To wonder how so many people seem to have so many nice things?

(134 Posts)
QwangleWangle Wed 08-May-13 11:55:09

I'm sure I'll get told it's none of my business but here goes...

So many people that I know seem to have so many nice things, and so much money, and to be honest it confuses the heck out of me as to how they afford it. We have 3 children, we both work and our income is fairly high but we can't afford the things that some people seem to afford easily.

To give a couple of examples:

A friend of mine works part time as a teacher, so obviously doesn't earn a fortune. Her husband has started a business, about 2 years ago, and my friend says it's not making any money yet. They live in a massive house, worth over 350k, all beautifully furnished. Cath Kidston this. Laura Ashley that. Loads of Next furniture. That kind of thing. I saw her yesterday and she had her 2 DCs with her on their bikes and I said I liked their bike helmets and she told me that each helmet was a whopping £50!! She has also said before their weekly food shop is over £200. I just don't know how they afford it. They don't exactly skimp on things for themselves either and have plenty of clothes and holidays.

Another friend, who is a stay at home mum, and whose DP works in a factory, posted this morning on her Facebook that she was "road testing the new Cath Kidston bedding". Which isn't cheap. She has one baby girl and seems to have so many nice things for her baby; a brand new bugaboo, expensive nursery furniture, designer clothes for the baby. And then lots of nice stuff for herself too. She's always spending money in Topshop, River Island, Monsoon, and those kinds of shops. Never Primark or New Look or anywhere budget.

I'm just fascinated really and am wondering if we're missing a trick to afford all these nice things. As I said, we earn well but our bedding was £12 in Asda, the kids wear Primark and George clothes, and I can't afford to spend anywhere near £200 on a weekly supermarket shop!!

MortifiedAdams Wed 08-May-13 11:55:59


Forgetfulmog Wed 08-May-13 11:58:19

Does it matter? Some people have more money than others. Hardly requires an in depth analysis!

ExcuseTypos Wed 08-May-13 11:58:44

There are 101 reasons why they may be able to afford "nice" things.

Parents helping out, no morgage, inheritance, savings etc etc. credit cards may be the answer as well, but not necessarily so.

meddie Wed 08-May-13 11:59:12

I know a few people like this too. They are up to their eyeballs in debt. maxed out cards, loans and remortgages. Will come and bite them on the arse eventually.

adeucalione Wed 08-May-13 11:59:33

I think you are on a hiding to nothing if you try to second guess other people's finances.

At a guess - credit cards debt, financial help from parents, nice things as presents from parents, low mortgage repayments (people with tracker mortgages are much better off now than they were five years ago), income from savings/investments, cut back in other areas (eating out).

My friend is always saying this about me - but I am amazed at how much money she 'wastes' on stuff that wouldn't interest me.

WilsonFrickett Wed 08-May-13 12:00:11

Inheritance/family money/family income
Prioritising 'stuff' rather than, for eg, mortgage overpayments

Eskino Wed 08-May-13 12:01:29


ElleMcFearsome Wed 08-May-13 12:02:46

My guess would be credit, private income, really skimping on somethings (not sure what) or help from family.

We have no debt (other than the mortgage) and don't use credit. The house is tatty, as is the car. The DDs have new clothes - ours get inexpertly repaired by me. No holidays, rarely eat out. Both DH and I have a horror or debt as that's the choice we made. And I appreciate the fact that we can manage on our income and that not going into debt is a choice not a necessity.

Have friends who owe horrendous amounts of money but still go on holidays and buy new clothes. I don't know how they sleep at night, as I know I couldn't sad

Blowin Wed 08-May-13 12:06:30

OP I agree with you. My dh earns a good wage, i am a SAHM, and we have 5 kids. There is always money to buy what they need etc but i am always trying to get bargains, ie buy in tk maxx, primark etc and hardly ever buy myself new clothes. Yet i see other families and their kids to toe in monsoon or similar, their houses are full of flat screen tvs etc and they never seem to use hand me downs for the younger kids in the family as we do.

It puzzles me, and i wonder if i am tight, and should spend more on stuff, or they are spending over their means, but i feel like i have to spend as little as possible, and not splurge.

Blowin Wed 08-May-13 12:08:20

yes Elle we have no debts either apart from Mortgage. We never us a credit card, and only spend whatever cash we have surplus after mortgage, food drink and utilities are paid out.

I dont understand why having nice things must mean you are in debt or prioritising the wrong things?

Maybe they have enough money to buy nice things?

stubbornstains Wed 08-May-13 12:09:08

I have a friend like this. Her apparent prosperity is down to credit card debt, an inheritance that she is spending on nice things, and an interest- only mortgage. She knows that she may well lose the house when the interest-only phase of the mortgage ends, but kind of accepts that hmm

LtEveDallas Wed 08-May-13 12:09:09

If these people are your friends why can't you ask them?


I buy something fancy or designer ish every week and don't pay more than £20 ish. I had a Cath Kidston duvet cover for £12.

I LOVE posh stuff but can't afford it new.

Blowin Wed 08-May-13 12:12:11

LtEveDallas Are you serious? hmm That would be nosy. It's fine to speculate to oneself or ruminate about it on MN, but directly asking them would be just plain cheeky!

bollockstoit Wed 08-May-13 12:12:46

Ime, they are usually comfortable with a high level of debt. You could have the same as they have if you were willing to basically have a lot of debt.

Again....why are you assuming because they have nice things?

Not everyone with nice stuff is up to their eyeballs in debt or spending their rent money on designer clothes.

caramelwaffle Wed 08-May-13 12:17:17

It is either:

High incomings

Low(er) outgoings

Plus perhaps savvy shopping/frugal shopping.

I came across a woman a while back with a car, two top of the range mobile phones (better than my old one) lovely clothes etc. I was advising her before her eviction hearing for non payment of rent at the time.

As the others have said you just don't know. I was talking to a colleague recently and she said she was shocked to find some of her friends were up to their eyeballs in debt, with a big mortgage, when they had finished paying theirs off.

Others have family money.

myron Wed 08-May-13 12:18:35

Different priorities.
Zero savings.
I know people who choose to go on a holiday and then stress over not being able to pay essential bills (hoiks up my judgy pants!)

Shanghaidiva Wed 08-May-13 12:19:10

Not sure what your point is - you are envious that others have nicer things than you? Not a very pleasant trait.

Different financial priorities, gift, inheritance, debt, savings - could be anything and frankly who cares?

bollockstoit Wed 08-May-13 12:20:10

I'm not assuming, I'm saying in my experience, if people are constantly buying lots of nice things all the time, it has quite often turned out to be on credit. I know this is not always the case though smile

QwangleWangle Wed 08-May-13 12:20:15

I think the main reason it baffles me is that in both scenarios there doesn't seem to be much income. The first friend, with the gorgeous house, I can honestly say doesn't skimp on anything, or at least doesn't appear to. They have an Audi each, and not old ones. Obviously she's not cutting back on her food shop, as she spends over £200 per week for four of them, and she doesn't appear to cut back on clothes for any of them either. I'm guessing they could be wearing jumpers all year round and not using the heating, or only having one shower a week each and doing one wash load a week to save water, but I really doubt it. They're not the type to cut back.

