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anyone else poor?

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Old 06-07-2008, 07:01 PM   #1
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Default anyone else poor?

I know this sounds weird, but I wanted a little reassurance. My DH has 1 more year of college and is working at an electronics store, and I'm a teacher. I'm also trying to save money to take Master's classes. We live in a cheap apartment, don't have cable, and I'm paying off my car (his is paid for!).
The problem is, I feel so bad we live paycheck to paycheck. I'm one of those worrywarts that likes to be prepared for anything, lol. I even made my DH sock away our income tax refund to have as "rainy day/emergency money."
We've been married a year and don't have kids. When he graduates in a year, his starting salary should match mine, which is great. We eat out twice a week (I know, I know, that's too often), but we really don't splurge on anything. No credit cards, no vacations, we don't drink or smoke. I even buy my produce at a farmer's market to save money.
So my question is: Is it just us, or are most young couples just starting out this pitiful? I know that sounds funny, but I think I'd feel better if I knew this was normal.
I'm proud of the fact that we don't use credit cards, and our cars are pretty fuel efficient (plus I only live a mile away from my work). I think I'm pretty thrifty, and my family agrees. In fact, my mom still likes me to grocery shop for her because I'm good at finding deals, ha ha! But do any other young marrieds have any tips on living cheaper?
Sorry for the ramble--like I said, I'm a worrywart and I was just curious if DH and I were the only young couples who weren't millionaires!
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Old 06-07-2008, 07:12 PM   #2
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First of all, you're not pitiful at all. You've got little debt, good futures, and you're smart enough to put some money away for a rainy day. Nothing pitiful about any of that.

Secondly, you're supposed to be poor. You're young and struggling and it'll make you appreciate things more later on. People seem to think that they are supposed to start off where their parents ended up. You're not. Unless you're a trustfund baby, it takes years to get to a point where you can comfortably take vacations, buy houses and new cars and generally not worry about money on a daily basis.

You'll actually look back on these years with affection so try and enjoy them now.
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Old 06-07-2008, 07:18 PM   #3
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Thanks Robin! I appreciate the pep talk I know, we are doing okay for newlyweds. Thank God our parents raised us to hate credit cards! I have student loans, but in Texas, if you teach special education in a low socioeconomic school for 5 years, the government pays them off. How cool is that?!?!
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Old 06-07-2008, 07:20 PM   #4
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You are not pitful. You are planning for your future by not getting into debt with credit cards now. Shopping at the Farmer's Market is great - local produce has more nutrition than the stuff in grocery stores. You can do this for one more year. My husband and I started out the same way 36 years ago.
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Old 06-07-2008, 07:21 PM   #5
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I'm with you sister!!!

It makes me SO MAD when my fiance's bosses scoff at the fact they we haven't purchased a house yet. "Well, we purchased a house right out of college".

Yeah. Ok. When college was affordable and your house cost $30,000.

With the college debt and the fact that the housing bubble burst making it difficult for those just starting out to get financed, not to mention the SKYROCKETING cost of everything, yeah, we are hurting. We just barely make it (paycheck to paycheck) and figuring out how to pay for a wedding. Our (only) car is on its last legs (and DF wants to take on a $470 car payment )...

I know whining is uncool, but we both make somewhat reasonable salaries and we can't afford a house. We can't even afford to get married and our budget is well under half the cost of a typical American wedding. I know so many people who have been given cars and have been "gifted" down payments by their parents. I know I have to have some rich aunt out there somehwere
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Old 06-07-2008, 07:21 PM   #6
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I agree with Robin - I'm 27 and my long term bf is 28, we've been together for over 6 years - we both work, own a home, no cable, no credit cards, paying for both of our cars...and it can still be tough and make you feel like a loser some times. I see people my age going on vacations that I can't afford, eating out more often that I can afford, or shopping more than I can afford. We make decent money...it just doesn't seem to go all that far. I honestly believe that this is the way it is meant to be until we are a little bit more established in our post-college years....but I also think that it's okay to live as we are...it gives you character!
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Old 06-07-2008, 07:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin41 View Post
People seem to think that they are supposed to start off where there parents ended up.
I think this is the problem. Sometimes we get so sucked into where we *think* we should be. Perhaps we are exactly where we are supposed to be- in a cheap apartment taking public transportation and we have a really cool dog.
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Old 06-07-2008, 07:44 PM   #8
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Can totally relate.

