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To wonder how so many people afford so much nice 'stuff'?

(80 Posts)
EscapingBiology Mon 16-Oct-17 12:00:01

So many people, who earn seemingly average incomes just seem to have loads and loads of nice stuff; constant new clothes and shoes, kids all decked out in expensive branded clothing and shoes, kids doing every extracurricular club under the sun, having 3 different expensive prams for one child, constantly re-doing their houses and buying new furniture and accessories. The list goes on and on.

How do people afford it? We have a decent income but there is no way I could afford the nice items that some people buy. I know we all have different incomes and circumstances but I'm talking couples who live on a single income, with one partner doing an averagely paid job. I don't live in an area with very high wages, there are certainly no bankers living round here, or people who appear to work in a call centre but who actually earn 100k!

36plusandtrying Mon 16-Oct-17 12:01:21


ElinoristhenewEnid Mon 16-Oct-17 12:01:54

Generous relatives seems to be the norm to me in these circumstances!

MrsOverTheRoad Mon 16-Oct-17 12:02:47

Credit cards, loans and Mum and Dad.

EB123 Mon 16-Oct-17 12:02:48

Credit cars, loans, help from family are some ways.

We are fairly low income but manage nice days out etc but being frugal in other areas.

Anatidae Mon 16-Oct-17 12:04:06

Credit cards, finance, family help. I know a few who have grandparents who shell out vast amounts on stuff and provide free childcare as well.

Comparing yourself to others is a fast track to misery.

SleepFreeZone Mon 16-Oct-17 12:04:36

Cash in hand jobs, fiddling the benefit system, putting it on credit cards or store cards, wealthy grandparents. Any of those.

Notreallyarsed Mon 16-Oct-17 12:05:41

Debt in my experience, or family money. DP and I both had debt problems when we were younger (before we met) and as a consequence don’t do anything on credit. We either save or go without, it’s that simple.

Finola1step Mon 16-Oct-17 12:06:39

Credit cards and finance deals. Furniture companies are awash with 0% finance deals. Some people truly value objects over long term financial stability.

My parents hated the idea of buying on the "never, never" as they called it. This has rubbed off on me.

Karak Mon 16-Oct-17 12:07:56

From previous posts on this one (1) wage higher than you think (2) bought house early or have other reasons why they have low housing costs (3) debt (4) relatives helping out (5) don't spend on other things (eg limited savings or maybe don't holiday to afford activities).

Unihorn Mon 16-Oct-17 12:08:09

Some people also prioritise different things like holidays over savings/pensions.

CustardOmlet Mon 16-Oct-17 12:09:04

Generous parents from my experience - most people I know live to their means and struggle like us, but the few "flash" people I know are living off mum and dad and pretending that it's all their own hard work. Or that are not as dippy as DH and I and don't have a stupidly big mortgage!!!

C0untDucku1a Mon 16-Oct-17 12:12:03

Bank of mum and dad.
Cutting back on other areas that youd consider more important, like extra curricular activities / food / weekends away.
Charity shops and eBay.
Being savvy and knowing when to buy things.

Ive not had a sun holiday this year. But im a teacher and generally if theres a holiday im away somewhere other than home in the uk. If i added up the cost of all my weeks i would be able to go abroad, but id rather holiday frequently more cheaply. So this year £1k for a week in the peak district, then spending money and food / drink when there, £600 for a week in Lincolnshire, again then food on top, Dublin for two nights, scotland for two separate weeks in a lodge, wales, various camping holidays...

My friend has a brood of children and theyre always in designer gear in facebook photos. I always wondered but never asked, because that would be rude, but last year on a night out she told me she gets their clothes off ebay / certain charity shops in wealthy areas as children grow so fast the clothes are in great condition. I would never have considered that.

