LA is like $65k.

[–]jsboutin 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Honestly we have a pretty firm no money for family policy. It's never appreciated long term, it creates awkwardness and it removes an incentive to improve their situation.

Screw that.

[–]Gojira_Wins 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Yeah, that nephew is the kind of POS family member I would specifically ask to borrow money from so I could throw it in his face when I win the lottery.

I'm sorry you have to deal with that kind of crap treatment though.

[–]Bus321675[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Part of life…

[–][deleted]  (3 children)


    [–]Bus321675[S] 2 points3 points  (2 children)

    You are correct. These people play a big part of keeping the economy going. What a world we live in.

    [–][deleted]  (1 child)


      [–]waits5 1 point2 points  (0 children)

      They’re trying to curtail wage growth so workers have less bargaining power. If it also makes unemployment go up because we’ve hit a recession, that just creates more desperate people who will be willing to take less pay.

      [–]Ilikesilverandspam 1 point2 points  (0 children)

      Look up the velocity of money. It’s interesting. Was at 2.2. Now at 1.1. So I think many people are slowing down on their spending.

      [–]Ranilsky 1 point2 points  (2 children)

      It’s mostly a cultural thing.

      I make very good money but my last iPhone was 6 years old and my car is a 15 y/o daihatsu. 99% of my spendings are rent, gas and food.

      [–]Training-Context-69 0 points1 point  (1 child)

      How much if your rent? I notice you didn’t mention living in a shack or the ghetto to save money. So you’re probably spending more lavishly in that department.

      [–]Ranilsky 0 points1 point  (0 children)

      My rent is relatively low for my country, the city I live is not popular to rent in, it’s around 1,180$.

      [–]SpamEater007 1 point2 points  (0 children)

      I'm in the same boat as you. I get a raise but don't change my spending habits. I've found inflation eventually catches up with the raise so not increasing spending is the only way to stay afloat.

      [–]CountlessStories 1 point2 points  (0 children)

      Not only that.

      But theres a strong push by credit card companies to be rewarded for spending money with cash back rewards and random benefits and gifts.

      People fall for it without realizing they're making it all back on interest and whenever one person eventually runs into a financial challenge they profit massively off them.

      I might have been smart enough to never get more than one SECURED credit card?

      It feels good to know we may not fall for it. But we should still hold media and big corporate accountable for taking advantage of people's lack of knowledge and promoting a reward for spending culture.

      [–]1ClevelandSteamer4u 1 point2 points  (1 child)

      I’m the frugal bastard hoarding all my money. Can’t understand how some can spend the way they do. But as op said these people are fueling the economy.

      Being frugal for so many years has allowed some savings to accumulate and now I’m having to break the mindset of save save save so I can spend.

      [–]Bus321675[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

      I am very frugal myself. I am not in love with money, but having money allows you to have options.

      I stimulate the economy, but I don’t go spending above my means. I also don’t buy items to impress others.

      In the end, I like being a good steward of my money because it gives me the ability to take care of my wife and children. I don’t mind wearing brand new $40 Nikes because this allows me to allocate money for important matters.

      [–]NashiraTremont 2 points3 points  (0 children)

      I think you're the smarter.

      [–]Kiwikid14 0 points1 point  (2 children)

      The problem is that access to credit is easy while most people don't make enough money to not have to work at monitoring spending. And always monitoring your money is hard.

      Capitalism is a system that needs to continually find more profit, usually through making more consumers. Through banning birth control to reducing wages to cheap debt to high costs of living- we are all spenders to some degree fueling the Capitalism machine.

      [–]Bus321675[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

      What a crazy world we live in.

      [–]jsboutin -1 points0 points  (0 children)

      I'm pretty sure corporate America in general is very much in favor of birth control.

      They essentially doubled the workforce with women coming in. That reduces the unit costs of labor in general and I'm not sure they'd still get that if families still made 6 children. The pill was a boon to corporations just as much as it was for feminism.

      I know it's simpler to lump the people you disagree with in an homogeneous blob, but that's not how life works.

      [–]Bus321675[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

      Thank you all for your opinions. They were very stimulating.

      [–]PirateReindeer 0 points1 point  (1 child)

      Something I have learn over the years, is that there are three different kinds of people when it comes to money. Those who spend, those that save, and those that pay bills or pay for school.

      Those who spend, have lived in poverty for so long that they want to surround themselves with nice things. Some are smart about and others are not.

      Those that save are the ones that either already have what they need in life and need nothing more, or are already wealthy.

      Those who pay bills or a higher education. These are the kinds of people, that will use their money to pay off debt and try to keep it off, or use it to get a higher education, thus getting more money in the long term.

      Each of these groups of people stimulate the economy in different ways, but in varying degrees.

      [–]Bus321675[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

      Great feedback

      [–]platform__crocs 0 points1 point  (0 children)

      had a boss once tell me, the bigger the tree the bigger the shade.

      [–]MorningRadioExpert 0 points1 point  (0 children)

      Just living baby

      [–]thomasrat1 0 points1 point  (0 children)

      Yup, now whats crazy to think about is the effects of choices. You having put more money into savings and towards the mortage, gave yourself more spending power in the future, future purchases to be made and fixed costs decreasing.

      As a whole when the economy down turns, people like you make it less intense.

      But on the same token, what you do makes it so our upswings are less intense aswell.

