What else do you do to save money?

Jack Straw Posted By Jack Straw, Feb 5, 2010 at 10:34 PM

  1. Jack Straw

    Jack Straw
    Minister of Fire 2.

    Dec 22, 2008
    Schoharie County, N Y
    I just the thread about the couple who lived with no heat. I was wondering what other members of this site did do save money. We have a clothes drying rack, my wife cuts my hair, we brown bag it for lunch at work, we grow some vegies, I repair most evrything around the house and can do some car repairs. What do you do?
  2. Jags

    Moderate Moderator 2.
    Staff Member

    Aug 2, 2006
    Northern IL
    If I plan on having more than 3 beers, I go to the cheap stuff.
  3. adrpga498

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Nov 18, 2005
    New Jersey
    I spend alot of time reading things here on the forums rather then running to the mall or going out to get a few drinks,etc. Hence this web site keeps me outta trouble. Thats a savings in itself in my book.
    jimbom likes this.
  4. Highbeam

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Dec 28, 2006
    Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
    To save hot water we wash clothes with cold water, installed low flow fixtures on showers and even my newest toilet is a dual flush model which doesn't save hot water but does save water.

    We bought a huge freezer a year or more back that we have filled with "on sale" meat and produce from the garden. We are more able to buy the things that we use in bulk.

    I made a "coat hanger" style tv antenna that allows me to get all my local channels plus many more for free. All in HD when broadcast in HD of course. I haven't quite been able to cut the comcast cable cord but I know that I can. These antennas work great and all I had to buy was a single 3" adapter to go from coax to the antenna.
  5. billjustbill

    Member 2.

    Dec 26, 2008
    I try to see saving money in two ways: Daily and Long Term
  6. azsteven

    New Member 2.

    Nov 6, 2009
    Boston Suburbs
    One small thing that adds up to a lot:
    I make my own coffee. I figured out I had been spending $3.35/day at the coffee shop near the office (1 large cup in the AM, 1 medium cup in the afternoon). Times 250 days a year = $837/year. I bought a mini coffee major for my office, and now coffee costs me about $50/year.

    One big thing which adds up to a lot:
    We're paying an extra $250/month on our mortgage. This extra payment will shorten our loan from 30 years down to 23 years. Not only will the house be paid off sooner, we'll save almost $100,000 in interest over the life of the loan.
    SmokeyTheBear likes this.
  7. jadm

    New Member 2.

    Dec 31, 2007
    Just had to comment on this.

    Since finding this forum I have bought:

    1- a new insert
    2- a moisture meter
    3-an IR thermometer
    4- an ash rake
    5- new poker
    5a- another new poker because one I ordered wasn't length I wanted and the tip kept loosening...
    6- new ash shovel
    7- fireproof gloves - long and short
    8- small roasting pan to put hot ashes in
    9- a fireproof vacuum (cougar)
    10- case of SuperCedars
    11- new wood storage racks - 3 built outside by a local handyman
    12- sturdier tarps to cover top of wood
    13- large utility type wagon to load wood in
    14- bungee cords to hold tarps in place
    15- an extend-a-flue to add length to my chimney when I got the new insert
    16- lots of acupuncture treatments to help heal a pulled psoras muscle that got strained pulling the utility cart around loaded with wood....
    17- a Fiskars super splitting axe
    18- a Black and Decker mini alligator chain saw


    Before finding this forum, I never knew most of this stuff even existed.

    To keep with the intent of this thread...all of the above help us save on heating bills but will take several years before we break even.

    I live with 2 teenagers so trying to save money is like shoveling snow while it is still snowing. I save by buying them the 'basics'. Anything above that they have to pay for themselves.
  8. Dix

    Minister of Fire 2.

    May 27, 2008
    Long Island, NY
    But Perp, you are a much more well rounded person now, with all this knowledge, etc :p

    LMAO !! It's like horses..you get a horse, you need a halter, a saddle, a blanket, shoes..you get the drift.
  9. SolarAndWood

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Feb 3, 2008
    Syracuse NY
    but they are cheaper than diesel right? or is that just an eccentric trying to rationalize farming with horses?
  10. Berone

    Member 2.

