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Author Topic: Into the Black - The Dig Ourselves Out of Debt Support Thread  (Read 395246 times)
clean
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« Reply #780 on: May 04, 2012, 11:17:18 AM »

Quote
most of that 90% hasn't got a clue

That was my thought.  "As long as I can make the minimums, all is well".  And then there is the, "The bank would not have given me that credit limit if I were not able to handle it!"  The bank makes money by keeping you in debt. 

As for living like a miser?  Once you set a budget, (many of us live on cash), you can do anything that you have the money to do.  If "living like a miser" means"living within your means", then get used to it because the other choice is unsustainable.  Worse, the longer you live 'high on the hog' the longer it takes and the harder it is to return to a sustainable existence. 

Good luck.
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wet_blanket
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« Reply #781 on: May 04, 2012, 1:45:39 PM »

As for living like a miser?  Once you set a budget, (many of us live on cash), you can do anything that you have the money to do.  If "living like a miser" means"living within your means", then get used to it because the other choice is unsustainable.  Worse, the longer you live 'high on the hog' the longer it takes and the harder it is to return to a sustainable existence. 

I think (I hope!) this whole thread is down with living within one's means. The issue of living like a miser is a different one, IMHO.  I *could* cut out of my budget my weekly allowance for coffee, for example.  If I did this, my debt would be paid off about a month, maybe two earlier than I'm on track for now.  Probably you'll disapprove, Clean, but I am actively choosing to take 1-2 months longer to pay off my debt so that I can occasionally drink a fancy latte.  So on this issue, I am not living like a miser, although I am living within my means.
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octoprof
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« Reply #782 on: May 04, 2012, 4:29:05 PM »

As for living like a miser?  Once you set a budget, (many of us live on cash), you can do anything that you have the money to do.  If "living like a miser" means"living within your means", then get used to it because the other choice is unsustainable.  Worse, the longer you live 'high on the hog' the longer it takes and the harder it is to return to a sustainable existence. 

I think (I hope!) this whole thread is down with living within one's means. The issue of living like a miser is a different one, IMHO.  I *could* cut out of my budget my weekly allowance for coffee, for example.  If I did this, my debt would be paid off about a month, maybe two earlier than I'm on track for now.  Probably you'll disapprove, Clean, but I am actively choosing to take 1-2 months longer to pay off my debt so that I can occasionally drink a fancy latte.  So on this issue, I am not living like a miser, although I am living within my means.

Clearly, in the past, you did not live within your means (see debt), so living like a miser to get out of debt is not a bad scheme at all. However, I do realize that there are limits and those limits may differ amongst folks. We didn't give up going out to eat when we were on the major debt reducing kick, we just budgeted a set amount for it and never ever went over each month. I think that amounts to the same thing.

The key is making the budget that gets to the goal(s) (whatever they are) and  s t i c k i n g  to it.
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clean
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« Reply #783 on: May 04, 2012, 7:32:57 PM »

If you are saying that a month or 2 of getting out of debt is in the neighborhood of a$1000 total, then I would say, "find another way".  They make devices that allows people to make coffee at home.   It is probably faster even than the time you spend in line getting coffee.  IF we are in the $100 neighborhood, then I d say 'Drink up'. 

But it is your life and your money. Do as you please.  If your goal is getting out of debt, I am better able to help. If the goal is to justify staying in debt, Im not going to be any help at all.  It is all about choices.  Personally, if coffee means $1000, then I guess that I m a 'miser'. 

If $1000 in coffee is worth it to you, then spend thrift away (if that is the opposite of miser).

As Octo noted, there seem to be a lot of people claiming to be living within their means who are toting a lot of debt. 

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wet_blanket
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« Reply #784 on: May 04, 2012, 7:58:27 PM »

If you are saying that a month or 2 of getting out of debt is in the neighborhood of a$1000 total, then I would say, "find another way".  They make devices that allows people to make coffee at home.   It is probably faster even than the time you spend in line getting coffee.  IF we are in the $100 neighborhood, then I d say 'Drink up'.  

$190. (Remember grad student.  It's not as trivial an amount as it may seem when compared to my take home pay.)  I wonder how big your neighborhood is; almost certainly smaller than mine.