The other friend, who only has one child, I think may possibly cut back in other areas, plus I suppose they only have one baby. As far as I know they bought all the nice baby furniture and equipment themselves.

People must all have little secret businesses that they do working from home in the evenings that net them a fortune! grin

My partner and I both work but dont earn large salaries. Our baby is due in November and we have chosen all our nursery furniture and a new pram etc. But what others dont know is that my DP sold his cherished (and mostly homemade) rally car to pay for everything.

So judging others merely on face value and assuming that they are in debt isnt fair.

Primrose123 Wed 08-May-13 12:21:46

Perhaps they have interest only mortgages. That makes a huge difference.

squeakytoy Wed 08-May-13 12:23:10

You seem to know far too much about your friends' spending habits and apparent income, without actually knowing what is in their bank accounts.

And it really is none of your business either. Why does it bother you so much?

The thing that strikes me in your examples is that your friends don't have childcare costs, whereas you do. That potentially frees up a lot of money, if they have decent deals as far as housing costs.

jacks365 Wed 08-May-13 12:25:02

Sometimes people have income you don't know about. Myself and a good friend are both sahm and single parents and if you hear that you would assume benefits but its not the case. She's a widow and her husband had a really good job so they had good life insurance policies both work and private so she has a good income and no mortgage, i'm a divorcee but we ran our own successful company and i was bought out on divorce, i invested sensibly rather than spending and live within my means easily what it does mean is when i do go back to work then that is surplus cash even if its nmw. I've had comments from people who don't know my background as the assumption is i'm fiddling the system somehow. Sometimes people inherit money and use it wisely.

There are lots of reasons people appear to have more money than you think they should.

QwangleWangle Wed 08-May-13 12:25:02

Dreaming, the first friend, who is a part time teacher, has childcare costs, as her DH is working on his business 5 days a week and can't have the kids.

I don't have childcare costs either, as I do my hours during the evening and at some weekends. I might work the occasional school day and put the kids into after-school club but this doesn't cost much

Also you can get so much nice stuff very cheaply these days on ebay, freecyle, etc.

I have some very expensive-ish clothes for my DS but they are all free hand me downs from the posh wing of the family smile or gifts from grandparents. I would hate for people to see my DS in them and think I'm in debt over it. We're just lucky.

If they both work OP then that may be how they afford it?

Maybe they don't have childcare costs anymore, our disposable income shot up when the youngest was out of childcare.

Maybe they were saving for years.

Or maybe, they just earn enough money to maintain the standard of living they enjoy, without going into debt? Plenty of people do.

But it seems a bit taboo these days to admit you spend more than £20 a week in Aldi and like nice things? And can afford to buy them without sitting in the cold all winter.


ok never mind the childcare angle! smile

X post about childcare costs there sad

But maybe the reason people can afford nice things then is because both parents work more hours than you and your DH?

uncongenial Wed 08-May-13 12:28:23

Why would somebody post on Facebook that they have new bedding, whatever the brand? Is it supposed to impress confused And how do you know the cost of everything? Why do they share this information anyway? I don't know anybody who does that.

Some people have private incomes, investments, or perhaps just haven't divulged their exact income to you, in answer to your question.

MortifiedAdams Wed 08-May-13 12:28:40

OP, the one who has his own business - she says they arent making money yet - maybe he pays himself a salary, and they have yet to make any actual profit over costs yet? A PT teacher will be on 18k at least surely?

caramelwaffle Wed 08-May-13 12:29:46

Low, or no housing costs except Council tax and ultilities.

Thinking particularly of collegues in my area/dept. at work - they all have no, or low mortgages, most have other owned-outright investment properties and the young'uns live at home with mum and dad able to save £1000-£1500 per month.

This is not a City job.

PosyNarker Wed 08-May-13 12:30:13

There are all kinds of reasons. I had a conversation with an ex colleague who kept asking how I could afford x or y (bit cheeky, but there your go).

Lower mortgage than you think? I got on the property market when many of friends didn't feel ready to buy or were struggling for a deposit. I went out less then & have more ready cash now.

Different priorities? A friend of mine goes on 3 fortnight long holidays a year, one of which is usually skiing and another long haul. I suspect our households have a similar income, hers possibly slightly higher. She 'couldn't afford' my house (has a flat) and I 'couldn't afford' her holidays.

They buy more expensive but buy less? I once proved to my mother that despite shopping in places she deems expensive, I spend less than she does on clothes because I buy less 'stuff' overall.

Everything bought on HP? Purchases put through the business books to avoid VAT? Company car? I could have a brand new Merc or A4 sitting t the front if I wanted to pay the bloody tax on it and you'd never know it wasn't mine...

LtEveDallas Wed 08-May-13 12:30:57

LtEveDallas Are you serious? That would be nosy

Yes I'm serious, no need for the hmm face. OP calls these two people 'friends'. If they are friends why can't OP just say "Ohh I am soooo jealous of your Cath Kidson duvet. Where did you get it from? Was it on special offer because I couldn't afford anything so lovely" or "Ohh you've got so many lovely things, how do you pay for it all? Have you got any tips for me?"

If they are friends, then that is just conversation. If they aren't friends, then how would you know their income/expenditure etc to comment?

BrianButterfield Wed 08-May-13 12:32:29

I don't understand how people on here are buying £100+ boots etc like it's a regular thing. We have a very healthy income and spare cash but there's still no way I could afford those. Same with new Isabella oliver maternity clothes and so on - and they're this season's, not from eBay. Although nobody I know IRL buys them either, it's Peacocks and New Look all the way!

CockyFox Wed 08-May-13 12:35:37

We have lots of nice things but we are bargain hunters and very rarely pay full price for anything.
Yes we have a low income (less than 18, 000 including tax credits) we live to our means so never go overdrawn and never have much left at end of month but no debt except mortgage.
I think this because I SAH so no childcare costs, I grow almost all our veg which saves a lot more money than you might think, we don't drink, smoke orr holiday abroad.

redskyatnight Wed 08-May-13 12:36:12

Interesting post OP - have to admit I feel this too - that some people who in theory should have less income than us seem to be able to spend much more.

Based on people I know
- no savings or pensions (whereras we pay a chunk into both)
- no or small mortgage (because they bought ages ago, or parents have helped out massively)
- Credit cards or hire purchase
- Very generous presents from family (e.g. one friend’s parents bought her a PS3 for her birthday, mine more likely to buy a bottle of wine)
- Family that regularly buy bits and pieces e.g. things for the children, or pay for their holiday.

higgle Wed 08-May-13 12:36:20

I wonder this too, but our income is run down by funding student children and we do prioritise holidays, so I expect that is why some people we know have more plush houses and better cars. We also save up for our cars and some people we know have them on lease or PCP which costs less on a month by month basis.

