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What else do you do to save money?

Post in 'The Green Room' started by Jack Straw, Feb 5, 2010.

  1. Regency139

    Regency139 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2009
    Messages:
    62
    Loc:
    Connecticut
    All excellent ideas. When I bought my house I never had a land line phone hooked up. My wife and I both have cell phones and have a family share plan. In addition to that we have only basic cable without a cable box. We get all the news channels, history channel, discovery channel etc without the movie channels. To remedy this we subscribe to Netflix for movies, and have the ability to watch movies instantly through our blue ray player (which was a christmas gift from my father in law). The cable company keeps sending me letters trying to coerce me with teaser rates to upgrade my cable. I sent a few emails back to the cable company asking how much more the rate would be when the year is up and haven't gotten a clear answer. (higher rates,cable box rental fees etc) In addition I do all of my own maintenance on our vehicles. It really isn't hard changing motor/diff/transfer case oil and changing spark plugs out. My truck has never been to the dealer for maintenance...until I hit 100k and need a timing belt.
    I honestly think my neighbors think I'm odd because I'm the only one in the neighborhood who doesn't have garbage pickup.
    I don't buy anything with my credit card unless I can pay it off in full at the end of the month. The only exception is the tractor I bought from Sears last month. Seeing that I just paid my truck off I bought a tractor with a sears card for 0% financing for 6 months. The tractor will be paid off in 3-4 months and the Sears card isn't activated, and is locked away in the safe.

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  2. BucksCoBernie

    BucksCoBernie New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2008
    Messages:
    450
    great topic!

    The biggest saver for us is burning wood instead of oil. 150 gallons deliverd at todays price would cost us over $400 every 4-6 weeks. We did it last year and it sucked! The house was still cold and the heater was constantly running. I found a used, barely used insert on craigslist for $600. Installed it myself with a full liner and block off plate for $800. The cost of the insert and liner together is less expensive than a brand new insert the same size. So far we've only burned about 30 gallons of oil this winter.

    I do many home repairs myself. I added a ton of insulation in the attic, caulked air leaks, purchased insulated curtains to keep the chill from coming through a large picture window in the living room (in addition to having plastic film). The house is a lot warmer this winter than it was last year. I also replaced old, leak prone copper plumbing with modern pex. It cost me $230 for the pex and took a weekend to install (cold water 1 day, hot water the next). I scrapped the copper and got back $105.

    I have a nice size garden in the spring through fall. I grow a ton of veggies. This summer my fruits (strawberries, raspberries, grapes and peaches) should yeild a nice harvest. I plan on making a lot of jams and wine this year. Im also thinking about harvesting maple sap to make maple syrup instead of buying the crap at the super market. I also make bread about every other week. We still buy bread but not as much, plus the bread I make just taste better.

    My TV set up is on a power strip that gets turned off before bedtime. I'd love to get rid of cable but my wife wont let me :( you can watch a majority of the current tv shows on websites like hulu.com. a lot of them are commercial free too!

    I scrounge all of my wood in addition to bucking and splitting the occasional fallen tree in the backyard. I found a black locust tree and took a lot of the seed pods home. I plan on planting the black locust in the back corner of my lot to replace the ever falling sassafras trees. In about 7-10 years I should have a nice supply of locust firewood. The tree sprouts new saplings itself so it should be pretty hands off once it gets going.

    I've built a top bar beehive in order to house some bees and harvest their honey and wax. This project will kick off this spring. my neighbor has bees and the honey is far superior than anything you find at the super market. Also the bees will help the garden.

    I cut my own grass and change my own oil (I have a BMW and the oil changing stations love to rip off people with imports...$50-60 for a standard oil change!).

    This summer I plan on installing a clothes line outside to cut down on using the electric dryer. I'd love to install a tankless water heater but I have well water and I think the water will ruin the heater in a few years. I dont want to install a softening system just to have a tankless heater.
  3. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2007
    Messages:
    3,471
    Loc:
    SE Mass
    0 credit card balance.
    Also stopped using cards in July and it is somewhat surprising what you can go without , especially when you don't have the cash in your pocket. Saving up fr things is like S&H green stamp days. :)

    Garden - you'd be surprised at how small a spot you really need.
    But you do need freezer space.