As Octo noted, there seem to be a lot of people claiming to be living within their means who are toting a lot of debt.  

Octo noted that in the past people (on this thread) haven't been living in their means  But you missed my larger point.  Your earlier reference about living within one's means was presumably about the lifestyle one should maintain for, well, life.  But when one is paying down debt, there generally has to be some extra belt tightening.  It's this extra belt tightening that makes one feel like they're living like a miser, and of course there are degrees of belt tightening.  But after the debt has been taken care of, it is possible to both live within one's means *and* not  be living like a miser.


« Last Edit: May 04, 2012, 7:59:07 PM by wet_blanket » Logged

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clean
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« Reply #785 on: May 05, 2012, 12:05:10 AM »

I didnt know you were a grad student.   That is actually great news.  I hope that your experience is the same as mine.  I went from being a very, very poorly paid and broke grad student to earning nearly 10 times as much in my first PhD job... twice what I had ever earned before going back for the PhD.  I continued to live very much like a grad student, lived only part of my nine month salary, and used summer money to really attack my debt.  After a few years I was not only debt free but had a down payment for my first house.  As I said, it was already more than I had ever earned, and after five years of Korean War vintage on campus, efficiency apartment housing, a 2 bedroom apartment with a modern, full kitchen was a mansion!

Being a graduate student is not a license to throw caution to the wind, dive into debt, and hope for the best after graduation, but it seems that you are not in that league at all. 

When will you graduate?  What are the job prospects in your field? 

$190 for coffee is probably a large part of your take home pay and I m sure that you could cut that back. However, as a grad student, this is likely also combined with some degree of 'entertainment' or socialization.  As a grad student, if you have time for 'fun' then you probably have time to study and dissertation writing.  The faster it is done, the faster you are freed from poverty.  To the extent that coffee is a diversion necessary to allow your brain to recharge, have at it.  It is money well spent.  Freedom from debt is not an exercise in short run, penny-wise/pound-foolish thinking. 
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anakin
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« Reply #786 on: May 05, 2012, 1:53:22 PM »

I didnt know you were a grad student.   That is actually great news.  I hope that your experience is the same as mine.  I went from being a very, very poorly paid and broke grad student to earning nearly 10 times as much in my first PhD job... twice what I had ever earned before going back for the PhD.  I continued to live very much like a grad student, lived only part of my nine month salary, and used summer money to really attack my debt.  After a few years I was not only debt free but had a down payment for my first house.  As I said, it was already more than I had ever earned, and after five years of Korean War vintage on campus, efficiency apartment housing, a 2 bedroom apartment with a modern, full kitchen was a mansion!

Being a graduate student is not a license to throw caution to the wind, dive into debt, and hope for the best after graduation, but it seems that you are not in that league at all.  

When will you graduate?  What are the job prospects in your field?  

$190 for coffee is probably a large part of your take home pay and I m sure that you could cut that back. However, as a grad student, this is likely also combined with some degree of 'entertainment' or socialization.  As a grad student, if you have time for 'fun' then you probably have time to study and dissertation writing.  The faster it is done, the faster you are freed from poverty.  To the extent that coffee is a diversion necessary to allow your brain to recharge, have at it.  It is money well spent.  Freedom from debt is not an exercise in short run, penny-wise/pound-foolish thinking.  


See, I think this is one of two essential and fundamental tenets from this thread. (The other is, pay off your debts as fast as you can.)