I expect there have been times in the past when our apparent affluence has surprised people ( sadly, not anymore) this was when we had a couple of small inheritances and some nice payouts from old insurance policies or building society privitisations.

shufflehopstep Wed 08-May-13 12:37:29

Buying houses is down to timing. If they bought their house more than 10 years ago, they would have got a much better deal than buying the same one now. The same goes for mortgages, if they got a good deal, they could be paying less than you think. With other things, it's just down to priorities. They might scrimp on things that you think of as essentials in order to have the money to buy other things that you think of as luxuries.

If you have an OK salary and haven't lost your job, interest rates have come down so if you're careful with your regular bills and weekly shop, you might have done OK during the credit crunch. We did up until we had DD and I went on mat leave and DH was made redundant.

LtEve I do find this a bit weird as well -- if I know people well enough to know their spending habits, then I usually know them well enough to hazard a guess as to where their money comes from, or how they were able to buy things cheaply.

ChairmanoftheBored Wed 08-May-13 12:40:06

Its true that its not a pleasant thing to do, to look at what other people have and compare, but I think most people are guilty of this. I know I am, and it doesn't make you a horrible person unless you are open about your envy in RL!
I often look around me and feel like the poor relation. However I do think that debt does pay a huge role in how much money people appear to have. We have just our mortgage to pay off and no other debt. This is mostly down to our dislike of borrowing.
When you got on the housing ladder makes a difference too. My ds and her husband bought in 1998 and made a huge profit and now live in a fabulous house that I can only dream of. My dh and I on the other hand live in a small 3 bed in a crappy area, and face the prospect of probably never moving to a bigger house.
Still I do feel very fortunate though, as life is a lot tougher for so many people at the moment.

QwangleWangle Wed 08-May-13 12:40:18

BrianButterfield, I agree about the Isabella Oliver maternity clothes. I was pregnant with DC3 when two other friends were having their third children too. My maternity gear was from Ebay, they both bought capsule wardrobes from IO, spending £400+ each

cantspel Wed 08-May-13 12:40:22

A friend of mine had just under £10k in a PPI payout. She spent it all on treats and crap within the year. She still has the crap and now struggles to pay her rent.

Wishiwasanheiress Wed 08-May-13 12:40:39

Pot farming in loft? There's an app to check how hot lofts are......

Maybe ;)

QwangleWangle Wed 08-May-13 12:41:19

I can't see what is unpleasant about looking at what others have and comparing. It's human nature, surely? And I can think many far, far worse things to do!

BrianButterfield Wed 08-May-13 12:41:21

Some people have extraordinarily generous families (and rarely appreciate just how generous!) - for example, my friend's grandma bought him a brand-new car (which he complains about). Nobody will ever, ever buy me a car. I've known parents buy top-of-the-range buggies, nursery furniture,'s not fair angry

stopgap Wed 08-May-13 12:45:24

Home equity loans
Credit card debt
Second-hand or sale purchases etc.

I wonder this a bit, too, on FB. On face value, people don't seem to make a lot of money, but they can afford multiple trips overseas, post pictures of brand new cars and prams etc. Then again, I think working-class pride has always been about putting your best foot forward (I say this as the product of a working-class, northern family, and my dad delights in telling me about his hand-made mohair suits in the 1960s, that cost a significant part of his weekly salary).

QwangleWangle Wed 08-May-13 12:45:46

That's a good point that my friend's husband may be drawing a salary even though there is no profit. I can't remember who mentioned it, but yes that is probably the case.

Naoko Wed 08-May-13 12:45:57

Could be debt, could be priorities. DP and I don't earn a lot. Neither do most of our friends. We are the only ones out of our friend group who go away on holiday abroad - it's important to us, we love it, so we cut corners elsewhere to afford it. But all my clothes come from Tesco, DP will only clothes shop under extreme duress, I have a handbag and two pairs of shoes (one for everyday, one for parties and formal occasions) rather than a collection, we don't smoke or drink, and we don't run a car, which are all things my friends do differently. We don't have any debt, and I'd never get into any to afford luxuries.

I know it surprises people though, that we travel so much - it's not something seen as affordable for people in our socioeconomic bracket.

caramelwaffle Wed 08-May-13 12:46:48

LteEve you make a good point.

My colleagues and friends are very open about their finances (and I know the pay scale from our jobs anyway)

MumnGran Wed 08-May-13 12:48:05

I would agree with everyone who has talked about differing priorities, about writing off purchases against the husbands company etc etc ....but also think that people are prepared to tolerate varying levels of debt.

Many years ago, I felt much as the OP - struggling to pay mortgage etc (back in the bad old days of 13% interest rates) - and had a friend who spent heavily. I could never work out why, as our incomes were broadly on a par ....we had the same job, and I knew her husband was on a similar payscale to my OH. After her husband was made redundant, she cried on my shoulder one day and it came out just how much was owed to credit cards, overdrafts, etc etc. All was well, providing the salaries kept rolling it was, they ended up having to sell the house at a very low figure, just to clear everything.

Horses for courses OP, but it sounds as though you are handling it the "sensible" way. smile

racmun Wed 08-May-13 12:49:38

There was a thread like this a couple if weeks ago.

Are you amazed at how much money some people actually have or how much you perceive them to have.

Some people earn a lot simple as that regardless of their job description and can afford to buy whatever they want without worrying.

Some people don't have that much but really budget or get into debt for stuff so they appear to 'be doing' better in terms of material goods.

Just because someone buys a brand new bugaboo and an iPad and £50 cycle helmets for their kids it doesn't mean they're irresponsible and got themselves into debt. For many people its just disposable income that gets spent

You'll never actually know the ins and outs of it. Just do what keep you and your family happy and don't try and keep up with the Jones'

stopgap Wed 08-May-13 12:50:38

LteEve, I also have friends who tell me exactly how much they're planning to spend on buying a house/flat, how much they will spend on renovations etc. I find that these days if you focus on certain topics, people are very forthcoming about financial details...even when you don't ask for said details!

The problem with comparisons is that they're almost never like for like.

I spent almost nothing on maternity clothes but I was working mostly at home. If I'd had a proper job, where I had to look really professional, I might have had to spend a few hundred quid.

I have friends who are struggling a bit but still go to the hair salon, whereas I cut my own hair -- but, my hair is very pliable (thank god) whereas my friends would really struggle to do their own and have it look decent. So no I don't like to judge them for it (which really, however you want to call it comparing, is really judging).

bigkidsdidit Wed 08-May-13 12:54:02

I also know people who have ipads etc when they earn far less than us and we are skint! In our case we have childcare costs, but we also pay into very good final salary pension schemes, which is obviously great and will be wonderful in retirement but eats up a staggering amount of money each month.

I think a lot of people just don't save anything at all.

