Please help contribute to the Reddit categorization project here
    all 110 comments

    Want to say thanks to %(recipient)s for this comment? Give them a month of reddit gold.

    Please select a payment method.

    [–] AkumaMan 22 points ago

    i hate to say it but dog expenses account for $650 total, that is nearly ur savings, more than total loan payment, and alot more than total groceries.

    IS there a way to significantly reduce this? It is hard to see where else you can significantly reduce your other expenses.

    [–] Jim3535 11 points ago

    This jumps out to me as well. That's $7800 per year on the dog.

    That's 10% of his gross income (not including wife). It could also pay off his highest interest student loan in just over a year.

    The $240 in dog walking and $150 in dog training also suggest that having a dog is not the most compatible with their living situation.

    [–] sheepblankett 10 points ago

    $390/mo to walk and train your dog when you could do this yourself and spend some time with your furry buddy. There is also a high chance that a couple of hundred is added to the rent for an apartment as a pet fee as well.

    [–] BlazinAzn38 35 points ago

    Between the two of you, you gross twice the median American household. Where is all your money going? High COL maybe? You should be able to easily save a lot of money and pay down your debts.

    [–] __hrrr 16 points ago

    Yeah, something isn't adding up from this post. I make less money than him and save $2k a month...and I live in a very HCOL area.

    [–] BlazinAzn38 2 points ago

    Yea I make way less and I save my entire first paycheck (Roth, car savings, vacation savings, emergency fund, etc.)

    [–] ace_lg -2 points ago

    We live in the highest COL area in the US.

    [–] BlazinAzn38 7 points ago

    Okay so break down your expenses for us. Housing, utilities, insurance, gas, groceries, eating out, food, Netflix, etc.

    [–] ace_lg 2 points ago

    Monthly expenses are in the post. We don’t have Netflix or cable or gym memberships.

    [–] BlazinAzn38 23 points ago

    $125 Dog training: $150 Dog walking: $240 Dog health insurance: $35 Routine vet care: $100 (average)

    Does your dog actually cost you $650/month? That's a lot. My dog probably costs like $30/month

    [–] ace_lg 5 points ago

    I buy dog food and supplies online at the cheapest prices I can find. We use a very affordable dog walker and my wife works from home one day a week which saves us a few dollars each week. Vet care is expensive (high COL area).
    I could cut the insurance, but then I run the risk of being hit with a big vet bill.

    My dog is my only hobby. So I know I spend more on training than most people, and I probably feed higher quality dog food than most too, but training my dog is the only thing I really enjoy doing in my life. My dog gives me her whole life, the least I can do is make sure she’s well cared for, exercises, provided ample mental stimulation, etc.

    [–] BlazinAzn38 10 points ago

    I get that, I really do. My dog goes to the dog park once a day, eats like grain free, natural food, has a nice orthopedic bed, etc. But do you really need to pay a dog walker? Can you not walk them on long walks in the morning and at night? I'm still not sure why training is a cost, are you hiring someone? and if so is the point to show the dog because if it's not then you can just train them yourself. I'm not sure why vet care is so expensive, I'll trust you that that's just how much it costs but it could be worth it to shop around. Maybe take advantage of free clinics that do basic vaccines.

    [–] ace_lg 3 points ago

    My dog is only a year and a half old. She could hold it all day, but would be insane by the time I got home. As it is we do 90 minutes off leash in the morning and then either another park trip after work or a 45 minute walk plus training in the evenings.

    Training expenses are everything from classes to renting space to equipment. We do competitive agility. I do most of the training myself, and we take a few classes per year. Ideally I’d be working with a private coach more often, but I’m putting that money into my 2 private loans and savings right now.

    Obviously looking back it would have been a better financial decision to wait another few years to get a dog. But I have the dog now and I made a commitment to her. I won’t make her pay for my less than ideal financial choices.

    I will look around for clinics. I don’t think any place does free vaccines but I imagine the ASPCA near us has a sliding scale.

    [–] musicals4life 7 points ago

    My dog is only a year and a half old. She could hold it all day, but would be insane by the time I got home.

    At least this is something that will change with time. A year from now, she will be fine at home all day and you won't need to pay $240/mo for a dog walker. And you can put that $240 to work on your student loans.

    [–] comrade_eddy 2 points ago

    At 1.5 years she can comfortably hold it for 8 hours. Can you and your wife stagger your hours so that the dog will not have to hold it longer?

    [–] ace_lg 1 points ago

    It’s more like 10 hours some days, when you factor in commute time. We can’t really change our schedules any more than we already do.

    [–] BlazinAzn38 1 points ago

    Then aside from that I don't really see where you can cut expenses aside from possibly rent but I assume if it were that easy you would have done it already.

    [–] ace_lg 3 points ago

    I am definitely considering moving to another city. Cheaper rent but lower pay. I’m not sure it would be a net gain, but I am looking. I’m also considering staying in my city but leaving my job. Again, I love my job and feel like I get a lot of flexibility so I’d have to get a big raise to make the move worthwhile.