    Sep 17, 2007
    Peekskill, NY
    I sat on the floor, playing with my son and said "huh– where are those drafts coming from"? Today I put a sweep on the bottom of the pantry door and felt around the door stop. Also put a "draft dodger" under the basement door and the front door. When I walked into the house this evening the room was noticeably warmer. Never noticed the drafts before we had a kid!
  11. TomB

    Member 2.

    Nov 20, 2008
    Northern Illinois
    To save money, the wife and I car pool to work.

    Have installed a tank-less water heater, my old 40 gallon heater was 16 years old and wasting propane to heat the tank all the time.

    We have replaced all of our light bulbs with the compact fluroscent bulbs.

    Unplug all battery chargers when not in use, have the tv and electonics plugged into a power strip and turn off the power strip.

    Heat exclusively with wood

    Eat out only a few times a month: pizza

    Buy side of beef from the neighbor: half the price of supermarket meat with no chemicals or drugs added

    Raise our own chickens and sell the extra eggs

    sharpen my own saw chains

    and generally buy only quality mechandise

  12. LLigetfa

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Nov 9, 2008
    NW Ontario
    I know why you called it the "sore as" muscle cuz it can get sore as hell. I have arthritis in my sacro-iliac which can lead to inflamation of the psoas major. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psoas_major_muscle

    Ja, a lot of us spend money in an effort to save money, the ROI of which may be long term. It's hard to show the ROI on spending $1000 on a woodshed to hold $1200 worth of firewood that was split with a hydraulic splitter which displaces relatively cheap natural gas. I'm still trying to justify a CUT or SCUT with FEL, and a quad, and a 3/4 ton 4X4, and a trailer, and, and, and...

    I do all my own wrenching on my OPE and sharpen my own chains. I did most of the work building my house. I clean my own chimney. We keep a small herb and vegetable garden. We buy some food in bulk and take advantage of sales to stock up. We do a lot of double-up mortgage payments to save interest.

    Wood heat is more of a lifesytyle thing and my exercise program than it is about saving scads of money. The savings help to offset the cost associated with heating with wood.
  13. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage
    Minister of Fire 2.

    Feb 14, 2007
    We have attempted to live a frugal lifestyle for many years but still have managed to do many things that might not be called so frugal, such as wintering in Arizona 5 years in a motor home. But here are just a few things we do and have done over many, many moons:

    Many moons ago we determined that paying interest was foolish and expensive so our goal was to live debt free and we have for over 30 years now. We have purchased several new items in that time including vehicles but have continued to pay cash and therefore have paid much less for them. Sort of like buying on closeout.

    Credit cards: Here is one thing that is a sore spot for many. It seems the average credit card debt is over $10,000 now. You would think with us living debt free that we would not have credit cards....but we do! Why not? We can purchase things (almost everything) on credit cards and get money back, which makes the purchase cheaper. As long as the credit card bill is paid in full monthly there is no interest charge.

    People have asked us about buying certain things and we tell them that we won't buy it if we don't have the money for it. "But why do you have to have the money for it if you are buying it on a credit card?" they ask. Well, we do not want debt and we do not want to pay interest. The way we do things is simply to pay for our months purchase at one time rather than every time we buy something and we are rewarded with dollars returned to us.

    Heat: Naturally, we heat with wood. I cut all of our wood off of our own land. I split and stack the wood, etc. I cut the wood with our own chain saw, haul the wood with our own atv and trailer, etc.

    Food: We do grow a vegetable garden (about 1/2 acre) and have lots of fruit trees, raspberry bushes, etc. We have 2 freezers to store the food. We hunt on our own land and put up the meat ourselves. We usually take only 1 or 2 deer per year and then can all of the meat which makes delicious tasting food which is extremely low in cholesterol producing fats (the meat is not marbled like it is in beef). We even grow sunflowers to produce seeds for bird feeding.