Some of my friends have asked me how it is that I seem to have more disposable income than them despite seemingly similar circumstances. I believe that I am careful with my money and this is very important. Yes, I spend a lot on nice things, but I never ever buy an expensive coffee in a coffee shop, or a ready made sandwich for example. I plan in advance, my packed lunches are nicer than sandwiches bought from the trolley and I have a flask of coffee instead of paying £3 in Starbucks. Some of my colleagues must spend £7 or £8 a day on this sort of thing.
Also, I never pay full price for anything. Discounts, vouchers, coupons etc.
Some people spend stupid amounts a month on large, new cars. I drive a very economical micra.
One of my friends smokes. She had overlooked the £8 a day each that she and her husband spend on cigarettes!

Shanghaidiva Wed 08-May-13 13:04:22

Sure - we all make comparisons. But the underlying theme of your post is - why can they afford it when I can't ? What trick am I missing?

Perhaps they have more cash due to good financial management? It is pointless to specualte and envy is an unpleasant trait.

MrsMangelFanciedPaulRobinson Wed 08-May-13 13:08:57

I often wonder this kind of thing too....

My DD's friend's mum is a single mum of 3 children. She works part time as a healthcare assistant, so I'm guessing her wage isn't high tax bracket or anything like that, yet seems to have money coming out of her ears!

The kids are all kitted out in new clothes every season, and not cheap ones at that! And every year during the six weeks off they have not one, but two foreign holidays; one for the first week and one for the last week! Plus two center parcs breaks per year, which again are not cheap, and as far as I know they have had two weekends in London so far this year, staying in Hilton hotels.

A couple of years ago the mum suggested that we did a joint birthday party for the girls, as their birthdays are fairly close, and she said "So shall we say we'll each spend £400?". My jaw nearly hit the floor. I've done parties in a hall with a disco before for £100, god knows what she wanted to spend £800 on.

The mum is also always saying she's just had her hair/nails/waxing done whenever I see her at the school gates,or she's been into town and bought X, Y and Z. And she has also said that her food bill is £200 per week for four of them.

None of the kids dads are loaded as far as I know but she must be getting mega bucks in maintenance each month to sustain the lifestyle that she appears to have. Either that or she's working on chatlines in the evenings!

MrsMangelFanciedPaulRobinson Wed 08-May-13 13:10:48

Shanghai, I would disagree with you that envy is an unpleasant trait.

I have discussed this at length with a friend who is a psychotherapist and she says that envy is a perfectly normal trait to have, and is fine and not unpleasant unless it makes you into a bitter person, eaten up with it, which the OP doesn't seem to be!

I think it's unnatural and dishonest when people say they never feel any envy or have never felt any at all. Everybody does

DewDr0p Wed 08-May-13 13:11:56

I agree there are all sorts of reasons why people appear to have more disposable cash.

A lot of it is down to priorities. I've had a few conversations with SIL over the years where she has been a bit sniffy about some of our apparently extravagant spending eg a decent SLR camera, where I shop for food, having a cleaner when the dcs were babies etc

On the other hand, we don't have Sky, we have cheap mobile phones and don't spend much on other technology, we hardly ever get takeaways, I don't spend much on beauty products or magazines etc. I think SIL's yearly Sky package costs about the same as our SLR, we just choose to spend our money differently. I don't judge her for that, it would be nice if she returned the favour grin

I've also got a friend who has a real eye for a bargain. Lots of brand names and posh looking stuff but it's all from ebay or TKMaxx or other discount places.

PosyNarker Wed 08-May-13 13:14:16

Wheredo I do that as well. When I'm working in London (not my usual base but i'm there regularly) and can't take food in it's amazing how all the trips to the likes of Pret & Eat add up.

A month of posh sandwiches, fruit salads etc. + a latte on the way in could be £200.

yearningformyyoni Wed 08-May-13 13:21:47

Im more baffled that Cath Kidston is now regarded as designer!

Shanghaidiva Wed 08-May-13 13:34:43

Mrs Mangel - the op seems very interested in what her friends have and where the money comes from . I don't think this is a healthy attitude and the op sounds bitter and jealous - imo.

Who cares where it comes from or what they spend at the supermarket?

Crunchymunchyhoneycakes Wed 08-May-13 13:35:15

Sure I first encountered this saying on here...

Comparison is the thief of joy.

Shanghaidiva Wed 08-May-13 13:37:01

Crunchy - well said

MrsMangelFanciedPaulRobinson Wed 08-May-13 13:40:20

She doesn't sound bitter and jealous at all Shanghai. I think you sound like the bitter one, because you seem determined to have a pop at OP and read all kinds of things into her post that others of us didn't see in it

ophelia275 Wed 08-May-13 13:42:44

Drug smugglers?

Shanghaidiva Wed 08-May-13 13:45:13

I am merely pointing out that speculating as to why others can afford something and she can't is a pointless and negative exercise.
But as you take the same approach as the op (re the single mum of 3 children) I can understand why you disagree with me...

expatinscotland Wed 08-May-13 13:48:26

YABU. Why does it matter so much, what others have? Who cares?

PrincessScrumpy Wed 08-May-13 14:01:49

People probably thinking this of me at the moment - in last 6 Weeks we've been on long haul holiday for 3 Weeks with our 3 dc, having a conservatory built and dh bought me a diamond eternity ring... He saved for the ring and I've been looking for one for the past year the rest came out of an inheritance I got 4 years ago. We still have savings but decided to spend some. I also wear lots of Joules clothes but we have a fab outlet store, same for monsoon - I've had lots of comments about how I afford to dress dds in monsoon clothes but they are cheaper than asda. Clever shopping and savings (plus a little help from a dead relative which has allowed me to afford to give up work until dc start school).
A male friend once asked how we afford stuff as he was struggling, earned more than DH and has no kids - we went through his finances and he realised how much he wasted.

FoundAChopinLizt Wed 08-May-13 14:08:57


Isn't the power of advertising amazing? If you came from a non consumer obsessed culture and looked at your home and your friends' homes it would all look pretty much the same to you. It is only brainwashing that makes you think that one brand is 'better' than the next.

Would it cheer you up to ponder that most of their naice things (and yours) for that matter, will most likely be in the tip or elsewhere in a decade or so? Remember less stuff=more space, money and time to do something fun.

It's not what you have that matters, it's what you do with your time.

OscarIsABookworm Wed 08-May-13 14:13:52

Debt probably. SIL & BIL run 2 cars and have a big house, TV, shop at expensive places etc. They are both good earners. They expect family to also pay for v.expensive things they do, like IVF at a top clinic and a new car for them even though they could probably quite easily afford it on their salaries if they saved themselves. Some family put their foot down a while back and said no more, I think they had just had enough and tbh I don't blame them. MIL let slip a year ago they are hugely in debt because they live way beyond their means. So on the outside it might all look rosy but the reality may be different.

lljkk Wed 08-May-13 14:16:39

yanbu to wonder, I get it, OP is just trying to figure out how it works. OP has even said she's just trying to figure out what frugal tips they know that she doesn't.

I think you have to ask them, OP. We'd just be wildly speculating. I'll go for inherited wealth.

valiumredhead Wed 08-May-13 14:30:43

Some people's mortgages are tiny so there is spare cash around.