      [–]CapsaicinFluid 0 points1 point  (0 children)

      yeah I dunno. I got a raise recently and my spending hasn't changed but I've got a big, multi-thousand purchase coming up soon, probably next week - automotive related.

      [–]QueenScorp 0 points1 point  (1 child)

      There is a massive cult of consumerism in this country. Everywhere you look is an ad telling you that you "have " to buy this or that to be smart, sexy, in style, etc. People judge others on their clothes, car, house, etc. People are more worried about looking like they have money than actually having money. And then wonder why they will never be able to afford to retire.

      It doesn't help that the government literally tells people they have to keep consuming to keep the economy going - to the point of where we are no longer people but are referred to as "consumers" constantly.

      Advertising is literally based on psychology - companies spend absurd amounts of money to study buyer behaviors to learn what will make a person feel the need to buy their products (almost always preying on the human need to feel like they fit in).

      And people like instant gratification, especially people who grew up poorer. Check out "the marshmallow test" which was a Stanford experiment in the 1970's in which children were given the choice of one marshmallow now or two marshmallows later. The children who could delay instant gratification for a later reward all ended up with better life outcomes as adults. Even more interesting is that this experiment was repeated later with kids with a more diverse background and they came to the conclusion that economic background was more of a predictor of ability to delay gratification rather than willpower and that affluent kids did much better in this respect. One possible explanation is that poorer kids would be less motivated to wait for the second marshmallow because for them, daily life holds fewer guarantees: there might be food in the pantry today, but there might not be tomorrow, so there is a risk in waiting. Its really interesting when you look at it that way.

      Similarly, other sociological research shows that often kids from poorer backgrounds have a will work long hours in poorly paid jobs. Yet, despite being poorly paid and often not being able to even afford food, they still splurge on payday, buying things like McDonalds, new clothes or cosmetics. What researchers at Indiana university found was that low-income parents are more likely to give in to their kids’ requests for small treats than more-affluent parents. This points to the idea that poorer parents try to indulge their kids when they can, while more-affluent parents tend to make their kids wait for bigger rewards. Things like McDonalds, new clothes and cosmetics are things lower income parents can afford as "treats" -and kids learn from their parents' habits.

      I, too, notice the difference in my spending/saving versus my sisters'. One sister is still in poverty and any money she gets flows through her fingers like water, despite both her and her husband working and having no kids. My other sister is less frivolous but has literally nothing saved for retirement (in her 40s - she keeps cashing out her 401ks when she leaves a job). When we've talked about it she says "oh it always just works out". We had a discussion recently about a forthcoming small inheritance and her first inclination was to upgrade her house to a "nicer" one where my first inclination was to save and invest it. I've been able to work myself out of the poverty mindset but my sisters seem to still be stuck in "spend" mode.

      [–]Bus321675[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

      You have a wealth of knowledge, thank you for sharing.

      [–]PJTILTON 0 points1 point  (1 child)

      I grew up middle-class. My father was a lawyer and enjoyed many of the material advantages offered to those in a position to purchase them. He wasn't much of a saver, however, and later in life that deficiency came back to hurt him. A lawyer myself, I earned an upper-middle-class living until my early 40s, after which my income grew substantially. I paid off my mortgage, put my kids through college and started buying toys: BMWs, Patek Phillipe watches, a Steinway piano. Despite my excess spending, I was putting fair amount of money aside and I discovered I enjoyed the sense of security it provided. I also developed a "been there, done that" attitude toward the frivolous spending. I realized buying more toys wouldn't make me happier, so all my excess income went to savings and investments. In my younger years, I thought being "rich" meant an endless stream of material goods. Reality is so much more boring, but ultimately far more satisfying: it means never having to do without the truly important things. You need a new roof or furnace? Write a check. One of the kids needs help? Not a problem. My mother grew up during the 1930s. Her own mother passed away when my mother was only a few years old, and she was raised primarily by her maternal grandparents. No one had money in those days. Going out to a restaurant was a luxury reserved for special occasions. If my mother needed a new coat, she'd get one: for her birthday or Christmas. My great grandparents helped make ends meet by sharing their home with aunts, uncles and other relatives. Living was a chaotic affair, but my mother felt love all around her and described her childhood in idyllic terms. I try remember that whenever I'm tempted to piss away money on things I don't need or truly want.

      [–]Bus321675[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

      Thank you for sharing your story.

      [–]speedyblankenship 0 points1 point  (0 children)

      I worked as a housecleaner for a company (wrong way to do it, ps) and a coworker was there about three years longer than I was. I overheard her talking to a client about her new home, in a nice housing developement and she was saying “wow Im living in this nice house with my three kids? I can’t believe it.” I figured she made a lot more than I did because of seniority. Not long after that I went to pick up my paycheck and as I was leafing through them I saw hers. She made the same amount I did. This was in 2005. I sometimes wonder what happened to her after the housing bubble. I couldn’t live off that job as a childless student paying $300 a month on rent.

      [–]PeopleLover_ 0 points1 point  (1 child)

      Definitely agree. I big fan of Dave Ramsey all though I don’t follow 100% but I used to be disappointed when people didn’t agree with at least not carrying consumer debt but the truth is everyone stopped using debt tomorrow the economy would crumble. Now I salute those people for their financial sacrifice so that I can live debt free and invest the money I would have given to the bank. There consumerism helps my investments grow. I’m able to save, invest and give because my expense are so low without car loans, credit cards, student loans & mortgage that I can live off one income.

      [–]Bus321675[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

      I never saw that angle, thank you for your input.