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Hesitate to Spend
Old 07-05-2014, 08:33 AM   #1
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Hesitate to Spend

I don't post that often, but thought this topic might be relevant to many folks here. My wife and I do very well financially, so much so that we would be in a position to FIRE in the next few years if we chose to do so (and actually could today if we wanted to move). However, we have young kids and want to spend a bit of money to enjoy our lives where we live right now. Part of this spending involves home renovations, furniture shopping, etc... The problem is having the time to shop around for a good deal (we feel that most things in our area including various home contracting services, don't represent a good value). Our area is very transient, so most businesses sell high priced stuff/services (often of questionable quality) because they know there is always another fresh group of highly paid professionals moving to town every few years.

So while having time to shop around is our problem, time continues to march onward. We spend our days working, keeping up our own health and spending cycles catering to the needs of our kids. Wash, rinse, repeat. Also, we don't have much of a support network to watch the kids, even for a few hours, so we feel a bit trapped by the day to day routine.


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Old 07-05-2014, 08:50 AM   #2
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Couple thoughts -

- Maybe sign up for Angie's List to find contracting services that have good reviews

- Shop online - saves time and it's easy to research products

Welcome to the forum.
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Old 07-05-2014, 08:55 AM   #3
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So while having time to shop around is our problem, time continues to march onward. We spend our days working, keeping up our own health and spending cycles catering to the needs of our kids. Wash, rinse, repeat. Also, we don't have much of a support network to watch the kids, even for a few hours, so we feel a bit trapped by the day to day routine.
Time vs money is one of the trade-offs we all face when considering early retirement. It's not a bad problem to have, but that doesn't make it any easier to answer.
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Old 07-05-2014, 09:01 AM   #4
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Couple thoughts -

- Maybe sign up for Angie's List to find contracting services that have good reviews

- Shop online - saves time and it's easy to research products

Welcome to the forum.

We do use Angie's List, but again, it's the time factor in meeting with contractors. Also, the higher rated contractors seem to charge the most money. I guess that's the trade off - you get quality work, but you pay a higher price.


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Old 07-05-2014, 09:23 AM   #5
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Just glue the kids hands to the wall and go about your business. When you come back, they will be still there, and out of trouble. (jk)


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Old 07-05-2014, 09:46 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by G8tr View Post
I don't post that often, but thought this topic might be relevant to many folks here. My wife and I do very well financially, so much so that we would be in a position to FIRE in the next few years if we chose to do so (and actually could today if we wanted to move). However, we have young kids and want to spend a bit of money to enjoy our lives where we live right now. Part of this spending involves home renovations, furniture shopping, etc... The problem is having the time to shop around for a good deal (we feel that most things in our area including various home contracting services, don't represent a good value). Our area is very transient, so most businesses sell high priced stuff/services (often of questionable quality) because they know there is always another fresh group of highly paid professionals moving to town every few years.

So while having time to shop around is our problem, time continues to march onward. We spend our days working, keeping up our own health and spending cycles catering to the needs of our kids. Wash, rinse, repeat. Also, we don't have much of a support network to watch the kids, even for a few hours, so we feel a bit trapped by the day to day routine.
Believe me, I can relate to a lot of your post, especially the part about feeling trapped with no support network to watch the kids. When my daughter (now 35) was young and at home, I was in the same situation. All I can say is to keep looking for a sitter you can trust, and also to remember that this is a temporary situation and they do grow up and leave home. When they do, you will miss them a lot, believe it or not.
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Old 07-05-2014, 12:34 PM   #7
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Believe me, I can relate to a lot of your post, especially the part about feeling trapped with no support network to watch the kids. When my daughter (now 35) was young and at home, I was in the same situation. All I can say is to keep looking for a sitter you can trust, and also to remember that this is a temporary situation and they do grow up and leave home. When they do, you will miss them a lot, believe it or not.

Thanks for the understanding. I've been told that most folks don't bother with home renovations or even much in the way of furniture shopping (except for the basics - beds, cheap couches, etc...) until their kids are at least out of diapers. This usually means that for the first 5 years of having kids (assuming 2-3 kids), their lives are essentially on hold and they spend their days catering to child-rearing tasks.

