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What other expenditures r preventing Americans from achieving financial freedom?

Started by Sam, October 05, 2018, 08:06:37 AM

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Definitely agree on eating out at restaurants and excessive entertainment expenses. (Cable box plus hulu netflix hbo amazon prime etc. Having a data plan for phone and tablet while also paying for high speed internet in home.) Going to see movies/concerts excessively. If you make a lot of money none of these expenses are all that big, but I constantly see friends who live pay check to pay check on 30k-70k yearly incomes, with no savings or retirement, blowing $500-1000/mo on these things.

Also, it often goes on a credit card that doesnt get fully paid off at end of every month leading to another expense of credit card interest.


I'd say social media is pretty much the culprit. It allows people to showcase their lives, even if it's not their reality. Nowadays everyone is a 30K millionaire.

Trendy Restaurants - People want to be seen as fun so they go to the new trendy place that has the nice cocktails. Seriously bro, just look at how many results you get from searching #brunch #mimosas #margs on Instagram. Crew breweries included. Proposing a date at a trendy place never gets shot down, bad ROI though.

Clothing - Gucci/Hermes/LV belts, Louboutins, Jordans, etc. People want to look good even if it means spending 30% of their check on designer clothing or some drop shopping store, buy a lot of cheap clothing like FashionNova or PrettyLittleThing.

Student Loans - We all know the usual story. Had a couple of mates go to Baylor to study Education or were in their 6th year of undergrad.

A couple of years back a couple of friends would brag about buying brand new Challengers or F150s, all without mentioning that they were still living at home. Nothing wrong with living with mom and dad, just don't try to flex too hard.



Even eating at home.  We are all conditioned to thinking eating at home is cheap and eating out is expensive.  So we never think too much about the actual costs of the meals at home.  Especially when high income and the grocery bill "doesn't really matter."  We recently came to the realization that we can save $300 - $500/mo or so just on our grocery bill by changing our eating habits at home.  No more $9 jar of pasta sauce or $5 imported pasta.  Make my own pasta and sauce for a total cost of $1 vs $14.  For example.  And cooking from scratch is something I enjoy doing and I treat as a hobby anyways.  Adding in the huge financial benefit and it's even more motivation.


Have to agree with Cheezus above food in general and not just eating out. I am guilty of this too where I go to the store and buy all sorts of food options which makes food presently the largest line item in my spending. Buying the touted natural/organic options sure do not come cheap.


I'm new here and late to this thread.  In all the examples everyone posted I don't see anything wrong in doing any of those things - life is all about living - but in doing so - we must know how to manage our lives.

I'm not big on going out to eat - my wife is.  I'm really big on my personal hobbies - I love going to the race track as many weekends I can(motorcycles).

Have a bigger house than we really need - however really enjoy all the attributes of the house.

The name of this thread - what other expenditures r preventing Americans from achieving financial freedom

It is any expenditure that you can't afford - goes back to simple basics - what prevents anyone from achieving financial success - no budget - no plan - and not sticking to it.

I come from the old adage pay yourself first - then go ahead and have fun.

I'm an older guy that learned along time ago need to stick to the plan.

Problem with a lot of folks they truly live for today and don't realize in a blink of an eye 10-20 years just flew past them.


Expensive wedding, keeping with the trend on gadgets, excessive eating out, sports equipment that are rarely used


My biggest discretionary expense would have to be vacations. It's difficult to cut down on vacations when I'm given 6 weeks off a year and I'm encouraged to use my vacation leave. It also doesn't help that we have friends and family that are always inviting us to vacation with them. Every invitation screams "once in a lifetime" experience to me that it's difficult to turn them down. I have to say that I haven't had one vacation yet where I thought it was a waste of money because of the fond memories made.  Luckily, we have friends and family that are frugal or very generous so we often get free or cheap lodging, meals , activities, etc. No matter how inexpensive a trip can be, it adds up when I'm taking 5-6 trips a year.  However, I'm not going to cut down on traveling. Would I rather travel now while my friends and family are young enough that we can have a crazy good time or would I rather wait until we're all older with less energy and unable to really enjoy a good vacation.


I tend to calculate the time cost of things as much as the financial one. It makes most things more expensive in dollars.

I still lean into BruceV's style of "pay yourself first" and "stick to the plan," but if I maximized for dollars specifically I'd keep a lot more of them.

My feeling, though, is that I'd be poorer for it in my own context.

As far as I see it, from Europe, your health insurances are very expensive. Here in Nordic countries the public healthcare is almost free. And you get a free healthcare from your work also, and it's usually better and faster than the public one.

- NF
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