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(MSN)   How I dug out of $80,000 in debt. Step #1: Start by saving even just $5 a month somehow   (money.msn.com) divider line 221
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15066 clicks; posted to Main » on 13 Jun 2013 at 6:01 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-06-14 04:55:04 PM  

kriegsgeist: Where are you getting chicken for less than a dollar a pound? The lowest I see whole fryers on sale for is a little over a dollar. Maybe 3 or 4 years ago you could occasionally get a whole chicken for less than $1/pound, but remember - the carcass is like 30% of the weight. Steaks are going to be $3 a pound at the lowest, for the cheapest, nastiest Walmart steaks you can get. I guess it's possible that in NYC food prices are lower than where I live, but I doubt it.


Steaks, or beef in general, is rarely down to a dollar a lb, but chicken wings and drumsticks still regularly drop to .99c a lb. Whole fryers are often in the .89-.99c range, and as someone above emntioned, you can use all the icky pieces to make delicious soup. You can also often find turkey for about .99c a lb (or just a little over). Also, keep in mind that 1lb of chicken is a LOT more than a single meal. You can easily get 2-3 individual servings per lb.

kriegsgeist: That's the problem these days - necessities have increased 30-40% just in the last couple of years, but wages have been the same for at least a decade (at the lower levels).


I'm not saying that there isn't a squeeze going on, but if you're single, and don't mind making some lifestyle adjustments, it's possible to live comfortably on less than $25k. If you get a couple of roommates, you can split the cost of housing/utilities/cable down to next to nothing. If you have a couple of roommates you trust, go in with them on a family phone plan - it's a lot cheaper to get a family plan with 4 lines and split it between 4 people than to get one individual phone plan.

If you aren't single, you should be bringing in more income. I know unemployment is high, but there is ALWAYS something you can do to make some extra cash. Hell, go strip on webcam for two bucks a minute. I hear a lot of people talking about how much of a financial burden children are. Well, don't have children if you can't support them easily. I know it sounds like shiatty advice, but it's the truth. Realistically, it takes about $500 a month to live as an individual. Anything above that is extra, and you need to think of it like that.
 
2013-06-14 05:11:12 PM  

WordyGrrl: addy2: These threads always devolve into posts with folks bragging about their awesome, cheap cooking skills. Like the sun coming up in the morning.

Why wouldn't they? The grocery bill is one of the few bills you have complete control over, and knowing how to feed yourself is a survival skill. Restaurant meals cost way more than cooking at home, and being able to make a nice meal for yourself is one of the cheapest ways to treat yourself. Nobody wants to live on beans, rice and chicken thighs forever. Bring on the recipes!


Because it's less being helpful and more, "lordy, aren't you a dumba** for eating out and not making a lasagna and chicken stock on Sunday because us boot strappy types do it." Please. I've saved tons of the recipes and tips I've got on Fark but it's the holier than thou tone in these threads I'm talking about.
 
2013-06-14 05:13:05 PM  

Lusiphur: there is ALWAYS something you can do to make some extra cash


You can make $50/hr setting up peoples' wordpress sites, buying domains and reselling your hosting, for instance.
 
2013-06-14 05:16:12 PM  

kriegsgeist: That's the problem these days - necessities have increased 30-40% just in the last couple of years, but wages have been the same for at least a decade (at the lower levels).


Seriously, where do you get your numbers? The minimum wage 10 years ago was $5.15. Today it's $7.25. That's an increase of over 40%. In other words, wages are keeping pace with necessities.
 
2013-06-14 05:18:22 PM  

kriegsgeist: Back when the minimum wage was $3.35, it was equivalent to $8.95/hour in today's money, which is 12% higher than the highest current minimum wage in the country. Also, inflation is heavily weighted towards things like cell phones and laptops since they started messing with the CPI. That $8.95 has to cover a lot more in food and gas than it did in the 80's.


Yes and no. At the state level, WA is actually $9.19/hr., OR is exactly $8.95. If you look at the local level, San Fransisco is $10.55/hr. (but with a cost of living of "fark you, that's why").
 
