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Last post Author Topic: Going Into Frugality Mode -- What are your Tricks and Tips  (Read 41071 times)

redstarnyc

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Re: Going Into Frugality Mode -- What are your Tricks and Tips
« Reply #25 on: January 28, 2009, 08:39:28 PM »
That would really be a cool idea.

I also have wish list items on the page along with their cost.  It makes me see how by controlling my spending I can have things I really want.

Example:  I've wanted a Sonos system since it came out (I know, I know).  Once I started tracking the "savings" I was accruing I was able to save enough to get it (on ebay, used is always better than new) and save more money.
RedstarNYC

Darwin

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Re: Going Into Frugality Mode -- What are your Tricks and Tips
« Reply #26 on: January 28, 2009, 09:32:09 PM »
Er,... [Darwin clears throat nervously] what about discretionary purchases such as... software! This is the only area in which my spending continues to be just this side of obscene. I bring this up here because I imagine I am not alone on DC in having this compulsion.

I bet I spend over $1000 a year on upgrades and new shareware. Please don't tell Mrs. Darwin or I'll have to change my username to Eunuch  :o
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

cranioscopical

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Re: Going Into Frugality Mode -- What are your Tricks and Tips
« Reply #27 on: January 28, 2009, 09:46:33 PM »
Let me get this clear.  Are you proposing, as an economy measure, to trade in Mrs. Darwin in order to free up more funds for software?


Target

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Re: Going Into Frugality Mode -- What are your Tricks and Tips
« Reply #28 on: January 28, 2009, 10:16:43 PM »
it's been mentioned before, but if you have the space, grow your own fruit and vege's

you don't necessarily need a lot of space, the quality is usually better than anything you can buy, and you will save money.  And you can sell or trade any excess you might produce.

If you don't have the space, look into joining a community garden - you can find these all over (in public open spaces, on rooftops, etc) and not only will you save money on your groceries, you'll likely make some new friends.  An added benefit to these sort of arrangements is that there will be a w i d e variety of produce being grown, and people are always willing to trade or share...
« Last Edit: January 28, 2009, 10:33:51 PM by Target »

kartal

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Re: Going Into Frugality Mode -- What are your Tricks and Tips
« Reply #29 on: January 28, 2009, 10:34:00 PM »
Here are my tips

-No car
-No credit card
-No tv
-No cable
-No frozen food
-No Starbucks
-No soda
-No crackers, snackers or other cheap forms of food
-No office job(stay freelance so you do not need to drive to work)
-Somewhat higher deductible health care plan (do not pay 900$ a month for healthcare)
-If you drink, drink close to bed time so would not drink alot every night :)

this should save you at least 1500$ a month


mouser

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Re: Going Into Frugality Mode -- What are your Tricks and Tips
« Reply #30 on: January 28, 2009, 10:50:27 PM »
no snacks is a good way to save money and stay healthy  :up:

app103

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Re: Going Into Frugality Mode -- What are your Tricks and Tips
« Reply #31 on: January 28, 2009, 11:02:34 PM »
that gives me another idea.. what about a kind of game where family's can challenge each other to see how little they can spend (or how much they can save), and make a kind of game of it.. maybe someone could make a website or program to help keep track of scores or whatever.

Some of us are at an "unfair" advantage...or disadvantage, based on where we live.

I don't think it would be fair to base it on how little you spend, when you consider comparing a single person that lives in a small apartment in rural Nebraska to a family that lives anywhere in northern NJ. (a dump in NJ is more expensive than a mansion in Nebraska)

I also don't think it would be fair to base it on how much you can save, compared to what you previously used to spend, for those like me that couldn't possibly spend much less than they already are.

My family of 3 lives on about $1400/month. That might sound like a lot till you see how it breaks down.
rent$955 (this is actually cheap for where we live)
bus pass (can't afford gas, car insurance, and maintenance
and hubby works quite a distance from home)
$65
phone$30 (can't make this any cheaper than what it already is)
internet$20 (cheapest dsl)
gas & electric$80 (have been trying to trim this, unsuccessfully)
food, medical (no insurance),
pets (2 cats) and all other expenses
$250 (we eat a lot of rice & spaghetti)

At this point in time, there is nothing to set aside for savings (other than a few leftover :two:) and nothing to draw upon in case of unexpected expenses.

