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Do you live within your means?

Discussion in 'Consumer Affairs' started by evearael, Oct 13, 2006.

?
  1. within your means

    19 vote(s)
    61.3%
  2. to your means

    8 vote(s)
    25.8%
  3. beyond your means

    4 vote(s)
    12.9%
  1. evearael

    evearael Well-Known Member

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    It is upsetting to see so many of my peers living wildly above their means. Some have ended up in their predicament through unfortunate events and others are spending money frivolously far quicker than they make it. I thought it would be good to brainstorm to find ways to help more people become financially stable. Here are some questions to get started. Feel free to elaborate as much as you wish. :)

    Do you live within your means, at your means or above your means?

    What circumstances prevent someone from living within their means?

    Are there resources or organizations that can help someone in their position?

    What circumstances enable someone to live within their means?

    The poll is anonymous for privacy's sake.
     
  2. Buttercup

    Buttercup Veteran Member

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    We mostly live within or at our means. We don't use credit cards but haven't saved as much as we'd like. We will be finished paying off our Honda next year at this time and we've decided we don't ever want another car payment. It's a terrible use of money. We'd rather set aside most of the money we've been paying toward the car payments into savings and buy a car for cash when the time comes. Our 2001 Honda costs us about $500 a month to drive between the payment, insurance and gas. That's just too high. I would recommend to someone with money crunch problems to save money ear marked for a vehicle in the future. That way when the time comes for a new car they can sell the old one and pay for a nice used car with cash.

    Our super consumeristic society tempts us with an extraordinary amount of goods from many multiple choices of shiny new vehicles all the way down to a thousand different kinds of socks. People today buy, buy and buy some more. We've all got to learn to be happy with less. And believe me.....a simple life is a better life.

    Maintaining a budget with money going into savings first. It doesn't have to be restricting....just structured.

    EDIT: There is an organization called Consumer Credit Counseling Service that helps people get back on track with their bills. You should be able to locate them either online or in your local phone book.
     
  3. MysticSang'ha

    MysticSang'ha Big Squishy Hugger
    Premium Member

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    Oy, but saving up to buy a used car with cash sometimes can get you a lemon if you make the mistake of not doing enough research on the car. Steve and I did that with our last three cars, and all three went kaput within a few years (Steve's car is on it's last leg right now).



    We even went through CARFAX for research on our cars, but they don't show if any parts have been replaced with re-conditioned parts or not. My last car went out because of a re-conditioned transmission which turned out to be horrible. We had no idea until well after paying $3,000 for it and wiping out nearly all of our savings.



    We are both much happier having a new car that has no history on it save for the trip to the dealer's lot, and that we have a great bumper-to-bumper warranty. I HATED HATED HATED having to call a tow truck and re-planning half of my day whenever our used cars would break down.




    As for the OP, we live to our means, pretty much. We have paid off most of our credit card debt, and only have a few hundred dollars left on our balances. So until now, we actually had lived well within our means with quite a comfortable disposable income cushion. Now, we're transitioning to a bigger house with high utility bills and higher rent. But, nothing spiralling out of control, even with the lower amount of play money we have.



    Peace,
    Mystic
     
  4. lizskid

    lizskid BANNED

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    Yeah, my parents had a business and a fair amount of money....but we never got any! By that, I mean, we worked every summer, did not have cars and got our clothing from our own store. So, I value what I have and don't get too wild, wear conservative well-made clothing, pay off my charge card every month and try to invest as well as my Dad did...only with less $. So, I live well within my means, put myself on a budget, etc. Boring, huh?
     
  5. evearael

    evearael Well-Known Member

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    We live modestly and within our means. We keep our credit cards for emergency use. Ideally, we want to build up a savings of three to six months worth of expenses, but we aren't quite there yet. It's been a bit wacky transititioning into military family life and moving cross country, but we've managed.

    We budget for everything... including diapers and dry cleaning.

