Am I the only one who often wonders where the heck some people get all their money from?

(53 Posts)
Nonalphamum Mon 02-Sep-13 10:39:30

I probably am very nosey, but I know a few people that have a seemingly average/low income but seem to spend spend spend all the time and I guess I just wonder how they do it.

DD's friend's mum is a single mum with 2 children, she works part time, yet seems to have endless cash for holidays, clothes, haircuts, nights out etc. She and her kids have had 2 foreign holidays during these summer holidays alone.

Another woman I know has 5 children, her husband works in the catering industry so not on a good wage, and again they seem to just spend all the time; clothes, holidays, things for their house. And she has said that they spend £200 most weeks on food shopping.

It just baffles me where people get their money from.

BeenFluffy Mon 02-Sep-13 10:43:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

sonlypuppyfat Mon 02-Sep-13 10:45:00

Because they are in debt. Just because they have things it doesn't mean they own them

SugarMiceInTheRain Mon 02-Sep-13 10:49:23

Agree, probably debt. Credit is just too easy to obtain. DH and I have never had credit cards/ loans although the bank keeps offering them 'because we keep our accounts in order'. I tell them every time that the reason we are able to keep our accounts in order is because we don't have a CC or loan.

mrspaddy Mon 02-Sep-13 10:49:48

She might be lying over the shopping spend but embarrassed to admit that they live on economy food to pay for other luxuries!
They might be good at budgeting - maybe they ebay all their old clothes to supplement purchasing of new ones. Good grandparents? Inheritance.
Credit card debt could be huge.

You might have more but you don't know it. I drive an old car and am happy with it. Would rather that and know I have a few pound put away for a rainy day.

GemmaTeller Mon 02-Sep-13 10:57:32

Somebody once said to me...'never red eye (be jealous) what others have, you don't know what they did to get it'.

Thats so true.

Am I jealous of someone driving round in a 12/13 reg car? No, because I paid cash for my punto and the insurance is only £260 a year.

Would I like a foreign holiday? Yes, but I need to save up for it first and other things get in the way (dental bill, sons wedding, etc)

Someone I know used to book a big fancy carribbean cruise every year on their credit card and did all the trips, all new clothes etc. Then spent all year 'robbing peter to pay paul' to pay the credit card off then booked the next one!

Thats not how I want to live.

Credit cards/loans would be my guess.

I know a few people who seem to spend on all sorts of things that we couldn't/wouldn't afford even though Dh is earning a decent salary. Things like a week away at Centre Parks or holidays abroad. Yet they often seem to be the ones that will suddenly be saying how skint they are.

Often they seem to be the ones who are constantly juggling between various demands on their money. I've seen people making big purchases and the following week they're saying "How can I cut back my food budget?" or "I'm having to walk to school with the dc because I can't afford to put petrol in my car" confused

noisytoys Mon 02-Sep-13 14:01:06

YY to the credit cards. This was me 5 years ago. I was reckless now I'm paying it all back but in hindsight I was stupid.

plasticparty Mon 02-Sep-13 14:19:10

It's not always due to credit and reckless borrowing. When I was a single mum and on a low p/t wage I was able to budget for foreign holidays and luxuries through savvy budgeting, ebaying, help from parents and a decent amount of maintenance. Never had any kind of overdraft or credit card at all. I'd save up our Tesco points for holidays and theme parks and get tips on glitches from websites so I could get some things really cheap, which meant I could splash out on other stuff! Also I got deals on things like haircuts from friends and I know all the good outlet places for clothes. I did some sums once and worked out that if I'd been paying full price for everything, I'd have needed to earn 5x my salary even though on paper I was not at all well off.

redskyatnight Mon 02-Sep-13 15:13:54

Significant financial help from other family members?

Ifcatshadthumbs Mon 02-Sep-13 15:21:02

Dh always feels envious of the in laws life style but I regularly point out they have only ever paid interest only on the mortgage, have huge credit card bills, cars are leased not owned etc etc. we could easily live a similar lifestyle if we want a massive debt hanging over us.

Some people view being able to meet monthly payments=doing fine financially.

aquaintances of mine(mother works,father fraudulently claiming disability benefits,two children)have brand new cars,holidays,house makeovers once a year and she has admitted to me that she just applies for credit cards or catalogues and just maxes them out!
I may not have loads of flashy gear but everything I have has been saved for,earned and worked hard for and I know that its not going to creep up and bite me on the arse one day.