    I have clothes lines inside and out. Dryer gets used a LOT less often and I don't mind hanging the clothes. It only takes a minute.

    Try to use less gas by grouping errands.
  4. pybyr

    pybyr Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2008
    Messages:
    2,301
    Loc:
    Adamant, VT 05640
    I try to do many of the things above-

    - I also have, for years, obtained a lot of my appliances, computer equipment, etc., as other peoples' discards and done my own repairs to get them/ keep them going. When I do buy something new, I try to find a demo model, a last years' model, or a scratch and dent. My current lawnmower is the first that I've ever bought-- every prior one was one that someone else had thought was hopelessly worn out, but usually needed only minor work. When I bought one, I bought the best I could- and with careful maintenance, I should never need to buy another. It's satisfying to take things destined for landfills and get a number of years additional use out of them. I also prefer to get/ repair older items because much of the time, they seem much more repair-able/ worth repairing. I detest the tendency with modern consumer goods that are not only "planned obsolescent" but designed and made in ways that it is foreseeable, from day one, that they will fail, and be un-repairable.
  5. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Messages:
    2,608
    Loc:
    SE PA
    CFL's come in different colors--buy the 'warm white' color to replace incandescent, I can't tell the difference. The 'daylight' ones are the sickly blue. Some of the cheapie ones tend to fail--even the good ones (i.e. GE) will save you many times the purchase price.

    Jack--the cheap LED bulbs in the box stores, claiming to replace full sized bulbs for a few watts, are junk. Might be ok for a nightlight, but most are really dark to begin with and fade rapidly over a couple thousand hours. There are good LED bulbs online (e.g. using CREE emitters), but they are still very pricey. And most of them don't outperform CFLs in lumens/watt, if you read the package carefully. I got a few when I wanted to replace some little halogen spotlights. Cost me close to $100, but will pay back over a couple years, (they are rated for <20% fade over 50k hours).
  6. Socratic Monologue

    Socratic Monologue New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2009
    Messages:
    32
    Loc:
    WI
    We bought a house with a wood furnace, so we could save money by burning wood. Well, the furnace needed to be re-ducted -- at least $500. And we didn't have a chain saw -- $400. Or a pickup truck -- $3000.

    Well, so we raise chickens, too. They just started laying eggs, about 2 dozen so far. The day-old chicks were $25. Brooder, feeders and waterers, materials for the coop, maybe $200. Food for 6 months...I don't even want to think about it. Cost per dozen -- yikes!

    We grow and can vegetables, as well. But deer like vegetables, so an electric fence around the garden -- $150. Pressure canner -- a gift (yeah!). Chest freezer -- $400.

    But we no longer live in the city, listening to the buses, watching the scary people walk down the alley, having our cars broken into, watching police helicopters search our neighborhood after a high-speed chase down the street we lived on (true!)...I think all the above costs are more than offset by doing things ourselves, regardless of whether these things save money (which of course they will in the long run). Plus, you can only get a few hours of psychotherapy for the cost of a new Husqvarna!
  7. azsteven

    azsteven New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2009
    Messages:
    87
    Loc:
    Boston Suburbs
    And if you split your own/carry each piece of wood 14 times, you won't need to pay $59/month at a gym!
    SmokeyTheBear likes this.
  8. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2009
    Messages:
    8,426
    Loc:
    So Cent ALASKA
    Fish. Salmon are the best. Some halibut & trout.
    Garden Greenhouse
    Smoke, can, freeze
    Stay home & watch pictures of you all cutting wood.
    My 2¢ worth of input is cheap entertainment. ;)
  9. ramonbow

    ramonbow Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2009
    Messages:
    67
    Loc:
    S. Minnesota
    Lots of good responses and some things that i have not thought of and may have to try. You folks seem like my kind of people!

