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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!!

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.

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!!

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!!!!!

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.

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.

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

grass is always greener, i guess

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 18:19:54

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.

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

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.

LittleAbruzzenBear Fri 10-May-13 16:13:36

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.

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.

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

Selling organs.

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

cheers tantrums

Its been of of those weeks years!

TantrumsAndBalloons Fri 10-May-13 14:31:02

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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 ]

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.

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

Oops blush

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

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

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.

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