DeWe Wed 08-May-13 14:31:21

But people prioritise different things.
I was surprised a few weeks ago when a friend asked if I had something to borrow (tailor's dummy) when I said I did, and they could borrow it, they said "that's good, I thought you would because you always have stuff".

Now I don't think we have a lot of stuff really. Our house is furnished with second hand stuff-two beds and a piano is the sum total of our bought new furniture.
We don't have a TV, X-box... lots of other things people round here count as essentials.

But when I thought about it, if we have an interest, we often will get equipment connected with it (be it the cheap end of the market usually). So, the friend knowing that I sew a lot, guessing I had a tailor's dummy wasn't as much of a long shot as I'd initially thought.

In priorities, for example, we only have one car (fairly unusual round here in a 2 parent family), and that was second hand-and we only got it 6 years ago, having relied on buses for 7 years before that. We don't go abroad for holidays, taking a cheap self catered cottage usually. And there's things we would like to do to the house that we are waiting until we have the money rather than going for credit.

Viviennemary Wed 08-May-13 14:35:17

My feeling is a lot of these people get substantial amounts of money from parents. Or are in lots of debt. Or maybe they are just good with money. But my bet is on the first two.

GrendelsMum Wed 08-May-13 14:36:54

The people I know who have lifestyles disproportionate to their obvious incomes all have inheritances. Though I have to say that in my friends' cases, they are all artist / hippy types whose obvious income is precisely £0, and their lifestyle consists of living very cheaply except for spending on arts.

impty Wed 08-May-13 14:45:30

It's probably not 'so many people' its 2 families you know, maybe a couple more. It's hardly everyone!

In my experience a little extra can go a long way. A small pay rise can improve your disposal income quite a bit, when it comes to stuff you can buy.

Mortgage might be very low depending on when they took it out, ours is more or less paid off after 12 years because of the ultra low rates for the last few years.

Generally speaking in my circle of friends, I think that couples who got together younger and had children later are the ones that have more money & therefore things, as they have been able to pool incomes from a younger age and take advantage of the house prices.

MrsMelons Wed 08-May-13 21:07:00

Some people have commented on stuff we have been able to buy or do but it really isn't down to debt or anything like that. We both earn good wages but not really high salaries, we both do additional work in the evenings/weekends for private clients which gives us a bit extra each year for holidays etc.

We both bought properties in our early twenties, we got together and sold one property and paid off part of the mortgage. That is fortunate yes but also whilst my friends were still living at home and spending their money on alcohol and partying I was saving for a deposit then paying a mortgage.

DH's mum passed away and that gave us enough to pay the rest of the mortgage off and a bit towards the DCs schooling. She was quite young so not a nice situation TBH.

I find these sorts of threads a bit odd, I don't think it is hard to figure out why some people have more spare cash than others but its really no ones business either. I feel quite offended when someone comments to me about it as it is no ones business what we spend our money on and we are not 'lucky'. Someone said I was materialistic once as we went on nice holidays and I love buying shoes - I did lose my temper a bit as he actually suggested it was wrong as we had spare money and he didn't?!!!

HoneyStepMummy Wed 08-May-13 21:07:22

I don't think there's anything wrong or unreasonable wondering how others afford all the stuff they have! I do think though that a lot of people who don't buy tons of stuff are saving money in the bank and retirement accounts. I'm also always baffled how some people seem to spend so freely but don't make a lot. It just doesn't add up!
I just saw on FB that a girl I know was going on about wanting a Chanel handbag and planning a really expensive trip. The next post she wrote was asking for hand-me-downs for her 8 year old. She wanted hoodies, trainers, and wellies hmm.
My husband makes a pretty decent salary (medical sales). I don't (marketing & events). Most of my salary goes towards retirement and savings. I am so used to seeing very little left from my paycheck that I handle my money very well.
We have three cars, but one was purchased for me by my now ex husband, and one is a company car. My husband's ipad and iphone are provided and paid for by his company, and my ipad, iphone, and DsD's iphone are all hand-me-down old phones that used to be his work phones. So they were free.I also sell the old phones on Ebay when possible. His company also pays for petrol and maintenance on the car, and they pay for our home phone and internet. I love his employer!!!
I own a small flat from my single days, but it's rented out and that covers the mortgage on it. The mortgage on our home is reasonable, we also just refinanced to lower it. I'm a very savvy shopper and am always on the lookout for coupons and deals. We shop at Aldi twice a month and have cut our food bill in half. We both have worked hard towards having good credit and get a lot of 0% financing deals that we have used for things like new carpets and a new vacuum cleaner.
We don't travel that often, but when we have a trip planned I usually work a couple of promo modeling jobs on the side to cover a chunk of the cost.
My husband cuts his and his 7 year old son's hair. I give my husband 'manly' manicures and pedicures and recently gave him a sugar body scrub- lol! I colour my DsD's and my hair. I also do my own manicures, pedicures, eyebrows and waxing. I use Groupon deals to treat myself to massages (not that often) and the odd spray tan. I also get a lot of free skincare and make-up from modeling and promo work (much appreciated).
We have no-frills gym membership, but my medical insurance company reimburses us for it. My employer covers the whole family's private medical insurance.
I shop at pound/dollar stores all the time, I get all our cleaning supplies from there. We shop around for the best deals on utilities and insurance. We also just redecorated but did all the painting ourselves and restored some cabinets. We were quoted about $18000 total for all the work!!!! so huge savings there. We don't have a cleaner since I would rather put that money towards family activities or the kid's savings accounts. We all clean together as a family.
We both get to go to really fancy restaurants- but it's always through work and not something we would pay for ourselves.
However we do both work hard, don't have childcare costs, buy supermarket clothes for the kids (and me!) and don't waste money on expensive coffees or smoke.

expatinscotland Wed 08-May-13 21:10:29

I guess I just assume they have family help and/or buy stuff secondhand.

I just bought a bracelet on Ebay second hand for DD1's birthday and got a real deal on it.

GeorginaWorsley Wed 08-May-13 21:30:03

In our circle of 'high earning' friends,I would say
Interest only mortgage
No pension provision
No savings
PCP car loans

If your friend's a teacher she might do exam marking at certain times of the year to boost her income .... I've found that really handy as it can be done after the kids have gone to bed or before they've got up, and you don't incur fuel or childcare costs, as it's all home-based.

Giggle78 Wed 08-May-13 23:28:04


I have nice things!! We don't have debt apart from a mortgage. Here is how we do it. We always look for high end stuff but get it from second hand places/car boot sales/ebay/charity shops. Everything in our house has to meet the practical and beautiful standard! It is very rare for us to buy something without getting a deal on it - but it does require a certain level of patience.

Examples include a Boori cot/bed (usually £500) - £120 from outlet. It had been on display at a trade fair.

French connection coat £6.00 (looks brand new from second hand shop).

Real leather satchel (£10.00 - looks new from second hand shop).

Mini Cooper - highest spec but older model. (okay does not meet the practical standard!!)