    Other foods we buy in quantities when on sale. For example, I eat a lot of Yoplait yogurt. Vanilla, low-fat. I used to eat lots of ice cream but had to stop so now I freeze this Yoplait yogurt and eat it like ice cream and it is delicious. The yogurt is expensive so we buy it only when it is on sale. Then we buy several cases at a time, up to 15.

    Clothing: We buy very little new clothing compared to the average family. We simply make clothing last as long as possible and do not worry about fashion. We are very picky in what we do buy and buy as cheaply as possible.

    Utilities: We attempt to keep our telephone and electric bills as low as we can within reason. Although we do have Internet now we have had it only for a few years. We make very few long distance phone calls. We have one cell phone and that only because it was a gift. It is rarely used.

    We heat very little water. Laundry is done using cold water and the clothes are dried either outdoors on the solar clothes drier or else on racks by the heating stove. Showers are taken with the shower running only for rinsing. Our dishwasher (the wife) uses very little hot water as there are only two of us.

    Children: We kicked the kids out.

    Family car: We buy new cars for cash. We do not have automatic transmission because we can get better gas mileage with a standard transmission. This also saves us around $1,000 or more in the cost of the car. We drive slow (most of the time) getting better gas mileage. Our present car averages around 38 mpg and we can get well over 40 mpg during the summer months. We also cut our driving as much as possible to save on gas costs. We also have a gas credit card which returns 5% on the cost of gas. This adds up to a lot over a year's time.

    These are just a few of the things we do to cut costs. There are many, many more and once you start it starts a lifestyle and you will find yourself doing many little things to cut costs.
    btuser likes this.
  14. njtomatoguy

    Feeling the Heat 2.

    Jun 20, 2006
    Maple Shade, NJ
    I heat with wood.
    I bought a 4x6 utility trailer, out of my commission checks at work,
    which enables me to get wood and save on delivery charges on other items.

    In the past few months, my toaster,microwave, and dryer all bit the dust. Have not replaced any of them.
    I was horrible with the dryer, too lazy to fold, so I ran a damp towel in the dryer with that days clothes everyday.

    I quit drinking. Saving a ton of money with that alone.
    Installed CFL bulbs in all light fixtures I use regularly.
    I am a serious shopper. I shop after I receive the next weeks sales flyers, planning my menu accordingly.
    In my laundry/utility room, I have a pantry with basic staples.
    I cook almost every meal. Never have coffee out.
    I bought a refillable water bottle when my company went green last year, and have not bought bottled water since. I used to drink 2 cases a week of bottled water.
    I change my own oil, cut my own grass, shovel my own snow.
    I have a garden from april until nov, and usually freeze a lot.
  15. northwinds

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Jul 9, 2006
    south central WI
    I tried that, but the nine-year old and the twelve-year old complained until we let them back in again.

    Some great tips, especially the credit card. Not only do you get money back for spending, but you get
    a multi-week float where you get to keep the money until it's due and you get a nice itemized list
    of what you spend each month.

    We don't buy a lot of what we call "people stuff." Our cars are not fancy. I've got a vw diesel golf with a
    hitch and small trailer and 94k miles. Our house cost much less than what the bankers told us we could
    afford for monthly payments. Because we doubled up on payments and then some, our house was paid
    off before I turned 40. Those payments now go to the kids' college funds. If we are fortunate, my kids
    will continue working hard and will be able to help pay for college through jobs and scholarships. We
    live without satellite tv or cable. I can get most of the stuff I want off the internet connection.

    I roast my own coffee from green coffee beans and make my own beer.
  16. Bigg_Redd

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Oct 19, 2008
    Shelton, WA
    I have no cable/satellite.

    I drive a 1994 Toyota Corolla (which I bought in 1999 and have never had a note on).