My boyfriend and I are only 19 - so we're still living off student loans, and definitely living pay check to pay check. We're getting by, but it's a struggle. Our date nights consist of 99 cent block buster rentals, and we're starting to take the bus instead of driving because with our student IDs we get free public transport (which we're really thankful for).

We're not SO bad off. We've saved enough money to go home to my family for Thanksgiving, which is a 3,000 dollar trip with all the airfare and everything - but we're absolutely having to get rid of the luxuries (like gas money or fancy dinners) to get there.

Luckily, we're still in the "Too in love to care about the hard-times" phase, but God help us if/when that starts to fade.
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Old 06-07-2008, 07:46 PM   #9
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I don't think my BF and I are NOT really young, but we live paycheck to paycheck, cheap apartment too, we spend a lot of extra money on things we like and that make our lives a little easier, we have a little debt, and have a little savings too... It sucks, but we are good people and work hard. That is what really counts =)
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Old 06-07-2008, 08:10 PM   #10
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My daughter...research analyst (who just finished her Master's) and her husband...tennis coach can relate!

My son and daughter in law...both high school teachers...are a little better off....teaching pays pretty well in our area!

AWESOME!!!! having no credit card debt...same as my kids...I could just "kill 'em all" the way the credit companies hand those cards out like candy!!!!!!!

DON'T even get me started on that!!...poor kids!

And our society today of WANT- WANT -WANT!!....guilty myself sometimes!

You are on the right track dear! It will get better!

I bought my first house at age 19...I already owned 1/2 a tri-plex with my dad....it isn't the same these days...

I made $10 an hour taping drywall piece work back then...a nice little 10 yr. old track home cost $30,000....payments were $240.00 a month...not easy but way more doable than compared to today's wages and home prices.

You keep doing what you are doing kiddo...and sleep well at night! PRAYERS!
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Old 06-07-2008, 08:17 PM   #11
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LOL, your post resonated with me. We married at age 21, I had just graduated and DH was still in college (Pharmacy School). I took a civil service job making $10,000 per year, and that is what we lived on until he graduated. Live paycheck to paycheck -yup. Ate lots of what was on sale. Bought clothes second-hand. And those were some of the happiest years! You are not poor - you are very rich - in the things that really count!
Savor and cherish these times. They are precious