We probably look from the outside like we spend loads of money. We don't we just do lots of research and wait for stuff. The key is go for high end stuff.

BennettsBiscuit Thu 09-May-13 02:18:59

I don't think it's awful to wonder. Most of the houses on our estate seem to have Audis or BMWs on the drive, you can see in the front windows that they have flat screen TVs and 'feature wallpaper' so recently decorated and we are the only house on our road without Sky dish. Sometimes I wonder why - I don't want those particular things but it would be nice to be able to afford them! Between us our household income is not too shabby, about 44k? Mind you we don't get any tax credits any more, pay childcare for two under threes and the house was bought in 2007 - next door's repayment mortgage is less than our interest only, that I do envy!

Cookethenook Thu 09-May-13 05:25:44

We don't have a high income at all (dp works in insurance on a graduate training scheme and I'm a childminder) and the only debt we have is dp's student loan. Ds1 is 7 and ds2 should be arriving in the next few weeks.

We rent a lovely 3 bedroom house and I think we have nice things.

We prioritise and make savings wherever we can.

We own 1 car, so DS and I walk everywhere during the week. Dp car pools which saves us a fortune. I go for quality clothing, shoes, homeware etc brands. We tried buying everything in primark etc and found we were spending much more on having to replace bad quality items than if we'd just forked out for something better in the first place. Our furniture comes from antique shops, car boot sales a d ikea, but we get SO many compliments on how nice our home is. We don't really eat out- massive fans if the 'car picnic'! We don't often go on holidays abroad. We got ourselves a tent and go off in that whenever we can. For birthdays, we ask for practical products, for example, last year pil got me a ton of seeds, compost and chitted potatoes. My parents buy us nt membership every year for my birthday and so we use that most weekends. We go walking, wild swimming, cycling etc. which are all totally free.

Cookethenook Thu 09-May-13 05:27:56

Oh yes, and we always shop around on the net before we make a large (anything over about £40) purchase.

MidniteScribbler Thu 09-May-13 06:29:24

What one person sees as a priority, another sees differently. I prioritise going to the theatre and on holidays which another friend of mine always has a go at me about being "rich" because I go to these things. She spends a couple of hundred on friday nights down the pub and goes to the movies every week. I have been to one movie in the last twelve months, and prefer a quiet glass of wine at home than the pub. We all have different priorities and what we see as "luxury" vs "need". I make the choice over seeing a few stage shows or concerts each year as opposed to going to the pub. My friend makes different choices. Neither of them are wrong, they're just different.

maddening Thu 09-May-13 07:53:03

They may wear monsoon but it may be 2nd hand off ebay?

Sokmonsta Thu 09-May-13 08:12:20

Your friend with the business may be deliberately keeping the income from that low/at a loss for as long as they can. Anything they can they will put through the business which frees up money elsewhere - car insurance/tax/maintenance/fuel for at least one vehicle if they can justify it. If they work out of the home and proportion of household utilities can be put through the business. They possibly have a very savvy accountant. Once all the outgoings are deducted, whatever loss the business is running at will be deducted from the household income for the purposes of tax credits.

If they are running the business as a sole trader they may well put all their utilities through it and use business money as justification for other things. If they are sole traders they are risking their home though. I have friends who ran their business as a sole trader. they had everything they wanted. Holidays abroad, regular expensive shopping trips for a new wardrobe for them each season, designer everything. they ended up losing their home and wrecking their marriage when all of a sudden they realised they were haemorrhaging money and less was coming in. It was too much for them to suddenly stop doing all the things they wanted to.

Sparklymommy Thu 09-May-13 08:58:50

I don't think you are being unreasonable to wonder. I have four dc's, we live with my mother and her husband and all the money goes in the pot. I am a SAHM, but my mum, her husband and my husband all work full time. That said we do struggle at times. At the end of the day, after the bills are paid, the children are the next priority. All my DC dance, and I work in the office to offset the class fees. But on top of the class fees are private lessons at £14 for half an hour (I pay for a minimum of three a week) exams, festival groups, workshops, festival entries, festival costumes, uniform costs, the list is endless. A couple of weeks ago I paid nearly £300 out just on the EXTRAS! Then Dd1 has a tutor one hour a week for 11+ tuition at £25 a go, a singing lesson at £12 a week school dinners at nearly £50 a week... In 8 years we have had two holidays... One to Disney when we only had two children in Paris and one last year to a caravan in Cornwall. We do have the odd hotel stay for competitions and things but always stay at premier inn or travelodge. The children do have relatively large wardrobes but a lot is second hand or bought in the sales. Occasionally we splurge on something extra special for Christmas or something. We recently purchased a new trampoline. 10 foot with enclosure. We paid £150. Split between the four children that works at something like £37 per child. And already (after a week!) i feel it's paid for itself as the children are out bouncing and having fun rather than slouched in front of the telly. I also scour eBay and amazon for deals and as a result have got some real bargains. Dd2 had a proper old fashioned coach built, vintage silver cross dolls pram for Xmas, when we looked at the new ones they were in the range of £400 (way over our budget!), we got it on eBay, £70. It's immaculate and Dd2 was thrilled. Nanna made bedding for it and it will last.

I feel like the Op sometimes. Especially when I see people who are on benefits swanning off to Tunisia and Spain for two week holidays. But my mum always says that by the time my children have all left school we will have no mortgage and own the house. It's hard at the moment but its worth it in the long run!

Dawndonna Thu 09-May-13 09:04:15

As others have said, good quality second hand where you can. My oak dresser and dining table were my Grandmothers. We've bought other oak pieces at antique places, book cases etc. I buy clothes in the sales or online (ebay). Tend to go for Seasalt, Fat Face, just my taste/comfort zone. I do spend money on shoes, but have had a number of operations on my feet.

shewhowines Thu 09-May-13 09:40:44

Both me and Dh bought our houses when they were cheap but interest rates high. We both struggled at the time. I had a lodger and I had second hand furniture. When we got together we had both benefitted from property rises so now have a very low mortgage for a relatively nice house in a nice area. So our sacrifice then means that we are reaping the benefit then.

We have a lot of holidays, but they cost in total what some would spend on one holiday. I shop carefully, always looking for bargains, and we don't waste money on coffees/lunches etc. We don't eat out a lot.

To others we probably look as if we have more money than we do.

PeppermintPasty Thu 09-May-13 10:05:05

I have a bit of inheritance from my Dad, but no Dad any more. As he used to say, even the best kippers have bones....

Drquin Thu 09-May-13 12:51:26

I suppose it's only natural to wonder ....
But, you're unlikely ever to be comparing apples with apples - so it's a bit of a pointless exercise. So, unless you happy asking specific questions of your friends, it's probably going to stay "wondering" smile

I know I'm paying more into my work pension than the minimum - so a colleague who earns exactly the same as me but only pays the minimum is going to start the month with more money than me, before we even get into what we each spend our money on.