Viviennemary Mon 02-Sep-13 17:47:21

A lot of folk get financial help from relatives. Also benefit fraud sad to say.

PoppyWearer Mon 02-Sep-13 18:09:45

DH and I often wonder this because he earns a very good salary and yet we often feel like we can't afford luxuries like overseas holidays and new cars. Our home improvements are on hold until we have savings to cover what we want to do. Our cars are 5yo and not flash at all, but we bought them outright, and don't plan to replace them anytime soon. We keep them serviced and maintained. Our only debt is our mortgage, and our repayments are manageable, we put down 40% equity when we bought this house. We do save. Our DCs are not in private school.

And yet friends who are clearly on lower salaries (in some cases they've told us their salaries) are doing home improvements, taking foreign holidays and buying new cars left, right and centre.

It has to be being done on credit or loans from family. Or we are dong something seriously wrong!!

Charlottehere Mon 02-Sep-13 18:12:52

I wonder all the time!

Mum2Fergus Mon 02-Sep-13 19:12:14

Funnily enough we had this conversation at the weekend. Between us we bring home approx £2.5k pm...I believe we live well within our means, fortunate enough to have a weeks holiday in the sun most years, 2 wee old cars...and happy to save for everything. But see folk around us and its a permanent stream of holidays, weekends away, cars, home improvements (and not just a coat of paint!)'s endless! Does make me wonder (and very occasionally jealous!).

BrownSauceSandwich Mon 02-Sep-13 19:33:50

I guess you tend to notice the stuff people ARE doing, not the stuff they AREN'T. We have a moderate income, and probably look like we spend a lot on our house, but we don't have new clothes that often, and the ones we do aren't expensive, and we rarely go on foreign holidays, and we don't go out for dinner, and we have one, small, 10-year-old car between us. It's hard to judge impartially on somebody else's spending, never having the full picture. Maybe they bought their house at the right time and have a tiny mortgage. Maybe they're secretly a high-class hooker.

My rule of thumb... Don't count other people's money. Though it can be hard sometimes

Babyroobs Mon 02-Sep-13 23:29:34

I think a lot of people get supplemented by well off parents. I also know a single mum who barely works but seems to be always off on foreign holidays at least a couple a year. Turns out her parents pay for them from some money they inherited. A lot of people I know also bought their houses when prices were very low and have virtually paid off their mortgages, wheras we only started ours a few years ago when prices had risen considerably. It makes a big difference. I'm personally amazed by how many people's facebook sites showing a constant stream of boozy nights out, day trips with the kids and meals out! I am constantly wondering how people afford this lifestyle. I have one facebook friend in a very modestly paying job who posts every lunchtime from a different local cafe whilst I sit at work with my home made sandwich, and I'm green with envy!

Freemilk Mon 02-Sep-13 23:45:30


I have come to the conclusion it is a combination of things, easy credit and too much of it, fiddling (tax, benefits, second jobs whatever), funded by family, maxing credit cards then IVAs or similar, IO mortgages, just got lucky.

I know of people who claim to be doing them all (although not at the same time)

joanofarchitrave Mon 02-Sep-13 23:56:34

We had a house extension when fairly skint. My mother paid for it.

I was able to manage when my new work fucked up and took 2 months to pay me - by taking out a bank loan.

I had a flatmate when I was a lot younger who seemed really rich compared to the rest of us- he had a washing machine and lots of furniture whereas all of us were lucky if we had a mattress on the floor. Turned out his parents were dead and he'd inherited their stuff.

Silverfoxballs Tue 03-Sep-13 07:53:51

I have one friend who is certainly not on a huge income as she worked pt and received tax credits as a single parent. she was helped significantly by her Mother.

Her Mum had paid off the ex so my friend could buy him out and then paid off my friends mortgage a year later. So around 100k.

She also gave her money every week and large amounts on birthdays etc. she paid for my friends DS to go to private school.

It is a highly unusual situation and I always think my friend is not even remotely grateful. The Mother is so fair she gave her other DD the same amount she is incredibly well off already.

Allofaflumble Wed 04-Sep-13 16:45:23

I don't think wondering just how people do it, means that you are jealous, just seriously baffled!

VivaLeBeaver Wed 04-Sep-13 16:47:45

Yes, and then I feel bad for been so nosey.