2013-06-14 05:23:11 PM  
ProfessorOhki:

Yes and no. At the state level, WA is actually $9.19/hr., OR is exactly $8.95. If you look at the local level, San Fransisco is $10.55/hr. (but with a cost of living of "fark you, that's why").

First, his math sucks (see above.)

Second, those don't come close to touching Burlington, VT. If you are a private employer and you want to have a contract with the city (or subcontract with someone who has a contract,)  you must pay your workers $17.71/hr (less if you offer full health insurance.)
 
2013-06-14 05:28:41 PM  
Lusiphur: kriegsgeist: Where are you getting chicken for less than a dollar a pound? The lowest I see whole fryers on sale for is a little over a dollar. Maybe 3 or 4 years ago you could occasionally get a whole chicken for less than $1/pound, but remember - the carcass is like 30% of the weight. Steaks are going to be $3 a pound at the lowest, for the cheapest, nastiest Walmart steaks you can get. I guess it's possible that in NYC food prices are lower than where I live, but I doubt it.

Steaks, or beef in general, is rarely down to a dollar a lb, but chicken wings and drumsticks still regularly drop to .99c a lb. Whole fryers are often in the .89-.99c range, and as someone above emntioned, you can use all the icky pieces to make delicious soup. You can also often find turkey for about .99c a lb (or just a little over). Also, keep in mind that 1lb of chicken is a LOT more than a single meal. You can easily get 2-3 individual servings per lb.


kriegsgeist: That's the problem these days - necessities have increased 30-40% just in the last couple of years, but wages have been the same for at least a decade (at the lower levels).

I'm not saying that there isn't a squeeze going on, but if you're single, and don't mind making some lifestyle adjustments, it's possible to live comfortably on less than $25k. If you get a couple of roommates, you can split the cost of housing/utilities/cable down to next to nothing. If you have a couple of roommates you trust, go in with them on a family phone plan - it's a lot cheaper to get a family plan with 4 lines and split it between 4 people than to get one individual phone plan.

If you aren't single, you should be bringing in more income. I know unemployment is high, but there is ALWAYS something you can do to make some extra cash. Hell, go strip on webcam for two bucks a minute. I hear a lot of people talking about how much of a financial burden children are. Well, don't have children if you can't support them easily. I know it sounds like ..


You had me going until the "strip on webcam" suggestion.

If you are serious, I think you'll find that the reason you can't figure this out is that you want to apply specific cases of "you could do this" or "it's possible" as a general solution.

I agree that you  can live cheaply, and that most people don't live as inexpensively as they could. I don't agree that your suggestions are realistic for most people.
 
2013-06-14 05:33:10 PM  

fatbear: kriegsgeist: That's the problem these days - necessities have increased 30-40% just in the last couple of years, but wages have been the same for at least a decade (at the lower levels).

Seriously, where do you get your numbers? The minimum wage 10 years ago was $5.15. Today it's $7.25. That's an increase of over 40%. In other words, wages are keeping pace with necessities.


You're right about minimum wage, but I was talking about wage distributions. They have stayed level for the lower 20% for at least 10 years now. Meanwhile, minimum wage is adjusted by CPI, which no longer includes things that are volatile, like gas and food. The problem is, poor people spend almost all their money on gas and food, so that index doesn't really help them.
 
2013-06-14 05:41:46 PM  

fatbear: ProfessorOhki:

Yes and no. At the state level, WA is actually $9.19/hr., OR is exactly $8.95. If you look at the local level, San Fransisco is $10.55/hr. (but with a cost of living of "fark you, that's why").

First, his math sucks (see above.)

Second, those don't come close to touching Burlington, VT. If you are a private employer and you want to have a contract with the city (or subcontract with someone who has a contract,)  you must pay your workers $17.71/hr (less if you offer full health insurance.)


fark it. You're right, my math sucks. Minimum wage is fine. Pay hasn't stagnated, we have all just become lazy.

May you never find out how wrong you are.
 