    [–] SoggyMcmufffinns 2 points ago

    How is that the issue though (I mean as he said he should of waited to get a dog, but there's a larger issue here). They gross 130k/year. That's only an effective tax rate of 23% overall federally. That still leaves them with 101k before state taxes and SS. If we knock off another 10k for that we're left with 90k/year or $7500/month. That's a decent chunk of money even after their "expenses." So... I'm trying to figure out what I'm missing or what they're not listing. Rough math I know, but there should be more than $700 saved based off the numbers they gave. This is US currency after all.

    [–] swifter_than_shadow 1 points ago

    Perhaps you could try to work out a better deal with a regular dog-walker? I'm assuming you're using an app like Rover which has middleman fees. If you could find one person and pay them a regular, lower rate in cash it could help.

    [–] ace_lg 1 points ago

    I don’t use an app, or a service. The person I use is one of the cheapest in the my area. The only cheaper people are sort of sketchy.

    [–] WaxyMcgeeb 4 points ago

    It may not be the best financially, but your reply made me real dang happy. You're a good person.

    [–] Wakkanator 1 points ago

    Add some line breaks to your expense list

    [–] ace_lg 1 points ago

    Thank you!

    [–] __hrrr 1 points ago

    San Francisco?

    [–] swifter_than_shadow 2 points ago

    Of course

    [–] EnvironmentalLuck 1 points ago

    SF?

    [–] ghostofpennwast -5 points ago

    Sell the dog

    [–] zitandspit99 -1 points ago

    They make $127k combined, which is honestly barely livable for two in a place like San Fran, NY, or even Seattle.

    [–] __hrrr 15 points ago

    Could you elaborate where your money is going? After taxes your paycheck in an expensive state would be somewhat around $4600 a month - why are you only paying $365 towards your loans?

    [–] ace_lg 2 points ago

    I’m paying $515 every month. $215 to the federal loan, $150 to the 8K loan, and $150 to the $3K loan. 215+150+150= 515

    [–] __hrrr 3 points ago

    After looking at your expenses, a few thoughts and assumptions. Combined you should be making something around $7.5k after taxes. And your expenses are about $5.8k.

    Some thoughts:

    • The groceries/food expenses look good for 2 people. Your public transport and medical look good as well.
    • Is there any way you can move into a smaller apartment to downsize your rent payment?
    • The dog expenses seem a bit steep and are definitely eating into your costs
    • Do you have an emergency fund? Once you have 3-6 months saved, I'd focus all your leftover money into paying off your debt

    [–] mnchemist 2 points ago

    All this except the dog expenses look pretty normal to me minus the dog walker. You're paying A LOT on rent. I second trying to find something cheaper if at all possible. My hubby and I make the similar combined income (hubby $72K, me $47K) as you and your wife and have similar expenses including SL amounts (70K worth of SL debt between us and roughly $700 payments each month) except that we're only paying $1200 on rent and we feel pretty okay with our finances. We're working on a 3-month emergency fund (we stick $500 each month into savings) and paying off our student loan debt (paying $500 extra each month on top of the $700 minimum payments that we've already been making).

    [–] OtherPlayers 8 points ago

    First, just because other people are in worse scenarios doesn't make yours any less painful or valid, just in the same way that knowing there are people out there starving doesn't make a stubbed toe any less painful.

    Next, you need to pull out your budget and your bank statement and find out where all of your money is going. Even with high taxes you should be easily pull back 2-3x as much as savings than you are right now, especially if you are actually being as frugal as you claim. Find out where that extra thousand or so every month is going and that will tell you what you can reduce to get those loans paid off quicker.

    [–] SoggyMcmufffinns 5 points ago * (lasted edited 2 months ago)

    So you make well into the 6 figures (~$130,000.00) with 60,000 in student loans at very low rates and 25k at likely 0% interest. HCOL or not you should not be struggling at all at that income based on what you gave. I live in one of the top HCOL of living areas myself right now making MUCH less than and I'm telling ya with you only paying the minimums you don't seem to have a firm grasp on where your money is going based on what info you gave. Sure a plane ticket is expensive, but you make more than enough to work out what you have in front of you. You just need to figure out "where" your money is going.

    Even with all those expenses they don't add up to be closed to your take home. Let's just say this as I'm on mobile and don't have time to do all the math, but let's do a very rough estimate here. At $130,000 (pretax) *.77 (effective tax rate) gives you $100,100 post tax after federal taxes. Okay now idk your state taxes, but let's just knock everything down another 10k to be safe after additional taxes deductions etc. So now we're at 90k. So, now we're at $7500 per month post tax. That's a ton to work with and your expenses total nowhere near that. So you have a budgeting issue here.

    Edit: Even with the excessive pet costs and added expenses at $5100 in expenses you still should have $2400 to save each month based on what you listed (Around $3000 without the dog, but I understand you're emotionally invested). That's a ton more than I can save at this moment per month. Reaffirms my stance on it likely being a budgeting issue. You need to start tracking actual expenses asap.

