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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. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2009
    Messages:
    4,084
    Loc:
    Central PA
    My wife loves yard sales and we buy a lot of things there. For example, I scoop the ashes from the wood stove with a $5 set of fireplace tools and store wood near the stove in a $1 rack. She also checks freecycle and we have gotten a lot of useful things there.

    We raise chickens and grow a garden. I really don't think that has saved us any money yet, and probably never will, but the eggs, meat, and vegetables are better than store bought and we enjoy the partial self-sufficiency.
    Thistle likes this.

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  2. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2010
    Messages:
    4,206
    Loc:
    Central IA
    Stuff I've done for years actually -
    roughly 98% of all my books were bought used via local flea markets,garage sales or online sellers
    clip coupons
    shop in bulk/Costco etc when needed
    Wear shirts,jeans,boots,socks etc until they're literally worn out.Then afterwards using socks,t shirts,legs from denim jeans for rags in the shop/garage & around the home/yard.
    Watch weekly sale ad at local grocery stores
    grow a few veggies on my postage stamp and a bunch of herbs
    Canning/Preserving/Drying/Freezing some of the same
    Farmer's Markets in season for things I dont have room for or time to grow myself
    Gathering Black Walnuts myself in the Fall,running them through old corn sheller to remove the husks,washing,cleaning & drying them them leaving them stored in the shell in 5 gallon buckets until I crack them for later use.Not sure there's any cost saving here,even when buying them $10/lb ready to eat.Processing them is very labor intensive,back-breaking & is time consuming.But I enjoy doing it.
    Doing all my home repair/maintenance/restoration. Building most all the furniture in the house such as bookcases,bookcase/headboard bedframe combo,coffee & end tables,plant stands,few chairs,dining room table,small benches & footstools,several cabinets & tool chests etc.
    Gradually better insulation/weatherproofing for this 85+ yr old stucco & brick 2 story house.
    Turn off lights or A/C in summer in rooms not being used.
    Not buying bottled water,using from the tap with a Brita filter.Not buying coffee out every morning except 2-3 times a month if I go for breakfast.Take my lunch to the jobsite - warm weather its a sandwich,piece of fruit or carrots etc with milk & 1 diet coke - Cold weather its the same but thermos of hot usually homemade soup or stew instead.
  3. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2008
    Messages:
    2,003
    Loc:
    Near Williamsport, PA
    We do a lot of what has already been mentioned. It's very mild out today and the Mrs just called me at work to let me know she shut off the boiler(water temp is at 180) and opened our kitchen door to allow the solar gain from the enclosed porch to heat the downstairs....we do this a lot in the spring and autumn.
    Regarding cars...we drive them until they die, but a prerequisite to buying a car is we won't even consider any vehicle that doesn't get a minimal rated mpg. Last car bought was new in 97 and at that time our minimal standard was 30mpg....another purchase will unfortunately be probably in the next year or so and the new car will need to get minimal 35 mpg or it won't make it to our "list". I will normally set the cruise control to the speed limit to help conserve gas on any highway driving.
    We have a small aquarium and I do a 25% water change on a regular basis...we use the old water from the fish tank to water the houseplants. Staying on water, we use a downspout from the barn roof to fill the large water bucket for the horses. Once I get my woodshed built I'll use a rain barrel under a downspout to help water the flowers and veggies.
    We do splurge by watching dvd movies through an energy hog full blown surround system....but we watch them in the dark so we feel a little better about it:)
  4. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    48,332
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    Good point, home entertainment systems can be big power suckers if components are not selected carefully. Big plasma screens and big inefficient amps can draw a lot of watts. Our tv and surround sound system were selected for efficiency by using an all digital, class D amp. Maximum power draw 140watts, though most of the time it's a lot less.
  5. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2010
    Messages:
    3,687
    Loc:
    Indiana
    I only spend money on things I can't do for myself....whether that's time or talent.

    1. I heat about 90% with wood.
    2. I cut my own wood.
    3. I do all my home improvement work. The only thing I hire out (very rare) is what presents a safety risk (HVAC, large scale electrical).
    4. Grow a garden.
    5. Bring lunch to work...and work from home when I can (40%).
    6. Do all auto maintenance and repair including oil changes.
    7. 100% CFL bulbs...and keep them off as much as possible.
    8. Don't go out to movies, rarely to dinner, never to bars (but I do enjoy the adult beverages!!)
    9. I don't pay for TV
    10. I only buys clothes at DEEP discount, but I do spend good money on boots, shoes and coats.
    11. I don't pay interest.
    12. Wife cuts hair me and kids.
    13. Cut my own grass.
    14. I don't buy "man toys"...I buy only the "tools" I need.