I know a couple with three kids, she doesn't work, he's a mechanic at a garage (not his own garage and not a manager). They've just bought a 300k house.

umiaisha Wed 04-Sep-13 17:00:29

OH earns around £55K a year and I am SAHM. We have 2 children and a sizeable mortgage, although have decent equity in our house (the joys of London living!) and I probably will not return to work until the children are older. Other than our mortgage and a couple of grand owed to my mum and dad for an extension, we have no debt.

People frequently comment on what a lavish lifestyle we lead and imply that we are getting in debt to maintain it. We love expensive holidays, clothes shopping, designer handbags and normally eat out twice a week. What they don't see however, is the scrimping that goes on behind the scenes. OH and my clothes are financed through selling our old ones on ebay, I take part in online surveys and we save all year round for holidays and christmas and although I shop in Waitrose, I only spend £70 a week maximum and top this up in Iceland/Aldi.

We are always on the look out for deals, money off vouchers and any savings that can be made anywhere. We don't hoard anything at all and do a car boot sale every year. I would never pay for parking unless I absolutely have to, even if this means walking quite a way and avoid buying chewing gums, drinks etc. when I am out as I know the massive savings I can make by buying multipacks from Poundland.

Quite a few friends are constantly pleading poverty, despite having tiny/no mortgages and having decent wages. They live in old clothes, don't go on holidays and never eat out. They then waste their money (in my opinion) on things that can easily and painlessly be avoided. Would love to give them a money makeover!!!

Mum2Fergus Wed 04-Sep-13 18:40:41

I'd love a money makeover lol I think we do ok...and have reduced outgoings by nearly £200pm over the past 8 or so months...but I know we could do better! We deliberately keep our monthly outgoings below the lowest of both our monthly salaries...I'm terrified of one of us losing our job but at least we could manage on one wage if it came to it.

Freemilk Wed 04-Sep-13 23:11:33

You know you can start to do your own money makeover......
I helped my Mother recently and saved her quite a bit (she had one lot of insurance 3 times!!!!!)

only fair to point out that quite a bit = a few hundred a year, a lot if you have minimal pension income

Mum2Fergus Thu 05-Sep-13 08:36:09

Very true...I just think someone looking at things with a fresh pair of eyes can spot things I might now...wood for the trees and all that smile

samuraispider Sat 07-Sep-13 14:41:35

Never assume you know what is going on in other people's lives...

They are either maxed out on credit, have rich parents or live like me. I shop in charity shops, eBay, Gumtree, ALDI, LIDL, Poundland, B&M, all over the place. Like another poster up thread I don't pay for parking unless I absolutely have to and we use quite a few coupons and vouchers. My boss, however, thinks I'm the original John Lewis girl... grin

applepudding Sat 07-Sep-13 22:37:45

Sometimes people can appear to be spending a lot on certain things because they economise in other areas.

For example, we go on holiday quite frequently (normal one foreign holiday and a few UK short breaks) and eat out at least once a week but we have a very small mortgage, our cars are both over 10 years old, I generally shop at Aldi, meal plan and check voucher codes/comparison sites before making purchases.

DH and myself are both on average/low wages but DS says his friends are always saying we must be rich because we go away/out a lot.

FamiliesShareGerms Sat 07-Sep-13 22:42:24

I can never understand how people have large savings such that they can pay for an extension in cash or not worry about working for a year, for example.

I presume family help / inheritance, probably including ensuring no student debt and help towards a decent deposit to make the mortgage smaller.

WeAllHaveWings Sat 07-Sep-13 22:49:50

Dh's friend is on a low income, but has a lot of material things and he and his family go on the type of holidays we can't afford.

We have a mortgage and equity, where they pay a smaller council rent.
We pay for insurance for mortgage protection, building & contents, pet insurance, life insurance etc where they take the risk and have none.
We have a saving plan for ds where the have none.
A lot of their gadgets fell off the back of lorries, I pay for my gadgets.
They owe money to family and friends, I have no debt and have never borrowed significant money since I left home.

I am very risk adverse and would worry about debt, no insurance, owing money where they are very relaxed. What I spend on insurances, savings and legit purchases would probably pay for a nice holiday each year!

