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how do you feel about talking about money?

DH and I have been talking about plans for our house and we want to do some work on our back porch - improve what we have, possibly add a patio and some landscaping, etc.  Our neighbors (who we don't know except to say hello) did something kinda like what we want.  We were talking about getting the name of their contractor and I said we can ask them how much it cost too.  DH was aghast and said we can't ask them how much it cost.

I don't know - do you think that's inappropriate?  Would you be offended/put off if someone asked you about something like that?  I wouldn't just randomly ask a stranger how much their house cost or something, but I thought asking them how much that work cost, when we are considering doing something similar isn't too nosy.

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Re: how do you feel about talking about money?

  • If you are inquiring about a contractor and having work done to your house, I don't feel that it is inappropriate to ask how much it cost.  Your neighbor could give you a rough estimate of how much they spent, or flat out tell you that they don't feel comfortable telling you, if, in fact, they don't. 

    I've asked my neighbors how much they have spent on things around their houses - not being nosy - but because we're interested in doing something similar down the line and we wanted a ballpark idea.  No one seemed taken aback by it at all.

  • I don't think its inappropriate, but I probably wouldn't ask unless it was one of my friends. DH on the other hand, would think nothing of asking. He asked our neighbors how much their new windows cost and got the name of their contractor.

    And noooooo to being offended by someone asking me that. I just can't see getting worked up over it. If you don't want to answer, then don't answer or just give a ballpark.

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  • If I were the neighbor, I'd be perfectly fine with telling someone around how much something cost. We had our roof redone recently and a nice neighbor that we don't talk to aside from waving hello asked us if we'd mind telling him who we used and around what it cost. Totally acceptable.
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  • In your situation, I don't think it's inappropriate at all. I wouldn't be offended if someone asked me.
  • I think it would be fine, it's not like you are asking what their salaries are.  If you start out by saying how much you like what they've had done, and just say something like "we were thinking about doing something similar, but are wondering how much we should save/set aside," it might ease into it?  I'm also very open when it comes to talking about $.  I have no problem talking salary, how much our house cost, how much we've put in it, etc.  But I also know all that info isn't to hard to find.
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  • I wouldn't be offended if I was them at all. You can approach it by saying, "Would you mind me asking about how much that cost you? We love it and are thinking of doing something similar." That way, you come across as sensitive to a possibly touchy subject but make it easy for them to ballpark it or just flat out tell you.
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  • I think it's okay to ask your neighbors about this, but I would word it a little delicately and ask if they'd be willing to give you a ballpark on what they spent. Some people are very private about money - like my DH. I am more open about it and would not be offended if some one asked me what I spent on a house project.

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  • I'm in the minority and think it'd be kind of a weird thing to ask. You dont' really know them - "just to say hello," as you put it.  It would be a relatively random questoin. If you had any type of a relationship with them I don't think it'd be so weird. 

    You can definitely ask "did you find their pricing fair" or something which may be more what you want to know, because what you have done will likely vary in price from what they had done, depending on materials, what exactly you want done, etc. - but if their pricing is fair, then it might not matter that they paid X. "X" might have been an approrpriate amount for what they wanted, but too much for what you want, you know?

    I'm pretty open talking about money in general but if someone asked me "who was your contractor, and how much did it cost" I'd be a little put off.  

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  • I think it would be ok if you phrased it right.  Compliment the work and talk about it a little bit before you launch into the questions.  Then, I like what SK and Becky suggested--find a more polite way to ask about the cost than flat out "How much did you pay?"

    I don't mind talking about money if it could help you but I would mind if you just came off as being nosy or judgmental.   There are plenty of nosy people who would ask you how much you paid for something then gripe about how you can afford a home improvement but you can't buy Girl Scout Cookies from their kid (or whatever).  Let them know you are truly interested in the information.

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  • I try not to ask complete strangers how much things cost; I'll ask a good friend how much their house cost or a renovation cost or something.

    I'm not sure I would ask how much theirs cost. I would ask for the contact info for the contractor and get a quote. If it seems really high or really low, I might go back to the neighbors and apologize for asking such a personal question, but you wanted to compare the quote to reality. 
  • Totally fine. It's not like you are walking up to a neighbor that you never talk to and ask what they make at their job.


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