Here are my tips

-No car  :up:
-No credit card  :up:
-No tv  (we have a 5.5" black & white for my hubby, that will be going in the trash in June, when it won't work any more)
-No cable  :up:
-No frozen food   :up: (I hope you meant crap like frozen dinners & microwave garbage, and not frozen vegetables bought on sale in huge bulk packs)
-No Starbucks  :up:
-No soda  :up:
-No crackers, snackers or other cheap forms of food (we make things like our own air popped popcorn, it's really healthy & cheap!)
-No office job(stay freelance so you do not need to drive to work) (does donationware count?)
-Somewhat higher deductible health care plan (do not pay 900$ a month for healthcare)  :tellme: (our healthcare plan is $0, we don't have one. We just tough it out and hope for the best)
-If you drink, drink close to bed time so would not drink alot every night :)  :up: (we don't drink at all)

this should save you at least 1500$ a month

zridling

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Re: Going Into Frugality Mode -- What are your Tricks and Tips
« Reply #32 on: January 28, 2009, 11:56:08 PM »
---> Good points. Depending on your lifestyle and age, health insurance might be a massive ripoff. Note that I said, depending on your lifestyle. I'm practically a hermit, and haven't been to a doctor but once, which confirmed my disrespect for them. I diagnosed myself using WebMD and Google, and then tested remedies.

---> I also don't do life insurance or pension plans. In the US, companies can bankrupt pension plans without penalties as they themselves go bankrupt, and at 47, I've seen far too many of my friends in their 50s who've watched 20-30 years of payments vanish overnight.

THINGS I WON'T SCRIMP ON:
- a comfortable bed; good computer desk chair
- best monitor I can afford

Everything else is negotiable!

redstarnyc

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Re: Going Into Frugality Mode -- What are your Tricks and Tips
« Reply #33 on: January 29, 2009, 07:19:31 AM »
I think its a good idea to figure out what you really want and what the things you won't scrimp on are.  I've done it and it makes the decision-making process so much easier.

I don't mean to be disagreeable but I disagree about the health insurance.  If anything you might want to take a look at lower cost coverage with higher deductibles and copays.  Its not the best bet if you have to get a check-up, but catastrophic coverage is good if you get hit by a bus.

Cutting down on going out for drinks has been huge for me.  I've never been a bigtime drinker, but here in NYC its easy to spend $100.00 on a single night out with friends.  That's at a normal, decidedly unhip place. 

I've also been fortunate in that I've always been able to get below market rent by prioritizing what is truly important in my living space.♠
RedstarNYC

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Re: Going Into Frugality Mode -- What are your Tricks and Tips
« Reply #34 on: January 29, 2009, 07:56:07 AM »
Drop sodas, cut down on alcohol (who can live entirely without it, though? ;)), start cooking your own food (this means no microwave dinners as well), eat meat less often...
- carpe noctem

Darwin

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Re: Going Into Frugality Mode -- What are your Tricks and Tips
« Reply #35 on: January 29, 2009, 08:46:59 AM »
Let me get this clear.  Are you proposing, as an economy measure, to trade in Mrs. Darwin in order to free up more funds for software?



Am I that transparent?
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

iphigenie

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Re: Going Into Frugality Mode -- What are your Tricks and Tips
« Reply #36 on: January 29, 2009, 11:44:26 AM »
I've been in frugality mode most of the time since 2002, and most of what I have has been said before but here it is:

Some more general points:
* Get over the idea that what you own somehow is linked to who you are, and the fact that some people will see it that way (these people are not worth it!).
* When it comes to entertainment, focus on what is 2+ years old. There a tons of older films, older games, older books that are absolutely delightful, and you save loads because they are available used, sometimes even free, they are easy to get in rentals (at the lowest price) and in libraries etc.

