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Achieving a better standard of living that your income suggests

(81 Posts)
ChocolateWombat Sun 19-Jan-14 17:40:10

I notice that people who have similar household incomes, family size and house size in the same area often seem to have very different standards of living.
My question is how do those who seem to have the higher standard of living achieve it? I'd like to know their secrets which allow them to have this.

Just as an example I'm thinking of a family which have an income of around £60,000 in Surrey and who manage have holidays and privately educate their child. How do they achieve that when lots of people with much more seem to have neither?

RandomMess Sun 19-Jan-14 17:42:54

Depends how large your mortgage is, whether they get handouts from parents, what sort of benefits they get from work etc.

RandomMess Sun 19-Jan-14 17:43:20

May have a partial bursary for private school!

mercibucket Sun 19-Jan-14 17:44:27

drug dealing a la breaking bad

olivo Sun 19-Jan-14 17:48:09

I earn a similar amount to my colleagues, but often wonder how they can afford things. One of the things I have noticed is that we have always had to pay for child care, from early nursery days to after and before school care, whereas many have their parents' and grand parents' help. If I had had that, that would have been up to 15k of my salary NOt going to child care. Makes quite a difference!

Viviennemary Sun 19-Jan-14 17:48:59

I think a lot of people get financial help from parents. But on the other hand I have known people on quite good salaries with lowish mortgages that never seen to have two pennies to rub together and are always saying how poor they are. That puzzles me too.

GW297 Sun 19-Jan-14 17:53:35

Loads of grandparents pay school fees!

hoppinghare Sun 19-Jan-14 17:56:52

Just wanted to say that having family provide childcare doesn't necessarily mean you are getting it free. I paid my mum the same amount the local childminders were charging as I really valued the quality care she was providing.
I'd say differences come from savings saved before children arrive, mortgage size, budgeting, bonuses, how often cars are changed and that type of thing. Also some people don't mind living on credit.

SolomanDaisy Sun 19-Jan-14 17:58:52

Low mortgage, bursary, good at finding bargain holidays, prioritise these things over others. My DSis doesn't spend money doing up her house, we do. They always have the latest iPhones, we don't. It's just different priorities.

addictedtosugar Sun 19-Jan-14 18:03:08

Also, something I read on another thread - you only see what people spend their money on, not what they don't spend it on - so they might not be having take away ever week, may meal plan like mad and shop in Aldi to afford these things.

ChocolateWombat Sun 19-Jan-14 18:24:17

I guess too, that 'standard of living' is judged differently by different people. There are the obvious things like new or flashy cars and holidays abroad. Other people might value more highly trips to the theatre or all 3 of their children learning 2 instruments each, which would not be cheap.
Do you think that smallish savings on things like utilities or coffees etc can produce enough for school fees or other major lifestyle expenditures?

addictedtosugar Sun 19-Jan-14 18:47:33

Well, my boss currently complains about his (private) school fees of about 1200/mth. He objects when I say thats my nursery fees, so shut up as he earns more than me!

So, if were looking for 1200/mth.
Difference between 120 and 70 on the shopping - £50/week 200/mth
Not buying lunch at work every day - £5 in canteen, say £2 packed lunch - £3/work day, 2 parents, 20 working days / mth = £120/mth
Not having a take away every week - say £30/week = £120/month
Buying supermarket clothes rather than high brans - easily can see £100/mth
Spending the weekend at the park, taking the snacks with you every week, rather than soft play / swimming and a coffee afterward half the time. Say £20/ day. Average £40/month

And your half way there.
I'm sure changing your car every 5 years rather than every 3 would add up, as could having bought your house 3 years earlier, or got a jammy SRV like 0.5 above base rate is around for some

ChocolateWombat Sun 19-Jan-14 18:52:16

Addicted, great examples.
I guess it's about finding savings that don't leave you feeling totally deprived. Coffees out give some people huge pleasure, so would be a big sacrifice, but are not a big loss for others.
I wonder how many people really can save £1000 a month this way. Are most livi g as frugally as they can already or could only perhaps save. Tiny amount?

Fluffycloudland77 Sun 19-Jan-14 19:24:10

eBay blush

Everything goes on eBay in this house. I never have anything to give to charity shops.

I buy nice stuff on it too. I've made £20 tonight selling an old electric monitor that cost me £10 in asda.

mscnile Sun 19-Jan-14 19:33:40

We were talking about this earlier, and reckon we are pretty frugal despite outward appearances. I have nice clothes, good car (but 7 years old) and use premium skincare, we eat well at weekends (but basics in the week, or fast, h gets free lunch at work) and holiday abroad at least once a year. But we rarely have takeaways, don't go shopping unless we need to, don't have sky and have a jammy 0.5 above base rate lifetime tracker mortgage.

