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 Post subject: My 4 Steps to Staying Debt Free in 2007
PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2007 9:53 am 

Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2007 8:13 am
Posts: 211
This success story is about how I have managed to live debt free in 2007. Sure, the year’s not over yet, but barring any kind of nuclear meltdown, I’m going to come out of the year looking pretty sharp. So far this year, I’ve contributed 44% of my take home pay to a taxable retirement account, used my 2006 tax refund to fully fund my 2007 Roth IRA, and in January, I will have 15% of my gross salary put in a SEP retirement account along with having my 2007 tax return applied to 2008 Roth IRA.

So….I’m happy about that. :lol:

2007 was full of a lot of temptations and pitfalls. I was saddled with an unexpected fixed monthly cost in January that still hasn’t been resolved and came very close in July to purchasing a motorcycle that I didn’t need, but I used the techniques listed below to keep myself on the right path.

1. Stay independent.

For me, this meant to have as few responsibilities as possible. Any kind of obligation or contract should be viewed with extreme skepticism. This includes, marraige, children, & live-in partners. I've heard far more stories about people who have had loved ones screw up their finances than those who have bailed them out. We all seem to accept the premise that you shouldn't loan money to friends or relatives, but there is a failure to recognize that as much as certain other people may matter to us, they are very likely to hurt our bottom line.

One little screw up like a careless encounter with a new partner, or allowing myself to project feelings of affection on a new partner without really evaluating how they impact all aspects of my life would be enough to disrupt years of careful planning.

Sure, it doesn’t sound romantic and a lot of people may think it is being overly cautious or may even say I have ‘trust issues’ (wouldn’t be the first time), but the bottom line is that it works VERY well.

2. Don’t be proud.

When I was young, my mother told me that I should never deny a gift when it is offered because it would take away that persons blessing they received for giving the gift. This was good advice at the time, since we weren't all that well off and if I didn't take hand-me-down clothes or eat meals prepared from food-drive donations, life would have been more difficult. Now, I just apply the same premise in a different ways. If someone is giving something away for free, thank them for it and be extra appreciative because of the bonus you receive.

Some people are too proud to accept gifts or charity, just as they are too proud to wear ‘cheap’ clothes, get their hands dirty fixing repair issues, or appear ‘cheap’ when in the company of others.

I'm supposed to pay $15 to the music studios for a CD in a store when there are people who want to share with me for free online? Pay $20 to Hollywood for a new DVD when I can download a hundred new DVD-rip months in advance for the cost of a high speed internet account? :roll: I don't pay for entertainment unless I want to, and this includes software, books, movies, music, games, etc... You name it, I've looked into getting it for free online.

3. Be street smart.

You probably wouldn't engage in a game of chance with a person in some back alley, and neither would I. But scams aren’t always so easy to recognize and avoid. Sometimes they are deeply ingrained in our psyche and full of all kinds of plausible excuses or socially accepted foibles.

Marketing is a great example. A truly street smart person wouldn’t be taken in for a second by the glitz and glamour of advertisements.

More than a few religions dictate that the devout donate a portion of their income so the followers will benefit either in corporeal form or in an after-life. IMHO, this is one of the longest running and proliferate scams in human history. I choose not to be a victim.

Gambling is a tax on the ignorant. From the office superbowl pool to the craps table and state lottery, the problem isn't losing, it's not getting paid enough when you win. Too many people fall in the pit of compulsive behavoir when it comes to games of chance. I went to the dog track with coworkers this week and had a great time. I spent the entire time soaking up the experience and socializing. It was amuzing to watch the others bet, and I never felt the urge to throw money away on the greyhounds.

4. Keep the main thing the main thing.

Financial responsibility is a life long pursuit. You can’t do it for a week and then take the next month off. You can’t do it most of the year, and then go crazy for Christmas. Like a heroine chipper, it will bite you in the long run, even if you are good ‘most of the time’.

