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Old 06-05-2008, 04:46 AM   #61
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Besides the greenie-weenie stuff I've listed in another thread, well...

I buy the highest quality product I can reasonably afford for items that I know I want to keep long term. The up front cost may seem to make me a big spender, but in the long term I save money because I do not need to replace a cheaper lower quality piece of Chinese crap on a fairly regular basis.

I have overpaid montly on my fixed rate mortgage for so long that I can now reasonably pay off my house even though it still has another 17 years left on the note (it started as a 30 note). The wife and I are contemplating this at the current moment.

Invested like a mofo from the time I was in my mid-20's and couldn't afford it, but did it anyway. Not technically stretching a dollar, but my pool of dollars, while stretched, is a lot larger than my neighbors' so economic downturns don't affect us as much as them.

Use coupons whenever possible. Excepting emergency purchases, which don't happen often if you're aware of the condition of your "things", we try to only buy things when they are on sale and only after thoroughly researching the market. Yes, in fact we do in fact do charts and spreadsheets on major purchases, why do you ask?

Only buy what I can afford, and avoid using credit. While I will use a credit card, the balance is paid off when the bill arrives, which keeps me from paying interest. With money-back cards it comes out to be something of a modest return that actually ends up lowering the cost of the product(s) I purchased on them.

Re-prioritized our lives and learned that what we *want* is not necessarily what we *need*. This is a big one and goes a long way towards ensuring economic security. This isn't to say we don't buy nice things from time to time, however, we are not active participants in the "buy the latest and greatest, keep up with the Joneses" game. If our television works fine we don't rush out to buy the large screen flat television of our dreams even if we have spare cash laying around. If our appliances work fine we don't replace them until they break (our washer/dryer combo has been chugging along quite well for 15 years now for example, and our stove is only one year younger than that).

Purchased a home we could afford and approached it as buying a home to live in instead of as an "investment". Homes as "investments" is a horrible arrangement if you live in one longer than 5 or 10 years. If you're not in and out in a year or two you're not going to make money, so don't be sold on the "approach your home as an investment!" scam if you're going to live in it long term. Anywho, since we purchased a home under our own guidelines of what we wanted, and not under the running theory of "this is how much you can afford!" that the home lenders tried to con us into, we could easily afford to pay down on the home principal on a regular basis, and we never had to stretch our dollar in order to be able to make a house payment. Sounds like common sense, but as the housing "crisis" is demonstrating, it's something that wasn't quite so common the last 20 years or so.

Folks just starting out down the path, take my advice and follow the lead here, these kinds of steps have kept us from having to worry about detailing the minute details of life in order to keep from going in hock. Most of it is common sense, it just requires discipline. On this site however, willpower amongst the membership shouldn't be an issue.

For the record my wife and I both came from families that would be classified as lower middle class to working poor. I was solidly middle class until my parents divorced when I was 9 or so, she was the granddaughter of poor German immigrant farmers eking out a living working in dirt. Point being there is no reason anybody planning a life together has to settle for their lot simply because they came from modest means. Plan it out and acquire discipline early and you'll not have to worry about economic downturns as much as folks who don't.
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Old 06-05-2008, 07:01 AM   #62
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just found out my youngest child has been "hypermiling" in the shower by using shampoo and conditioner together.

the middle one, some time ago, put a grill block on her Bratz doll car.

and my oldest is doing a paper on fuel efficient cars.

with three girls, some might consider me a breeder, but at least my litter is conservation aware!
and just like their grandfather did to me, they will have to finance their own car when the time comes, if they choose to have one. they better be good at hypermiling!
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Old 01-13-2010, 06:56 PM   #63
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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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My idol!

We do small things. I unscrewed all the lights in the bathroom but 2. We use small space heaters and turn the central heat down. We bundle up for bed, except when we're creating our own heat. : )

We stay in rooms that have natural light from the sun. The apartment runs East to West so we hang on on the Eastern side in the morning and the Western side at night. When the sun goes down it's time to go to bed.

I get old produce at a posh market. Old to them is still really nice to me.

I quit using the cafeteria at work. I take my own lunch.

Cars are paid for now. Do have a credit card with a 0% interest rate for the life of the balance (I was poor during school). They hate me for that and will jack up the interest if I ever miss a payment.

