No-Spend February - Finance thread

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When you have expenses and live paycheck to paycheck you don't have the luxury of paying in full. And I refuse to live like a monk. I've made my peace with interest.
I think this is something others here may be struggling with, so wanted to offer my thoughts on this in the hopes that it may help inspire others and provide some practical tips to apply. John, I think it would be tremendously helpful for you to consider changing this mindset over time. You will never be financially secure if you are living paycheck to paycheck and/or spending more than you earn and putting what you can't pay on your credit cards. I don't know your personal situation, so I don't know what you do and how much you might be earning, what your education level is, etc., so this may or may not be possible for you, and I'm only saying this for your consideration, and not as a criticism, but if you could make it a long term goal to get out of credit card debt, that could be a game changer for your peace of mind and financial future.

Most of the advice I've read centers around paying down your highest interest rate card first, paying as much as you can and far more than the minimum, then when that is paid off, applying that same amount to the next highest interest rate card. You could also pay off the one with the lowest debt first to build momentum for yourself as a psychological boost to encourage you to continue on this path. Any extra money that you have should go towards doing that. Many people pay much more in interest than their original balances, and the debt tends to exponentially increase over time by tens of thousands of dollars with the 20% plus interest rates on these cards. Also, a big part of your credit score is known as your debt to credit ratio, and if you have a high balance relative to the credit you have available, it really hurts your score, which makes it much more difficult to quality for the best interest rates on loans or mortgages.

While I have never been poor, there was a time when I had 10k in credit card debt when I was in graduate school, and I didn't feel very good about it. When I graduated and got my job I paid that off, and I felt better and more stable. I made it a goal to never have credit card debt again, which I've stuck to. There may be other loans that you have that you need, student loan debt, mortgage debt, or car loan debt, etc. but credit card debt is something that ideally you shouldn't have. You can start small and every little bit can go towards accomplishing that goal over time.

If you aren't making enough money to do that, are there ways you can get more education, or learn a trade? Do you have a skill you can leverage into a side hustle to add to your income, are there other income maximization strategies you could realistically pursue? Then when you are out of credit card debt, you can focus on investing for the future. Do you have a 401K at work that matches your contributions, if you were to make them? It's also important to have some measure of an emergency fund. A lot of advisors recommend 6-12 months of basic must pay expenses, but that's likely completely out of reach for you, so perhaps just a few months could be something to strive for, even one month may help you? The sense of accomplishment and feeling of security these things give you is worth it for your life and future, and I'm not someone who makes hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. This advice can be applied by most people at some level over time. Hope this is somewhat helpful for someone on the board!



You ready? You look ready.
Thatís all well and good, but not at all relevant to the reality of most peopleís experiences (i.e. people canít make companies hire them or pay them more, and most side hustles are a waste of time).

All financial advice boils down to two things: make more money and spend less money. Everything else is extraneous.



Thatís all well and good, but not at all relevant to the reality of most peopleís experiences (i.e. people canít make companies hire them or pay them more, and most side hustles are a waste of time).
I think we see this differently. While no one can hire themselves, it is possible, and in my opinion, advisable, to learn new skills and gain additional education or certifications, depending on the type of work you do and the needs in that industry, that could make you more valuable to an employer. Doing that usually results in you making more money over time and having more seniority in your career because there are a smaller pool of applicants that can offer what you can, which makes you worth more. I agree some side hustles may not be worth it, but I also know some people who make a decent amount of money owning their own business as well, in addition to their regular job, so I think it may depend on what the skill is and how you may or may not be able to build on it or maximize it outside your workplace.



You ready? You look ready.
I donít see it differently. This type of advice is the usual advice that is good in a vacuum. Growing oneís skills is dependent on money and time, and it doesnít guarantee any increases in pay. Starting oneís own business from a side gig also requires time and money, and it doesnít guarantee the same stability a large corporation might provide.*

Regional differences also dictate what one can get paid as well as how much one must spend to live. For most people, thereís no way to pick the circumstances of those realities. Markets dictate these things and they rarely cater to individuals.