I just also wanted to add this. I've been thinking a lot about observer's and blankie's posts because this year, I'm living on 25% less than my first four years post-graduate. Fortunately I paid off everything except the student loan. Housing is 40% of my takehome, 50% if you count utilities, so there isn't a lot of room. But this new job came after a year of almost-complete unemployment (I earned $15,000) which forced me to reconsider my habits and preferences from the ground up. Everything is on the table now except food for the dogs. I even reconsidered my own food budget. Everything is a decision now, and it's taken me the past 8 months to make that decision-making process efficient. I know I can do without the daily coffee, but once a week or so I'm meeting with a colleague to do some planning and the coffee's an important element of social lube there. I adore tasty tomatoes, but when my choices are $5.99 a pound heirloom tomatoes at Whole Foods or 86 a pound for plum tomatoes from Wallyworld, I'll treat myself to one heirloom tomato a month in February and March and slice the cheapies (that are still nutritional) on my salad the other 28 and 30 days of the month. Observer3, I haven't bought new clothes in 2-1/2 years either, but as a result of eating cheaper and better-for-me veggies, I'm down 10 pounds this year and ever so grateful I saved my old jeans, too. And I decided the cheap undies and socks at $10 for 6 pair (on sale) will do just fine for now - currently no one in my life is admiring my underwear anyway. The once-a-week coffee, $8 a month Netflix, and monthly tasty tomato make the rest of my choices NOT to indulge tolerable for me and therefore the overall pattern of spending sustainable. Unlike earlier life, however, they are choices I've thought a lot about, not mindless default behaviors.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2012, 1:54:41 PM by anakin » Logged

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wet_blanket
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« Reply #787 on: May 05, 2012, 2:07:06 PM »

The once-a-week coffee, $8 a month Netflix, and monthly tasty tomato make the rest of my choices NOT to indulge tolerable for me and therefore the overall pattern of spending sustainable. Unlike earlier life, however, they are choices I've thought a lot about, not mindless default behaviors.

Exactly.  You said it far better than I did.  The bolded parts are the key, I think.  Getting out of debt is analogous to dieting.  You'll lose weight a lot quicker if you never, ever, eat ice cream, but you're more likely to maintain a generally healthy diet if you do allow the occasional indulgence.  By the same token, you'll pay your debt off fastest if you eat only plain rice and entertain yourself by re-reading the same book alone by candlelight, but you're less likely to fall off the wagon if you occasionally have a drink with a friend.
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octoprof
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« Reply #788 on: May 05, 2012, 10:58:21 PM »


My, anakin, what nice underwear you have! <couldn't resist>

Unlike earlier life, however, they are choices I've thought a lot about, not mindless default behaviors.

That's it, in a nutshell!

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observer3
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« Reply #789 on: May 08, 2012, 4:06:04 AM »

Along these lines, I have to add that I was recently at a conference where everyone had the latest techno gadget. I was admiring them while telling people I really was only going online during the mornings at the hotel. Quite horrified, most told me that I really needed to get the latest x or y. But I am thinking: gadget price plus monthly price for the wifi, not paid my my job... well, it doesn't add up. Maybe they earn a lot more than me and don't have student loans. But I am not so sure.
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« Reply #790 on: May 08, 2012, 7:08:48 AM »

Along these lines, I have to add that I was recently at a conference where everyone had the latest techno gadget. I was admiring them while telling people I really was only going online during the mornings at the hotel. Quite horrified, most told me that I really needed to get the latest x or y. But I am thinking: gadget price plus monthly price for the wifi, not paid my my job... well, it doesn't add up. Maybe they earn a lot more than me and don't have student loans. But I am not so sure.

Their situation may be different from yours.  I know I have an ipad with wifi, a smart phone, a laptop, and other gadgets.  When we had debt, we did not have all that, but we have no debt but the house.  I don't need those gadgets I listed, but I enjoy them and they make it easier to travel and stay in touch with students.
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octoprof
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« Reply #791 on: May 08, 2012, 7:33:43 AM »

Along these lines, I have to add that I was recently at a conference where everyone had the latest techno gadget. I was admiring them while telling people I really was only going online during the mornings at the hotel. Quite horrified, most told me that I really needed to get the latest x or y. But I am thinking: gadget price plus monthly price for the wifi, not paid my my job... well, it doesn't add up. Maybe they earn a lot more than me and don't have student loans. But I am not so sure.

Isn't it funny how folks who like to spend money (perhaps injudiciously) want others to do it, too?

Gadget-envy is like... house envy... or automobile envy... or any other lust for stuff like someone else has. It's just envy.  Stuff is just stuff. It's not what life is all about, by any stretch of the imagination.

I'm all about gadgets, honestly, because I just love technology and have since my first computer at age 18 in the dark ages before harddrivers... but I'm only really interested when either 1) I can afford them and they serve a purpose or fill a need, or 2) they are paid for by my employer and mostly used for work.