    My grandfather is a retired Navy captain and I've taken his advice to heart. When he was in the military, his family subsisted on a fixed income. Monthly expenses could be easily absorbed, but sudden large expenses could not. Therefore, he always had new cars because a regular car payment was easier to handle than unpredictable, large mechanic bills. After my husband and I both dealt with aging cars, I have agree with him. I'm very happy with our ugly new car (Scion xB) and we are working towards paying it off early. :)
     
  6. Draka

    Draka Wonder Woman

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    I'm getting better. Bills are paid month to month. Car is owned and reliable. I have plenty of debt though. Though I have no credit cards medical bills can be heavy if you don't have insurance and have had a few bad accidents. That's pretty much the majority of what I owe...medical costs in the several thousands. And I don't see that getting paid off anytime soon considering my priorities concerning where money goes. That's one of those things that no matter how well you try to live within your means, if you don't have insurance you are just out of luck.
     
  7. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Crazy Diamond

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    I have to live within my means now that I have bills and rent to pay. I use to spend alot, was possible addicted to buying new stuff, since I never had much money before I got my first job, and eventually learned it's better to save.
     
  8. ayani

    ayani member

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    what helps initially is having the wages to spend on basics like nutritious food, clothes, school expenses for kids, transportation, and the like.

    after that, it can be hard to budget for any number of reasons.

    though i love shopping on-line, i will more often go to GoodWill. i can find items just like what i'd been oggling on shukr, but for much cheaper and used. it helps to save alot of money.

    instead of buying the books i want to read, i just read them in the library. as a book can easily be at least $22 this helps save money, too.

    avoiding stores where you're likely to come out with tons of stuff you don't need (e.g. wal-mart) is also a good way to save money. just get what you need.
     
  9. Valjean

    Valjean Veteran Member
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    My philosophy is: If you can't afford it out-of-pocket, you can't afford it, and should delay your purchase till you've saved enough to pay cash for it. Credit purchasing is gambling that you will be able to pay for something in the future that you are not able to afford now -- and paying a surcharge to boot.
    I've never owned a credit card, though I can understand their utility in an emergency.
    This has enabled me to live on a quarter or fifth of my income, and put the surplus into stock and money-market funds.

    I suspect many people unwittingly find themselves on an accelerating treadmill when they make their first credit purchase as a teenager. How much has the average Joe spent in various fees, surcharges and interest over his lifetime?
     
  10. Feathers in Hair

    Feathers in Hair World's Tallest Hobbit

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    Draka brought up something very insightful. Even if one is incredibly careful to live within their means, even just one time of having to seek medical assistance can wipe you out if you don't have insurance.

    Right now, I don't really have any option except to live within my means. I hope that if I've got the option, I will live well within them, but one never knows, I suppose.
     
  11. Djamila

    Djamila Bosnjakinja

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    I do. The problem is half of my family lives within my means as well.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Mike182

    Mike182 Flaming Queer

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    Do you live within your means, at your means or above your means?
    i live within my means - i can't afford to live outside of them :)
    What circumstances prevent someone from living within their means?
    i don't know.
    Are there resources or organizations that can help someone in their position?
    there is legislation in the UK to write off debt if you are bankrupt - while being bankrupt is not an ideal place to be, at least the credit hastlers will have to lay off.
    What circumstances enable someone to live within their means?
    i'm not entirely sure what you mean by circumstance, but i'll give this one a go...

    i live within my means - what does this mean? i have an income (£3000 a year) which is split between academic terms. if i spend too much of it early on, i don't have enough money to eat later on, and must go into an overdraft. i have to pay back the overdraft, taking away from my next term's means, increasing my chances of going further into overdraft next year - i am only allowed a £1000 tax free overdraft, after that, it get's a lot more expensive.

    what do i do to keep within my means? i buy a balance of cheap and good food, limit my nights out, and only buy cloths that i need/can at the end of a term. i don't change my circumstances, i am still a student with a £3000 budget, i simply adapt my spending habbits to live within that mean.
     