I’m doing this for me. I’m selfish, and I’m honest about it. I have no delusions about being a great philanthropist or easing human suffering. The goal here is to keep my financial house in order, not saving the manatees. If I wanted some kind of utopian communal life, I would take a different route. The plan here is to get rich slowly and these are three of the useful methods I employ. I’m not going to go out and club baby seals to sell their pelts for money, but I’m also not going to put my future at risk for any perceived greater societal good.

I'm aware that these may be controversial topics, so if you're easily offended, please realize that I'm just one loon on the intarweb who is voicing an opinion. Hatemail can be directed via PM, but I value any comments.


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 Post subject: Re: My 4 Steps to Staying Debt Free in 2007
PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 9:10 am 

Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2008 12:19 pm
Posts: 1716
Location: Ottawa, Canada
144mph wrote:
I'm supposed to pay $15 to the music studios for a CD in a store when there are people who want to share with me for free online? Pay $20 to Hollywood for a new DVD when I can download a hundred new DVD-rip months in advance for the cost of a high speed internet account?


Wow, those are great money-saving tips. Why pay for things when they're so easy to steal? Here are some other ways you can have your cake and eat it too:

  • Why pay for movie tickets when you can just sneak in one of the side doors while people are leaving?
  • Why pay for food when you can just "sample" from the bins at Bulk Barn when nobody's looking?
  • Why pay for transportation when you can just sneak on the back door of the bus while people are getting off?
  • Why pay for books/magazines when you can just spend an afternoon at Chapters and read whatever you want, then put it back on the shelf?
  • Why pay for Internet when my neighbor doesn't know how to set a password on his wireless router?
  • Why pay for cable when people will sell me a "hacked" DirectTV card so I can steal the signals for free?

Keep 'em coming, people. Think of all the money we can save if we're just willing to throw our morals out the door. What a great example to set for our kids.


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 Post subject: Re: My 4 Steps to Staying Debt Free in 2007
PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 9:22 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2008 12:04 pm
Posts: 793
kombat wrote:
Wow, those are great money-saving tips. Why pay for things when they're so easy to steal?


File sharing is not considered stealing in many countries including Canada, so it's possible that it's a perfectly legitimate way to save money for some.


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 Post subject: Re: My 4 Steps to Staying Debt Free in 2007
PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 9:33 am 

Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2008 12:19 pm
Posts: 1716
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Cleverbeans wrote:
File sharing is not considered stealing in many countries including Canada, so it's possible that it's a perfectly legitimate way to save money for some.


The original poster is in the USA (per the reference to the Roth IRA), where file sharing is very much illegal.

File sharing's legal status is questionable in Canada, at best, and even then it only covers music - not movies.


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 Post subject: Re: My 4 Steps to Staying Debt Free in 2007
PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 2:49 pm 

Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2007 8:13 am
Posts: 211
kombat wrote:
Wow, those are great money-saving tips.


Thanks! I like your enthusiasm. :D

I don't understand the comment about your kids morals though. Are you expecting children to derive their concept (or lack) of morality from the intarweb? Oh noes... :cry:


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 Post subject: Re: My 4 Steps to Staying Debt Free in 2007
PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 4:39 pm 

Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2008 12:19 pm
Posts: 1716
Location: Ottawa, Canada
144mph wrote:
I don't understand the comment about your kids morals though. Are you expecting children to derive their concept (or lack) of morality from the intarweb?


I was talking about setting an example for your own children. If you don't have any, then I guess that's not a concern for you.

Look, I really don't think we should be encouraging people and patting them on the back for saving money by doing just plain unethical and illegal things.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2008 4:30 am 

Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2008 10:34 am
Posts: 24
Great post. I admit I cut corners with downloading from time to time.

Staying on budget has got to be a great accomplice to any plan.


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 Post subject: Re: My 4 Steps to Staying Debt Free in 2007
PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2008 4:36 am 

Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2007 8:13 am
Posts: 211
kombat wrote:
Look, I really don't think we should be encouraging people and patting them on the back for saving money by doing just plain unethical and illegal things.