More precisely:
COSTS:
- read up on taxes, insurance, utilities etc. I know the sites for the UK but not for other countries, but there usually are places to find out about options you have
- ring your current suppliers for everything from utilities to telephone to cable, and ask if there is a way to get your bill cut. There might special deals or new options since you joined. Especially worth doing with your mobile phone company even if still on a contract. I got quite a lot of savings both with O2 or Virgin just by ringing regularly. It works especially if you are calling to complain about the service quality or a billing error, but has even worked when just calling to ask.
- drive less, car pool with friends or acquaintances (or even via a service), get a scooter for short trips etc.
- look at where your money goes, and scrutinise especially anything based on a monthly or recurring fee - subscriptions, memberships, weird insurances
- buy things second hand, via the charityshop/salvation army or on ebay (never fall for buy-it-now!).
- If you know your measurements and what suits you, great clothes can be found on ebay, as well sports items. Benefit from other people's hoarding. Although a lot of basics like socks or underwear can be found cheaper in bulk in real stores.
- Reuse - you probably own a lot of things up in the attic or the garage that you dont use anymore. Buy maybe these books can be reread, this hobby revived? If not, sell or give away
- Join something like freecycle and offer what you dont need anymore, and then go there first anytime you need something. It's very hit and miss but I know people for whom it has worked very well. There are often a lot of kid or pet items, as well as furniture and appliances, but also storage items, hobby items etc.
- try buying from the manufacturers, not the brands. Nowadays almost everything is manufactured by third parties for the brands. And very often these people also sell direct or under their own name. A bit of research is necessary to figure out which are worth it and which aren't. We do this for the dog's dry food, for example (called mad dog)

TECHNOLOGY:
- what people used in 2002 is still pretty darn good for most use. That goes for home cinema and computers and even mp3 players
- go open source or freeware. (do donate to those a little to make sure they continue to exist)
- look for commercial independent alternatives as well
- for things you only use occassionally, say a good scanner or photoshop, figure out whether there is perhaps a business centre where you can use them, or even your library or local community college
- if you have to have a particular (expensive) software, buy an older version (from legit sources), as sometimes you can still find them


FOOD
- drop the things you do out of habit, like drinking soft drinks, eating chocolate bars, or stopping for a cappucino. Turn those into occasional treats.
- Learn to cook from scratch. There are tons of recipes which allow for great meals quickly made and cheap. If you're not experienced, start simple, with something forgiving like a fried rice, soup or a stew. Borrow a book called "the essential cook" from the library, or one of those "learn to cook" tv programs
- there are mountains of recipes online so no need to buy a cookbook! From rec.food.cooking to the major portals and new web2.0 social sites...
- Buy cheap meat. I read above about going vegetarian, but I dont think it is necessary. Eating meat less often *will* save money, you certainly dont need it every meal or every day. But buying a whole leg of lamb, stew meat, or a whole chicken, or ground beef, especially when they are on promotion, is a very thrifty thing. You can get about 6 meals for 2 out of 1 large chicken. We do a lot of stews, which again allow you to make many meals out of one cookery session, and which go a long way. Now I didnt start doing those because I am thrifty, but because I like that kind of slow cooking, but it also is thrifty.
- Eat "pulses" - beans, lentils etc. With or without meat. There are a lot of great dishes that can be done with lentils, for example. If you think you dont like them, give them a try again as a curry or a soup or a stew. Chick peas
- use canned fish - Some of our absolute favorite meals here start with a can of crab or tuna. Now these are not "thrifty" dishes, these are the kind of dishes we ate in a restaurant, like southwestern corn and crab soup, pasta with caramelised tuna, crab stir fry etc.
- eggs - (unless you have cholesterol ofc) buy really good eggs from a farmers market and make an omelette - great way to use many kinds of leftovers. I love omelettes , but also scrambled eggs (perhaps with chives and dried mushrooms), or poached eggs on toast. On a similar note crepes/pancakes are a bit of work but a great way to make a cheap supper feel like a feast
- go "exotic" - a lot of the traditional recipes from out there are thrifty- they were the basic foods of people who weren't very rich. Whether mexican or italian or german or swiss or vietnamese or anything, there will be some cost effective recipes that use common carbohydrates and vegetables and yet feel like a truly great meal.
I could go on, rave about pasta and potatoes and quiches and cabbage and root vegetables and pies etc etc but you get the picture.
 