2013-06-14 05:41:54 PM  
kriegsgeist:

You're right about minimum wage, but I was talking about wage distributions. They have stayed level for the lower 20% for at least 10 years now. Meanwhile, minimum wage is adjusted by CPI, which no longer includes things that are volatile, like gas and food. The problem is, poor people spend almost all their money on gas and food, so that index doesn't really help them.

Sorry, but so much else of what you've said is just plain wrong that I don't believe it. Got a source about the stagnant wages?

Food & gas are 20% of the CPI.
 
2013-06-14 05:45:59 PM  
kriegsgeist:

fark it. You're right, my math sucks. Minimum wage is fine. Pay hasn't stagnated, we have all just become lazy.

May you never find out how wrong you are.


It's not just your math, it's all your "facts."

Minimum wage isn't fine, it sucks. But it's fair pay for having minimum skills and doing minimal work, and it results in a minimal lifestyle. That's why they call it minimum wage.

/been there, done that more than you know
 
2013-06-14 05:56:52 PM  

fatbear: LoneWolf343:
We're talking about how to reduce $80K of debt. If you're not willing to sacrifice, you're not going to get out of debt.

Anyone who complains about being broke while watching $150/month cable on a $1000 TV deserves what they get.

Well, if we are going to fall back on archaic technology, at least books will make you smarter.

It's not about falling back, it's about doing without. TV is a luxury. The MINIMUM wage doesn't cover luxuries.


You need to read a book.
 
2013-06-14 05:59:20 PM  

LoneWolf343: fatbear: LoneWolf343:
We're talking about how to reduce $80K of debt. If you're not willing to sacrifice, you're not going to get out of debt.

Anyone who complains about being broke while watching $150/month cable on a $1000 TV deserves what they get.

Well, if we are going to fall back on archaic technology, at least books will make you smarter.

It's not about falling back, it's about doing without. TV is a luxury. The MINIMUM wage doesn't cover luxuries.

You need to read a book.


Touché. But I stand by what I said.
 
2013-06-14 06:16:03 PM  

fatbear: kriegsgeist:

You're right about minimum wage, but I was talking about wage distributions. They have stayed level for the lower 20% for at least 10 years now. Meanwhile, minimum wage is adjusted by CPI, which no longer includes things that are volatile, like gas and food. The problem is, poor people spend almost all their money on gas and food, so that index doesn't really help them.

Sorry, but so much else of what you've said is just plain wrong that I don't believe it. Got a source about the stagnant wages?

Food & gas are 20% of the CPI.


https://www.google.com/search?q=US+wage+stagnation

Take your pick.

You're right about food and gas - I was remembering a story from several years ago about them being removed or reduced drastically. After reading this...:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Consumer_Price_Index#Core _C PI

...I think they must have been talking about the core CPI. 

At any rate, the amount of money that poor people spend on those categories is higher than what middle-class and wealthy people spend, and so changes in those categories impact the poor more, and the poor are the ones making minimum wage.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2012/08/01/157664524/how-the-poor-the -m iddle-class-and-the-rich-spend-their-money

fatbear: kriegsgeist:

fark it. You're right, my math sucks. Minimum wage is fine. Pay hasn't stagnated, we have all just become lazy.

May you never find out how wrong you are.

It's not just your math, it's all your "facts."

Minimum wage isn't fine, it sucks. But it's fair pay for having minimum skills and doing minimal work, and it results in a minimal lifestyle. That's why they call it minimum wage.

/been there, done that more than you know


Unless you were "doing that" within the last few years, you weren't really. It has gotten worse. If minimum wage isn't enough to cover basic necessities and allow investment (not necessarily money - could just be time), then anyone who is forced to take a minimum wage job by life circumstances is basically trapped forever. This results in an ever-growing underclass. Which is what has been happening.

I'm not talking about a single person making $50k a year with $100k of credit card debt. I'm talking about a family of 4 with one person working overtime on minimum wage just to scrape by. Pretending like everyone is immune to that situation and could get out of it just by working harder or being more frugal is simply incorrect.
 