    When I bought a truck in 2007 I bought a 1999

    I spend real money for boots & shoes, but it's WalMart for all my other clothes

    I drink PBR or Oly (whichever is in sale)

    I drive the speed limit

    I haul my own garbage to the dump
  17. Highbeam

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Dec 28, 2006
    Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
    Good one red, I too haul my own garbage to the dump. I laugh at the weekly garbage truck rolling down the road that wants to charge me 40$ per month to pick up one can. Instead, I have a row of six cans and every two months I load them into the pickup and take them to the dump (a transfer station, three miles away) where I am chaged 20$ to dump the cans. This is one of those things where the only initial investment is extra cans but the savings are instant.

    Some of these things seem so obvious that I hadn't really considered them to be a decision. Like making my own coffee and packing my own lunch for work. We've just always done this becuase the alternative is ridiculously expensive.

    I drive the big noisy stinky diesel truck to work every day. This saves me money over buying a second mpg vehicle since my commute is only 8 miles. I only burn a gallon of diesel per day on the commute and cutting that in half for a gas saver car doesn't even pay for the additional insurance bill for having a second commuter vehicle even if it was free. Some things defy logic.
  18. DBoon

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Jan 14, 2009
    Central NY
    I simply try to avoid buying anything that is absolutely not necessary. Think long and hard about it, and if you still really need it, then buy it.

    My mortgages are being paid down at an accelerated rate. Paying someone else a 6% rate of return while earning just 2% in the stock market in the last 10 years is ridiculously dumb, I've come to conclude. Guaranteed 6% is better than risking a lot to get 2%, and it doesn't matter what the "tax deduction" is.

    I buy few things, but when I do buy, I buy high quality. I don't want to buy something twice. This goes for everything. High quality doesn't mean "luxury", it just means honest value, and definitely not Chinese made garbage. I avoid buying anything from China whenever possible - yes, this saves money. Everything from China breaks, then I have to buy it again. That is not saving money. Therefore, I avoid WalMart, Harbor Freight, etc. like the plague. If something is only made in China, I probably won't buy it.

    If I can, I choose to buy something simple rather than something with lots of bells and whistles. Simple lasts longer, in my experience.

    I drive simple American-made economy cars and maintain them to last. I put 225,000 miles on a 1996 Saturn SL (manual transmission, manual steering, manual everything), then sold that to a friend for $250, and she is still driving it (now at 255,000 miles). Now, I have a 2002 Saturn SL that I bought used for $7000 with 24,000 miles on it, and following the same routine. I have found no quality difference in American cars vs. Japanese cars, just a lot of marketing hype and higher prices. If you maintain it, it will last.

    For many years (10+) I rode a bicycle to work and my wife and I made do with one car. That saves a lot of money.

    I do just about everything I can to reduce my energy bills - insulate all pipes, installed R-25 HW heater, then insulated it, insulate house all around, storm windows, low water use appliances, CFLs, etc. We don't run AC. My electric bills are about as low as they can go. If I can buy something that will pay me back over 7-10 years or less, I do it.

    Clothes are dried either by the stove or on the clothesline.

    Wash my own car, change my own oil, cut my own wood, etc.

    Grow a lot of our own food - makes a huge difference + better quality.

    And most importantly, I try avoid buying anything at all unless I really need it.
  19. azsteven

    New Member 2.

    Nov 6, 2009
    Boston Suburbs
    +137 -- you don't know how right you are. Investing in the stock market is a risky investment, and paying down your debt is a risk-free investment. Even if your stock investments (e.g. in a retirement plan) exceeded the 6% rate on your mortgage, it would be 6% earned while taking the risk that you might lose all your money -- or even half of it. The guaranteed rate of return you earn by paying down your mortgage is (under most conditions) the absolute best risk free investment you can make.

