Bichon Frise wrote:
most people, when they can't afford something, don't buy it.
I think in America the opposite is true: most people, when they can't afford something, buy it on credit.
Anyway, I agree that $160 is too much for cellphones, even if (as I assume) this refers to two cell phone plans, one for you and one for your wife. We have evolved from not needing cell phones at all to "needing" them and then "needing" smart phones with data plans. Unless you actually need a smart phone for work (in which case your employer should be paying for it), nobody actually needs a smart phone and data plan: it's great to have but you can survive just fine without it. I pay $25/month for my cellphone, which is actually a smart phone but I use it as a dumb phone; if I want to download my email or surf the web I find a WiFi hotspot.
Also agree on the cars: that's a big expense. You may not be able to get by with just one car if you both commute to work in different directions, but you could probably get by fine with cheaper cars. A Honda Civic with 100,000 miles on it is less than halfway through its expected lifetime and wouldn't cost much to buy; it could last you six or seven years with few expenses other than regular maintenance. With two kids you don't need a big car: I'm friends with a family of four who drive a Honda Fit; they comfortably fit themselves, their kids, four bikes, and camping gear for a week in that little car (two bikes go on the roof and two go on the back).