Oblomov Sat 07-Sep-13 23:22:13

2 of our friends have both bought new cars, outright for cash. They both have expensive holidays. Dh and are baffled. We can only assume they are given alot by their parents.

gintastic Sat 07-Sep-13 23:24:08

We paid cash for our extension, but I'd rather still have my uncle, thanks very much.

BadLad Sun 08-Sep-13 04:24:10

I can never understand how people have large savings such that they can pay for an extension in cash or not worry about working for a year, for example.

I presume family help / inheritance, probably including ensuring no student debt and help towards a decent deposit to make the mortgage smaller.

Add not having kids to that list. It makes a big difference to the amount of disposable income. Or so my friends with children tell me.

Morgause Sun 08-Sep-13 05:35:45

We are both semi-retired now and have a lot of days out exploring the countryside. We see some wonderful houses as we drive around and constantly wonder what the residents do for a living. They can't all be footballers or company directors can they?

CyrilSneers Sun 08-Sep-13 05:39:04

I swear I've read this exact thread before hmm

AdoraBell Sun 08-Sep-13 05:41:29

Not the only one at all OP, my OH goes on, and on, about how do all these people on X salary afford these houses and those cars. Drives me potty, I couldn't give a monkeys how they afford it or what salary they are on even though I know most of it is either on credit or inheritance here.

GinOnTwoWheels Sun 08-Sep-13 08:45:42

OP, the family with 5 DCs will be getting a LOT of tax credits and child benefit, £20k+ PA, plus HB on top if they rent.

FamiliesShareGerms Sun 08-Sep-13 08:54:59

Badlad - good point! Children do cost money!!

Chubfuddler Sun 08-Sep-13 08:58:34

People think I spend a fortune on clothes as I have bought a lot of new stuff recently (massive weight loss so I had to).

80% are from charity shops.

juneau Sun 08-Sep-13 08:59:56

I sometimes wonder this too, but you never know someone else's situation. For instance, my sister only earns about £20k, yet she owns her own house, has a car, goes on at least two foreign holidays a year, and it's all because our parents help her out a huge amount. They let her have an advance on her inheritance to buy her house, she's borrowed money from them to replace her car, she goes on holiday with them at least once a year, which they never ask her to contribute towards, our dad gives us all some money each year in order to avoid inheritance tax, etc. It all adds up and means she has a much better lifestyle than she could dream of having on her salary alone.

And, of course, as others have said, there are many, many people out there who live on credit, who lease their cars, make minimum payments on mortgages, etc, and are therefore able to give the impression of being much more well-off than they really are.

I think thinking about it too much can eat you up inside! We have good salaries but could only afford a camping holiday this year as we're in the red following maternity leave and a load of things going wrong at home which needed fixing (eg serious things like electricity supply, toilet not working, boiler issues...).

PeachesForMe Sun 08-Sep-13 09:20:10

Family members - I know my baby-boomer parents feel they have way more money than they are entitled to. They just did what they should do, saved up, bought pensions etc, and now they're getting the benefit. OTOH they've seen me go further than they did: good education, couldn't buy a house for ages though, no spare money for investments...They have given me gifts of money because they can.

Also, the more you have, the more that comes to you. It's quite a sad fact. You get better deals on practically everything, once you've got a bit to "invest". Free flights, cheap hotels for credit card points. Savings when you bulk buy. Cheaper bills because you're well insulated and have a good boiler. It all adds up.

And as you get older, people die and leave you money. sad

addictedtofarmville Tue 10-Sep-13 09:25:42

I know someone who is a bit like this and I often wonder how she does it. She's a friend of mine and is a single mum to one child, and often moans about how hard life is financially for her, yet she is always buying clothes in shops like Topshop and River Island, so not particularly cheap clothes. She also goes to a top hairdressers and has a cut and blow dry for £80 every 6 weeks. She doesn't really have holidays, but does have lots of nights out, spa days, all those kinds of things. Also her daughter always has loads of nice, expensive clothes.

I've come to the conclusion that her parents help her out financially. I don't think she could sustain that lifestyle herself doing the job that she does and with the income she claims to have.

Either that or she's doing phone sex chat line work on the side!

Ilovefluffysheep Tue 10-Sep-13 21:20:04

You could me talking about me! Single mum to 2, work part time, foreign holiday every year, overpay my mortgage.

I don't do debt (other than mortgage). I'm good at budgeting, use coupons to the max, and exploit the tesco club card scheme as much as possible (2 Florida holidays, Lapland, half a car, all paid for in the past by club card).