I'm overpaying into mortgage at the moment, which you'd probably not be able to guess, but in a few years, certainly earlier than planned I'll hopefully be mortgage-free - so will have more money to spend on "stuff" which you might assume to be unnecessary, but it's only possible based on my choices from years ago. Equally, years back I extended a mortgage by a couple of years (figured it was ok as i was never going to retire at 50 anyway!!) which reduced monthly payments considerably. So choices the OP's friends made years back might be bearing fruit now.

The own business probably does allow some household bills to be scooped up - but at some risk.

Debt does also allow for different lifestyles, so depends how happy each person is with that. That goes for cars and holidays, as much as the smaller stuff - catalogue-mentality almost in the sense of whether you'd rather save up for one thing, buy it and the save for the next, or buy several items on credit and pay them all off.

Second incomes and family gifts, and sadly inheritances, might be in play. When younger, I had regular three-figure cash gifts at birthday and Christmas from a relative. As I figured my wages adequately covered my bills and living expenses, I could either put this money in savings or splash on something "unnecessary. So, you might have seen me with a nice handbag, or going on holiday .... And wondered.
I know plenty folk who have received such generous gifts when babies were born, or other events, that they've not had to buy "everything" they budgeted for, so in theory some spare cash there.

A lot comes down to your views on money - save or splurge effectively, and what you prioritise. I'd prioritise a "nice" car - because i drive a lot and know nothing about car maintenance so want something fairly reliable - the badge doesnt do much for me; but if the "nice" means there's an Audi on my drive, you've possible made the wrong assumption. And indeed whether you're actually sending hard-cash ...... I've enough AirMiles to go round the world a couple of times business class, so I'd be able to get a "luxury" holiday for not much cash. So all may not be as it seems. Extreme Couponing anyone!?

cumfy Thu 09-May-13 13:28:23

I think there's a more general point as well.

Whenever someone becomes super-rich (say £5m+), where exactly did that money come from ?

Surely even the most ardent capitalist would accept that in efficient markets, no-one should become super-rich because someone should compete with their offering.

cumfy Thu 09-May-13 13:32:28

Just ask her! grin

Do they drink, smoke, drive, holiday or eat-out ?

And do you ?wink

likesnowflakesinanocean Thu 09-May-13 13:48:38

things are tight financially for us but from the outside we do have nice things bought as gifts from family, through vouchers earnt online and as neither of us drink smoke or go out socialising when we do have spare money it is just that.

LondonMan Thu 09-May-13 15:16:03

Whenever someone becomes super-rich (say £5m+), where exactly did that money come from ?

Surely even the most ardent capitalist would accept that in efficient markets, no-one should become super-rich because someone should compete with their offering.

There are jobs where a single years bonus could be that much. I suppose it is debateable whether the high-paid are worth it - I think it's easily possibly to find three people who could do any job, and there'd be no harm in choosing the cheapest, but that doesn't seem to be how employers think.

I know someone who might be worth £5M, not even a banker. All his money has come from employment, worked for the same company from graduation to retirement. The peak of his career was being one step below chief executive of one of the biggest FTSE 100 companies. At one point he owned million pound homes in two countries (that work moved him between.)

To get to £5 million over say the last/highest paid 20 years I calculate that he would have to save £150,000 a year, assuming 5% return on investments. So it seems quite doable to me. Over his whole career a final balance of £5 million would result from a £50,000 per year saving.

HaughtyCulture Thu 09-May-13 16:03:34

Perhaps they win lots of competitions?

thecook Thu 09-May-13 23:27:46

They could be getting stuff off shoplifters. They charge 1/3 of the price.

Startail Thu 09-May-13 23:30:54

No hobbies and boring lives. They are the same people who hover 3 times a day.

Startail Thu 09-May-13 23:33:07

Also to be fair. Inherited money, helpful parents, inherited very nice furniture, moved out from London and very good use of Boden's sale.

alltoomuchrightnow Fri 10-May-13 00:25:10

hovering three times a day sounds exciting to me! Hoovering on the other hand.... wink

Startail Fri 10-May-13 01:01:32

Oops blush

ModosCompostHeap Fri 10-May-13 08:25:07

My not so 'D' Father always used to be one of these well-off-with-no-obvious-lottery-win type people.

Growing up we always seemed to be the first family to get a new tv/car/VHS (gimmer), even holidays abroad which was very unusual back then. (Not so keen to spend on food or school shoes but thats another thread altogether)

His explanation was his 'amazing' job with a 'massive' salary which he would boast about to anyone who would listen, although his actual job and salary was always cloaked in mystery, he would never admit any details, ever. Not even our mother knew what he actually did or truly earned. We knew he was some kind of management in a large well known company.

Fast forward to a few years ago. His company forced him to take retirement. Turns out he had over 250k of outstanding credit cards, loans, HP etc. My mother claims to have had no clue although it wasnt a huge shock to anyone else. They had to sell everything. They have nothing and face a poverty stricken retirement.

ZenNudist Fri 10-May-13 08:33:48

Think your friends sound insufferable if they're banging on about brand names bought & amounts spent on x.

Any time anyone does that to me I think 'how crass'.

You sound happy with what you've got. That's good. Wanting more & more stuff doesn't make anyone happy.[pious but true emoticon smile ]

havingamadmoment Fri 10-May-13 08:49:47

The thought crossed my mind every now and then about houses tbh.
We live in a relatively cheap area a 3 bedroom semi would cost around 150,000. We have a pretty average income I think yet we cant get a mortgage big enough to buy one. What confuses me is that so many people I know here own houses yet I know for a fact they have jobs like carer or work in sainsburys - nothing wrong with that except I often wonder how they ever got offered a big enough mortgage.

I wouldnt say it keeps me awake at night - but I do wonder! They cant all have had inheritances or wins grin

fromparistoberlin Fri 10-May-13 08:51:14

(a) debt
(b) sorry but Cath cunting Kidston aint nice in my book

My mantra for the week is stop worrying about other people, and focus on yourself.

MummytoKatie Fri 10-May-13 09:26:55

We got married when I was 20 but didn't have dd until I was 30.

So we had 10 years of DINKY. And although 2 can't "live as cheaply as one" as some people say, it is definitely not doubled.

So we overpaid like mad on our mortgage during those years which makes life much easier now.

mam29 Fri 10-May-13 11:59:56

I think its natural to wonder.

Know lost people online low paid, unemployed or single mum mostly social housing taking lots holidays, buying brand new uggs, bugaboos, pandora bracelets.

I think fb and blogs somewaht edit their lives to seem more wealthy by name dropping or photographing aspirational brands.
next sells some joules items now on credit.

We dont have pensions, savings
we private rent.
some debts but not much show for it have no been abroad for about 8years since eldest was born.
nothing flash in house most furniture brought 2nd hand.
modest 32inch lcd tv brought pre lkids well 1st was one then eldest broke it so insurance replaces like for like .
the bedroom tv is huge and must be least 20years old brought it off ex landlord in uni so some 10years ago now..

we have 3kids and they do some nursery/clubs.

we very careful with budegt spend around 300 a,month for 5 of us.
run 2cars only as we inherited small micra and cheap to run and need people carrier to actually fit everyone in.

