I Will Teach You To Be Rich- OMD EDITION


I think a lot of this is accepting “I don’t want a rice and beans lifestyle - how do we make it work?”

With food, I want to be at a level where I don’t feel very constrained, but I don’t look at our takeout spending and go “well that wasn’t even worth it.” I know I threw out a grocery trip worth of food because I was “stocking up” but then didn’t get it into the freezer in time and I don’t want that either.

Like, I want a budget that is close to waste free as possible, waste being either literally thrown in the garbage or more than I needed to spend for similar benefit and equal effort. At $2k a month or $10k a month I want everything to be worth it.

Oh and it was quail. We thought about getting ducks but it hasn’t happened


I wanted to take a second to respond to some folks who weighed in on my situation, ty everyone for your good advice!

Responses and mini update below.


Lots of good stuff to chew on here: thanks! To mix metaphors, I want to be sure I’m not taking us towards the beach and not an Arby’s, and also not making choices so that if it turns out the beach is a right-wing climate apocalypse hellscape, we still had fun while we could? You know, the normal stuff people think about.

Also helpful to hear that it seems to outside observers that there are lots of unknown unknowns as well. More to talk about with unnamed wife.

All good points! It’s so funny, we’ve been working on this project of trying to have a baby for almost 2 years, so it feels like a weird hobby we have vs. something that will actually result in a baby at some point. I also work part-time, and we are fortunate to have family that has offered to help and we trust to help, so it feels less crunchy for us than it might otherwise.

This did make me realize that, in the current state of things, I don’t think I’d qualify for any paid leave (hahahahah) so another thing to think about for the should I change jobs question.

Mini Update
I talked to my wife, and she’s been feeling more financial stress than I realized. She has famously said in the past that she hates the idea of buckets/sinking funds for specific purposes, but she’s coming around to it. She also doesn’t want us to plan that she’ll get her full commissions, which is another change. So, good conversations happening that are getting us closer to more plans.


May I gently suggest that you don’t bring any more living things into your house until the ones already there have fully funded lives?

After years of beating myself up over waste I’ve had to accept that a certain % of my money and resources go straight in the trash. Sometimes food goes bad or I order something that is awful. Sometimes I have a great idea for a project and everything goes sideways. I’m not perfect and I make imperfect choices and it’s not as efficient a system as I would like.

Now when there is something stupid and wasteful I mentally assign it to the expected margin of error instead of feeling like an idiot.

It hasn’t reduced the amount of waste, but it has made me nicer to myself and more realistic.


Grey, thank you for being so transparent, and so open to suggestions. This is really hard.


for a while I called this my stupid tax. I’m trying to be nicer to myself, and just accept that I had no way of knowing at the time that the Starbucks was going to make me such a bad iced coffee. (and it could have been worse, it could have been my own money and not a gift card)


I didn’t know the car I was buying was a lemon.
I didn’t know when I bought new clothes that I was about to gain weight.
I didn’t know that take out would be both expensive and vile.
That haircut came to what after tax and tip?


I felt this one right in my gourmand heart. We went to a very expensive dinner pretty recently, like…over $200 a person. It was…fine. It. Was. Fine. I’m definitely not still pissed about it or the fact that a BOX OF NAPKINS was fully visible next to some cleaning stuff all over the counters in what was supposedly a high end place but whatever.


Another % of my spending is emotional. I won’t call it wasteful because it’s meeting my needs, but it’s silly stuff. For me it’s junk food and take out and books and clothes and art and coffee and gifts. For other people it’s Mani/pedis or geeky collectibles. This stuff makes me feel ok, or at least tries.


That’s a good point too! My luxury spending is: clothes/designer makeup, skincare, and fragrances, a fancy gym membership, korean spa 1-2x a month, and fancy/imported grocery items including a truly excessive (for most) amount of spices.


Hmmm can I continue trying to make a baby or should I stop that? Signs point to “not going to happen anytime soon.”

But definitely no more animals. Pinky swear.


I think it might be helpful if you focus on one thing at a time. Maybe you can focus right now on the job and getting your current finances under control, and then worry about growing your family, reducing waste, minimizing food costs, etc. once your basics are in order?


Do you feel like you could try without trying trying? Like, let it happen on its own if it does but not put extra energy/planning towards it?


Babies are tricky because time passes and possibilities diminish, but they are super expensive and disruptive and change literally everything in your life. That’s too big a choice for me to have an opinion about.