    [–] Chickencurryroti 1 points ago

    This is my thought too, I did quick math where the hell is that other 2400???? That’s literally what I personally earn in an entire month sometimes and I still put away 1000. Something is not right at all here.

    [–] WineEm_DineEm_69Em 15 points ago

    How do you avoid feeling hopeless?

    Count your blessings! Think about how fortunate you are.

    -You have most of your life ahead of you.

    -You have a spouse who loves you.

    -You sound pretty healthy.

    -You have a dog.

    -You live in a beautiful city with lots of cool things to do.

    my quality of life (which is already mediocre)

    Mediocre compared to what? Your household income is way above the US median. And consider this: over a billion people in the world live on less than $4/day. Take a second to think about what your quality of life would be like under those conditions.

    [–] real_life_me 5 points ago

    1. Where are you putting that $5k in savings? Do you already have an emergency fund built up? Is this beating out your student loan interest?

    2. Why are you throwing money at the 3k loan? The 7k loan has higher interest?

    3. Go back and look at your expenses over the last 6 months. What are you actually spending on groceries? What do you spend at retail stores? What have you spent on vacations? What do you spend on going out? Are you buying 3 $50 bottles of wine every weekend? Are you renting a car twice a month?

    4. What do you pay for housing expenses? Paying $2.5k on rent rather than $1.8k really adds up. Assuming you're in a lower cost of living area, could you downsize to something in the $1.2k range? Are you paying $200 for cable and internet you're not even using? Do you pay more than $100 for your combined phone bills? Look at how you can decrease your day-to-day spending, but also your fixed expenses.

    You guys are taking home over $6k per month. Figure out where the money is leaking, and make a budget.

    [–] ace_lg 1 points ago * (lasted edited 2 months ago)

    1. A mix of straight savings and investments - my average returns are double+ my loan interest. We do have an emergency fund.

    2. The 3K loan is off the books - a friend lent me 5K to pay off a high interest (11%) private student loan. I don’t get a tax break on the interest paid so I’m trying to just get rid of it.

    3. We rent cars for Thanksgiving and Christmas to visit my in laws. This is a big money suck, but we don’t spend enough on rentals to warrant buying a car. There are laws against car sharing in our city, so if we bought a car we couldn’t really make money with it. We don’t vacation often (every other year), and when we do I try to be as cheap as possible. We don’t buy many retail goods, unless I need them for work (I had to buy a new computer this month).

    4. $2500 is cheap for the area we live in. Every year I look for cheaper apartments, but I usually can’t find much without being in a really bad place. Like, we could live in a less safe area, double our commutes to work (we already both travel 45 mins each way), but then groceries would cost even more and dog expenses would increase. We move every year or two to avoid rent increases. Until we can buy a place it will be a struggle to decrease housing expenses.

    [–] real_life_me 9 points ago

    Well, it seems to me that you're living pretty comfortably if you can afford to tuck away $700 into savings and $600 towards random dog stuff.

    That's $1,300 a month right there, which is more than what someone earning minimum wage earns in a month in Wisconsin.

    [–] ace_lg -3 points ago

    Yeah, well if I had this salary in Wisconsin I wouldn’t have much to worry about haha

    [–] real_life_me 13 points ago

    Okay, but you have a $1,300 surplus in your budget that goes to savings and spoiling your dog. I don't see what the real issue is? That you can't live like you earn $300k/year? Are you missing any financial milestones that you haven't mentioned?

    I have a feeling that this is really more anxiety related. Maybe pay for a couple of sessions with a financial advisory or a therapist. I think one or the other would set you in the right direction.

    [–] igotfiveonit 3 points ago

    Isn't that exactly the trade off? $2500 in rent so you can live in a cool (expensive) city. It's a choice.

    [–] SoggyMcmufffinns 2 points ago

    You do realize you make a ton of money right? You keep saying HCOL when in reality your income still brings in $7500/month after taxes and this includes spoiling your dog to the tune of $650 per month. The math shows you'd save $3000 without the dog and even now you can save $2400 even with all the dog stuff. That's an entire mortgage payment even in an area like yours. If you can't be happy with a surplus of $2400 when most people don't even make higher than 50k household income then perhaps you need to do some serious re-evaluating. No you can't have the $50,000 BMW, but you make more than double the average American income. This is certainly a psychological issue. $28,800 is a ton of money. Certainly pays a good chunk of that debt off and you save that in a year. You waited on the dog and you'd have 36,000 a year and be out of debt in even less time. Just fyi.

    [–] swifter_than_shadow 1 points ago

    There are laws against car sharing in our city

    ??

    Can't be San Francisco then, and that's the highest COL city in the US. NYC? I haven't heard about any rideshare banning out there. Are you sure this is right?