    As to the tax deductions for mortgage interest, this is not the real "tax advantage" of home ownership. Most homeowners with a mortgage end up taking the standard deduction, and then do not benefit from the mortgage interest tax deduction at all. There is a great tax advantage from home ownership, but it comes in the form of living rent-free in your own house. Consider: if you had to earn $12000/year ($25,000-$30,000 per year in Boston) to rent your housing, those would be after-tax dollars, and you would need to pay taxes on those earnings before you can pay your rent. By living in your own paid-off home, you need not earn those dollars and then you don't have to pay taxes on those dollars.

    OK, time to take off my finance professor hat.
  20. skinnykid

    New Member 2.

    May 6, 2008
    Next to a lake in NH
    It is hard to save $ I have 2 small kids and me and the woman are both skinny and LOVE to eat since it doesn't affect us badly but......

    She cuts my hair
    I brown bag it to work
    Heat with wood 90% instead of propane
    We sometimes use coupons.
    Cut my own fire wood instead of buy
    Buy most things cash.

    My biggest source of money out is our new Mortgage, once my truck is payed off (soon) and we do a couple upgrades to the house, I am gonna concentrate on paying my Mortgage off quicker, either it be bi-weekly or and extra payment here and there. OT got cut off at work so I am working with base pay right now.
  21. PapaDave

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Feb 23, 2008
    Northern MI - in the mitten
    Not to be a pain, but this is what everyone should do. OT is not what you base ANYTHING on. It's nice when you can get it, but don't count on it.
  22. Jack Straw

    Jack Straw
    Minister of Fire 2.

    Dec 22, 2008
    Schoharie County, N Y
    Has anyone tried the new LED bulbs to replace incandescent bulbs. I saw some at lowes but they didn't have any clear ones. They say a 1 watt LED replaces a 45 watt bulb.
  23. jebatty

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Jan 1, 2008
    Northern MN
    About 3 years ago I put together a "sustainability" life-style list for future thinking. My wife and I have made substantial progress on this list, and we remind ourselves of these goals from time to time to bring us back to reality.

    move cash to invest in productive land (hard asset): improve, rent out done
    invest in forest land for fuel and lumber done
    buy house and rent out in solid, small community (future move if needed) current house meets many of these, but still considering
    solar capability current home
    town on river for electric generation possibility
    on or near rail line
    water well available current home
    sewer/septic options current home
    with land for large garden possibility: 5 ac for garden current home
    wood heat option; own forest land: 10 ac minimum current home
    solar option: south or SW exposure current home
    good small business downtown a tough one, everything comes from elsewhere
    all needed available locally, walkable ditto
    not likely to be dominated by big box stores current home
    surrounded by agricultural land and active farms current home
    area of organic farming increasing
    improve current land for agricultural use working on this
    learn gardening; sustainability emphasis done
    crops (veg & fruit) for preservation: canning, drying,
    learn how to can/preserve foods
    learn how to raise small animals: chickens, ducks, geese, rabbits working on this
    learn how to care for small cow or goat
    food and water
    milk, cheese, meat
    learn solar energy skills working on this
    solar space heating
    solar cooking, solar oven
    solar domestic hot water
    learn how to minimize use of large electric appliances (washer, dryer, oven, hot water) done
    maintain reasonable stored/dried food supply done
    improve general health and fitness done and still improving
  24. jebatty

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Jan 1, 2008
    Northern MN
    Some of these ideas may help, as my wife and I have implemented all of these.

    High mileage cars since 1986 (32-35 mpg)
    Used cars since 1986
    Tire inflation: 40 psi
    Use trailer w/car rather than pick-up or suv
    Share rides (meetings) as much as possible
    Reduction in vehicle travel (esp solo trips); biggest problem is meetings for community activities

    Insulated all hot water pipes) these 2 together reduced hot water electric usage by 50%
    Insulated hot water heater )
    Off-peak hot water
    Dual heat electric - backup only ($200 total heat bill 2007-2008)
    Wood heat
    Passive solar
    Insulation & caulking – added everywhere possible
    Windows – full replacement with R8 window