No rich relatives did get 8k inheritance few years back but paid off debts sometimes think we should have taken dream holiday but replaced money drain car and got people carrier so have something to show for it.

desperatly want to move to bigger house but cant afford it.
hubby earns 42kgross to which my mam says its load as her husband earns 14k but they brought at right time, had equity, money from parents.

Most peope I know in my age group have financial help in terms of loans and deposits.

I have one freind who baffled me her husbands self employed but last year they had 7holidays, they have 3kids, spend 600 on food, live in 5bed rented house soon to buy. she has small hobby business does not take huge amount, free childcare from family, run 3cars.
When we discussed child benefit she said as they both self employed they could fiddle it.

Another freind her bloked on 18k.

shes part time call centre but tells me good money.
but shes been off sick and dont think she has sick pay.
they in rent arrers.
went on holiday.
always out for meals, takeaways, having hair done, shopping.

she says they cant get credit as was on dmp so have no idea how they do it.

They have 1 child.

I often feel bit fed up ad baffled not jealousy more like where hell we going wrong we so carful and always reveiwing what can be cut next.

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Fri 10-May-13 13:40:55

They most likely have more income than you think. The husband's business is likely to be doing a lot better than they are admitting to -- the-- revenue and you.

fromparis I like your mantra.
I think everyone should adopt it.

fromparistoberlin Fri 10-May-13 14:49:57

cheers tantrums

Its been of of those weeks years!

Hullygully Fri 10-May-13 14:58:25

Selling organs.

SlowlorisIncognito Fri 10-May-13 15:13:34

Even when businesses are not making much money, people often pay themselves a large salary. In the first few years of a business existing, the bank (or whoever's funding it) wont really mind this, especially if the company is breaking even. Often businesses will ofset debts or wages against tax to save on their tax bill. He could easily be paying himself £40k (I know of people who do this in real life, even with lossmaking businesses!). He may also pay his wife a salary from the business.

Kids are very expensive too. When you're comparing a one child family with a three child family (especially if your children are older), you're not really comparing like with like.

People may also have other sources of income, such as investments. If they own a lot of nice things, they might ebay them once they have replaced them.

Or they might be in masses of debt to afford it, which I think is what you want to hear.

Sometimes it's (as others have said) debt/credit cards, sometimes it's luck. My friend just received a cheque for £5k for PPI completely unexpectedly. DH and I know people whose house has been paid for by parents. My parents' best friends have had three houses left to them by family. That kind of thing. It's luck for some.

OhWouldYouJust Fri 10-May-13 16:50:09


As a child I recall my parents being able to afford to go out drinking 5 nights a week and always had designer clothes, expensive holidays (without us children) and money for cigarettes.
Meanwhile we were sent to school with bread and butter as there was no food in the house and cheap hand me down clothes and shoes.

wifey6 Fri 10-May-13 17:11:46

I wondered this about a friend of mine who had 'the best' of everything - what she failed to tell me was her DH, two DCs & herself had been living between her parents & inlaws houses for a few months as couldnt afford rent on their own home , so by living with them, they were not paying mortgage, bills etc & then when they did move in to a beautiful new-build house, it was all paid for by their parents. So the money they could/should of been saving to provide for their own little family & save for their own home etc, they were infact spending on luxuries.
They were also given an inheritance which enabled them holidays etc.
my friend never seems satisfied though, so money doesn't buy everything smile

alltoomuchrightnow Fri 10-May-13 18:19:54

I do have nice things, but i don't have kids. I can't have them, if i could, i wouldn't be able to afford them (but would still have, and go without the nice things).. I have never had a credit card or a loan..too scary. I do have an overdraft, which i use... I have always been in work, but i've always had badly paid jobs, usually minimum wage. But that's manageable when you don't have dependents. So I have had the nice hols and buys although not so much in recent years. And i prioritise../sacrifice when need to. I don't go out much anymore. I don't drink. I don't smoke. At the moment it's tough as i'm not well and on ESA. If i want to treat myself to something nice, I'll eat cheaply for a few days to pay for it (and i mean really cheaply) so i can have that treat. I'm not a big foodie, that's just how i'd pay for something i wanted but couldn't justify. I still run a car, as i need it. I will always go without stuff to pay for my pet or car if need be. My friends with the single's done with credit and loans. They buy less than me but a lot of them live better than me. I don't have a house or garden for example. And most of them have a better social life than me.

alltoomuchrightnow Fri 10-May-13 18:23:44

When i am working, i am pretty bad as a shopaholic and spender..i wish i could save. I kind of justify it to self by saying i have saved thousands as i am infertile... probably some of it is to cheer myself up (doesn't really work, if am honest..'stuff' can't ever fill that gap) I have had friends with kids comment on me having something new or asking what i spent (which i would never ask!) or being resentful if i was going abroad..but i always pointed out that they have something i don't have and would rather have....

alltoomuchrightnow Fri 10-May-13 18:24:09

grass is always greener, i guess

LeaveTheBarSteward Fri 10-May-13 18:29:30

Me - single parent, low income, teeny tiny mortgage nearly paid off, generous parents, so spare cash every month.

Have you had some counselling or support in RL re your infertility as it sounds like you are really hurting.
Have an unMN (((Hug)))

Sometimes you realise how little having "stuff" matters.

doozie1 Fri 10-May-13 18:53:17

Must agree with Shanghaidiva !!!! Perhaps you should be happy with what youve got rather than what youve not got!!!!!

doozie1 Fri 10-May-13 18:59:58

Have a nosey on the special needs blog and read what folk are 'moaning' about there!! Your right 'alltoomuch' , you do realise how little having stuff matters!!

alltoomuchrightnow Fri 10-May-13 22:55:20

thanks Chazs. I have just started counselling (for something else) but this week i did bring up this very subject and it i will explore it more. It does seem to be at the base of many of my problems. I do shop to cheer myself up. However..when was younger and not bothered (and not really sure if i was infertile) I still balanced it out...if i wanted something badly , i would go without other things. So, i have always appeared well dressed and well groomed, even now when out of work. You don't need lots of money, to not look cheap, if that makes sense. I have friends who would say for eg 'oh All Saints, isn't that disgustingly expensive?' if asking where my new top was from. One even says, 'well it's alright for some'. It's about priorities. She could buy it if she desired...but she has takeaways several times a week. She drinks. Buys DVDs. Convenience food. etc etc. I do none of those things..if i did,i couldn't have nice clothes, fill my car up etc (she has kids , but doesn't drive) It's all swings and roundabouts. What is one person's luxury is another person's norm and so on.. Of course to most, a car is a luxury. But i do need mine. I went without tv for years. I was very late getting a mobile phone when they came out. I'm not into gadgets. I would never own an I pad. Having an exotic pet now i'm out of work is now of course a luxury, but he's my responsibility. So i will eat cheap and not go out socialising, to give him quality of life.

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