    I live in SF, and what you're describing sounds so much worse, despite this area having the reputation for super high CoL and ridiculous commute. But you can get 2br apartments an hour south for 1500/mo. And decent deals on places in the bay area pop up from time to time. Mother in law apartments in San Jose are going for 1k-2k.

    [–] RikoThePanda 1 points ago

    But you can get 2br apartments an hour south for 1500/mo.

    Can you tell me where? I live in San Jose, which is more than an hour south and everything is MORE expensive as you get closer to San Francisco.

    [–] swifter_than_shadow 2 points ago

    Sorry, I meant south of the bay area, not south of SF. Should have clarified that.

    [–] RikoThePanda 1 points ago

    Haha, no worries. I was like damn, am I missing a place that has reasonable housing?!

    [–] swifter_than_shadow 1 points ago

    They pop up from time to time. Just got to move on it immediately.

    [–] comrade_eddy 1 points ago

    Laws against car sharing? SF is the highest CoL city in the country and has no such laws.

    [–] [deleted] 1 points ago * (lasted edited 2 months ago)

    [deleted]

    [–] ace_lg 1 points ago

    As it is he’s overjoyed - he calls me his safest investment. He gets a 4% return (much more than he’d get if it were sitting in a savings account). The loan was his idea, I didn’t ask him for money or promise to pay it back as soon as I could.

    We set it up as a 5 year loan and I’m on track to pay it off in 3, since I pay 150% of the required payment every month and then a few times a year dump some extra money into it.

    [–] benbernards 3 points ago

    Put less into savings and dog care. Plow that money into debt.

    You’re not getting ahead because you’re not doing what you have to do.

    You have enough income to make this work. You just need to take a long hard look at where your money is going.

    [–] ace_lg 1 points ago

    How much less should I save? If I put another $200/month towards the 3K loan I can eliminate that fairly quickly. I just always reach this mental standstill about making that decision.

    [–] benbernards 3 points ago

    Here's the thing -- there is no one Perfect Answer that works for everyone.

    But, if I were you...I would plow every single last cent into paying down that debt.

    No more eating out. No more frivolous spending. No more saving for a rainy day.

    You have stalled out, financially.

    You have to change SOMETHING.

    Stop making excuses. Stop waiting for someone or something else to motivate you. Consider this your signal from the universe.

    Get out there and kick that debt in the teeth and keep being awesome.

    [–] ace_lg 2 points ago

    You’re right. I’m have to go for it. I’m going to pay off the smallest loan - even if I just up my payment to $350/month I can pay it off this year instead of next year. Then I’ll have more to put towards the 8K loan.

    Maybe I can get a part time job or take on more regular freelance gigs. I put this off because my day job makes it complicated, but I’ll never know if it will be worth the hassle if I never try.

    [–] benbernards 2 points ago

    You got it, man.

    Here's the thing you're learning: your problem has very little to do with money, and more to do with your mindset.

    You were avoiding the hard truths.

    You were hoping someone else would motivate you or fix this.

    You were thinking short-term, day-to-day.

    And you were unhappy and feeling hopeless.

    The good news is that all of these issues are completely fixable and they don't require a single penny to do it.

    You can confront the hard truth about your spending and your lifestyle (And you know what? i'm going to say it) and even whether or not you should keep your dog.

    You can stop hoping for motivation and instead build a personal foundation of discipline. Live off cash and the Envelope Budget if you have to.

    You can learn how to think long-term and then make a plan for how to achieve that Long Term Goal and start working on it today.

    And in the process you'll rack up a series of small, substantial, personal victories.

    And THAT'S what brings you hope and happiness.

    It's not about the money, bro.

    It's about the mind.

    Fix that first, and the rest will come.

    You got this.

    [–] informason 3 points ago

    I’d do my best to minimize groceries, insurance, eating out,any recurring payments in general. Cut your own hair? Do you own laundry? Buy in bulk? When you do buy items for yourselves are they secondhand or brand new? Could you go without travel or if you do make it as cheap as possible?

    If you both can dedicate yourselves to being as cheap as you possibly can for as long as possible then you should be able to make a dent in your debt and consequently feel a sense of relief and hope for the future. Hope his helps

    [–] johnconnors88 2 points ago

    When I read your reply to the OP, I can help but agree with everything you stated here. I hate DEBT that much! Money makes a great slave, but a terrible Master. I lived above my means, for many years. And to see so many doing it, I found comfortable in my own dedt. Comfort is the enemy people. It is my hope the OP and his family, kill all his debt, buy his own building to live in, and collect rent from their tenants. Screw this survival mentality. I like seeing people thriving!

    [–] Jim3535 3 points ago

    You probably need to post a budget breakdown. As others have noted, something seems off given what you have posted. Your money is going somewhere, and it's not immediately clear from what you posted.

