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Old 09-12-2007, 08:07 PM   #11
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I have my expenses down to a bare minimum. I pay electric $30, natural gas avg$40, water $25, and cell phone $50. No Cable TV, no landline phone, no subscriptions to anything. Food/household is prob $125 a month for me and that could be cut further but I am happy with what I have now so I haven't cut back any more lately. I don't normally run the a/c in the summer unless I have a date over or something. A box fan stuck to an old radiator hooked to a sump pump out in a creek can cool the house more than enough for me when I am here by myself.

CF lights, attic fan, laser printers and some other things have a higher return in savings than their initial cost so I look at total cost when changing something. Think of it as a long term plan and look at something that might cost more upfront but save money long term. Once you have your monthly expenses cut down you can afford to spend more upfront to save money long term.

I Just started by writing down every penny I spent for a month then started from there figuring out what the biggest bang for the buck I could get. Saving the first 25% of my paycheck was easy. It gets harder to save money as you cut out unneeded stuff but every dollar you can save gets you that much closer to getting out of the rat race and into being independent.

Really it is like getting better mileage you have to get a baseline before you do any changes so start tracking every penny you spend in a notebook. Then you can see what the biggest/easiest changes are you can do first and start trimming it down from there. I used a PDA so I could save my expenses in excel so it was easier to sort out and figure things but use whatever you are comfortable with just make sure to start tracking everything you spend even if it is 50 cents in a vending machine. The extra effort in having to track things can sometimes make you save money by not wanting to bother

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Old 09-13-2007, 03:54 AM   #12
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Solar PV powered off grid house. Solar water heater. 50 MPG car. 80 mpg motorcycle. Ponytail and beard so no haircuts or razors. Buy wheat and grind it myself with a hand grinder to make bread. Vegetarian so no high priced meat. No cable TV and $9.95 internet. House and car paid for so minimal insurance costs. No debt so no interest payments. There's more but I can't think of them right now.


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Old 09-13-2007, 04:17 AM   #13
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On the groceries, look for the discount joint that sells odd brand stuff. I cut about 40 percent off my food bill by shopping at the deep discounters like Aldi and Sav-A-Lot, and in many cases the food tastes better than what you get at the high dollar grocery stores. Sure, the store isn't quite as nice and clean looking and sometimes the other shoppers are a little whiffy but then the food isn't packages there, either. Definitely, buy in bulk to not only save on the per unit cost, but the number of visits to the grocery store.

Razors? I shave about 3-5 times a week using one of those 3-blade jobs with the disposable blade (keep the handle). I like the weight of the handle vs the 99 cent disposals, not to mention the disposables always felt like I was shaving with sandpaper. Each blade lasts me about 6-9 months. True, I don't have a heavy beard, but the whole face gets the swipe. Also look into getting a mug, brush and soap for shaving cream, a bar of shaving soap is about 99 cents and lasts about 6 months, with no razor burn. Canned shaving cream usually has alcohol in it, which will irritate the skin. With the soap, no need for aftershave, just a quick water rinse and it's done.

Laundry is another area for savings. Tide is nice, but Arm and Hammer is less than half the cost of Tide and does the same job. It also has colorsafe bleach in some of it, which does a great job. Vinegar in the wash also helps get things clean, and if you soak a new pair of jeans in the washer with about a quart of vinegar, then wash, they come out a lot softer than when they went in.

Picked up a manual sweeper for spot cleaning around the house, now the power sucking vacuum cleaner only comes out for whole-house cleaning.

I also have no subscriptions to anything. My TV comes in on an outside aerial with a turner on it, which the HOA Nazi neighbors hate but can't do anything about since it's against federal law for any public or private entity to outlaw a TV antenna so long as it falls within install guidelines. I do have a landline since I've got DSL, but no fancy options on it. I don't text anything on the cell phone, or use any of the other expensive options. The DSL is also the cheapest, lowest speed version, which means I might have to wait 2 seconds longer than someone with the really fast connection does.

Next up, power strips everywhere. Death to the phantom load! My computer is on one and is about to get a second so I can only turn on the printer when something needs printing. Going to shuffle the TV area around as well, so I can get the power strip out front where it'll be easy to get to. I'm also on the hunt for a thermal carafe coffee maker that has no clock in it, and makes 12 cups of coffee. These pots have no burners, the coffee brews and it's done.