    I'm sure there are more.
  6. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2009
    Messages:
    2,348
    Loc:
    SW Virginia
    Oh yeah. We've used a Flowbee for haircuts for the past 20 years. Its probably the best investment, as far as monetary savings, that I've ever made.
  7. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2009
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    2,348
    Loc:
    SW Virginia
    Our whole entertainment center is on one power strip that we turn off when not using being entertained. Its pretty amazing the amount of power these devices consume when "off".
  8. crossout

    crossout Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2010
    Messages:
    77
    Loc:
    lakeview michigan
    i save a ton by having my g/f pay 1/2 of the bills around here...i like to play hyper miler with my cavalier but my regal gs not so much i can suck up 2 mpg when going wot lol gotta love that supercharger whine!!!!
  9. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2009
    Messages:
    2,026
    Loc:
    The island of Rhum Boogie
    I just rounded up all my plastic shovels and ice scrapers, then repaired/sharpened the edges with a belt sander. Now they work like new. It came about because after 2 trips around a room I was still getting little grooves in my drywall mud because the edge of my trowel was scored. So I went on a grinding/sanding spree. Its true that you can never waste time sharpening a tool. The kids I work with are used to throwing out drill bits when they get dull, $40 uni-bits included.

    I also re-shaped my screwdrivers.
  10. katwillny

    katwillny Guest

    As always, Dennis provides great tips. You are wise beyond your years my friend.
  11. StihlHead

    StihlHead Guest

    I drink PBR. Often times for free, as others pass it up. Also the GF hates it, so I save there too. O/w she will drink the ~last~ beer in the house!

    I also get free stuff on CL. Free fire wood, free plants, free pallets, free construction materials, free hair cuts, etc.

    I not only shop for food at WinCo, but I shop at WinCo's bulk food area. I also grow a lot of food here.

    I buy stuff that I need at the ReStore and Goodwill stores here.

    Gasoline prices are a pain... as is the electric bill.

    No heating bill here, I only burn wood for heat.

    No water bill here, I have a well.

    No sewer bill here, I have a septic system.

    No garbage bill here, I haul mine to recycling or the dump, or donate it to Goodwill or ReStore.

    I do all my own home and auto repairs.

    Taxes are a pain; income and property taxes.

    My house is paid for, which is why I am out in the boonies. But that makes gasoline prices a pain...
  12. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2010
    Messages:
    4,206
    Loc:
    Central IA
    I look for all kinds of free stuff on Craigslist - can be firewood/logs,construction lumber/plywood,other building material,certain vegetables or fruit in season,a little of everything.'
    Havent been to a regular barber in 11 yrs.Let my ponytail grow out & once every 6 months or so I trim the ends even with scissors.Last time I checked the barber 2 blocks from home (who I went to for years) charged $15 for a haircut,that's no matter if you wanted a trim or it all chopped off.Beard trims were $5 regardless.Screw that ;)
    Buy my jeans,most sweatshirts/t shirts for work at DAV,Goodwill (just bought 2 pair tonight after dinner),garage sales & the occasional flea market.I cant see paying full price for new ones when they get trashed on the job in a few months anyway.
    Pack my own lunch for work,only time I dont is if employer has a special 'safety lunch' the next day,with pizza or sandwiches etc brought in.
    I drink water from the tap with a Brita filter,keep a gallon jug full in the fridge at all times.Rarely when eating out do I have anything but ice water to drink.Just occasionally I'll have a cup of coffee,ice tea or if its late afternoon/evening,a cold beer.
    I drink PBR,Leinenkugel's Original Lager,Old Style & Grain Belt & a couple other cheaper regional domestics at home.Whatever's on sale that week/month pretty much.Once in a while I'll have a Guinness,Woodchuck Cider or Spaten Lager when I feel like splurging.Though I do like a couple different 10 & 15 yr old Single Malt Scotches(neat) & JD Black w/Coca Cola, one of those bottles will last me close to a year.
    I cut probably 90% of the wood I burn off parents land - They're upper 70's to early 80's & couldnt do the work anymore nor afford to hire it done anyway.Helps keep their property looking nice,helps keep me in shape & saves on natural gas bill during the winter months.
    Most all the wooden furniture in the house such as bookcases,coffee/end tables,some benches,cabinets etc I've built myself over the past 20+ yrs.All except dining room table & chairs.
    Do my own tax returns,home repair/maintenance/remodeling & truck maintenance.Basic small engine stuff too like sharpening chains,mower blades,nothing real elaborate like rebuilding though.
    Grow a few veggies/lots of herbs,cant do much with small lot though it helps.
    Buy certain things in bulk to save on packaging & trips to the store.Walk to the mailbox down the street when I have letters to mail instead of driving to Post Office which I only do when mailing stuff I sold on Ebay.
    Plus the usual stuff like combining trips the same day when running errands/doctor appointments to save on gas,shutting off lights/appliances/AC in rooms not used etc.Turning thermostat down when gone/at night.
  13. katwillny