I had kids with very low income and no stability and a bad relationship. It was fucking brutal. I figured it out, but I want everyone else to have an easier time.


I have been considering this anyway for my mental health - not going back on birth control but stopping all tracking and undesired intimacy and whatnot and focusing on feeling better in my body again through climbing and skating and stuff.

This week or so has made me feel like now is not the right time to have make a baby be my primary goal and I haaate that but it might be true.


Speaking only for myself, my forced break this summer was annoying and I was mad that it had to happen, and it was really good for my mental health. If that’s what you end up doing I hope it has the same outcome :heart:


We also took a break after trying after our MC (as in, after we got the all clear we tried for a few months and then took a couple months break before trying some more), and for us the break was also worthwhile. It might not be long, but at least this week your focus is on getting a job.

Holy heck congrats on TWO interviews already, by the way!


Also thank you everyone for your level-headed yet compassionate feedback.


Congrats on the interviews!!

I think it’s worth spending some time reflecting on how much you want to provide for family vs what is realistic with your current financial picture and the potential resentment/relationship issues that might cause.

I have a similar policy to @ElleP about not loaning family money. I have not chosen to give anyone gifts because they are all doing ‘ok’ even if they are stressed about money. My parents have mostly gotten their act together enough to be able to retire in a few years. My sister is (probably) net worth positive if you include her home equity and is trying really hard but not quite able to things under control so she’s digging a bit deeper into credit card debt each month.

On the other hand, I have so much money! And even with my policy on lending/giving I feel a lot of guilt that I’m not doing more to support them.

But here’s the thing. Even now that we’ve switched from hard-core savings mode to spending mode, my money values are very different. It would stress me out to see them spending my money on things that I don’t even get for myself. Would I like to spend a weekend away once a month like my parents do? Yeah, probably! Has my sister upgraded her living room furniture 2x in the last 10 years while I’m still rocking an arm chair that I got for free 10 years ago that isn’t at all my style? Also yes!

So, I have a policy of listening compassionately. I offer non-judgmental advice only when asked. I do not get involved beyond that.

Maybe that will change in a few years if/when we’ve upgraded our furniture, remodeled the kitchen, and decide to keep working rather than retire? I do have $$ set aside in my will for my sister. I also know that she’s many steps away from being on the street. If it were ever at that level of crisis we would be debating whether she could move in with us for X months, or whether we could rent a place for her for X months. But it wouldn’t be the place of her choosing and I would make it clear what I was willing to offer but that I wouldn’t be upset at all if she chose not to take it. And I probably wouldn’t be open to debate beyond “I can give you $X towards rent each month for Y months”.


An update for @darlingpants on my own situation.

Spouse did not get paid in June. He got 1/2 a paycheck in July and a full paycheck in Aug (deposited yesterday). A medium-sized deal came through for the company that will give them a 7-8 month runway and they are seeing momentum for a few other medium-large deals on the horizon. The plan is that the company will give us backpay for June/July in a few months once they are confident that things are still moving in the right direction.

We did GREAT with spending in June. Total grocery spending down to $670 (vs $890 in May) and that was even with a large shop at a tiny expensive grocery store on our vacation. Total restaurant spending was down to $78 (vs. $350 in May). We spent $25 on “entertainment” which was for nature center entrance and parking fees for our hiking vacation. MIL did buy takeout for our whole family for two separate meals while we were visiting her because she didn’t want anyone cooking. We kept up our bare minimum donations of $55/month and will work on catching up over the rest of the year to keep our $500/month average. I did drop a couple 401k contributions, but I’ve already adjusted them back up and will still plan to max it out this year.

I’m so grateful to have a wonderful spouse who was great at communicating and on-board with making changes to the budget. He does meal planning for 1/2 the month, and honestly he did better than me at cheap meals (but you guys…so many beans when he cooks now…so. many. beans.)

Now that I’m confident we can live on just my paycheck (and I have a really stable job) we’re going to treat spouse’s income as discretionary. We’re not going to spend any of his salary before it comes in, since it’s not guaranteed, but we are spending it AS is comes in. We’re moving ahead with hardscaping the patio first, and after that will hopefully be a new couch!

We are considering doing something really “bad” and selling $20-50K of our investments to complete all the house projects that we’d like to do on a faster schedule. TBD, but it’s on the table.


Thanks for taking the time to do this! I’m glad spouse’s company has runway again!