I guess I'm lucky as my first house bought in 1996 tripled in value, so even though when I moved in 2007 and my mortgage almost quadrupled, I still had plenty of equity in my property.

Holidays are important to us, so saving for those is a priority. I never buy anything full price, and my work colleagues call me bargain queen. It can be done, but you have to be pretty dedicated.

miffybun73 Tue 10-Sep-13 21:22:35

They're probably massively in debt.

Ememem84 Tue 10-Sep-13 21:48:33

Could be any number of reasons. Debt. Or family money. Or just saved hard. We're being a bit extravagant this year on face of it- new kitchen, new bathroom, trip to NYC in jan, just got back from a week in turkey, skiing in feb 14 and nz dec 14. However. Nz trip was a wedding gift. Skiing coincides with friends wedding. We're trying to sell flat to buy house upgrades are necessary to get better price. We budgeted and saved hard.

FourGates Tue 10-Sep-13 22:12:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

addictedtofarmville Wed 11-Sep-13 09:19:24

I think too that some people are just excellent at living a champagne lifestyle on a lemonade budget. Some people are really good at looking for bargains, or at putting outfits together, or at decorating their homes on a shoestring.

Another friend of mine is a single mum on benefits and is extremely skint, yet her house is like a showhome as she just has a great flair for decorating and interior design.

78bunion Wed 11-Sep-13 10:01:00

I went to the hairdressers yesterday for the first time in about 5 years (it's very expensive) and I usually just buy the £6 dye and cut it myself. Yet there seem to be loads of people out there who often go to get their hair done, who eat out and all kinds of things we never do. I think it is just that some spend money they don't have or else they illegally evade tax or have money from parents.

HMRC look at all this on their inspections - is the lifestyle of the person higher than their declared income, do they have expensive cars, boats, private school places, clothes, jewellery beyond their means etc.

Some women get stuff from men. I was talking to a man this week who had bought a £1m house in the name of his lover! Now wants it back but of course if it were a gift that's rather hard.. .more fool him.

cozietoesie Sat 21-Sep-13 19:08:49

I vaguely remember a famous court case about 30 years ago where the man put a huge amount of money in a woman's name for tax avoidance reasons (I think they were husband and wife so it must have been a divorce hearing) - and she promptly decamped.

The (very senior) judge took great delight in intoning lugubriously 'He who plays with fire.......'

Freemilk Mon 23-Sep-13 15:23:21

Just coming back to this......
for some dare I say it they have well paying jobs (I gather not infrequently public sector) and work in a cheap part of the country.
TBF as someone said upthread how much you pay for housing makes a huge difference, whether that is through having no mortgage or living somewhere where houses are very cheap.

I also think the kind of differences I am talking about are not accounted for by taking the bus instead of walking or buying cushions from matalan when everyone thinks they are Next. I am talking about school fees for multiple children from the age of 3, buying houses for well over a million, having 4 or 5 overseas holidays a year, for the whole family, flying business class (or better) however many clubcard vouchers I save or clothes I sell on ebay or buses I don't catch it is never going to pay for all that.

Worth remembering that savings and housing equity are not taken into account by tax credits a useful way of adding several 10s of K to your wealth when you might not 'need it' not sure what the situation is re maintenance but even then as I said that is only going to cover 1 set of school fees not all the other stuff.

Along the same lines those who receive lots of parental help where are the retired getting it all from?!!! I'm surprised they don't feel the need to save for their care homes!!

Actually sorry I have just realised that I have changed the question it was about how people on a low income have loads/look rich etc, not about how totally loaded some people seem to be!! I will add this anyway it is interesting to think about.

I have what is classed as a low income, yet I do always seem to have shopping bags at work. I generally only buy a good bargain, I don't spend a lot on food (so many people turn their noses up at whoopsied meat, etc, but I generally buy it at at least a 50% reduction, it saves me a fortune!). I also have a nosy at HUKD, MSE etc, at least a couple of times a day, while on my lunchbreak at work, and I'm more than happy to buy Christmas/ birthday presents months early if it's going to save me a decent amount.

The people who always complain to me that they have £50 left the week after payday to last them the rest of the month, or that they have dipped into their savings again, are generally the ones who are snobby about labels, or rummaging for a good bargain, or not having yellow labels on their food. They'd run a mile if they saw my freezer!

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