I met Mr. Jones…

Visited my family the other day. Had a (rare) heart-to-heart with him about finances, life and even love.

Which is really strange because we’re not close family members, but I think he’s trying to compare what he was like at my age, to what I am accomplishing now. And after what happened on Christmas-day ish (i.e. getting chewed out by my Dad), I wonder what’s going on with the family dynamic now.

Anyway, with my brother and me, it’s kind of like a sociological experiment: If she turned out this way and ended up HERE, what would’ve happened if I did THAT?

Strangely enough, we went into two very different paths – me into IT and him into business itself.

Anyway, the point of this is that he just realized that he had spent over $100,000 in FURNISHINGS in the house. Like a $20,000 couch, $60,000 to remodel the kitchen, paint, new dining room tables, chairs… you name it.

I kind of half choked on the tea I was drinking and almost spat it out all over his new $8000 Italian leather chair I was sitting in (which by the way, was very comfortable).

And I had NO IDEA it was that expensive, by the way.

He makes about the same amount as me if I were to work 50 weeks a year, at 40 hours a week (not happening). And he’s a consultant as well, but a business consultant.

I asked him how it got to that point, and you know what he said?

FB, you say you will never get to the point where you’ll spend amounts of money like this, but I’m telling you – the more you make, the more you spend.

People just can’t afford this kind of lifestyle without making the money we make, but they don’t even know that it costs THIS much money to have this lifestyle.

Then it hit me. My brother is Mr. Jones.

He’s the one that everyone is trying to live up to and outdo, because he’s the one with the huge mansion, the 3 cars, the $100,000 in furnishings.

But what they don’t realize is that it takes a LOT of money to make the bare minimum on all that (think around the range of $400,000 if you factor in how much my sister in law makes), and even with THAT, my brother is kind of living on the edge a bit because he’s making 75% of the income.

If he lost his job, there is NO WAY they could afford to live off my sis in law’s income.


Not with the mortgage, 3 cars, and 3 kids they have. But they pull it off so easily and casually that people THINK it’s possible on a dual income of $200,000 for example, but in reality, it costs twice what they could imagine.

And it costs twice what they could imagine, yet it’s still on the edge for my brother. They couldn’t go down to a quarter of the income (what my sister in law makes) and still afford to keep up with everything.

He mentioned that spending increases as your income does. But I want to try and avoid that mentality altogether and remember that things aren’t always rosy.

I know I had a lapse two weekends ago (that seem to be well justified), but I know how slippery of a slope that can be, and getting into the mentality of being able to spend because the money is so good right now, is a scary thought.

So it makes me wonder how much it really costs to have a comfortable life, and what that comfortable life consists of.

My idea of a comfortable life would be a 1500 square foot home (I think 2000 is a bit too large but it depends on the layout in my opinion), with two cars (not exactly brand names by the way), and being able to not worry where the money will come from to pay the monthly obligations for the next 2 years (hello, emergency fund!).

I know it may sound naive right now, but the larger the home, the more I’d have to clean, and the more stress I’d have only because it costs more money to run, and with the mortgage being fatter which means I have to work more!!!!!

Who wants that?

The perception of what a comfortable life for everyone should be changed because it is grossly unrealistic right now.

It has just gotten so bloated, out of control and unrealistic that no wonder people are confused about how much it takes to afford a ‘comfortable life’.

I mean, look at the mess everyone is in right now!

Everyone thinks that a 2500 square foot home is the average size for a home, we should have a car per adult (a new-ish one by the way), and we should be able to take a vacation every year, have all the comforts of technology and to be able to eat out at least once a week.

Well, HELLO!!? That kind of lifestyle costs a LOT of money and is not for the average person.

If you can’t afford to take a vacation this year because your kids got sick and you had to pay some medical bills, then you don’t take one just to ‘get away’ and say that you’ll just throw it on a credit card and pay it off next year… you just DON’T GO.

I propose that a comfortable life should be a financially secure life where you can feel safe if something goes wrong, like a spouse losing a job or a medical emergency doesn’t put you over the edge and running to 15 credit cards to fill the gap.

Not one filled with fancy locales to jet set to on a regular basis, fancy furniture in a large overly comfortable home where they only use half of the space and three cars for only two adults that drive, like what my brother has.

That, and his working like crazy just to keep up that lifestyle of what he thinks is ‘comfortable’ in life is not what real life is about.

We are just so different, and I’m happy we are.

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.