2013-06-14 06:31:41 PM  
kriegsgeist:

https://www.google.com/search?q=US+wage+stagnation

Take your pick.


You do realize those articles support what I'm saying, right? Did you actually read them? From the very first one: "real hourly pay has essentially stagnated." Real pay is indexed to inflation - so if real pay has stagnated, then pay is keeping pace with inflation.

At any rate, the amount of money that poor people spend on those categories is higher than what middle-class and wealthy people spend, and so changes in those categories impact the poor more, and the poor are the ones making minimum wage.

Of course. But the whole CPI is geared to basic needs. You won't find yachts on there anywhere. It's shiat people need, which is why it exists.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2012/08/01/157664524/how-the-poor-the -m iddle-class-and-the-rich-spend-their-money

If you compare that chart to the CPI, you'll find a *very* close match with the lower income spending distribution.

anyone who is forced to take a minimum wage job by life circumstances is basically trapped forever

I couldn't agree more. Minimum wage sucks, and if you only do the 40 hours, and you don't pick up some skills, you're doomed to be the Taco Bell drive-thru clerk forever.

So let's summarize what I've learned from your links:
The CPI is full of shiat people need.
Wages have risen at about the same rate as the CPI.
People working minimum wage can buy the same amount of shiat they need as they could 10 years ago.

So, to summarize: Minimum wage sucks just as much today as it did 10 years ago. No more, no less.

And no, I haven't done it in the past few years. My years of multiple minimum wage jobs, layoffs, evictions, homelessness and general suckage were 3 decades ago.

talking about a family of 4 with one person working overtime on minimum wage just to scrape by

Holy shiat - why are two people who only have the skills to make minimum wage having kids? Of course they're farked.
 
2013-06-14 06:56:09 PM  

fatbear: talking about a family of 4 with one person working overtime on minimum wage just to scrape by

Holy shiat - why are two people who only have the skills to make minimum wage having kids? Of course they're farked.


Better yet, there's only one income.  Honestly, if you're really that farked, welfare might be for you, and if you're that farked, I won't even grumble too hard about you being on welfare.

/And no seriously, if you're a family of 4 (so 2 kids) and only 1 working parent and that 1 working guy is on minimum wage (And who makes minimum wage?  My (albeit limited) experience is that there's a lot of jobs that are near minumum wage, but very few that are at minimum wage), you're farked. You've been farked since the dawn of time and you're going to be farked until the sun goes out.  That's just a thing.    You want to know why the rich upper-middle class couple is upper-middle class?  They both worked (or Daddy was a lawyer/doctor, which is a whole 'nother category in and of itself).  And probably didn't have kids until they were at a career point where money really wasn't a blocker.
 
2013-06-14 07:00:03 PM  

fatbear: kriegsgeist:


So let's summarize what I've learned from your links:
The CPI is full of shiat people need.
Wages have risen at about the same rate as the CPI.
People working minimum wage can buy the same amount of shiat they need as they could 10 years ago.

So, to summarize: Minimum wage sucks just as much today as it did 10 years ago. No more, no less.

And no, I haven't done it in the past few years. My years of multiple minimum wage jobs, layoffs, evictions, homelessness and general suckage were 3 decades ago.

talking about a family of 4 with one person working overtime on minimum wage just to scrape by

Holy shiat - why are two people who only have the skills to make minimum wage having kids? Of course they're farked.


The CPI basket has changed. If I remember hearing that, I'm surprised you don't.

It is different now than it was 30 years ago. Superficially we have nicer stuff, but it is harder to scrape by. Like I said, I hope you never have to find that out.

Kids is one example - there are lots of reasons a person might not be able to make it on minimum wage. And there are a lot of reasons besides "no skills" and "lazy" that a person might have to take a minimum wage job.

I don't know about you, but I would like to live in a world where the cashier at Walmart can afford to feed her kids and still have a little left over. If you wouldn't, maybe consider that the ability of the poorest people to spend money beyond the necessities is necessary for a strong modern economy.
 