  13. Buttercup

    Buttercup Veteran Member

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    Oh dear! I guess we've simply had better luck. The 2001 Honda is the first brand new off the lot car we've ever owned. But on the other hand...when I say we buy used cars, I mean cars that are only 3-4 years old. That could be the difference. :) Wait I take that back, we bought a 1994 Toyota truck three years ago with 65,000 miles on it and it has been a gem.

    Personally, I think the key is buying a Honda or Toyota product. I haven't bought an American car (Chevy, Ford, Dodge, etc) since my first car. I think that's why we have such good luck. :)
     
  14. evearael

    evearael Well-Known Member

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    Also, don't buy a Volkswagon, they are expensive to maintain!
     
  15. CaptainXeroid

    CaptainXeroid Following Christ

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    Hey...:beetle:...I know a bit about this one. :p Remember, we own TWO of 'em. Most of the little nitpicking things that went wrong were covered under warranty or recall, and we have a hookup in service, so that hasn't cost as much as it might have.

    Speaking of the VWs, at the time we bought 'em, we had been living WAY beyond our means.:eek: Yes, it almost got us in bad trouble when Brandy was laid off, but since them we have been moving closer to living beneath our means.

    Except in a dire emergency like a catastrophic injury or death, the best resource is yourself. Save money, and budget so you don't spend more than you make. It sounds simple because it is. The tough part is disciplining yourself and your spouse to stick to it.

    Cook at home more often and take your lunch to work instead of eating out. Buy store brands instead of national brands where you can find them. Think long and hard about purchases and decide if it's something you really need or if it's a want that can wait until your finances are stronger.

    A few months after we bought the Jetta, we were paying bills, and had a realization that we were over extended. We did all the things I listed above and more. Earlier this year, we paid it off, and replaced our 1994 19"TV with a sub $300 27" stereo model. Sure, we were tempted by HD, LCD, and Plasma TVs that cost more than some cars, but our finances aren't there yet.

    Will power and self sacrifice are not always easy, but sometimes necessary. :)
     
  16. Booko

    Booko Deviled Hen

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    Exactly. Over the past 4 years, I've spent an average of $30K per year on medical costs that were not covered by insurance, only because what the men in white coats can do wouldn't help.

    We had a hefty sum we inherited, and it's pretty much wiped out. In other circumstances, our mortgage would be gone and we'd be putting all sorts of money into retirement.

    My other choice was death. That's not much of a choice, is it?

    I'll say this much: it certainly drives home for me what a rotten thing our current healthcare system is, because I'd bet many people *would* have had only the choice of death, if they were in my shoes. I was lucky we had some good years of consulting for my husband.

    It also gives me great pause when it comes to judging the homeless, unemployed and/or bankrupt. If I had been single with no support from any family, I'd have been any one of those years ago. These things can happen to anyone, even if they do make "right" choices.
     
  17. Booko

    Booko Deviled Hen

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    Don't buy a Nissan anymore either. They've doubled their prices on parts. All the mechanics are livid.
     
  18. Bishka

    Bishka Veteran Member

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    The only thing I've ever 'credited' is school. I've gotten school loans (both the husband and I) to get through school so we could afford everything else without having a credit card.

    Neither of us owns credit cards, we only have debit.
     
  19. gnomon

    gnomon Well-Known Member

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    Since I stopped drinking and...ahem...other things I do live within my means. Of course, due to infractions with the law I am now conditioned to do nothing but pretty much go to work and go home. Not necessarily a financial program I recommend but it worked for me!

    And I drive a Ford Ranger. Nothing but standard services for six years and still driving smooth.
     
  20. Bishka

    Bishka Veteran Member

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    I drive nothing but a bike with a broken brake on one-side and wobbly wheels. :D

    Yep. Our cars is out of comission and we aren't going to fix it, not worth the money.

    So we ride our bikes EVERYWHERE.:p
     
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