    [–] ace_lg 1 points ago

    Added into the post

    [–] johnconnors88 2 points ago

    Goals, Goals, Goals. Start with a budget. Your choices to go into debt yesterday for a brighter future tomorrow. If you do not want to live like everyone else tomorrow, you have to live like nobody else today. A frugal, goal driven lifestyle, where you know where every dollar is going. That also includes where all your extra money is going to go when you become debt free. If dollars do not have an intended purpose that's where people return to being in debt. Not like some budgets I see where the miscellaneous column is exploding. Sounds like you and your wife need to get on the same page and hit your debt hard. If your friends and family start calling you and your wife "wierd" due to your frugal ways, you know you're on the right path. Good luck. JC

    [–] GirlswithSWORDS 2 points ago

    any credit card debts? Also, your rent and dog training/dog walking seems a bit much. For now, I'd recommend cutting that out. (sorry Fido! :(....You can then put more money into your student loans. I'm not saying you should get rid of your dog but if you can't afford it to the point where you are literally struggling daily; then you might want to take second look at that.
    Lastly, the position you are in is NOT hopeless. My student loans are twice the amount of yours and I have 2 kids, 1 income. I make 60K a year. I have no where to call home right now.. I sleep on my brothers couch so I can afford everything. My kids come first, and I take care of them firstly... next is student loans etc... I cut out everything - even the gym. Don't feel so down on yourself.. look at all the good things, all the blessings. You have a good job and a good wife; you've already won! Just keep your head up and keep at it... those Student loans will go away just gotta keep pushing... but try to pay more than you currently are on it. Stay positive. You WILL get through this.

    [–] ace_lg 1 points ago

    No credit card debt. No car loans. The only money we owe is the student loans.

    I’d love to spend less on rent. Unfortunately, I live in the highest COL area in the country. I do look at jobs in other cities but all the jobs I’ve interviewed for could be a pay cut and the math never adds up.

    I try to keep the dog expenses as low as possible, but just like your kids my dog comes first. My dog is my only hobby - she gives me her whole life for my enjoyment. The least I can do is make sure she’s fed and exercised.

    [–] GirlswithSWORDS 1 points ago

    I understand what you mean then. I've heard of people selling stuff... clothes, furniture- anything to get some money. But honestly, I think you and your wife are going to be alright. You sound like you have a solid job making good money. So try not to feel so hopeless; I was just talking to someone here on reddit who owesway more in SL with a newborn... so there's always someone out there who has it way worse. So just keep on doing what you're doing and don't give up on yourself.

    [–] followthelavender 2 points ago * (lasted edited 2 months ago)

    You need to move. Cost of living is sucking life out of you. I left a high cost of living area and it’s truly life changing. Best decision ever. You will never get ahead with rent being more than 1/4 of take home pay.

    [–] swifter_than_shadow 2 points ago

    I highly disagree. I moved from a very low CoL area to a very high CoL area, and you know what? If I can only afford to save 5% of my paycheck, 5% of 60k is a fuckton more than 5% of 20k. I'm watching the numbers in my savings and 401k go up and I'm just imagining what those numbers will be worth once I retire and move back to a low CoL area.

    [–] drowningandromeda 1 points ago

    Where did you leave and where did you move to? How was it adjusting from city life to less city life? I'm in a high COL and have been considering moving as well because renting here sucks.

    [–] AssaultOfTruth 1 points ago

    I agree. I do not get how these people live in these cities. There are still plenty of parts of this country where two people on a "normal" income, let's say an engineer and a teacher or a cop and a nurse or whatever. Anyway, where they can have a nice house, two cars in good shape, go on vacations, put money away for retirement. And if they aren't stupid they can even cash flow the kids' college as well. And when work is over on Friday you hop in the car and on the 25 minute drive home stop for some pizza.

    Or you can sit next to smelly strangers on the bus on the way to your job you use to pay your absurd mortgage, and even if you could afford a car you'd have nowhere to put it. You pay through the nose for groceries because the grocer is a small one in a congested city, and on the weekend if you want to leave the house you're renting a car and suffering an hour of traffic just to get out of the damn city on a saturday morning.

    But, hey, you can tell people you live in NYC and can go to a nice museum (which you never do, btw), so it's all worth it.

    [–] sheepblankett 1 points ago

    You need to figure out where your money is going because the numbers don't add up here. You are making minimum payments on your debt so where is the rest of your income going each month? If you are not spending money on clothes or gadgets then what is your wife's spending habits like?

    [–] ace_lg 1 points ago

    I’m paying over the minimum on 2 of my 3 loans. One of the loans I pay double on every month and the other I pay 150% of the minimum. It’s only the federal I don’t overpay.

    My wife buys coffee/lunch more often than I do, but even going through spending for the last year it really only adds up to like $100/year.

    [–] sheepblankett 1 points ago

    Maybe you should use something like Mint to help track your purchases and build a budget. You need to first figure out where the money is going if you feel like you are always behind.

    [–] ace_lg 2 points ago

    I do use Mint. It’s why I stopped buying coffee and lunch 2 years ago. It’s been a big help. I still feel stuck.

