Have you ever looked at someone’s lifestyle and wondered, “How on earth do they afford all that?” We’ve all been there. Whether it’s the neighbor with the shiny new car, your colleague who travels to exotic destinations every year, or that friend who seems to be dining out at fancy restaurants every weekend—there are just some things people flat out don’t know how others afford it.
One Redditor asked, “What is one thing you flat out just don’t know how people can afford?” This thread received thousands of interesting responses, and we have compiled the top ones for you!
1. Secret Families
Someone commented, “secret hidden families. I can barely afford 1.”
Another responded, “Honestly, just affairs in general. I wouldn’t do it anyway, but it genuinely seems like a lot of effort.”
How do they do it? How do they manage to juggle all these things like it’s no big deal?
2. Eyelash Extensions
It’s not just about vanity; it’s an industry! Beauty treatments have become more accessible, and people are willing to pay for that confidence boost.
One Redditor stated, “Eyelash extensions and the upkeep of them.”
Another person pitched in to say, “I got them. They took 2 hours to put on initially, and then you have to go back every two weeks to get them filled, or you look like you have mange.”
Let’s be real; life is expensive. We’re all out here hustling, working hard, trying to make ends meet, and then there are these people seemingly living in a whole different universe.
Someone on Reddit said, “I still don’t know how we afforded daycare. At one point, I had two kids in daycare for a year before the oldest went to kindergarten.”
Someone else replied, “Was going to say the same. We were paying $2400/month for two kids. This was almost 10 years ago, so I can’t imagine the cost now. Edit: This was in Canada.”
4. Restaurant Food
Someone commented, “People who eat exclusively by ordering takeaways or delivery from restaurants. It’s mind-bogglingly expensive.”
Another responded, “I had an ex that would door dash at least one of her meals every day. Blew my mind since I meal prep and try not to even hit a drive-thru.”
Do you think it’s a good trade-off for the convenience of not having to deal with the kitchen chaos?
5. RVs or Boats
RVs and boats? It’s about priorities. Some people invest in experiences rather than things.
One Redditor stated, “A boat or RV (or both)?! I can barely afford to exist, much less spend all this money on recreation.”
Another person pitched in to say, “Yeah, I work with people that have boats and RVs with a middle-class job. Must be up to the necks in loans.”
Nails for girls? Well, self-expression knows no bounds.
Someone on Reddit said, “Came to say people that regularly get their nails done every 2-3 weeks! My husband and I recently both got big pay raises, so I told myself I’d started getting my nails done every month since we could afford it. Went 2 times and realized no matter how much I make, spending $70/month on nails that really only look good for about a week was too much.”
Another responded, “I was going to say nails! They need to be filled like every 2 weeks.”
7. Hair Treatment
Someone commented, “0-400 hair treatments is wild to me.”
Someone else replied, “Hair every 6 weeks… Including tip, they average to about $30 a week total. I set aside separate money every week into my “entertainment” checking…
It might seem extravagant, but it’s a personal choice and a booming business.
8. First Class Airfare
Someone on Reddit said, “First-class airfare is just so overwhelmingly expensive in comparison to regular seats. I can’t imagine anyone ever having that amount to spare unless you’re incredibly wealthy.”
Another responded, “Aside from the incredibly wealthy, it’s just senior business execs. I knew a guy, VP at a big food company, who was flying something like 250 days a year back and forth across Asia. It was first class everywhere, simply to make it bearable.”
Some people save and splurge on that once-in-a-lifetime trip, making the journey as memorable as the destination.
9. Foreign Holidays
Multiple foreign holidays per year? Travel is an education. It broadens horizons and creates unforgettable experiences.
One Redditor stated, “Multiple family foreign holidays per year. Edit. To be clear, I’m not criticizing anyone on this, and I appreciate that if you live in mainland Europe, it’s easier than here (Scotland). I am just genuinely amused/bemused when I see people on their 2/3/4 foreign holiday of the year on social media.”
Another person said, “Holiday debt is a serious financial issue in the United States. Especially among millennials.”
Owning property is a significant investment, but it’s quite difficult to make in this era of inflation!
Someone commented, “Modern-day house prices. 600K used to buy you a serious mansion. Now, it’s an average family home. I make a good income; my girlfriend also has a normal average income. Yet we can barely afford an averagely priced house these days.”
Someone else replied, “I’m in the market for a home, and this is the comment that hits. I look at some of these for sale signs being closed on 1+ MILLION dollar homes, and I’m like… how can you afford the mortgage and everything else?
Someone on Reddit said, “Kids are so expensive, I don’t know how anyone can afford them. And the more opportunities you give them (dance lessons, club sports, living in a nice neighborhood), the more you will pay out the nose just so they keep financial pace with their friends, whose parents also seem to be struggling to afford it.”
Another responded, “This. Me at a friend’s mother’s funeral, listening to her eulogy and stories about how she sacrificed everything to make sure her kids never went without. What an amazing woman.
