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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Living Within Your Means' LiveJournal:

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Saturday, January 16th, 2010
10:50 am
Interested in this community
Is this community still active or interested in being active?

Living within my means is my New Years Resolution this year and would love to be part of a community of others that are trying to do as much.
Monday, August 25th, 2008
12:52 pm
good day all
intro post here Read more...Collapse )
Sunday, August 24th, 2008
5:26 pm
Canning Salsa?
I would really like to make and can some salsa soon,
partly because we eat a lot of salsa at our house-
and partly because I have sungolds coming out of my ears!

I would especially like to can some fruit salsa, but I only have water-bath canning capacity.
So I don't know if that is even possible?

Could anybody point me in the right direction for canning either fruit or purely tomato salsas?


Current Mood: busy
Thursday, June 12th, 2008
10:00 am
Still alive?
 Hey all!

I just found this community.  I think this is a really great idea, but it seems like it isn't very active.  Is anyone still around?  I'd love to be in an active personal finance community...

Monday, May 12th, 2008
6:40 pm
Dave Ramsey community on LJ

I wanted to let this community know that there is a Dave Ramsey community on LiveJournal. For those who don't know, Dave Ramsey is the author of The Total Money Makeover, a book that shows you how to build an emergency fund, pay off your debt, and invest for your retirement.

I know there are lots of different authors on this subject, and as many different methods for managing or getting out of debt, but I wanted to point those interested in this author (whether a full-fledged "gazelle," or someone who's been meaning to check Dave out) where to find info on LJ.

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008
10:37 am
BBQ on a budget?
Hey everyone! I plan on having lots of BBQ's over the summer, and was wondering if anyone had any good ideas/recipes for a BBQ on a budget?
Thursday, May 1st, 2008
8:33 pm
Hey everyone! I'm currently in the process of a very big move and need some advice. The apartment I've rented for the last 2 1/2 years has had utilities included in the rent and now I'm moving to an apartment where I will have both a gas bill and an electric bill. All appliances are gas (stove, hot water heater) as well as heat.

Does anyone have any advice on how to keep electric and gas prices down? Also, does anyway have any pro's or con's about the gas company "budget" option where you pay the same every month and don't get nailed in the winter?

P.S. I live in upstate NY on a lake so the breeze in the summer should keep it cool (limited AC) but the winter promises to be hell. Also there are 2 apartments below mine so I'm hoping heat rises...

Current Mood: curious
Thursday, April 24th, 2008
8:48 pm
Free $25 or more!
Refer A Friend using Revolution Money Exchange

Hey everyone. I hope this isn't considered spam, but I wanted to pass this info on. It's real!

Sign up and get $25 for free and $10 additional for each person you refer up to $500. It's just like Pay Pal, no catches (but the sign up process takes a little bit of time). The offer ends on May 15th.  I've already "earned " $45 in free money (as in, the money is already in my checking account)! Check it out and spread the word!
Friday, April 11th, 2008
9:35 am
I just had to share:

I just paid off my last credit card!!!!!

At the beginning of this year, I had about $6K in credit card debt spread across 3 credit cards. Today was payday, so I just sent off an online payment for the last $900.

This is the first time in 9 years that I have not had ANY credit card debt!!! It feels absolutely AMAZING.

Of course, I still have a $12K car loan, and a $19K student loan...but the credit cards are what have been keeping me from being able to pay off anything. Only one was at a "decent" interest rate (9%), the other two were in the 20's%. My car loan is at 6% through my credit union, and the student loan was consolidated about 5 years ago at 2.8%.

*pats self on back*
Thursday, March 6th, 2008
9:48 am
Secret Code for Delivery Drivers?
I was listening to Dave Ramsey's show on Tuesday afternoon (something I don't get to do as much as I'd like anymore--my job has me out of town and out in the field about 70% of the time since Christmas), and I heard Dave mention an email from a listener about the "Secret Code" for Pizza Delivery Drivers...

...since he recommends delivering pizzas as a 2nd job for people trying to make additional money to pay down debt, he says when you order pizza, you should ask your delivery person how they're doing, and if they answer "Better than I deserve," that means they're also a Ramsey listener. And he's challenged his listeners that if they do run across that situation, and they themselves are in a good place financially, they should "pay it forward" and give that delivery person an extra-nice tip to help them out.

GAH! I REALLY wish he had had this Code about 5 years ago! I first started listening to Dave when I was 22, a senior in undergrad, working two jobs with a full load of courses, and up to my eyeballs in debt. I listened to Dave's show every day while I was delivering, and threw every extra penny at my debt. I delivered pizzas for 3 years as a 2nd job.

Now I'm one year out of my masters...I have a great job and a great income, and I'm expecting to FINALLY pay off my last credit card by the end of this month.

OH HOW I WISH they'd had something like that while I was delivering. Perhaps I could have paid off my debts at age 23 or 24, rather than age 27! :D

But I guarantee I'll be asking my delivery person How they're doing the next time I order. Granted, I already tip very well (because I've done that job, and I know EXACTLY how horrible it can be), but I'll be happy to help another Ramsey fan along in their debt struggles.
Monday, October 8th, 2007
9:44 pm
I probably mentioned this before, but due to some recent mechanical problems, I'm in pretty dire need of a new(er) vehicle.