    katwillny Guest

    Great Thread. Very informative.
    One of the things we do as a family is try to limit eating out. In my teens and early 20s I used to work for a hotel chain as a kitchen helper so I enjoy cooking.
    Heating costs are relatively low as we heat with wood and wood pellets and i live on Craigslist in search of free wood.
    Installed energy efficient water heater
    My commute is 50 miles each way so I try to work remote as often as possible, due to this I get my internet access paid by my company as my duties as a SA are pretty much 24x7
    Both my wife and I try to mind where every dollar goes and why. We are in our mid 30s and are pumping as much into our retirement fund as we can as well as our 529 plan for our kids.
    I do most home repairs and vehicle repair with the help of my old man or one of my buddies from work. I refuse to pay for something that I can do on my own, there is something inherently wrong with paying someone to do something that I can do myself so that I can sit and watch tv or lallygag. If I break it, then Ill try not to do it again, it serves as a learning experience. We are not cheap, we just work very hard and dont like to spend frivolously, my dear wife is a nurse so she is on her feet for 12 hours a day, that alone makes me feel guilty when spending on junk.
  14. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2007
    Messages:
    520
    Enter homebrewing ...
  15. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    Nov 26, 2008
    Messages:
    2,663
    Loc:
    Eastern MA
    Yeah, sure... and burning wood saves me money too... if I ignore the truck, saw, other cutting gear....
  16. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    When I grow up, I want to be just like you.
  17. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    We never joined a china club.....
    Never paid off a credit card over time.
    Never took a loan on anything other than a house or a car.

    Never bought new furniture in any quantity (just a piece here and there) - mostly hand-me-down, yard sale, discount, etc.
    Never lent much money or friends (or, at least, never lent to anyone who I expected to pay it back).

    But probably the biggest savings have come from my DIY - we almost never contracted out anything in the last 30+ years.

    Note: some of these things are changing now because we saved so much money from them, that we can now afford some of 'em.
  18. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    6,688
    Loc:
    Sand Lake, NY
    Starbucks fills my 16 oz. mug for 1.29 after tax.
  19. Ehouse

    Ehouse Minister of Fire

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    Jul 22, 2011
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    Loc:
    Upstate NY
    Gave up the pickup for a lite trailer behind the CRV. Necessary second car can now be more fuel efficient.

    Ehouse
  20. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    Jan 15, 2009
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    Loc:
    The island of Rhum Boogie
    A free Mr. Beer kit cost me $650 worth of kettles, bottles and some cleaner I keep in a squirt gun, a majority of which I picked up used. You can't brew it for what it costs to buy it (even empty bottles cost more money than your average Bud longneck), but I like the good stuff and I love the lab. I figure after propane + lost investment opportunities I need to drink a beer/day for 5 years.
  21. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2007
    Messages:
    520

    For $80 I got three glass carboys, 2 buckets (one for primary, a second for bottling), siphons, tubing, a bottler, a corker, and even a bottle drying rack - Craigslist. I saved bottles from purchased product for a while and got the guys at work to save theirs as well. Already had a big outdoor burner and large pots from canning. I brew Northern Brewer kits at under $30 a pop and get a little over two cases of great beer so I'm in the $0.60/beer range viewing the $80 craigslist supplies as a one time sunk cost. Like anything else, you can certainly save money if you don't let it snowball.
    SmokeyTheBear likes this.
  22. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    Oct 17, 2008
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    Loc:
    Eastern Central PA
    I bought one for a dark hallway that stays on 24/7 its about 1.2 watts. It was $6 but since it stays on all the time im sure it will pay for itself.
  23. Jack Straw

    Jack Straw Minister of Fire

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    Schoharie County, N Y
    Why not put it on a motion sensor?
  24. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    Eastern Central PA
    One rule i have is if i save money using some of the aforementioned ways i try not to waste it on something stupid.
  25. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    At this point id rather leave it on ,at 1 watt i get 1000 hours for about 10c, less that $1 a year

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