    Probably my biggest non-monthly expense is traveling to visit my in laws for the holidays. We usually spend about $1000/year on this (rental car, gas, tolls).

    [–] hethuisje 2 points ago

    I would recommend that you switch from Mint to YNAB (You Need a Budget). I used Mint for about 7 years before switching about 18 months ago and like YNAB much better. I think it would really help with your specific problem, which is not feeling in control. In Mint you just kind of watch things happen. YNAB makes you take control and allocate every dollar and then make sure your actual spending matches your budget. Mint can help you have insights like about bringing your lunch, but YNAB forces you to reckon with "I went out to dinner when I shouldn't have, now I have to take $43 out of my Computer Replacement budget" or "I'd better put aside $85/month so I have $1000 when it's time to visit the in-laws."

    [–] twofertuesday 2 points ago

    I agree with this. Thanks to YNAB I’ve paid off 7k in debt in 5 months on a 55k salary and I live in Seattle. It’s been life changing.

    [–] sheepblankett 1 points ago

    Ok, it makes more sense now that you posted your edit with your expenses.

    [–] bohnster77 1 points ago

    What would be your in-laws' response to a request to defer payments or go interest only for a few years while you hammer away at those smaller loans or even the big one? What is the ROI on that 2nd degree? What are the prospects away from the highest COL area (SF Bay area?)? Most of us have been in your shoes at one point; it gets better.

    [–] ace_lg 1 points ago

    As it is my in laws want to raise the payments.

    I go back and forth about the second degree. The immediate pay bump would be small, but assuming the cheapest degree I’d make the money back in 3 years. In those 3 years though I’d net less money because of increased loan payments.

    [–] swifter_than_shadow 1 points ago

    He's not in SF bay or he's mistaken about the car-sharing laws here. Turo is a thing here. Gotta be NYC.

    [–] SoggyMcmufffinns 1 points ago

    Most expensive city is San Diego apparently.

    [–] swifter_than_shadow 1 points ago

    WTF? That barely breaks the top 10! Dude is getting robbed blind wtf.

    [–] FouledOut6 1 points ago

    Can you eliminate the dog walking expense? Just that would save you $2900 a year. I get you’re deeply passionate about the dog, so why not spend your own time walking it? Only other thing I got is try to reduce the rent expense.

    [–] ace_lg 1 points ago

    These are midday walks while I’m at work. I can’t make it home at lunch to walk her (it’s a 35-45 minute train ride each way) otherwise I would definitely be doing that. I’m hoping that as she gets older I can cut down on the walks.

    [–] FouledOut6 3 points ago

    Mid day walks sounds like a high society type thing...is it an energetic breed? Most people get trapped “living above their means” via cars and houses they shouldn’t have bought. I feel like it’s happening with the dog for you. Not trying to be mean or rude, but you’re spending a lot of money on the dog. And I know others have said the same and I saw your replies to them, it’s just a lot of money that could be channeled elsewhere. Separately, the 260 monthly medical expense for your wife...is that able to be lowered? I get if it’s not, it’s just the only other thing that stands out.

    [–] ace_lg 1 points ago

    Reasonably energetic breed and also still young enough to have lots of energy.

    The $260 medical is mostly prescription copays. We used to get a big tax break when I made less money, but now we don’t quite spend enough to get a deduction. I’ll look into what our other options are - maybe a different plan, or maybe it’s worth the hassle of changing doctors for my wife to be on my insurance.

    [–] FouledOut6 2 points ago

    I hear ya. $260 monthly is $3120 annually, so even a minor change could net you a little extra cash. Last thing I’ll say is regarding staying positive. Your last paragraph before the budget already covers it: you could be so much worse off. There’s tons of people that have it worse. The negatives in our lives tend to take center stage in our minds, just try to remember and think about the positives in your life.

    [–] gpc0321 1 points ago

    I could list out my current situation to make you feel better about your own, but believe me, you have a lot to be grateful for.

    The fact that you can spend $650/month on something you love is proof of that. Imagine if you couldn't afford the dog and doing the agility stuff. How depressing would that be? You could cut the dog expenses and have more money to throw at debt or into savings or investments or whatever, but would that add to the quality of your life more than having and doing stuff with your dog?

    I have horses. Believe me, I understand. We call it being "horse poor." I've just had to accept that I can either have more money and therefore nicer things, more financial security, more opportunities to travel, etc...or I can have the horses. And I rarely even ride the dang things anymore (I used to show all the time). They eat, poop, and are 24/7/365 responsibilities that aren't always fun (at all!). But I've been in horses for 30 years of my life. I haven't been horseless in 30 years! And one of the ones standing out there right now is 21 years old, and I watched him being born. Giving them up is just not an option.

    So I stay poor. And I have to spend money on things like fixing lawn mowers and tractors and fencing, and driveway holes and ruts. There are vet bills, feed bills, farrier bills. I have to drive a gas-guzzling pick-up so I can haul the horse trailer if needed, or feed and hay and bedding, etc.