    burn wood (of course!) find cut and split all my wood.
    Try to do everything myself that i can. It sometimes ends up taking me a lot of time but I gain experience with every problem. Examples include plumbing, changing oil, working on small engines, sharpening, ect.
    Try to buy quality and NEEDED stuff second hand. Mostly clothes, tools, materials.
    Pick up and use free stuff. Saves stuff from landfill, saves me money, and it is a nice challenge to find a home for stuff.
    Credit cards - like everyone else they are great only if you can pay them off every month. They are demons that have to be watched closely.
    gardens and orchard that produces more than we can eat.
    freezers and canning jars that allow us to eat our crop all year long.
    hunting and fishing hobbies that keeps the frying pan full.
    wine making hobbie that boosts my spirits for $1-2 a bottle
    I chose a vehicle based on better gas mileage. combine errands with work commute whenever possible. Buy used vehicles and like to negotiate a price and then watch thier expression when i tell them i will pay in full - no payment plan neccessary.

    Two things bother me - a lot of consumer products seem to be disposable - it is impossible or financially impractible to repair them or just find parts. Money burns straight through my wife's pockets. If she has extra cash she will look for an excuse to spend it. We are already acting like old people arguing about the thermostat, the clothes dryer, and the hot water.

    Ramon
  10. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
    Messages:
    6,409
    Loc:
    S.NH- Mass's smoking section
    awesome topic

    I do a fair bit for myself, but we eat out too much with friends etc.

    I need to beef up/be serious about the garden this year.
  11. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    Messages:
    4,349
    Loc:
    Northern MN
    For better or worse, eating out with friends is a primary form of social contact for my wife and I. We don't golf, play tennis, workout at a club, etc. Our normal life is very physically active for both of us. Life in a very rural area means intentional get-togethers, eating out with others, and meeting at the local bar in the middle of nowhere for a brewski and conviviality.
  12. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Messages:
    14,893
    Loc:
    Northern IL
    I'm in!
  13. mbcijim

    mbcijim Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2008
    Messages:
    419
    Loc:
    Schuylkill County, Pa
    I'm the last one to talk about saving money.... BUT I just bought a 3 year old solid wood bedroom set w/dovetail drawers (Queen bed, 1 end table, 1 dresser with mirror, and 1 tall dresser) for all of $750.

    The set will last a lifetime, and new it would cost at least $3,500 and probably $4,000-$6,000.

    I did have to check Craigslist/Ebay daily for 2 months, but I saved a ton of money.
  14. WoodMann

    WoodMann Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Messages:
    649
    Loc:
    New Mexico
    I drive like a grandpa, mostly...................
  15. szmaine

    szmaine New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    371
    Loc:
    Mid-Coast Maine
    Fun thread I missed -

    Frugal but not penny wise pound foolish.

    Buy good quality used whenever possible-clothes, household items etc
    Recycled materials for home improvement when ever possible- husband is slowly but surely putting a corrugated metal roof on our large 40x60 gambrel barn - bought the roofing for $300, plus screws and the Henry roof coating will probably end up costing $800 all together. Bathroom curtain made out of old lace tablecloth, window quilts made from an old quilt, stuff like that...

    Do all our own repairs on car and home - except the new boiler.
    Garden, bees, maple syrup making.
    Chest freezer: garden veggies and stock up on meat when on sale, like to get 3-4 turkeys when they are on sale at Thanksgiving for 50 cent lb.
    Make wise investments: new efficient wood stove, 30% off with tax credit, new efficient boiler, 30% rebate from Efficiency Maine,
    new Energy Star fridge (one that came with the house died last summer), $75 rebate also from Efficiency Maine.