ENTERTAINMENT:
- join the library - nowadays they have not only books but DVDs and music CDs too
- join a swapping group, whether bookmooch or bookcrossing or local groups
- join a reading group (at the library perhaps?)
- join a cine club, many places have them. Watch old films
- reduce your TV plan to the minimum or cancel it altogether
- pick up a hobby that allows you to make gifts and doesnt need expensive materials, examples: knitting, crochet, drawing, wood carving, baking, basketry, clay sculpture
- learn to sew is a good idea but sewing machines are expensive if you don't have one.
- look at your local community college or adult education for interesting course or conference series (most places have subsidised offerings to learn everything from pottery to foreign languages)
- (re)start playing cards or board games (there are also groups for that pretty much everywhere)
- look around for free film preview schemes or special meal clubs - again I know of a few within the uk but not elsewhere

HEALTH
- stop the gym, it is expensive
- start an exercise program at home. There is plenty you can do without any machines, or with a simple ball or weights
- take up hiking, running or cycling
- join a group for the above
- in the summer, get a season's pass at a swimming pool, they are often cheap

Now a lot of these I have always kind of done, always liked board games and hiking and libraries and cine clubs... but perhaps it gives people ideas

That's all I can think up for now,
« Last Edit: January 29, 2009, 11:58:09 AM by iphigenie »

JennyB

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Re: Going Into Frugality Mode -- What are your Tricks and Tips
« Reply #37 on: January 31, 2009, 12:06:18 PM »
This may seem backwards, but try tithing. Put a tenth of your income aside, and  give it away, blow it, spend it on whatever you like, so long as it's nothing you really, really need.

The Ideal is 50% on Needs, 30% on Wants and 20% Savings
 
Quote
Warren and Tyagi write, “You can spend your Wants money on anything that strikes your fancy, so long as you stay within 30% of your income.” In fact, they warn against spending too little on Wants, suggesting that those who spend less than 20% of their income on the things they enjoy might be missing the point of money. “You certainly won’t get into trouble spending like this on Wants,” they say. “Even so, you should ask yourself — are you making enough room for fun?”

Excellent question, and here’s the truth: I’m spending less than 10% of my income on fun, and I can tell. I’m growing a little cantankerous in my old age. I’m letting things like a trip to the movies raise my blood pressure, when I should just be enjoying life. I’ve paid off my debt. I’m not spending foolishly. I can afford to go to a movie, even if it is expensive. I can afford to spend the extra 29 cents to have a great mug of cocoa.
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you haven't understood it properly.

40hz

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Re: Going Into Frugality Mode -- What are your Tricks and Tips
« Reply #38 on: January 31, 2009, 02:21:52 PM »
If you can't avoid spending money, at least spend it wisely.

For the record, I'd rather not own a car. As the matter of a fact, I don't even really care to drive. My girlfriend and I share one car. We always have. And we've never paid more than $21K for one even when we could afford it.

But cars are pretty much a necessity where we live. Public transportation does not exist in many areas of CT. And where it is available, it's frequently a joke.

Unfortunately, our 2000 Altima has reached an 'epic fail.' It now has 200K+ miles on the odometer and major engine issues. And based on the repair quotes we received ($5K :tellme:), we've finally been forced to concede it's not worth fixing.

So if you're in the position (like us) of having to buy a car sometime this year, scoot on over to www.carbuyingtips.com and read some of what they have to say about how to do it.

The site format and design looks like something off an infomercial. But the articles are great reading, and they pack a lot of solid useful information. I especially enjoyed the Top Scams and  insurance buying articles, but all of it is worth checking out IMHO.


cranioscopical

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Re: Going Into Frugality Mode -- What are your Tricks and Tips
« Reply #39 on: January 31, 2009, 02:33:21 PM »
If you can't avoid spending money, at least spend it wisely.

Unfortunately, our 2000 Altima has reached an 'epic fail.'
Thanks for the pointer!

Sorry to hear about your car.  I like to buy a decent a car and then keep it for as long as I reasonably can... I'm not keen on change.
At least now is a great time to buy.  Some dealers have inventory stacked to the rafters,  with existing contracts for more.
Of course, you need to feel there'll still be dealers around come time for parts and service.

Darwin

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Re: Going Into Frugality Mode -- What are your Tricks and Tips
« Reply #40 on: January 31, 2009, 04:54:56 PM »
I like to buy a decent a car and then keep it for as long as I reasonably can... I'm not keen on change.
At least now is a great time to buy.  Some dealers have inventory stacked to the rafters,  with existing contracts for more.