Iíve got 20 years experience but I canít make someone pay me more for experience that canít be put to paper. Certificates are irrelevant to the expertise that Iíve acquired. And no certificate would be equal to the years of experience. Iím not irreplaceable, but Iím a value added candidate. One would assume that would necessitate a higher salary, but thatís not how job markets work.

As for myself, I work non-profit so itís just the reality that Iím paid under the market rate. But I do so willingly and as part of a larger, long term plan. I sacrifice and hurt now, so I can prosper and breathe comfortably later.



Save money by driving more efficiently. Up to 20% better gas mileage is possible depending on how bad your driving habits are now. The savings can add up over the course of an entire year. It's not only gas you can save but your brakes. I've had my brakes last double the amount of mileage they normally would last, thanks to these following tips:
https://www.interstatebatteries.com/...ur-gas-mileage



_____ is the most important thing in my lifeÖ
Itís hard to really nail down one strategy. We arenít all treated the same, paid the same and have the same good luck.

Itís like anything else, try your hardest so you can be at peace with the results.



Save money by driving more efficiently. Up to 20% better gas mileage is possible depending on how bad your driving habits are now. The savings can add up over the course of an entire year. It's not only gas you can save but your brakes. I've had my brakes last double the amount of mileage they normally would last, thanks to these following tips:
https://www.interstatebatteries.com/...ur-gas-mileage
I figured out the coasting thing on my own many years ago and not only does it improve your mileage and wear-and-tear, but it also makes for a less stressful drive. Once you embrace the coasting lifestyle, you can watch with amusement as your fellow drivers head full-speed towards a light that's already red.

Another tip I'll add is to eliminate unnecessary errands, or to combine multiple errands into one trip. For example, my route to and from work every day takes me past my pharmacy, supermarket, gas station, post office, etc. So I always save these errands for my ride home from work. Why take a round trip to the pharmacy on Saturday when I have to drive past it on Monday anyway?

Also, my office is closer to certain stores than my home is, so even if these stores are not technically on my route home it still makes sense to save them for the after work commute. For example, a round trip from home to Best Buy would be around 35 (driving) minutes. But going to Best Buy after work only adds 5 (driving) minutes to my 15 minute commute that I'm taking anway.

So I'm saving on gas, but less mileage also means fewer oil changes. I only get two oil changes a year at this point, because after 6 months I usually haven't even come close to adding 5000 miles.

I also concede that I am single, childless and have a short commute to work so some of this would be more difficult if I had to factor in Junior's baseball practice, etc.
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I figured out the coasting thing on my own many years ago and not only does it improve your mileage and wear-and-tear, but it also makes for a less stressful drive. Once you embrace the coasting lifestyle, you can watch with amusement as your fellow drivers head full-speed towards a light that's already red.
Yeah another fan Coasting is also a fun challenge because it evolves calculating just when you can let off the gas and coast to the red light. The key is not to have to use your breaks and with luck the light will turn green before you get there, but only in lighter traffic of course. The other key is not getting the other drivers piled up behind you. I like to think of it as keeping my vehicle at a constant momentum as it takes a lot of energy to accelerate a heavy mass up to speed.

Another tip I'll add is to eliminate unnecessary errands, or to combine multiple errands into one trip. For example, my route to and from work every day takes me past my pharmacy, supermarket, gas station, post office, etc. So I always save these errands for my ride home from work. Why take a round trip to the pharmacy on Saturday when I have to drive past it on Monday anyway?
Ahh, how ironic, that was going to be my 'tip of the day' for tomorrow. But glad you mentioned it as even more ironically I will be doing a bunch of errands tomorrow which will not only save me gas but save me time and time is money



_____ is the most important thing in my lifeÖ
WARNING: spoilers below
Everyone does it. But do you manual?

The question is, ďDo you drive the speed limit or under but speed up to 5 over when someone gets behind you?