While driving over the weekend, my car's brakes somehow bled completely out, and I had to throw my car into park in order to avoid almost rear-ending someone. This is not the first time my brakes have gone mushy, but it is the first time I wasn't able to stop. It spooked me, BAD (with good reason, I would think.) When I went to the mechanic today, he couldn't replicate the problem. Brakes are working fine, plenty of fluid.

For reference:
Current FICO: 644 (Transunion)
Current monthly income: $2400+ net
Current debt (not including student loan): $5400

Current vehicle: '91 Accord DX (equipped with faulty brakes, leaky AC, cracked paint, peeling interior, and leaky oil pan). Bought in '02, paid off 3 years ago, current trade value: $1,250.


So...this is the plan right now.

1) I've been looking around, but haven't found anything I love just yet. I would really like to get a 3-5 year old compact SUV (something like a RAV4, Escape, Vitara, etc.)...nothing fancy, but at the bare minimum, at least with power windows, locks, and cruise control (Being in a base model for the last 5 years has been rough-especially since I do a lot of highway driving.) I tend to stay in vehicles until they crap out, so I know if I find something I like, I'll keep it way past its payoff--but I refuse to buy brand new.

2) Friday is payday--the one where I typically throw a ton of money at my credit cards.

3) After this Friday, my debt-to-credit ratio will FINALLY be below 50% (which, according to Suze Orman, is the magical place where your FICO score really sees an improvement).

4) I'm gonna try to make do with my car for at LEAST one more month, preferably though, I want to try to make it til the end of the year, providing no further major mechanical malfunctions.

5) If I stay on task, my credit score could be a LOT closer to 700 by the end of the year, meaning a much better rate, and probably a guarantee that I'll be able to borrow as much as I need (preferably close to $10K, no more than $15K--I know what I can afford in payments.)

But here, I have a question: I'm somewhat interested in what type of loan my credit union would be willing to give me right now. (In case something should happen to my car, or if I find something I really like within the next month.) BUT--if I ask NOW, and then again 2-3 months from now, will that somehow negatively affect my credit score?

Maybe that seems like a stupid question, but doesn't how often banks/credit companies look at your credit profile affect your score? Or does it not matter if it's the same bank?
Wednesday, September 19th, 2007
10:32 pm

Haven't posted on this forum in a while, so here's an update:


So, here's the deal with me lately:

 I'm starting to save for a house.  Or, at least, my half of a down payment.  All I know is I hope to, in one year's time, have between $5-7K saved up (quite obviously, we are not thinking along "mansion" terms--just a starter home)...

I am also in need (not DIRE need, but more like "somewhat certain the end is coming within 6 months") of a newer vehicle. I currently have a 15 year old Accord which has been paid off for over 2 years now--I've owned it since '03.  It runs pretty well, but it needs some A/C and brake work.  Trade value is about $1500, so I'd like to have some additional cash to put down.  Not planning to spend more than $10K.

All this means I AM in DIRE need of paying off my credit cards, and eliminating my personal debt so that I can put more money away towards these goals.  So I've been cracking down on frivolous spending, sticking to a budget, all that fun stuff.  I also just finished reading Suze Orman's "Women & Money" book, and am really looking forward to getting to work on using her plan to set up my other financial milestones (starting a money market savings account, prepping a living will & trust, etc.)  I'm also re-reading Dave Ramsey's "Total Money Makeover" so I can get super-pumped about knocking my debt out.  The last time I read his book I started sending in $1000-$1500/month in debt payoff--and actually almost knocked it totally out--but then I let myself get "financially flabby" again with the move to Louisiana, starting school again, moving several times, Hurricane Katrina, etc.)

I knew I'd be able to get a better interest rate once it comes house and/or car time if I belonged to a credit union, so I just recently opened a savings account at a credit union I was able to join through my electric co-op.  I'm thinking I will use that savings account to fund my new(er) vehicle savings fund.  I'm going to have (for now, until my credit cards are paid off) $50 direct deposited per paycheck into that account.  Once my cards are paid off, I will funnel more money into it.

Then, just yesterday I opened an MMDA account with TD Ameritrade through a special deal Suze Orman is offering through her book--if you agree to open the account, and then deposit at least $50/month into the account, after your 12th deposit TD Ameritrade will GIVE you an additional $100 credit into your account!  Plus, their current APY is around +5%---WAY better than a regular savings account.  I'm planning to use that account to fund my house savings. Probably will put just the $50/paycheck at first until the credit cards are gone, and then WAY up the ante.

I currently already have an Emergency Fund savings account, so I'm good there--otherwise, I just really need to knock out these stupid cards.  I think I can do it by the end of the year--I've been getting a ton of overtime lately, and I put all my OT $$ towards paying extra on my cards.  I just paid one off last month, and then another just yesterday.  Only two more to go--but those are the doozies!!!