Yeah... it's sad actually. We have a friend who's just immigrated from Korea and we've been out car shopping. EVERY dealership is a ghost town and the sales people VERY eager to please... I found it quite embarrassing, actually (eg. one sales person at Honda said:"Any offer will be appreciated" and then went on mumbling indistinctly, but the overall message was one of desperation. In fairness, I got the impression that he was new, but still...).
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

iphigenie

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Re: Going Into Frugality Mode -- What are your Tricks and Tips
« Reply #41 on: February 01, 2009, 06:38:55 AM »
We've also always functioned on one car, and always bought fairly old but solid cars (but also ones known to be economical on the petrol comsumption side). I'm not sure how sustainable this can be going forward as my impression is that recent generation of cars, even expensive ones, were not built to last in the same way as they were until the mid nineties (perhaps a little later).

mahesh2k

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Re: Going Into Frugality Mode -- What are your Tricks and Tips
« Reply #42 on: February 01, 2009, 09:42:06 AM »
Mouser,Nice thread. :)

Some of my tips :

- Avoid printing if you can. That will save electricity/paper/cartridge costs.
- Avoid making phone calls if you can short-message/IM etc.
- Walk the distance if you can instead of using car/bike.
- Avoid Spicy/Junk Food, that will help to your health and pocket.
- Prefer Unlimited broadband internet instead of /mb based plans.Will save money of you're aggressive down loader :p
- Form group with likeminded people and avoid spending on things which all you hate e.g. Movies, Music Cd's etc.
- Avoid Alcohol, Tobaco and other addictive things they just hurt you anway.
- Avoid credit card purchase, and buy only when you need it. Don't shop in advance for some things.

Also try Zenhabits blog, leo babuta writes a lot on minimalistic life. You can get more such tips from him.

cranioscopical

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Re: Going Into Frugality Mode -- What are your Tricks and Tips
« Reply #43 on: February 01, 2009, 09:53:01 AM »
This is all very interesting and useful but I'm surprised to see that, so far, nobody has mentioned the obvious:

  • avoid running a donation-funded web site

 :o

edbro

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Re: Going Into Frugality Mode -- What are your Tricks and Tips
« Reply #44 on: February 01, 2009, 09:56:21 AM »
- Stay away from Costco unless you have the willpower to only buy what you went in for.

- Stop looking at Slickdeals.net and Fatwallet.com. I'm going broke saving money from these deals.

- Force myself to wait 2 days when I find something that I "just gotta have". Usually, the overpowering urge is not there after a couple of days.

mahesh2k

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Re: Going Into Frugality Mode -- What are your Tricks and Tips
« Reply #45 on: February 01, 2009, 10:00:19 AM »
Quote
This is all very interesting and useful but I'm surprised to see that, so far, nobody has mentioned the obvious:

    * avoid running a donation-funded web site
;D

Yeah. In that context, Someone will even say avoid helping others on internet and in real life. Stop all interactions with others to save energy, money and usage of cells in brain, speech power etc. . ;)

cranioscopical

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Re: Going Into Frugality Mode -- What are your Tricks and Tips
« Reply #46 on: February 01, 2009, 10:07:07 AM »
Stop all interactions with others to save energy, money and usage of cells in brain, speech power etc.
There's a thought... oh, bother, I could have saved that one!


stansrailpix

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Re: Going Into Frugality Mode -- What are your Tricks and Tips
« Reply #47 on: February 06, 2009, 09:47:16 PM »
I hate to bring this up, but a magic jack is the cheapest voip you can get.
                                                                                                     Stan Feldman
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Edvard

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Re: Going Into Frugality Mode -- What are your Tricks and Tips
« Reply #48 on: February 09, 2009, 04:00:01 PM »
Wait, I just thought of another-

Don't Shave.

I don't know exactly how much I've saved in razors and shaving cream, but I'm sure it makes a difference.
Plus my Linux neck-beard is quite impressive, I must say.
 :o

cranioscopical

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Re: Going Into Frugality Mode -- What are your Tricks and Tips
« Reply #49 on: February 09, 2009, 05:54:15 PM »
Quote from: Edvard
I don't know exactly how much I've saved in razors and shaving cream, but I'm sure it makes a difference.
Ah yes, but to whom?
If you're given to pogonotrophy, better be careful with that leaf blower!