I agree about finding a trusted babysitter. We do have one and her rates are very reasonable for this area. We've used her on occasion when we want to go out to dinner (which we desperately need to do more often). Things are pretty busy at work for my wife and me, as I was just promoted (and given more staff and a raise) while my wife is pursuing a new avenue for business in her career that requires travel. We put our personal health (i.e. working out) above home renovations and furniture shopping, which is probably the right decision for now, but we would like to "have it all" (don't we all :-))


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Old 07-05-2014, 01:11 PM   #8
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Thanks for the understanding. I've been told that most folks don't bother with home renovations or even much in the way of furniture shopping (except for the basics - beds, cheap couches, etc...) until their kids are at least out of diapers. This usually means that for the first 5 years of having kids (assuming 2-3 kids), their lives are essentially on hold and they spend their days catering to child-rearing tasks.
Not so much "on hold" as "treading water'. At least it was for us.

I don't think young children are a reason not to upgrade in terms of housing and furniture, and suspect most people with young children don't because all their disposable income is going toward the kids.

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I agree about finding a trusted babysitter. We do have one and her rates are very reasonable for this area. We've used her on occasion when we want to go out to dinner (which we desperately need to do more often). Things are pretty busy at work for my wife and me, as I was just promoted (and given more staff and a raise) while my wife is pursuing a new avenue for business in her career that requires travel. We put our personal health (i.e. working out) above home renovations and furniture shopping, which is probably the right decision for now, but we would like to "have it all" (don't we all :-))
Getting a reliable sitter is critical, teaching the children to go out also helps. We took ours out with us frequently when they were little, and traveled with them as well. This was very helpful, they learned to behave in public, enjoy doing things with us, and also share in the lifestyle we wanted.
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Old 07-05-2014, 01:28 PM   #9
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I used to pay 10 - 11 year olds in the neighborhoods to come over and play with my kids and just watch them in the back yard while I worked at home, did home work, did housework or just read a book without having to break up fights over a stick or some other urgent matter. You don't have to pay them as much as a 13+ year old babysitter and 10 is old enough with an adult at home inside the house.

Or we would trade off babysitting with friends. It isn't much more work to watch 4 kids than 2 and often the kids will play and keep themselves busy, especially if the other kids are girls, and then you can do something like trade off Friday evenings or Saturday afternoons. The kids get a play date so they look forward to either having friends over or a night out, too and you don't have to worry since they are in the care of adult friends.
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Old 07-05-2014, 07:17 PM   #10
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I used to pay 10 - 11 year olds in the neighborhoods to come over and play with my kids and just watch them in the back yard while I worked at home, did home work, did housework or just read a book without having to break up fights over a stick or some other urgent matter. You don't have to pay them as much as a 13+ year old babysitter and 10 is old enough with an adult at home inside the house.

Or we would trade off babysitting with friends. It isn't much more work to watch 4 kids than 2 and often the kids will play and keep themselves busy, especially if the other kids are girls, and then you can do something like trade off Friday evenings or Saturday afternoons. The kids get a play date so they look forward to either having friends over or a night out, too and you don't have to worry since they are in the care of adult friends.

Thanks for the suggestions. As we make more friends in our neighborhood with children of similar age, we will definitely consider the trade off babysitting.

On the issue of contractors, I'm trying to be frugal but it's a slippery slope in terms of making "just one little change". Those so-called little changes can add up very quickly. :-)


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Old 07-05-2014, 09:25 PM   #11
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On the issue of contractors, I'm trying to be frugal but it's a slippery slope in terms of making "just one little change". Those so-called little changes can add up very quickly. :-)


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It does help to have more time to interview contractors but of course that is one of the trade offs with working full time. When we had some work done in conjunction with a retired neighbor I noticed he got 10 bids. I thought hey why not I am going to do the same from now on.

It is kind of wild the difference in bids. A couple of the people that came out to bid on some repair work were really shysters - telling us we needed ten times the work of the other 8 or so.
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Old 07-05-2014, 09:30 PM   #12
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With contractors, getting references from past customers is very helpful. And a lot of lousy contractors won't sign on with the BBB for fear of complaints becoming a searchable record.
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Old 07-05-2014, 09:34 PM   #13
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Keeping a well furnished home with kids is like shoveling the snow from the sidewalk while it's still snowing. Enjoy the kids and don't sweat the small stuff, they'll be gone soon enough.
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