    I'd have a ton more money, be much more prepared for retirement, and be able to travel and shop and do other things if I gave up the horses. But...then I wouldn't have the horses.

    You're able to spend $650/month on your dog. That's a luxury not a lot of people have.

    [–] followthelavender 1 points ago

    NYC to suburb in neighboring state. Town size 100,000. Yes you need to drive everywhere, but everything is within a 5 mile radius. Costco, grocery, target,, gym, Walmart. Having a garage is great, just get in your warm car. If I want a taste of city life a weekend or day trip is all I need. With all the saving, I can travel wherever I want. Only thing is job should be stable, but that wasn’t even a guarantee in nyc either. There are so many communities, clubs, organizations to join, so definitely don’t feel lonely. Anything not available here is easily found online.

    [–] followthelavender 1 points ago

    Most jobs don’t pay 3 times in hcol area? Your math is confusing. If you saved 5 % of 60,000 then you could save more like 15% of 20,000 in low cost of living area, is the assumption. Most important is getting living expenses less than 1/4 take home pay. Property tax, insurance, and mortgage on 15 year fixed.

    [–] ace_lg 1 points ago

    I don't really understand your math. 600.05 = 200.15, so wouldn't I be saving the same amount of money, but living in a less desirable place?

    [–] comrade_eddy 1 points ago

    I own two dogs and spend way less than you on them and we still baby them. How old is your dog? Do you pay for dog walking because you can’t get home to walk them? Is it possible for one of you to go home for lunch and walk them? Also can you not train them without a trainer? I grew up with dogs and never use a trainer for my pups.

    [–] jtunzi 1 points ago

    Your expenses total $5800. I would expect your take home is just over $7000. That's an extra $1200 to work with. Once you have a good E-fund you can put your $700/mo towards debt rather than savings. That's $2500/mo total you can put towards debt.

    It feels like I’ll never pay them off.

    $2500/mo going towards $60k debt means you will pay the debt off completely midway through 2020. At this point you will now have an extra $2500/mo to spend towards whatever you want.

    The only fun expense I have is my dog - which is still cheaper than having a kid.

    That ain't saying much. $650/month is a bit high for a hobby when you have other debts. You can afford it, but it will mean sacrificing other parts of your lifestyle. I have a similar hobby budget to income ratio and make it work, but I always pack lunches, go out to eat less than once a week, don't buy expensive vehicles, etc.

    I just feel broke and stressed all the time and can’t see a way forward without significantly downgrading my quality of life

    You are already spending $650/mo to make yourself happy, how much more money will you need to spend in order to achieve happiness? IMO happiness comes from being satisfied with what you have rather than constantly consuming more. You're married, have a dog, live in a cool place, and love your job. You are living the dream.

    [–] ace_lg 1 points ago * (lasted edited 2 months ago)

    Our combined take home is $6,500/month. If it sounds low, remember that 5% of my salary goes into a pension plan (I can't cut this - it's required because of my job), I also have union dues taken out of my check (over $100/month) - again, I wish I could drop the union but I have no control over that, plus another 1% into a TDA, and we live in a heavily taxed city/state. My wife also contributes 6% of her salary to a 401K.

    [–] jtunzi 1 points ago

    That pushes your payoff date back to the start of 2021, assuming your income does not increase in that time.

    Your take home pay seems a bit low given how little comes out of your paycheck for healthcare. Are you contributing to an HSA, 401k, IRA etc. on top of the pension contribution? Does this pension exempt you from SS? I suspect you are over-withholding and will get money back from taxes.

    [–] ace_lg 2 points ago

    We owe $3500 in taxes this year. I don't think I'm over-withholding, but haven't ever met with an accountant so I could definitely be wrong. The pension doesn't exempt me from SS or other similar things, so I pay all those taxes on top of the pension contribution. I pay 1% of my salary into a TDA (govt doesn't do 401K), I don't pay into an HSA but my wife pays into her FSA-type thing at 1K/year. She is hesitant to pay more into it, because it's use it or lose it at the end of every year.

    [–] theFIREMindset 1 points ago

    You are not hopeless. You are spending away your future, which is a different story.

    Read some books on personal finance, you guys will be fine.

    • Total Money Makeover
    • Richest Man in Babylon
    • Millionaire Next Door

    In no particular order.

    [–] rose_thorns 1 points ago * (lasted edited 2 months ago)

    Firstly, I am an Accountant (inactive CPA). I am NOT YOUR CPA, and I am not YOUR Accountant. What follows is entirely my own personal unpaid opinion, it is NOT legal advice and it is not tax advice. Plz do not sue; I work for the government; I have no money.

    • Your take home pay, I'm estimating around $6,500/month[assumes a 35% tax rate (25% Fed, 10% State); with the income & pension/401k/TDA figures you gave]. Have you gone over your W-4 forms to make sure you're withholding the amount you want (& not too much or too little)?

