Hi there, Mrs. 1500 once again. Longtime readers will remember that in June, we moved from a neighborhood that did not suit us, to a new neighborhood that does. In the old neighborhood, success was measured by how much money you could spend. We were not considered successful there. We have our own definition of success, and that is to have money, but not seem like it. Here are a few examples of recent interactions that let me know we have succeeded:
Our new house is not without issues. It is small. Very small. 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom plus kitchen and living room and an extra whatever room. We are making improvements, and have found someone to help out. Halfway through re-siding the house, we decided we wanted to add onto the extra whatever room by making it two stories. When we told this to our contractor, he got a quote from Home Depot and told us we all needed to talk before he placed the order. He went through the quote, section by section and at the end, when the total was $14,000, he said it twice, and commented, “I just want you to know how much it is going to cost, before we place the order and you get upset and say that wasn’t the original price we discussed.” The tone in his voice made it seem as though he didn’t think we had very much money.
Much of this is probably due to Mr. 1500 laboring for hours on end in the hot sun doing stuff like digging post holes and moving heavy stuff. If the guy had any money, he surely wouldn’t be doing stuff like this. Success!
When we first moved in, one of the new neighbors across the street came over with some homemade chocolate chip cookies and we chatted for a bit. She asked us if we were renting (it had been a rental before it went into foreclosure) and when we said we had purchased it, she replied “Good for you!” in an excited way that told me she also didn’t think we had much money. Success!
When we were searching for this house, we had initially given our price range as fairly low. We saw a house that was interesting on paper, but priced at $540K. When we told our realtor we wanted to see it, she asked if it was in our price range. The way she phrased it told me she thought I was way out of my price range. Success!
Little 1500 and a not so new Bike
Our 6-year-old just learned how to ride a bike in the past couple of weeks*. She has just about outgrown her little bike and I told her that after she learned, she could get a bigger bike. As soon as she was able to balance, she exclaimed, “I can balance! Time for a new bike!” My reply was, “Correct, where should we get it from?” She replied with, “A thrift store or garage sale would be fine.” Success!
Spendy Sister no More
My sister came for a visit recently, and was commenting on our new house, which is way smaller and far less nice than the previous two. She said because of us, she has started thinking before she spends. “Do I really need another pair of shoes?” “Do I want to spend $400 on that purse? The last time I did that, I didn’t like it any more than the cheaper purses I have…” Success, success, SUCCESS!!! This is actually a major success, because she is quite trendy, and to be trendy you have to be spendy. She is now shopping in thrift stores and thinking about her purchases before she makes them. If you knew her, you would know how successful this really is.
Mr. 1500 here to quickly chimes in with a couple tales:
What I’ve realized, at least in my own little sphere of friends and family, is that the people who look rich are not. On the flip-side, sometimes, the people who dress like hobos have massive nest eggs. Two examples come to mind:
Broke BMW Man breaks his Beast: A good friend buys $100 jeans and fancy cars. (Mrs. 1500 note: Mr. 1500 is completely out of touch with fashion, and truly believes $100 jeans are among the more expensive jeans out there. He buys his at Costco. Still name brand, but he spends about $20 on a pair, and they are literally strings when he finally tosses them out.) He crashed his BMW last year, causing $7,000 worth of damage and was freaking out about his insurance going up. I said, “Just pay for it out of your own pocket if you are so concerned.” His response was, “Who do you think I am, Howard Hughes? I don’t have that kind of money.” Hmm, if you don’t even have 7K in an emergency fund, you probably shouldn’t be financing $50,000 cars.
Sir Silly Sock Sweatband Head: A couple summers ago, I went to visit a relative. I pulled up to the house and noticed the guy mowing the lawn and wearing what looked like a turban. This person definitely doesn’t associate with any religion or culture that would require him to wear such a thing, so I was extremely puzzled. Why on earth was he mowing the lawn with this thing on? When I got closer, I noticed that he had made a sweatband by tying a bunch of old socks around his head**. Sir Silly Sock Sweatband*** probably has more money than anyone I’ve ever known. Yet, he changes his own oil and re-purposes old socks. I’m not even going to tell you what becomes of old underwear. Maybe Mrs. 1500 will tell…
*Want a super easy way to teach your kid how to ride a bike? Take the pedals off with a $10 pedal wrench and let them balance bike for a while. Once your child has the hang of this, throw the pedals back on. They’ll almost be able to ride right away. I was amazed how well it worked!
**I really, really, really wish that I had a picture of this, but I don’t.
***I am frugal, but my frugality knows bounds. If you ever see me pulling a stunt like this, you know that I’ve gone off the deep end. Send me away.
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