    Insulate, insulate, insulate and then insulate some more.
  16. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    47,003
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    If you get one book on this topic, I highly recommend "Your Money or Your Life" by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin. It's the most commonsense approach toward understanding our relationship to money that I've read. Easy reading, this is not a deep financial book. Instead, it's a commonsense understanding of the difference between making a living and making a life.

    http://www.amazon.com/Your-Money-Li...=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1297532985&sr=1-1
  17. colebrookman

    colebrookman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    Messages:
    776
    Loc:
    Middlefield, Ma
    Pick me up on the way Jags.
    Ed
  18. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Messages:
    12,289
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    I drive really carefully - get the most MPG, that's for sure!
    We are vegetarian, which probably makes our food cheaper than some, especially when eating out. We eat out quite often - for as little as $20 for the both of us!
    Our local radio station sells 30% off coupons for many of the places we frequent, so that saves even more.

    Of course, we grind our own coffee beans and make it at home.....only use Starbucks on the road or for a treat.

    We just returned from a few days in Nassau - food was really high at the hotel, and not so good anyway! We found a market 1/2 mile up the road and bought all kinds of things, from yogurt to instant oatmeal to trail mix. That way, we got away with one meal (buffet or at the grill) a day at the high prices.
    Vacation was booked on cheapcarribean - $750 for two people for 4 nights including airfare from Florida where we were visiting our parents.
    We didn't do any tours since they are crazy expensive and quite cheesy, rather used the free watersports, pool, ocean, etc. at the resort. We took buses into town ($1.25) instead of cabs.

    I sell things I do not need - old coin collections, electronics and stuff I am not using, etc.....on ebay or craigslist and build up paypal money. We then use the money to book flights when going certain places (southwest and many others take paypal).

    Of course, we also have plenty of US Airways miles from our credit cards......

    I have always done most home repairs - and even additions, etc. - not handy with cars, though...new ones are too complicated anyway.

    I take care of all my computers, networks, etc. myself.

    Looking at it from the other end, I can't think of anything that we DO spend a lot of money on....except helping our our kids and stuff like that. We do have a summer cottage, which is really nice, but that is likely to hold it's value and it pretty much means we don't even have to go anywhere else for getaways or vacations.

    Mostly, we have saved.......for about 25 years.....as much as possible, while investing in the stock market via Vanguard and other stuff, so we can keep up with inflation and more.
    Oh, we keep lights off and also have three thermostats (zoned heat) and keep them down below 60 at virtually all times.
    We do all our own snow clearing and most of our own gardening, except when we get lazy we will have someone do the grass cutting.

    I often buy my computers refurb or at least with education discounts.

    We don't buy jewelry or anything much of that sort......
  19. Later

    Later New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2009
    Messages:
    456
    +1 and my entertainment is the looks on the faces of the people I pi## off.
  20. fishingpol

    fishingpol Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2010
    Messages:
    2,052
    Loc:
    Merrimack Valley, MA
    We use a outside clothesline in the nice weather and have one of those dryer vent boxes witht he flippy lever to put heat into the basement.

    Leftovers- When making dinner, I always make extra and have enough left for my lunch the next day plus the wife for her lunch. Some guys I work with buy lunch almost everyday anywhere from $7.00 - $10.00 for subs and a drink.

    I bought a bushel of butternut squash for half the cost of supermarket prices in the fall and still have a few left. They are in cool storage in the basement. We freeze what isn't eaten and re-heat at another meal.
  21. pyper

    pyper New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2010
    Messages:
    491
    Loc:
    Deep South
    I like to spend money, but I don't like to waste it.

    * I drove each of my last two cars over 200,000 miles.

    * I rarely buy coffee out, except while on business travel. And then it's usually either McD or at a truck stop.

    * We have a Visa card tied to an oil company -- 5% rebate on gasoline -- that's about 15 cents a gallon, which adds up when you put 200,000 miles on a car.

    * Make my own lunch for work.

    * Buy things on sale at grocery store.

    * Grow fruits and vegetables.

    * Fix stuff myself when possible.

    Here's a counter-intuitive one: subscribe to Netflix. OK, so this is $10 a month. But my wife used to spend more than that a month on Blockbuster.

