Dual Income

The other day, one of Mike’s buddies (let’s call him Ty) visited us with his family in tow. They live about couple of hours away and drove down on a Saturday morning. I have have met him a couple of time before and I get on reasonably well with his wife. And they have adorable toddler girl twins. So I was really excited about meeting them.

As soon as they entered our apartment, they exclaimed that our apartment looked very nice. We rent a pretty nice apartment though it has just one bedroom. About half our furniture is from Craigslist/hand me downs. We do have some nice accent pieces from Pottery Barn and Pier 1 Imports, but we shopped for those during sales and using coupons. And then the wife, let’s call her Vivian, started talking about how expensive good furniture was. This sort of behavior went on throughout the day with them commenting about everything we did in terms of money. When I served salad for lunch, she looked at the dressing from Trader Joes and talked about how she would love to shop there, but everything in there is so expensive. (It is not really, especially their wines)

And then in the late afternoon, the topic turned to vacations. We talked about taking a weekend trip together. When I suggested New Orleans, Ty immediately said they would rather go to some place drivable rather than fly since it would be expensive. I agreed and was about to say something to that effect when Ty continued to talk about how they were not a dual income family and could not afford to spend like we do. Mike and I were taken aback at this point since he seemed very defensive. And then Vivian piped in about how expensive baby stuff was and that they had a lot of credit card debt. They talked a little more about this and hinted that we were the kind of people who didn’t care about family and cared more for money. All because I work!

I agree that dual income does bring in more money each month. But there are expenses that go with it. We are a 2 car family while they can get by with one. Also case in point, my student loans, that eats into what we can save. While it sounds frivolous, going to work means buying some nice clothes and the associated dry-cleaning costs etc. Many evenings, we are tired to cook and end up eating out or buying Lean Cuisine meals. At the end of it all, maybe we take a few more weekend trips than they do, but we would have done that even if I didn’t work.

I wanted to tell all this to them but I didn’t. Mainly because this is our personal choice and we don’t need to justify this to anyone. Vivian has a 2 year degree from a community college and I am sure she can get a job if she wants to. Or go back to school and finish her degree. But she doesn’t because she chooses not to and I respect that. I can’t fathom their half condescending, half jealous attitude. Maybe if we lived in a mansion and we each earned millions and spent the whole day at work, they might be justified in thinking what they think. But we are just regular people, living in an apartment!! I am so annoyed by their remarks that I don’t ever want to meet with them again.

Mike thinks I am being extreme and just wants to let this whole thing slide. But I don’t think I can keep my mouth shut if this kind of crazy talk continues. Is it just me or do DINKs get a lot of flack from others?

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12 Responses to Dual Income

  1. SP says:

    Maybe give them another chance, but speak up if they make those comments!

    That really just seems weird and crazy that they would comment and compare lifestyles so much! It makes me think that the two of them regularly talk about their own lifestyle and lack of spending money, and compare it to everyone else, always justifying to themselves why their choices are best. Maybe they’ve recently begun attacking their CC debt, and money is on their mind a lot?

    how irritating!

    • Ella says:

      Thank you! Yes I think i should speak up too and tell them that this kind of comparison is making us feel uncomfortable. I understand money is on their mind, but isn’t it on all our minds. Mike wanted to tell them about my student loans so that they don’t feel so jealous, but I think I don’t owe them any explanation.

      Yes I think they are trying to buy a house now and so they might be re-evaluating their finances. But why do they have to try and make us feel bad in doing so?

  2. Makky's Mom says:

    Sounds to me like they are romanticizing your lifestyle (no kids, and two jobs so they THINK you have lots of money), and perhaps they are still adjusting (read: resenting) the changes that parenthood has imposed on they lifestyle AND their finances.

    I sometimes feel jealous of people who have no kids and I wonder why they say they have no money – I’ve done an analysis of our spending and have come up with a monetary figure for having 4 children to support – $2400/month. That’s what they cost us! Each and every month! Do I resent that? Sometimes… but I’d never trade them away just to have the money to spend on myself instead! But it takes time to come to that place of financial peace with where your money is (and isn’t) getting spent. Perhaps your friends aren’t there yet.

    At this point, I’m jealous of DINK’s because they have no little rugrats running around messing up their home 24/7! ARGHH! Aside from being costly little things, they sure are expert at creating mess and clutter that can undermine even the most organized of people!

    My advice: let it go. They are obviously not at peace with where they are financially. They might be working on it, or maybe they are still wallowing in self pity, but either way, it has nothing to do with you or the lifestyle they perceive you are living.