SofiaAmes Sun 19-Jan-14 19:34:33

A lot of it is about making choices. One can save a LOT of money by not eating out and cooking everything from scratch. I personally do that and rent out rooms in my home which brings in quite a bit of money. I have been doing this for years, so have no credit card debt and a very low mortgage because I have been paying it down for decades. I choose to spend my savings on private education and music lessons for my children (I also get help with scholarships and grandparents) instead of holidays and clothes. I haven't had one in years and I only buy clothes when I'm desperate (ie shoes falling apart) and have spent less than £100 a year for clothes (including shoes) for many many years. We spend the weekends in our backyard instead of at disneyland. I sell old things online and get new things for free and use a lot of hand me downs. I have a comfortable life that works for me and my family, but I'm sure there are people around me who think I overindulge and those who think I am deprived.

Trills Sun 19-Jan-14 19:36:13

Even if you have exactly the same essential income and outgoings with no external help, you may have different priorities.

You may see that the family next door has better Xs than you, but you don't notice that they never have any Y, and that their Zs are all second-hand.

Fairylea Sun 19-Jan-14 19:38:14

Hmm well on paper we seem very poor - dh works 50 hours a week as a retail manager earning about 16k and I am currently at home due to health problems and also being a sahm to our two dc.

However, we live in a very nice semi detached house in the middle of the country with an extremely small mortgage (£250 a month).

We are lucky to be in that position with the house because back in the day when I did work I had a very senior position and worked in London and was able to pay off my mortgage. I then downsized and moved to the countryside.

So I guess people probably look at us and think we must be mortgaged up to the eyeballs and wonder how we manage to buy new stuff etc but it comes from a very stressful previous life as it were!

I do appreciate how lucky we are.

Fairylea Sun 19-Jan-14 19:39:49

(Sorry meant to add the only reason we have a mortgage now is because dh has effectively brought into the house and we used some capital for home improvements and an extension).

Trills Sun 19-Jan-14 19:41:52

Do you think that smallish savings on things like utilities or coffees etc can produce enough for school fees or other major lifestyle expenditures?

No. Savings on things like that can make the difference between nearly affording school fees and actually being able to afford them, but can't pay for school fees entirely.

Private school = £3,000/term (ish). £9,000/year. A rather expensive cup of coffee costs £3 (for roundness). So that's 3,000 coffees a year. Over 8 cups of coffee per day.

Or to do it the other way round, if you have a £3 cups of coffee every weekday, you could save £780 in a year. That's nowhere near enough for private school! You'd need to find ten more places where you were "wasting" that much money in order to be able to save enough for school fees.

Grennie Sun 19-Jan-14 19:44:44

Financial help from family and/or inheritances. We have had no financial help from anyone. I have thought the same as the OP, until hearing things dropped in like - when my Aunt died I inherited a bit, or my parents like to help us out.

jimijack Sun 19-Jan-14 19:45:29

I know what you mean.
I notice folk have really nice clothes, cars, houses decked out really nicely and they earn what we earn.

Could it be credit cards, loans & debt?

Supermum222 Sun 19-Jan-14 20:14:47

Childcare makes a huge difference. I have a boy, almost 10, and a girl aged 5. Due to no family support I returned to work part time and had to pay a fair whack of my salary out in childcare (both children were 10 months old when I returned to work). I dread to think how much almost 10 years of childcare has cost me.
It also depends on things like grandparent help (financially)...we have had none. We also pay a high payment on our mortgage but we do that so it is paid off early (March 2017...can't wait). One of my colleagues has an interest only mortgage and no childcare (as Grandma does it all for them for free) so they have loads more cash on a day to day basis. However, they are only paying interest on their mortgage! Crazy.
Some people are up to their necks in debt and don't care. We have no debt (apart from remaining mortgage). We also have 2 cars but one is 10 year old now. No finance on either car. We save to change cars.
Some people inherit. We haven't but will do one day.

Supermum222 Sun 19-Jan-14 20:17:23

One of the mum's at school (who is a SAHM) really shows off all the time. I often wonder how she affords things as her hubby earns a similar amount to my hubby.
Her hubby told me she goes to another town and shops in cheap shops (where no one can see her) LOL.

BikeRunSki Sun 19-Jan-14 20:28:17

Company cars. DH and I both have company cars (both do lots of work mileage, both cars are "tools" rather than "perks"), but it means we have much bigger and better cars we would do if we paid for them ourselves.

We do pay for all out childcare though. And spend a lot of annual leave driving 6 hrs to visit family.

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