So you have a huge shoe collection, a great wardrobe you got on sale, an amazing apartment you love or that really sweet ride because you deserve it right? Maybe you have an expensive hobby like crafting, golfing, even gasp (read on) are you a bar star? Perhaps its a passion like fine food at dinners out, wine and can take out be considered a passion? Possibly…
The fact of the matter is those things are expensive. So lets consider what makes something expensive. I would argue anything you spend 1000 dollars a year on, and that’s less than $20 per week, or $75 per month is pretty darn expensive!
Let’s say you make about $40 000 per year well in canada with our 25% tax rate your left with $30 000 to spend go you! But don’t forget that 15% sales tax on almost everything you buy so lets bring that down to $27 000. Now make a list of things you spend $1000 a year on I’ve started one for you. The first portion is made up of things that you will likely include:
- Utilities (power, internet , cable, home phone)
- Cell phone
- Transportation (gas, car payment, repairs and maintenance, transit)
Now let’s looks at the optional things that you are fairly likely to spend the big bucks on though not everyone will include every line item:
- Do you buy your lunch at work? or a Daily coffee?
- Dinning out, take aways or weekend brunch
- Gym membership and other fitness classes
- Clothes shopping
- Other shopping (computers and electronics, decorating, beauty)
- Presents (family, friends, hostess presents)
- Hobbies and entertainment
- Medical expenses
- Services (cleaning, massage, personal training, dog walking, babysitting, manicures, hair services)
- Anything else that’s specific to you?
So now that you’ve added that up how much cash are you spending? How much is leftover for everything else? Is there anything left or are you already in the red? Remember that I said $1000 makes something expensive well that about 4% of the total money you have to spend each year or about 12% of your ‘extra’ cash after necessities. That’s more than a dollar off of each and every $10 bill!
What about the things you’ve invested in? Clothes shoes and purses? Furniture, electronics and decor? Traveling the world? Hobbies like photography, sewing and crafting? Lessons and classes? Do any of these things still have residual value? Do they generate an income for you? What could you realistically sell them for?
Before planning this post I would have told you that the things I’d invested in showed an admirable amount of reason and self control. I would have said while in the process of moving in to Richard’s house I got rid of 75% of my wardrobe and had a modest wardrobe at best. After all I buy 80% of my clothes and honey’s while thrifting and generate an income in the process by re-selling desirable items I find in the process on eBay making about $450 a year. You should see my mom’s and even worse my sister’s she has hanging racks everywhere and they picked their house in no small part for the closets! I like to sew but I make niche products for remote control toys I sell here (rbsrcs.weebly.com). I have about $2000 invested in photography equipment and which was all gifts over the years and I do a few professional photography jobs a year in addition to using it for taking photos of things I sell online (using my 7 year old MacBook). Other than that I garden growing food and upping our property value, mountain bike, run and take one yoga class a week to stay fit but my ‘nice’ bike is 15+ years old. So I have a soap box to stand on here right? I should totally give advice about this! Yeah, not so much…
True, things are better than they used to be, no more wine drinking (what was it adding to my life besides a weekly line item on the bank statements), over half my clothes are gone, I’ve started an online business as a creative outlet and even employ a single mom there, but the clothes…
Officially, my wardrobe is one tiny closet and one and a half regular dressers, Hell, one even has a totally empty drawer! Sure I have a few ‘hanging items’ in the guest room and a lot of shoes but over half of them are gone. Every bag I’ve carried for the last 10 years is designer but I keep them for YEARS, right? HELL NO!!!
It’s time to get real! This unfortunately is my reality. Just as it all looked today over 250 items which I would have put at $10 each but even with all my thrifting it’s more like $30, some of those dresses were 200+ dollars, 45 pairs of shoes at $40 each and 8 purses for a total of $916 that means I have invested over $10 000 dollars plus coats, socks and undies just in not showing up in public naked? I’m not so different from Carrie after all!
But, but, but lots of those things were gifts from my mom. But. but, but that $250 dollar limited edition Coach bag was a gift from my sister and I certinetly didn’t pay for that prom dress.
What does all this mean though? It means this all cost more than my last car, that I’ve probably spent more on clothes than I will on at least half of my wedding and that more than anything I am demonstrating that I’m not using my resources effectively. Which is of course is Tip # 3. This matters because it sends the message that my wardrobe takes up too much of our house’s time, space and money! Obviously I need clothes but had I cut this back over the years by half I could have invested this $5000 into something way more worth while. Almost anything would be more worth while than clothes! With the clothes I got rid of three years ago we would be talking $15 000 and all that time picking them out, I could have used that time and money to own and manage a rental property which twenty years later could have provided about a third of our required retirement income.
The point is that paying a little extra rent each month for a great place doesn’t make sense. If you want an amazing apartment buy it so that when you sell you can recover that investment. Think about your travel in the broader picture, one $5000 trip a year in your twenties is $50 000 if that were invested at even 5% when you were 65 that would be over $216 000 and generate $11 000 a year in income for you. If you buy a $30 000 car every three years you loose $13 000 in value on each one. If instead you bought three year old cars and sold them when they were 6 you loose $7000 on each one. That’s a difference of $6000. Over ten years driving the slightly older car older car saves you $20 000 and the savings in lower insurance costs and sales tax should be more than enough to offset a few extra repairs. If you did this over a 60 year driving career you would have saved more than $120 000! There’s the college fund for your kids! The point is these little things add up if you can eliminate three things a year that cost $1000 each over your 35 year working career you would have $360 000 saved and have a retirement income of about $18 000 a year just from eliminating a few extras. If your partner did this too, you’d be set!
I think that when men call us princesses this is what they are talking about maybe with out even knowing it. How much would you save in a year by quitting alcohol, grocery shopping carefully, taking a lunch and making coffee every day and only eating out one a month? I bet it’s over 4 grand. The extra $250 we pay in rent a month, having a car that’s always under full warranty, shopping for a day every month with our friends, a personal trainer and gym membership and carrying designer purses really does add up to a lot in a year and more in a lifetime than we are willing to admit.
So take a look around and at your bank statement add it all up and decide is it worth it? What is critical and what can go? Tip # 3 to getting wifed: Show him you can use your own resources effectively! Then he’ll know you’ll use his effectively too and pooled together your resources will build a life that is bigger than the sum of it’s parts.
Using your resources whether they be financial, time or energy not only makes you wife material it also show that should things change or get harder in the future, which they will at some point, you two can deal. What if interest rates go up and your mortgage payments double or you have to move to a house half the size? What if a child has special needs and only one of you can work? What if one of you gets injured or sick? The what ifs are endless and truly not to be dwelled on but chances are at some point shit will get real and you’ll have to get through it together. If your not demonstrating this ability now it might be holding him back from picturing you as a wife. Plus no matter what happens making the right decisions on this is right for you too!
In case your thinking I just folded things here is the give away pile of with 64 items in it plus 9 pairs of shoes and exactly 0 purses! I found 8 things to sell on eBay which I listed for $150. Now I have more space for my growing business, reduced the net worth of my wardrobe by about $2500 and reduced the resources our household wastes on my getting dressed in the morning!