Seniorcitizen1 Mon 16-Oct-17 12:13:03

Hard work good job save before buy

C0untDucku1a Mon 16-Oct-17 12:15:53

I know someone who has a big house and flashy four week adventure holidays every summer, three kids in private school. Both public sector workers. He had cancer in his twenties, which paid off their mortgage at the time. And they get 50% off school fees in bursaries. Frees up money for other things.

Not having to holiday at the same times as schools can halve hoilday costs!

Grimbles Mon 16-Oct-17 12:16:50

Blimey, is it that time again?

NannyOggsKnickers Mon 16-Oct-17 12:17:17

For us it is a combination of generous relatives and prioritising our spending. So, DH and I rarely buy clothes or accessories for ourselves and we ask for personal items from generous relatives for Christmas. This means we have the money to do work on our house and take DD on trips and days out. So, we are more about experiences than things. We also prioritised having a cleaner over having a new car (not bothered).

A friend of my mums always looks like she is rolling in it. But she’s not. To the casual observer she has a flash car and looks very well dressed and beautified. IN reality she does her own hair, can do wonders with cheap make up, mixes expansive pieces with lots of Primark and the car is always second hand.

It can be done cheaply if you know how. On the flip side there are lots and lots of people who get themselves into crippling debt to live the high life and end up with a house full of expensive tat.

TheTurnOfTheScrew Mon 16-Oct-17 12:17:18

I know a few "ordinary" families where both partners are between 5-10 years older than DH and I, and most of them have made an absolute killing on the property ladder. This particular applies where each party had a small flat of their own pre-2000 and then bought a family home.

NerrSnerr Mon 16-Oct-17 12:18:20

With people I know it’s back of mum and dad and credit.

Youcanttaketheskyfromme Mon 16-Oct-17 12:19:37

I can afford it because:

I spend so much time working I have very little time to spend any money. I also get all my food and petrol paid for through work when I'm working away which is most of the time.

I'm cheap so I buy a lot of stuff on offer or on eBay.

I also inherited a small amount wen a relative died which I've not really spent much of yet.

Youcanttaketheskyfromme Mon 16-Oct-17 12:19:55

Oh and I don't have a children to provide for. If I did I imagine it would be v different.

whatathingtosay Mon 16-Oct-17 12:21:48

It doesn't come from the income. There was a thread on here a while ago about people being helped out by rich parents. It was absolutely amazing how many people had significant amounts of help, either in terms of child care or in terms of direct financial handouts. Made me realise how unlevel the playing field really is!

JoanBartlett Mon 16-Oct-17 12:22:04

It surprises me too sometimes but I don't like spending on stuff but I have on school fees so I suppose we all just pick what we spend on. Also some people do earn a lot.

(Not all make a killing on property - I am even older and sold our last Lonidon house at a loss in the 90s recession - things go up and down; it was not some wonderful always upwards property increase over the last 50 years)

EscapingBiology Mon 16-Oct-17 12:23:44

I honestly don't think that any of the people that I know who seem to buy a lot have high incomes. Honestly, they all work locally for various companies and none of the companies in this area pay well, it's a very low paid area.

OnionShite Mon 16-Oct-17 12:24:25

'Nice stuff' is not a good way to judge how much money people have got. There's much more variation now in what people can pay for things like holidays and branded clothes, thanks to the internet and specifically Ebay and Air b and b. Houses can be decorated fairly cheaply. Perhaps not Farrow and Ball, but painting a couple of rooms every few months and getting a few accessories to go with them is a pastime that could cost only in the three figures a year. And there's a massive second hand market for prams in particular! Nor are kids activities necessarily that expensive. Depends what you do. A kid in my area could have 3 or 4 hobbies a week for a tenner if you picked right.

Plus the other things people mentioned: jobs and income streams you don't know about, family help either materially or with childcare, credit, inheritances, low housing costs because of purchasing earlier or SH, not spending money on other things people might think essential but that really add up, bonuses, treating equity in home as cashpoint, some jobs are paid more than you think.

So in summary: some things are cheaper than you think, some people have income/means of getting money you don't know about. Lastly, people bullshit on Facebook.

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