2013-06-14 07:14:00 PM  

meyerkev: fatbear: talking about a family of 4 with one person working overtime on minimum wage just to scrape by

Holy shiat - why are two people who only have the skills to make minimum wage having kids? Of course they're farked.

Better yet, there's only one income.  Honestly, if you're really that farked, welfare might be for you, and if you're that farked, I won't even grumble too hard about you being on welfare.

/And no seriously, if you're a family of 4 (so 2 kids) and only 1 working parent and that 1 working guy is on minimum wage (And who makes minimum wage?  My (albeit limited) experience is that there's a lot of jobs that are near minumum wage, but very few that are at minimum wage), you're farked. You've been farked since the dawn of time and you're going to be farked until the sun goes out.  That's just a thing.    You want to know why the rich upper-middle class couple is upper-middle class?  They both worked (or Daddy was a lawyer/doctor, which is a whole 'nother category in and of itself).  And probably didn't have kids until they were at a career point where money really wasn't a blocker.


This is exactly my point. For a lot of people, saying "just live within your means" is useless advice. Below a certain point, there is no legitimate way out of the financial trap. Not getting into the trap in the first place is a great idea, but many people don't have the choice, made a mistake, or were ignorant of the consequences.

If you want to take the stance that for those situations you are just farked, fine. But I was talking about whether those people can just suck it up, tighten their belts, and work harder. They can in some cases, but in many cases they can't.
 
2013-06-14 11:37:27 PM  

kriegsgeist:  Below a certain point, there is no legitimate way out of the financial trap. Not getting into the trap in the first place is a great idea, but many people

 don't have the choice,

If life threw them a curveball that interrupted their carefully laid plans, I'm all for helping out. But I think it's ridiculous to raise the minimum wage for *everyone* because a few people need help for circumstances beyond their control.

made a mistake
Tough shiat. We all make mistakes. If you make mistakes and don't learn, you deserve to stay in the cellar.

or were ignorant of the consequences.
See above.

But I was talking about whether those people can just suck it up, tighten their belts, and work harder. They can in some cases, but in many cases they can't.

I'll reverse your statement and say they can in many cases (and they should!) but in some cases they can't. For those that can't help themselves due to circumstances beyond their control, I'm all for helping out. But I don't see the point in giving everyone a free ride just because some people have tough luck.

saying "just live within your means" is useless advice
This is a serious problem. It's excellent advice and should be given earlier.

The CPI basket has changed. If I remember hearing that, I'm surprised you don't.
Of course it has. It now includes laptops and cell phones (less than 1%.) Look it over and tell me where it doesn't line up with a typical low income family.

I would like to live in a world where the cashier at Walmart can afford to feed her kids and still have a little left over. If you wouldn't, maybe consider that the ability of the poorest people to spend money beyond the necessities is necessary for a strong modern economy.

I'd like to live in a world where the cashier at Walmart either
a) doesn't have kids or
b) is there because it's temporary or
c) works as hard as she can to better herself so her kids don't consider a minimum wage job a good idea.

I don't want to live in a world where people think the cashier at Walmart deserves something extra just for showing up.
 
2013-06-14 11:51:48 PM  

kriegsgeist: the ability of the poorest people to spend money beyond the necessities is necessary for a strong modern economy


This is a huge fallacy. We only shifted to a consumption-driven economy in the last two decades, and its those decades in which the distribution of wealth has really gone off the rails. It used to be a production-driven economy.

I don't know how we get back to a production economy, but encouraging the poorest to spend (instead of saving) is a dead-on, sure-fire way to guarantee that they're locked in the cycle of poverty forever.
 
2013-06-14 11:59:26 PM  
Remember how I said it was no harder today than the 80's? I was wrong.

It's easier.

1983: 12.2% of all workers make minimum wage. Unemployment rate is 9.6%.
Today: 4.7% of all workers make minimum wage. Unemployment rate is 7.7%.

Sure, you can say that I haven't had it hard in the past few years. But I can sure as shiat say you didn't have it hard in the 80's. So for either of us to say one was harder than the other, we have to look at the data. And the data says today ain't that bad.

Suck it up.
 
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