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« Free Money Finance March Money Madness, Round 1, Posts 57-60 | Main | Remembering the Poor »

February 19, 2011


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I would have to agree with your point that if 70% of people on spent on things that they needed we would not have an economy.Lets face it when do you relay new car,a new TV or to eat out.

The high-end kitchen renovation number is stunning. I'm in the middle of a kitchen renovation project right now, doing it myself, a little bit at a time, and don't intend to spend more than a couple thousand. If I was doing granite countertops, luxurious fixtures, stainless steel appliances, italian tile...etc. it would get spendy really quick, I'm sure. I'm replacing our old oven with a new one we found that was a contractor repo, replacing our fiberglass sink with stainless, old dishwasher with a new one, adding a layer of paint all around, building a new backsplash, and at that point I'll call it good.

I'm able to work flexible hours, and can work from home if there's a specific reason to -- just not all the time. I've been able to do so at several jobs. None of the employers really "offered" it, but they were willing to do so when I asked.

I've been able to mostly work from home for about the last 3 years. It has been amazing and allows me to spend some time with my 2 young children before they go to daycare. It saves about 2 hours in commuting a day, not to mention the added stress, gasoline, etc. Working from home isn't 100% positive, but it is mostly positive. More employers should think about offering it if they don't. I know I work more and am more productive when working from home than when I'm in the office.

Kitchens: just another in the keeping up with the Joneses fad. We bought a gas, five burner double oven Kenmore brand for 1/3 the price of the "designer" brands, and it can do anything they can do.

Buy what you need? Do we "need" 1000 channels and a smart phone? I agree, needs/wants blur depending on who is judging...

Flexible work hours: I think this will be much more common as productivity programs become more mainstream. Although the danger is, that if you can do it at your home, the company may decide they can get it done in an Indian, or other outsourced "home" a lot cheaper...

My company allows employees to choose their working hours. You can work in the early morning or start at 9am, or 10 hours a day and have a day off every week. As long as you work 38.75 hours a week, you are good!

Employees are allowed to work from home when they have a good reason. Some managers are more flexible than the others. I personally like to work at the office more.

The kitchen renovation number, I am sure, is essentially false, just as are the 'average' prices we see for weddings. It is a simple selection bias: the people who are polled to get such data are selected to be higher spenders (because they subscribe to renovation magazines or websites, or maybe because general contractors are polled and they are only involved in the more expensive remodels) and the response rate on such polls further acts to select people who spend more money. All numbers for such things should be suspect.

"Really? $111k for a new kitchen?"
"Would an investment like this ever pay out?"

Theres a show on HGTV called 'Bang for Your Buck' that shows people who do major expensive remodels like that and semetimes they hit the $80k to $100K+ range. The show compares 3 similar price remodels in a city and then they assess the value it added to the house. Generally people see 70% of their money returned in increased home value. Once in a great while someone gets 90% or even 95% but more often its 60-80% range. Its an "investment" like a new car is an investment.

And yes, the "average" for a "high-end" kitchen is kind of meaningless. Its not an "average" as far as what people spend on kitchens any more than the "average" cost of a Ferrari is the average cost of a car.

"Average high-end" is an oxymoron.

Yeah I'm looking for a 100K house (Houston) let alone a 111K kitchen...

I bet the "high end" kitchen is really around $50K. I just remodeled mine, high-end granite counters and fixtures, done by contractor, the whole thing plus adjacent family room came under $50K.

It is worth remodeling your kitchen, especially if otherwise you would move because you want something nicer & more functional. Ask any woman! I'm not even a stay at home mom, and I spend most of my time at home in the kitchen, cooking and hanging out with my kids. I also entertain in the kitchen since it opens onto a large family room where everybody always ends up. My "living room" is hardly even furnished and we rarely spend time there. But a kitchen = the home for many people.

My company offers work-from-home. It typically stems from low pay across the board. So my department allows some folks to stay home 1 day a week to offset this.

P.S. I am not part of the "some people" group. Been with the company for 7 years...still not in the "some people" group. Yep, kind of upsetting.

My company allows some people to work from home, but it is not widespread. It is very manager-dependent. If they do allow you to work from home, then you are expected to always be available for calls, etc on your days off. They also have "flexible work arrangements" written into their work policies - but don't actually allow most people to use them.

I echo KMI.

Offering various alternative work arrangements does not translate to workers being able to use them. For example, my organization technically offers flex time, but you have to (a) coordinate with others in your group/department so that you don't overlap (i.e. no one being in on Friday, or everyone wanting to leave at 3:30), and (b) you have to have your supervisor's approval and support.

Basically, the company can technically "offer" this as a policy, but it's leavinga ll the power up to individual managers and deparmtents (who seem to like regular work hours), meaning overall very few people end up with any flexible work arrangements.

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