Those of you with the toaster ovens, how well are they insulated and how hard would it be to add insulation to one? Was thinking that they are pretty small and don't look like the cooking area is insulated, if it were then a toaster oven would take a lot less power to run. Might make a nice replacement for the oven too, since 90 percent of what we put into the oven to cook is only about an inch or two tall, like pizza. Then we could save the power sucking oven for hams and turkeys. If they aren't insulated, might be able to get a box built to slide the oven in, then insulate the void. Would make it safer too, since the body wouldn't be exposed.
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Old 09-13-2007, 12:03 PM   #14
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Thank you

thank you everyone--great info! hey don't forget Big Lots. kind of hit and miss tho. try to run by once a week or so. also, try to eat at relatives/friends and host meals as well. we tend to get invited more than we host tho. but it works to save money.
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Old 09-13-2007, 01:22 PM   #15
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bowtieguy -

Originally Posted by bowtieguy View Post
thank you everyone--great info! hey don't forget Big Lots. kind of hit and miss tho. try to run by once a week or so. also, try to eat at relatives/friends and host meals as well. we tend to get invited more than we host tho. but it works to save money.
Oh yeah, and the 99cents store. I remember when Big Lots used to be called Pic'N'Save. Pic'N'Save always had good prices. With Big Lots you have to be careful because it isn't always giving you a bargain. I was practically raised in a thrift store, because that's where my Mom has always liked to shop. She was raised in the Depression, so she has the frugal gene.

For me thrift shops and Big Lots are treasure hunts, aka trying to something good and/or useful among the "stuff". And, if you got that hankerin' to shop, at least you won't spend that much.

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Old 09-13-2007, 02:35 PM   #16
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I'm gonna go off on shaving for a bit, I can't beat 6 months on a razor, but here is the RIGHT way to do it :

1. Single edge razors are the easiest to work with, they unclog the easiest. Be careful if you are used to double/triple razors, if you use the same pressure you will shave off a strip of skin.

2. Use plain old bar soap, lather it in your hands and spread it on your face.

3. Just put a little water in the sink, a couple inches. Enough to swish it around to get the hair out. I used to do it in the shower, but it is quicker and wastes less water (and fuel to heat the water). It is really obvious since we got a tankless heater, the thing was screaming loud the whole time I was groping around for stubble.

4. Of course, pull the razor up, or up on an angle.
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Old 09-13-2007, 02:53 PM   #17
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You know, the easiest way to save on shaving.... Use a straight blade... It's reusable/resharpenable and NOTHING shaves closer than a straight blade
Time is the best teacher. Unfortunately it kills all its students.

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Old 09-13-2007, 02:57 PM   #18
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Where can we get 'em?
Originally Posted by FormulaTwo
I think if i could get that type of FE i would have no problem driving a dildo shaped car.
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Old 09-13-2007, 03:47 PM   #19
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One of the things I like to do is keep the bigger picture in mind. A lot of people will drive an extra mile to get gas 2 cents a gallon cheaper and then buy a Snickers while they're there. On any trip, bring your own food and drinks. On longer trips pack lunch or dinner; don't buy food while being on the road.
On the subject: don't eat out. Imagine what great meats you could have bought for the less than what you're paying eating out (and drinking out).

See if you can get a cheaper car insurance or any insurance for that matter. get quotes. if you live in an appartment: could you go to a smaller one and still be comfortable? Smaller places are also less expensive to cool down or heat up.
Food: get stuff on sale and put it in the freezer. Clothes: go visit stores like TJ Maxx to find name brands for a whole lot cheaper.
use Craigslist to find any larger item you need replaced like washers, dryers and stoves. If you plan a building project: start looking on Craigslist two months ahead of time and get insulation and your 2x4's a whole lot cheaper. Don't get anything you will have to pay off. Interest charges are a waste...
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Old 09-13-2007, 04:26 PM   #20
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On shaving -
After using your favorite disposable razor, rinse well in the sink by swishing around, and pat dry on towel.
Then immerse the blade in a shallow container with mineral oil. The blades will last much longer and won't pull on your skin.

Cutting the lawn -
Ditch the gas mower and go to a reel type if your yard is small. I used an electric (corded) mower for awhile, but prefer the cut with the reel type mower. Gave up the health club and saved the dues.

Watering the garden -
Collect rain water from the gutters in recycled plastic drums.

Fishing -
Cut and dry bamboo for jig poles. Multiple coats of varnish and they last for a couple of seasons. Great for bream and sac-a-lait.

Phones -
I kept one cordless phone for the convenience, the others are corded phones. This eliminates 3 power adapters and the phones always work when the power goes out.
Cell phone - Charge it at work only. Mine will hold a charge over a 3 day weekend with moderate use.

Cooking -
On weekends, we cook outside with a solar oven. Try to make a few extra meals to have during the coming week. Zero energy and doesn't heat up the house. Most recipes work the same, cooking times go slightly longer.

Kitchen Clean-up -
Use cloth kitchen towels that can washed rather than paper towels. Save the paper towels for the goo or poop pickups.

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