What do we do with all this extra money?!?!
I think we’re going to really have to sit down and think about our money goals. The alternative is to not do that and to just put all excess money away in taxable stocks until we actually need money and then see where we stand.
We’re again at this point where we can easily buy all our needs and all of the upper-middle-class wants we ever dreamed about as lower income kids, but we can’t you know, quit our jobs and buy a house in Northern California. We’ve paid off our house and don’t want a bigger one (or a second one). We’re maxing out our retirement and saving at a heavy clip for the childrens’ college. We have a hefty cash emergency fund and an even heftier secondary fund in taxable stocks. We have yard service. We eat out once or twice a week. We don’t really want a cleaning person because that’s not a priority and I find it really irritating to have to pre-clean or to have to deal with cleaning people in the house when I want to be relaxing. (I understand that truly excellent cleaning people don’t require such things, but I wouldn’t know how to find a truly excellent cleaning person.) I don’t mind doing our laundry or loading/unloading the dishwasher. I just bought myself a whole bunch of Cat Sebastian Kindle books, but that really wasn’t a huge expense. I’ve also started (as of DH’s re-employment) regularly giving to charitable and political causes when they ask, usually to the tune of $25/pop, on top of our regular previous giving (mostly to educational causes). And we’ve stopped driving to visit DH’s family and fly instead. But all of that was before this 10% raise.
But now there’s more that we could do. Things I’ve never really thought about doing before and maybe they’re things we should do or maybe we should just keep stockpiling money because if we didn’t want them before, maybe we don’t need them now. (And yes, many of these are things that lots of bloggers who regularly complain about money make priorities rather than paying off their debts, so maybe we’re not thinking big enough.) And even with all this excess money, we can’t do all of these things, only a subset. So it isn’t obvious that the answer should be yes to any or all of these.
We could go to Hawaii! Or Europe! Or the Caribbean. (But… vacations take time away from work…)
We could send the kids to fancy away summer camps. (But they’re still pretty young.)
We could spend the summer someplace that isn’t a bazillion degrees Fahrenheit. (But moving is a pain, especially with cats.)
We could spend the summer (or part of the summer) someplace where only Spanish is spoken and let the kids get immersed in the language. (See above, plus I wouldn’t be able to spend time with econ colleagues.)
We could fund a scholarship for someone low income to go to private school or college.
We could remodel the kitchen and bathrooms (though actually, we could remodel the kitchen even without this raise [update: maybe not right away—see below update]).
We could landscape the lawn to make it less thirsty. (But… Bermuda grass…)
We could replace the roof and put in solar tiles before the roof dies (but we’ll probably wait on this until the roof is older and solar technology has improved).
We could buy a super fancy electric car or a minivan. (This is not going to happen. Ditto having a third child…) [Update: the Honda Clarity that we just discovered existed is affordable after the federal tax incentive…]
We could eat out a lot more each week, or order fancy food online, or get a subscription service that doesn’t require chopping.
We could buy empty land around town and keep it empty and make sure it never has obnoxious advertising for evil political candidates posted on it.
What is missing from this list because of the limits of my imagination?