    We definitely saved on our electric bill by burning wood, especially that week we were snowed in and burned 24/7. Didn't offset the cost of buying and putting in the stove though, which has only seen two seasons of use and now we've bought a new house. But at least I learned about burning wood so I will make better purchase decisions next time.
  22. mayhem

    mayhem Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 8, 2007
    Messages:
    1,938
    Loc:
    Peru, MA
    Things I do to save money:

    - Use lights strategically in the house...and most are CFL's.
    - In the winter I vent my dryer exhaust into the basement. When we use it, it helps heat and humidify the basement, which is normally cold and dry in the winter.
    - Year round we hang most of our wet clothes to dry. The woodstove dries them nicely and the extra moisture in the air is good for us. Ran n experiment and dried every scrap of clothing we washed for a full electric billing cycle and then hung every scrap the next full billing cycle. For a family of 3 we use about $22 a month in electricicty to dry our clothes.
    - Shut off the boiler for most of the night when all it does is maintain the hot water tank. I can run a full load of dishes and have a quick shower on whats in the tank. I get up 10 minutes early in the morning and turn on the switch so I there's plenty of hot water when I take my morning shower...I run the bedroom heat zones at the same time to save on the boiler cycling time and to pre-heat the bedrooms before the family gets up.
    - I burn wood, lots of it. Wood stove was about $4000 total bopught new and installed...saves me a minimum of 1000 gallons of oil per year.
    - I drive my full size pickup as my daily driver. Did the math and until gas gets closer to $5.50 a gallon, its cheaper to run my truck 15,000 miles a year than it is to carry fuel, maintenance, insurance and taxes on a third car.
    - I keep my car and truck in good running order. Tire inflation gets you the biggest bang for your buck across the short term, proper maintenance helps the most over the long term.
    - I drink alot of water.
    _ I don't drink alcohol at all.
    - I don't smoke.
    - I plow my own driveway, saves me about $1000 a year, and thats with my neighbor doing my driveway for $25 a pass (crazy low price).
    - I do my own home and auto repiars. Most wind up being easier to do than I originally thought.
  23. sesmith

    sesmith Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2009
    Messages:
    187
    Loc:
    Central NY
    I try to be as frugal as possible and not waste unnecessary energy and materials.
    Drive a fuel efficient car and ride a bike to work (when it's not snowy)...try to use the truck only for "truck" things like hauling firewood.
    Do all my own car and home repairs. Have beefed up the insulation levels in my house and replaced all the windows and doors.
    Cut and split all my wood from our property and heat mostly with wood...use less than 20 gal of oil a year.
    Bought a "Save-a-watt" meter about a year ago and used it to find spots where we were wasting electricity. Best $20 I ever spent.
    Added a solar hot air collector which is supplying about 25% of our heat (the larger of the 2 here):

    http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/SpaceHeating/DownSpout/DownSpout.htm

    Made some changes to our horse stock tank heater here (it's saving us a lot on electricity):

    http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/WaterHeating/InsulatedStockTank/InsulatedStockTank.htm

    Refitted my older wood stove with secondary air tubes to get a more efficient, cleaner burn out of it instead of replacing the stove. This is saving us about 11% on our wood use.

    Solar hot water collector is in the plans for this summer.

    I drink the good beer...I'm saving enough on the other stuff that I can afford it :)
  24. dvellone

    dvellone Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2006
    Messages:
    449
    Don't know if anyone else mentioned this one, but I hijack and throw out all the catalogs that fill my po box to overflowing...except for a couple tool and woodworking ones that I keep...just to look at.
  25. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2009
    Messages:
    2,313
    Loc:
    SW Virginia
    We've adopted the rule of "halves". That is, try using half of something and see how it works. This worked well for laundry detergent, deodorant, shampoo, dishwashing soap etc. Of course you need to be smart enough not to try half the specified amount of oil in your engine ore half the dose of antibiotics, etc.

    This also works for dieting. :)

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