  3. Makky's Mom says:

    Oh, and in the second paragraph of my comment, I didn’t mean to imply that YOU are complaining that you have no money – it was a general comment about people who have an income that matches or closely matches ours, and still say they can’t save money or are struggling financially. Please don’t think I was directing that to you or your situation. 🙂

    • Ella says:

      Thank you so much for your comment. I get what you were trying to say and I did not think it was meant for me. 🙂

      Yes I do agree that kids cost a lot of money and I am glad that you have found the peace to accept that and cherish your children. Most parents I talk to seem to be the same way, the only regret (if any) is about not traveling more before kids.

      I find it very awkward when they compare lifestyles. For one thing, no matter how much money one earns, lifestyles are truly personal. I may not think much to drop $10000 on an Europe vacation, but balk at spending $1000 for a big screen TV. Someone else in my position would choose to spend money differently and so on. At any rate I have decided to let it go for now, but I think I will definitely speak up if they bring this up again

      • Makky's Mom says:

        You are SO right. I wouldn’t dream of spending $10,000 on a vacation (travel is not high on my priority list) however, I LOVE brand new cars, and we are currently saving up $30,000 to buy a nice new car, hopefully brand new (that we’ll pay for with cash!). The next person wouldn’t dream of “wasting” $30,000 on a car, but would LOVE to spend $10,000 on a European vacation. We all have our priorities and that’s perfectly fine. That’s what makes our finances so personal. 🙂

  4. Daisy says:

    Jeez! I think it probably stems from insecurity. And jealousy! It’s too bad some people have to act like that, but I know what you mean. I’ve had a particular family member behave that way, and it’s annoying and hurtful and frusterating! I agree that maybe you should speak up. It might go on too long if you don’t, and get to the point where it’s insulting to you!

    • Ella says:

      Yes I could sense jealousy too. And I think they want everyone to live the way they do. Ty has been asking Mike when we are going to start having kids, which is really way out of line. I think I will speak up the next time they talk this way. I sometimes feel it’s better not to have friends like these who don’t think twice before they talk.

  5. TeacHer says:

    Not to be Ms. AP Psychology Teacher or anything, but I think they are projecting a bit. I think that they are trying to justify the fact that they are NOT dual income by saying “we value family” when they really wish that they COULD be dual income if not for their twins. In other words, they envy your lifestyle and wish they could have the same, but it’s not realistic because of the costs of kids. And so they are basically making a lot of observations/assumptions about your income and lifestyle and are for some reason voicing these ideas.

    Basically, its not you. It’s them.

    • Ella says:

      It sure feels good to have an AP Psych teacher validate that it’s not me! 🙂 Viv worked for a few years as an Admin assistant before her wedding, but quit after she got married. So I don’t know where the resentment stems from. It’s not like she quite her job for her kids. And Ty has a good job that pays reasonably well, so it’s not like they can’t afford eating out or babysitters etc. They choose not have our lifestyle and then they resent us for living the way we do.

  6. I think it’s often easy for all of us to look at other people and be jealous one way or the other. My salary is not huge, but I am very comfortable. Still, I am a single woman supporting myself, and sometimes I look with jealousy at DINKs. To me, it comes down to an issue of contentedness and thankfulness. Sure, I could have more (more money, a husband, children, etc); but I have plenty (enough money, wonderful friends, a fun/interesting/challenging job, a cool apartment, my health.). The comparison game is deadly.

    And in the end, it comes down to responsibility. One of my friends is married and a at-home mom with a photography business on the side. Her husband doesn’t make a lot of money. But they are responsible, which means sometimes they have to say no to going out sometimes. They live within their means, and they don’t speak with jealousy about people who make more money. I think as a friend, I should support that — so why ask them to go OUT to dinner, when I could have them over for dinner or coffee (which is also me being responsible with my money, as well.)

    These are just some rambling thoughts I have on the matter.

    • Ella says:

      Yes you are right, we all look at other people and imagine their lives to be perfect. I look at people who own houses with envy, but recently a coworker told me that he envies me since I don’t have to shovel snow or mow lawns. 🙂 But I don’t go around berating people for their choices and try to make feel guilty for the way they live.

      I think your relationship with your friends is great! I would never have been angry with Ty and Vivian if they had turned down invitations to go out to dinner. The fact that they resent us for going out anywhere is where it becomes plain irritating.

      Thanks for your comment

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