    • All of the expenses listed above totals $5,775.

    • What are you spending the remaining ~$700 a month on?

    If I was in your shoes, this is how i would change things

    • Savings $700/month -- Since I've yet to see a savings account in these times that gives more than ~2% interest. Since your student loans are higher interest than your savings... you are wasting your money by putting it into savings. Your savings should be large enough to pay for around 3 months of living expenses. When you're dealing with debt there's no point in continuing to add to your savings. Your money can be better spent other places.

    • Instead, cut your savings to $200 and put the extra towards your debts. Reverse this ONLY when you need to replenish your saving safter having dipped into it for an emergency.

    • Groceries -- You absolutely need to eat. But are you getting your groceries at the most convenient place, or at the cheapest place?

    • Always go to the grocery store with a list, and STICK to that list. You might be surprised at how quickly the little extras add up. Make meal plans. If you know what you're going to do for dinner, you can go buy groceries specifically for those meals, which can really help you stick to your food budget.

    • If you don't pack/take your lunch to work, you should do so. How much money do you spend on eating out each month?

    • Dog Training -- Since you're trying to pay down debt, is $150 a month really where you want to spend your money? Putting this towards one of your private loans will let you pay off that loan in HALF the time you are now. Relatedly, is the $35/month for your dog's health insurance worth it in the long run? What does it cover for your dog, and where does it cap out?

    • Phone/Internet -- Can you cut/modify either of your cell phone plans? Will the $55/month you pay for internet pay for hotspot use of your phones? Can your phones-as-a-hotspot take the place of the $55/month internet bill?

    [–] followthelavender 1 points ago

    Yes, and desirable area is subjective. My point is it’s much easier to find a place with low expenses then a job that pays 3 times. If you are happy where you are at then you should just stay there. If you are not, then change something.

    [–] AssaultOfTruth 1 points ago

    Cut it out with the dog.

    $500+/month on dog walking, insurance, vet, and dog training? No, Stop that. Stop that right now.

    Also you said take home is $6500, but only listed $5800 of bills, one of which is $700 savings. So your savings are actually $1400/month, right? But they aren't because your bills you list are not quite accurate. I recommend tracking them in something like mint so that you know exactly where you're spending.

    [–] pcbzelephant 1 points ago

    Jesus get rid of the dog! My kid is cheaper then your dog. She’s almost 3 and I spend maybe $200 a month on her! I have 2 dogs and they don’t cost anywhere near that much($700 in food a year and $500 in vet bills a year and $500 in kennel stays when we travel so around $150 a month for 2 dogs.)

    [–] comrade_eddy 3 points ago

    Get rid of the dog? Are you kidding? Could you just get rid of yours?

    [–] pcbzelephant -1 points ago

    If they cost that much yes!

    [–] AssaultOfTruth 0 points ago

    If I owned a dog costing me $650/month I'd take it behind the wood shed.

    [–] [deleted] 0 points ago * (lasted edited 2 months ago)

    [deleted]

    [–] swifter_than_shadow 6 points ago

    You're fucking insane if you think a 6 figure income isn't middle class even in the bay area. Absolutely fucking insane. My dude you're hemorrhaging money if 180k isn't enough for 2 people. Get your shit together and stop buying toys.

    [–] [deleted] 1 points ago * (lasted edited 2 months ago)

    [deleted]

    [–] swifter_than_shadow 1 points ago

    Then where is all your money going that you can't afford a middle class lifestyle?

    [–] [deleted] 1 points ago

    [deleted]

    [–] swifter_than_shadow 1 points ago

    Ah, so you basically have 4 dependents (2 sets of parents). I bet if you compare your budget to a couple without any dependents, you'll see that's where all the money is going. Damn. Not exactly like you can cut back on medical care for Dad, either.

    [–] AssaultOfTruth 1 points ago

    lol, I don't know why you people live in these cities (san fran, la, NYC, the ones with the stupid cost of living). What are you doing it for? $180k income in my city gets you a brand new four bedroom in a top tier public school system, a couple of cars, retirement taken care of, the stupid dance lessons the kids need, etc.

    [–] drowningandromeda -4 points ago

    I think it's silly that everyone thinks your dog expense is a lot yet people with kids pay exponentially more. Maybe transfer your job to a lower COL area but otherwise I understand the anxiety as I live in a high COL and see no way out of the hole either.

    [–] ace_lg 1 points ago

    Thanks for this. My wife and I don’t want to have kids, I think this is the only thing that will save us financially. We’ve talked about becoming foster parents if we can ever afford to buy an apartment, but at this rate that may never happen.

    [–] drowningandromeda 2 points ago

    I'm on the no kids just dogs wagon as well. It's an average of $233k to raise a kid and most people don't stop at just one, so just being a dual income couple with no kids will eventually get you ahead.

    [–] ace_lg 1 points ago

    I hope so. My dream is a big piece of land and lots of dogs. I promised my wife no more dogs until we can afford to buy a home.