So here's where I stand:
Annual income: $40K (w/ an average of about an addt'l $10-15K/year in OT)
Credit debt: $5400
Student Loan: $19K (I have a super-low rate on this loan, so I'm not worried about paying it off right now--But I do pay a little extra on it each month.  Once the new(er) vehicle is purchased, and I'm in a house with a mortgage, I'll divide additional funds between those two.
Emergency Fund: yes
House Fund: $50
Car Fund: $50

It's not much yet, but it's a start!!!
Tuesday, August 7th, 2007
6:00 pm
Alrighty. I haven't posted here in a while. After years of debt, I finally reached a bit of happiness in that my debt is under $50,000 (OMG YAY!) and I have a question for y'all.

You are working toward getting your debt completely paid off. Soon, smaller bills will be disappearing and the money toward those could go toward student loans ($43,000@4.375% fixed) or toward savings (5% variable, although I haven't seen it lower than 3% since i opened it in 2002). Somewhat regular savings deposits are already made.

Would you use the extra money from those bills (roughly $500 a month, could be more) toward building savings up quicker and begin to invest, or paying off the loans quicker? Fiscally speaking, the dollars and cents say to invest and pay only the monthly payment on the loans, especially since they give a tax benefit and will eventually decrease down to 3.125%, but I do NOT want to pay on them for 20 years if I can take a few years off by paying an extra few bucks now while I can. I am paying a wee bit more on them as it is already, almost $20/month by rounding the payment up to a nice round $300. On the flipside, when it comes time to buy a new car, it'd be nice to not have to finance it. So, yeah, conflict.

Don't own a home, and investing in one is a few years away, probably financed mainly by my bf, as he's pretty much debt-free w/a PhD (whew). Car is paid off, and a few hundred is generally in my checking for emergencies in addition to the savings. Once that $7k is paid off, my bills will be rent, utilities, food, gas, cell phone, insurance, totaling about $750-800/month if I'm extravagant that month with eating out/entertainment. So, what would you do, and why?
Tuesday, March 13th, 2007
10:43 am
Does anybody want to do a coupon exchange or anythiing like that? I have a ton of them as I cut out everything on Sunday, keep what I need and I don't want the rest of the to go bad so... let me know. We'll trade emails and adresses so we can get them out!

Current Mood: content
Saturday, March 10th, 2007
9:27 am
possible income opportunity? Women only!
Hi everyone!

I came across a piece of mail that might interest some. It's for a study for women 18+ involving "female stuff".

under the cut!Collapse )
Saturday, December 30th, 2006
7:44 pm
Is anyone interested in doing a Coupon Swap? I throw away so many coupons every week. I am sure that someone else would put many of them to good use. I usually do my coupon sorting on Saturday evenings (since I grocery shop on Sundays). I could drop them in the mail on Monday morning. 

Let me know  --- K.

Current Mood: content
Friday, December 29th, 2006
8:20 pm
Side income ideas?
I thought it would be fun to hear if anyone out there has a technique for making some extra money to round out your budget. I'm not really talking about the typical extra cash ideas (babysitting, 2nd job, making use of overtime, etc.), but rather those little plans you might make to bring in an extra ten dollars here or there.

Have you implemented your plan, or is it still in the idea stage? If you're waiting to get started, what's holding you back? If you've given your plan a try, how successful has it been?

Don't reveal your secret million dollar idea, here... unless you really want to ;)

6:04 pm
Post your financial goals
It is good to see so many questions and tips out there on the list. I am thrilled to see that this community is still going years after I originally created it.

If you will all take a moment to post your 2007 Financial Goals, it will allow us to see that we are all human and we have similar goals. I would love to see us be there to encourage each other this year.

Thanks for taking the time to read this,

2:19 pm
My First "New" Grocery List (Trip)
I just wanted to thank everyone for all the wonderful suggestions. I have constructed my first "new" and improved grocery list and will be hitting the grocery store after work today. If someone would be willing to look at my grocery list to see where I can tweak it more...or other things I can supplement, that woul be great. 

Also, is there a grocery/coupon community here in LJ?

Thanks again ....Happy New Year!
Thursday, December 28th, 2006
5:52 pm
Paying down educational debt with either 401(k) or IRA funds
I apologize if this isn't the right LJ community to post this in.....

I recently heard that it is allowable to take money out of your 401(k) for the purposes of paying down educational debt. You aren't penalized for this, but you have to pay the money back; you are, essentially, borrowing money from yourself.

However, I later heard that 401(k)'s don't allow this, only IRA's allow this - and that only half of the amount in your IRA can be borrowed to pay off educational debt.

First of all, is all or any of this true?

I'd like to pay down some of educational debt this year. Perhaps it is shortsighted, sure, and I do need to save for retirement. That being said, I am sick and tired of having educational debt hanging over my head.

Secondly, I have a 401(k), through my job, and I don't have an IRA. Could I close the 401(k), roll every penny over into an IRA, and pay down my loans that way?
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