That's a pretty rapid turnaround from your initial endorsement. It is your opinion that these things are unethical and illegal.


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 Post subject: Re: My 4 Steps to Staying Debt Free in 2007
PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2008 4:54 am 

Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2008 12:19 pm
Posts: 1716
Location: Ottawa, Canada
144mph wrote:
That's a pretty rapid turnaround from your initial endorsement.


My initial "endorsement" was sarcasm. I thought that was pretty obvious.

144mph wrote:
It is your opinion that these things are unethical and illegal.


Actually, since those things are all illegal, that means it's society's opinion (being a democracy and all).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2008 6:54 am 

Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2007 8:13 am
Posts: 211
Maybe you'll have to try harder next time to get the sarcasm across, because I really love sarcasm. It's so mature and sophisticated.

Democracy. I've read stuff about that, but I haven't yet seen it put into practice. Good luck with conforming to societal norms though, I hope that works out for you.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2008 7:22 am 

Joined: Sat Mar 08, 2008 7:06 am
Posts: 16
As far as dowloading music goes, http://emusic.com is a good deal. you can get 50 free downloads just for joining, and in my case anyway, because I bought an RCA Lyra MP3 player, I was able to get 100 free downloads as part of one of their special promos. regular prices are decent too, about $0.33/song. They also have a deal where, in addition you can get 1 free download per day after the free trial membership lapses and the regular one kicks in.

Here's the catch: E-music is all independent label stuff, so you wont find the current big name stuff. You can get music from yesteryear that has been picked up by independent labels, as well as some good somewhat known artists on independent labels.

Their classical repertoire is excellent, with Naxos recordings, and plenty of others.

Enjoy!!! It's inexpensive, good quality, and best of legal and ethical. BTW, you have the songs on an unlimited basis. so you can put them on as many Cds or MP3 players as many times as you like!

_________________
http://escapedebthell.blogspot.com


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2008 7:42 am 

Joined: Sun Jun 10, 2007 3:19 pm
Posts: 620
I am not sure that advocating illegal activities is a courteous use of this webspace.

Regardless of the ethics, sharing music/video that you do not have the rights to is illegal in the U.S., and gets people sued.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2008 9:29 am 

Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2008 12:19 pm
Posts: 1716
Location: Ottawa, Canada
144mph wrote:
Democracy. I've read stuff about that, but I haven't yet seen it put into practice. Good luck with conforming to societal norms though, I hope that works out for you.


Haha! I love it.

You: "Stealing music and movies is a great way to save money!"

Me: "That's unethical."

You: "Yeah, well... that's just like... your opinion, man."

Me: "Actually, since it's illegal, and this is a democratic society, that effectively means it's society's opinion, too."

You: "Democracy doesn't work. Leave me alone."

Do what you want, but advocating theft as a means of saving money is asinine.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2008 9:35 am 

Joined: Sat Mar 08, 2008 7:06 am
Posts: 16
kombat wrote:
144mph wrote:
Democracy. I've read stuff about that, but I haven't yet seen it put into practice. Good luck with conforming to societal norms though, I hope that works out for you.


Haha! I love it.

You: "Stealing music and movies is a great way to save money!"

Me: "That's unethical."

You: "Yeah, well... that's just like... your opinion, man."

Me: "Actually, since it's illegal, and this is a democratic society, that effectively means it's society's opinion, too."

You: "Democracy doesn't work. Leave me alone."

Do what you want, but advocating theft as a means of saving money is asinine.


In Jail, you can definitely cure profligate spending habits! You have to live on the $0.14/hr you get making license plates, all cash, no credit! He'll really save money behind bars!

_________________
http://escapedebthell.blogspot.com


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2008 10:03 am 

Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2007 5:50 am
Posts: 295
I'm not so much bothered by the OP advocating stealing music as a means of saving money (though I am a little bothered by it), but I find it kind of ironic that he characterizes it as an issue of pride. As if it's a bad thing that people pay for music because they are "too proud" (read: have too much integrity) to steal it.


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