And - they will pass - more quickly than you can imagine. As DH and I move closer to retirement, we still remember fondly those first few years.
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Old 06-07-2008, 08:20 PM   #12
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I've been married for 26 years and I still feel poor. I try to put a little money away, but I have two kids in college. Then I have two daughters who'll get married some day, so I know I'll need money for that. I guess I'm lucky that other than the mortgage, we have very little debt, but we also don't have money put away for retirement like they say you should. With the costs of everything going up and with raises at work a thing of the past, there always seems to be less and less. Our stimulus check went to pay bills. We rarely, if ever take a real vacation. We might drive somewhere fairly close for a few days, but never take big trips like some of my friends do. I know some people that do that put it all on credit cards, which we would never do. My husband is very frugal too. I use coupons and buy stuff on sale. I've started to pay bills online so I don't have to buy stamps/envelopes. When we should be looking at retirement soon, we have no plans to quit work anytime in the near future. (We're in our 50's) I look at my mother-in-law who saved money all her life and has a huge investment portfolio & wonder how they ever did it. She will never have to worry about needing money in her old age. Obviously they lived a lot simpler than we do & put more money away.
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Old 06-07-2008, 08:52 PM   #13
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What you are experiencing is called LIFE, you work hard, save your money and you will be just fine, many well to do people started out just like you.
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Old 06-07-2008, 08:53 PM   #14
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We are in NEARLY the same boat as you are. We've been married 4 years though. I'm halfway through college to be a teacher go figure here in the Dallas area of Texas as well. My husband makes a decent living being an auto mechanic but since his salary is so inconsistent and commission based some months it is very tough since some months he brings in 3k then the next month can bring in only half that so we are constantly scrimping and saving and it's really stressful especially now again with the economy slowing down.We live in a fairly cheap apartment that is older as well and does not have fancy amenities and it's pretty large too for the price compared to the newer and fancier apartment complexes around us. We do not go out to eat anymore, have no car payments- I have a 12 year old honda civic and my husband has a 2002 ford ranger that was paid off before we even got married and we live less than a mile from his job so he actually bicycles to work for exercise 2-3 times a week. We are paying off some debt we have that is less than 6k and some of it is credit card debt and some of it is a school loan debt. I will never again use credit cards unless it's to buy food or medication or gas in an absolute emergency but we had to do that the first couple of years to eat after all the bills were paid and the money was gone with none left for groceries. We know of a couple that we are no longer friends with at this time last year they had close to 50k in credit card debt from fancy dinners, and fancy cruises and vacations. We have decided if my car were to break down and is not fixable I would be driving the truck to school and we would be a one vehicle household for awhile until I am done with college. I'm feeling the same way right now feeling like we never are able to get ahead. I know it will change once I'm 25 in 9 months since I am due some money from my deceased father's estate- it will go towards paying off the rest of the debt, paying for us both to go to a dentist/eye doctor, a small family trip to see family in Minnesota-we are most likely going to be driving since we will save money as opposed to flying and then a small camping trip in a nearby area to enjoy some nature and whatever else is left is going in a savings account of some sort for a future down payment on a house and especially once I'm done with college though it will get better and all we can do is ride it out until then. I realize most people don't even get money from a deceased parent's estate and I do count my blessings for that since that is what has enabled me to go to college without having to work full time.
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Old 06-07-2008, 09:08 PM   #15
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You are not alone. There are tons of us out there like that.

In my case, hubby and I got married when I was 21 and he was 19. Neither of us have finished school, but he is in the military. I currently do not have a job since unemployment is so high here. Most military wives here are unemployed but have applied at every single place they can possibly apply at. So most times our job application sits with hundreds of others. Hopefully I'll be able to find one soon.

We live paycheck2paycheck on his paycheck that we receive on the first of the month. We have a $355 car payment, our insurance for his car and him as the only driver is $345 because he's a young driver and got his license at 20 and had a wreck. We then have a payment for his computer that he took got. A lot of military towns have the "Get it NOW for no money down" but then its an outrageous amount later. Did he really need a $5000 computer? Which by the way doesnt work all that well now.. Good thing we only owe two more months on it and its paid off.

We live on post and its $925 a month, but that includes our lovely three bedroom/two bath house with all utilities paid and fence rental for our back yard.

By the time all bills are paid I have about $400 to buy groceries for the month and to fuel my husbands car for the month (barely). My truck for the most part will sit empty or close to empty. The last time I filled up was in Feb. I'm still on that tank of gas in my truck. It goes NOWHERE.

Also I have unpaid credit cards from being a stupid teenager that have caught up with me. Which is only going to make it harder on us.

But I don't think we'd change the way it is. I prefer that we start out this way that way we have to work at making everything perfect for us. I wouldn't want it the easy way because then we'd never know if we could handle it when things got tough. And then theres the fact that all this is making us stronger as a couple.

We may not go out to movies or out to eat all the time like other couples may do, but then again we're more of the stay at home type anyway. Nothing beats cuddling with my hubby on the couch while we watch a movie.

Sorry this got long, I just couldn't seem to stop once I started.
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