My cynical side tells me Iím just lazy and donít want the extra trips. : D



A system of cells interlinked
Quick check-in after weekend numero uno.

So far so good! Did my taxes Saturday morning, which will net some extra cash on the month. Also did a small graphic design side hustle for a little extra cash there. Got all our grocery shopping done and then we spent much of Sunday hanging out and cooking a variety of big pot meals like chicken tortilla soup and spaghetti and meatballs so we have the first few days of the week taken care of as far as meals.

Onward!
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2022 Mofo Fantasy Football Champ
I had the one failed night at work but other than that I've held in check. Although admittedly I thought about going to the game store yesterday until I remembered this thread.



A system of cells interlinked
I had the one failed night at work but other than that I've held in check. Although admittedly I thought about going to the game store yesterday until I remembered this thread.
Yea, Steam doesn't help in that regard. I cracked it open last night to play some BG3 and it's flashing sales at me etc.

Luckily, I have a pretty extensive backlog of games to catch up on, so mostly wouldn't buy anything regardless of NSF status.



Another tip I'll add is to eliminate unnecessary errands, or to combine multiple errands into one trip. For example, my route to and from work every day takes me past my pharmacy, supermarket, gas station, post office, etc. So I always save these errands for my ride home from work. Why take a round trip to the pharmacy on Saturday when I have to drive past it on Monday anyway?
This wouldnít work where I live. Pharmacy doesnít open until 9 a.m. Post office? They have a mind of their own as to when they will open.
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Iím here only on Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays. Thatís why Iím here now.



This wouldnít work where I live. Pharmacy doesnít open until 9 a.m. Post office? They have a mind of their own as to when they will open.
Right, I didn't think this caveat was necessary but it seems I was mistaken so here goes:

My suggestion only applies to stores that are actually open when you drive past them. Do not attempt to enter a business that is closed. They will not serve you.



You ready? You look ready.
Do not attempt to enter a business that is closed. They will not serve you.
But the police will.
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"This is that human freedom, which all boast that they possess, and which consists solely in the fact, that men are conscious of their own desire, but are ignorant of the causes whereby that desire has been determined." -Baruch Spinoza



You ready? You look ready.
If you can get a low-fi loan, you can negotiate with your credit card company to eliminate your debt.
Good luck getting the low-fi loan with the credit card debt, tho. Every time I have looked at consolidation loans they had a higher APR than cards.

Iím working towards an equity loan, as the rates are far more forgiving. But I gotta bring my score up 50-80 points before Iím gonna get it.



Good luck getting the low-fi loan with the credit card debt, tho. Every time I have looked at consolidation loans they had a higher APR than cards.

Iím working towards an equity loan, as the rates are far more forgiving. But I gotta bring my score up 50-80 points before Iím gonna get it.

Yes, rates are insane nowadays!
Hard to bring your score up with a lot of debt hanging over you.



You ready? You look ready.
i found a loop hole to this thread.

i had a tool that i bought back in Nov that i ended up not needing. took it back today and got a multimeter and $2.13 in change.

iím netting over here, yíall!




A system of cells interlinked
Well...I guess this qualifies as transportation, so maybe I don't have to mark yesterday as a fail? Right...right??

Our car was having some troubles, wouldn't pass inspection, and when I had a chat with VW about the repair, they told me it was a fairly inexpensive repair, but since they were going to have to get down into the engine to replace a faulty part, we should really do the timing belt and some other stuff, which would drive the bill up to a pretty ridiculous level. Add the fact that the car is pretty small and we have a growing kid, and it was time to consider moving on to something else. Our car is getting pretty old at this point.

Anyway...

Zoom, zoom, zoom!

Otherwise, we still haven't spent a dime this month, and haven't really missed anything we were randomly spending money on.