Me watching my sister never buy anything for herself but spend hundreds on concert tickets for her kids, only to have them complain about the seats: It won’t kill them to hear the word “no” every now and again.”
They’re adorable, sure, but they’re also a bottomless money pit. Diapers, clothes, toys, school stuff – it never ends.
One Redditor stated, “New pickups by people who don’t use them as pickup. $60k for a transportation appliance used just to commute?”
Another person pitched in to say, “I’ve only ever bought used pickups, and only one did I buy a 4×4, and that’s because I lived in a rural area and used it in the snow/mud. I cannot fathom paying 80k+ for a 4×4 pickup that’s only used on the street. Woof.”
Some people are just really passionate about their wheels, so they budget, save, and maybe give up a few other luxuries to roar down the roads in style.
13. Mental Health
Mental health treatment – now that’s a real challenge. Therapy sessions, medications, and self-care aren’t cheap. Someone commented, “Mental health treatment.”
Another responded, “This one really puzzles me. Sometimes, you’re facing mental health issues because you have no job, no money, no housing. It’s pretty understandable to be strongly depressed or anxious due to the sheer lack of means of supporting oneself.
And naturally, the other way around as well: we might lose our jobs due to severe mental health issues. It’s just impossible to do proper work when you’re in grave pain, mentally. Then people say: “Go get help”. Oh, sure, but how? No job, no money, buddy.”
Being a bridesmaid is an honor, they say. But goodness, it’s practically a part-time job.
One Redditor stated, “Being a bridesmaid. Weddings have become so much more elaborate, with multiple showers and bachelorette weekends.”
Someone else replied, “Bachelor and bachelorette weekends have just become too much. I got married 9 years ago, and we went to a bar for the night and got wasted. Now it seems like everyone has to go for a 2-3 night destination weekend extravaganza, which costs $1K+ on top of more traditional expenses. So glad almost all my friends are married.”
Rent, the eternal woe of adulthood. Someone commented, “Honestly? Rent.”
Another person pitched in to say, “My boomer uncle recently asked how much rent was where I am. I’m on the other side of the state in a larger area than he is. When I told him how much the average was, there was a very long pause. He lost his breath for a minute. He owns a house, paid for. He recently rented out his parents, my grandparent’s farmhouse, but it’s insanely out of touch rent-wise (too low).”
Weddings are the magical day when love meets expenses. From the venue to the flowers, it’s a financial battlefield. But hey, love conquers all, including credit card bills, right? People borrow, save, and maybe eat instant noodles for a year to celebrate their love in style.
Someone on Reddit said, “Weddings. I’m a wedding bartender, and people dropping $30k on one day is insane to me.”
Another responded, “My wife and I had a small 30-person wedding during Covid. $12k. We could have done it for about 10k, but we had to change venues and limited options. A friend of mine just had a 300-person. His bill was 95k, wow.”
17. Vet Bills
One Redditor stated, “Vet bills. Even routine care and vaccinations can be $400. Not to mention, if there are any kind of unique issues or an emergency, you’re paying thousands, and they won’t give care until you pay.”
Someone else replied, “Our last two pets who fell ill (a guinea pig and a rabbit, respectively) probably cost us $6k in medical bills, at least. We’re still trying to crawl out of the debt, but I’d do the same thing 100 times out of 100. We did what we could to give them the best chance possible.”
But what can you do? You tighten your belt and maybe skip a few treats for yourself to ensure your pet gets the care it deserves.
Taking care of aging parents or relatives is emotionally rewarding but financially draining. People do it out of love, even if it means giving up vacations or dining out to ensure their elders live their golden years in comfort.
Someone commented, “Eldercare. $300 a day is about typical for most states, and it goes up if they need special care (dementia, etc).”
Another person pitched in to say, “3/4 of Americans who live to 21 live to 65, of which 2/3 will need long-term care for an average of 3 years. Maybe not all long-term care is nursing level, but some of it is even more expensive — memory care, etc. Comes out to roughly $150k per person– and almost double that if you limit it to those who need any at all. Somewhere between a generous down payment and a new house. Who can afford that — especially after decades not working?”
Tattoos, the modern-day art on skin. It’s a form of self-expression, and people save up for that ink.
One Redditor stated, “I’m in the service industry, and the pay is bad, yet all my coworkers have thousands of dollars of ink on their bodies.”
Another responded, “I have far too many friends who are constantly broke but seem to be able to buy tattoos.
I find it a strange use of money when someone is complaining about not being able to afford groceries and such, but I guess I’m just a person who prioritizes food.”
Someone commented, “Coffee from the barista every day. Some people go multiple times a day. Absolutely astonishing.”
Another person pitched in to say, “My friend does this & I have no clue how. Bro makes like $12/h at his airport job. He gets Starbucks twice a day & half the week; he’ll just order Uber Eats. And this has been going on for like two years.. non-stop…I remember at one point I sat down and did the math … made absolute zero sense.”
People make it work because, well, what’s life without a few struggles, right?
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