    Turn off computers and entertainment center with power strips (really off)
    Unplug device transformers when not being used
    Turn off lights when not being used
    Use ceiling fans only when needed (before ran almost all the time)
    Dehumidifier – reduced setting without adverse effect
    Coffee to insulated pot and coffee maker off
    [above actions reduced electric usage by 30% – Jan/Jun 2008/2007]

    CFL’s and fluorescent for just about all lighting except dimming circuits and outdoors
    Rechargeable batteries
    Dishwasher full loads only
    Dishwasher rinse cycle until full load
    Don’t rinse dishes in sink
    Cold water clothes washing
    “Green” cleaning products, refillable, environmentally friendly
    No air conditioning
    LED night lights
    Outdoor lights on motion detectors (no yard security light dusk/dawn)

    Very low-flow shower head
    Dual flush, ultra low water use toilet (2 qts)
    Flow restrictors on all water faucets (except outdoor)

    No grass watering
    Restored 180 ft of native shoreland (>200 cleared to 20 ft now)
    Rain gardens
    Planted trees – several thousand
    Recycle everything possible
    Purchase used clothing
  25. Bobbin

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Nov 2, 2008
    So. Me.
    I see many like minded people out there. Does my heart glad, too, because it's easy to think that the world is populated with dummies if you don't seek out sites like this one.

    "Money makes a wonderful slave, but a terrible master". I learned the lesson of paying to principal when I was paying back 2 student loans many years ago. I simply rounded the payment up to the next even amount. Paid the loans off over a year early, saving money in the process and have used the technique on every single installment loan I've ever taken out. We did the same thing with respect to our mortgage, at my insistance. When we built the barn we put down a sizeable amount of cash and used a portion of our home's value as collateral. We round the monthly payment up and make a 13th. payment every year. It's painless, really.

    Learning the difference between "need" and "want" is central to financial freedom, in my opinion. Figuring out how to meet your needs while minimizing the expense of them can be fun. We had a room-mate for many years. We split the utilities and the room-mate's rent went straight to the principal of the mortgage. Automatic payroll deductions are a wonderful way to take advantage of pre-tax retirement saving. I never miss the money and it lowers the taxable gross of my earnings.

    I pay for items with bills only. I pocket the change and put it in a jar when I come home. At the end of the month I count it, roll it, and take it to the bank to apply it to the outstanding balance on the home equity loan for the barn. Or I set it aside and save it to purchase some new piece of equipment for my workroom.

    We drive used cars that were purchased with cash. We maintain them as required. I set a goal to drive to work and accomplish all errands on the way home. When I turn the car off for the "weekend" I strive to not turn it on again until it's time to leave for work on Monday. I don't find "staying home" difficult. I like being with the animals and I have all my really cool stuff right here.

    No dryer. No microwave. No fancy appliances. Never had them and don't feel I need them.

    Long time gardeners who need to ratchet up the preserving of bounty for the winter months. We cook meals at home, pack lunches, and eat leftovers. "Going out" holds less draw for me than the husband, but once every couple of weeks is sort of fun. We buy ingredients not packaged "convenience" foods. We're thinking about a freezer, too. And we're interested in CSA (community supported agriculture), esp. with respect to meat.

    All electronics are on strips and turned off when not in use. I haven't figured out the TV antennae thing and deeply resent paying for basic cable TV so we can see the local news. We tried the coathanger thing but we're in a tough place and it didn't work.

    CFLs are beginning to replace incandescents here, but the light is really unattractive so we've been slow to this. Would also like to replace thermostats with programmable ones for less used areas of our home.

    I shop at the thrift store. I bought 2 pairs of very nice jeans for $7 a month ago. I am a seamstress by trade and mend our clothes, often making several garments a year. Quality fabric can be expensive but a properly constructed garment can be very durable. And washing in cold water and hanging dry minimizes unnecessary wear and premature failure.

    We are big on "doing for ourselves", it's fun and it's rewarding. It often takes longer but adding skills is always useful. We've done all the finish work in our home and in the studio over the barn.

    And I'm a big library user. Lots of great books free for the reading. And videos, too!

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