I love the iPad and use it constantly, mostly for work stuff (it was provided by my employer). I still have an iPhone that is several generations old (and was at least one generation old when I bought it cheaply) and don't see why I would want the newer ones when this one works perfectly fine. I never did like the more square look of the iP4 and iP5s...

On the other hand, I choose not to have a car.  It's all about perspective.

I mostly ride a bicycle that is now 13 years old.  It's all about perspective.

Perspective.

And, choices.
 

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cgfunmathguy
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« Reply #792 on: May 08, 2012, 9:40:45 AM »

Along these lines, I have to add that I was recently at a conference where everyone had the latest techno gadget. I was admiring them while telling people I really was only going online during the mornings at the hotel. Quite horrified, most told me that I really needed to get the latest x or y. But I am thinking: gadget price plus monthly price for the wifi, not paid my my job... well, it doesn't add up. Maybe they earn a lot more than me and don't have student loans. But I am not so sure.

Isn't it funny how folks who like to spend money (perhaps injudiciously) want others to do it, too?

Gadget-envy is like... house envy... or automobile envy... or any other lust for stuff like someone else has. It's just envy.  Stuff is just stuff. It's not what life is all about, by any stretch of the imagination.

I'm all about gadgets, honestly, because I just love technology and have since my first computer at age 18 in the dark ages before harddrivers... but I'm only really interested when either 1) I can afford them and they serve a purpose or fill a need, or 2) they are paid for by my employer and mostly used for work.

I love the iPad and use it constantly, mostly for work stuff (it was provided by my employer). I still have an iPhone that is several generations old (and was at least one generation old when I bought it cheaply) and don't see why I would want the newer ones when this one works perfectly fine. I never did like the more square look of the iP4 and iP5s...

On the other hand, I choose not to have a car.  It's all about perspective.

I mostly ride a bicycle that is now 13 years old.  It's all about perspective.

Perspective.

And, choices.
Exactly. For what do I need an iPhone/android/blackberry? I call, and I text. I don't use my phone to get on the web. The screen is too small, and I don't have to be constantly connected to the web. It also makes for a cheaper phone bill. If I'm going someplace and think I'll want to be on the web during that time, I take the laptop. However, it's not a problem if I don't. I refuse to be impressed by the latest gadget because I see it as another way the rest of the world is intruding on my time, of which there is not enough already.
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« Reply #793 on: May 08, 2012, 4:51:41 PM »

I have what I am hoping is a nice tidy question:  In the next 2 or 3 months I will completely pay down one credit card that has an insanely high credit limit, about $12,500 (I've never had more than a couple thousand $ in debt on it).  Since it is from a financial services company that I loathe with every fibre of my being, I would be happy to cancel the card at that point, if primarily as a purification ritual.

However, my understanding about credit ratings is that it is good to have a credit card that has a big margin of credit that you are not currently using.  So, should I keep the evil nasty card for the "good" it does for my overall credit picture?  I'm not in danger of actually using it to run up more debt -- reckless spending is not part of my debt problem.  I have one other credit card I am paying down that has about $2,500 of open credit on it right now, but that's it.   

If I keep the Card of Evilness open, I currently have about $23 of automatic monthly charges on it (Netflix, gym) -- should I leave those autocharges there?  My other bit of knowledge about cc companies is that they *don't* like it when you have essentially a dormant account and they're getting neither interest out of you nor the little fees they accrue when you use it for purchases.

I guess that's two questions.
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wet_blanket
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« Reply #794 on: May 08, 2012, 6:19:48 PM »

 

If I keep the Card of Evilness open, I currently have about $23 of automatic monthly charges on it (Netflix, gym) -- should I leave those autocharges there?  My other bit of knowledge about cc companies is that they *don't* like it when you have essentially a dormant account and they're getting neither interest out of you nor the little fees they accrue when you use it for purchases.

I guess that's two questions.

It's true, they don't make any money off you if you pay your balance in full. If there's no annual fee, and the card's not getting you in trouble, then from the Card of Evilness' perspective, it wouldn't matter if you closed your account.
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