I put padding in all the wall sockets and squirted insulation where it felt cold. Towels, blinds, and drapes on and around the windows. The place is rented so we aren't going to put in new windows for the landlord at our expense. Rolled up blankets on the floor near the sliding glass window. Put a huge sheet of insulation in front of the fireplace because the cheap old thing just let cold air come flying down, even when closed. Pushed the sofa up against the insulation, and put towels underneath the sofa.

We eat a lot of rice. Good rice. Koshihikari. But it's $28 for about 2 mos of food. We also eat tofu and veggies. The wife makes baby food from the same, just cuts everything really small.

I do some things that might seem wasteful, but increase my productivity. I have my shirts cleaned at the local laundry. I work at a law firm and I charge insane sums of money. It makes no sense to spend 1/2 every morning with my daughter trying to get my attention when I can drop off 5 shirts every week for $1.25 each. That half hour I get back gets spent making money, or playing with my daughter. Either way, it's worth it.

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Old 01-13-2010, 10:10 PM   #64
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I do some things that might seem wasteful, but increase my productivity. I have my shirts cleaned at the local laundry. I work at a law firm and I charge insane sums of money. It makes no sense to spend 1/2 every morning with my daughter trying to get my attention when I can drop off 5 shirts every week for $1.25 each. That half hour I get back gets spent making money, or playing with my daughter. Either way, it's worth it.
That's just basic economic utility theory and proper prioritizing in action.

It's all about what your time is worth. Personally, if I can bank double time pay at work, I work as much of it as I can stand. Likewise, pay at only time and a half is more of a time sacrifice than I can normally justify, with putting in the normal 40 something I only do because it's what I have to do to get from A to B. Translation: My free time is worth more to me than my regular wage beyond the regular work week, but I sell out for twice as much.
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Old 01-14-2010, 04:17 AM   #65
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The wife makes baby food from the same, just cuts everything really small.
With babies having different needs than adults, has that diet been reviewed by a pediatrician?
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Old 01-14-2010, 07:10 PM   #66
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Mrs. Snax here

We also did cloth diapers.. fuzzy bunz. 300 dollars invested in diapers, an extra 10 bucks a month in laundry (less in summer). Breast feeding children is also a money saver. Between the saved medical costs and formula costs it is expected that parents can save between 1200 and 4000 a year JUST by breast feeding your babies. (dads get to sleep more at night too)

We buy the best bikes we can for the kiddos. We have a Gary Fisher cross over bike that has now been through four children... much cheaper than a 70 dollar walmart bike for each kiddo. ESPECIALLY since my mom is the one that purchased it and passed it to us after my MUCH younger brother and cousin were through with it.
Yeah, we saved a ton because my wife nurses our daughter. But she has to eat more to make up for milk production. And, yes, it was very good for me as the daddy because I didn't have to get up.

Besides, at 18 months she has had 1 slight fever (knock on wood). She is in the 75th percentile in height and 25th percentile in weight. She has more energy than we can keep up with, and she is incredibly happy and well-adjusted.

I could start a thread on things you can do with kids. Our apartment has poor insulation, so I just bite the bullet and keep the heat on. We still use blinds and drapes, though. I'm not going to pay to upgrade their property, especially since upgrades mean you lose your deposit.

In the car, I bundle up and don't use the heater. It's usually 20 when I drive to work.

Oh, one huge thing I thought I'd never be able to do. I eat leftovers. My wife makes baby food from tofu, rice, and veggies. So anything our daughter does not eat, I eat. I had a half bowl of rice tonight after work, and some fish my wife cooked earlier for us. Then I ate cheerios and assorted pieces of leftovers. I don't even mind, and we're saving big time.
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Old 01-14-2010, 07:22 PM   #67
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With babies having different needs than adults, has that diet been reviewed by a pediatrician?
Definitely. She even told my wife to take a break every once in a while. But my wife is amazing. She is a stay at home mother, and every waking moment is devoted to our daughter. That's just a Japanese mother.

Also, after nearly 2 decades of infertility, we had all the time in the world to research parenting.

So we're really in to it. It's not just something we thought of one day. We really put a lot of thought and time in to it. Besides, researching home made baby food is a breeze after doing patent research.

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Old 03-13-2011, 05:42 AM   #68
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Re: Stretching the shrinking dollar

the brake and clutch pedal pads were worn on the outer edges such that if my feet(shoes) were even slightly wet they would slide off when being depressed. well, cheap is what i am, so i switched them instead of buying new ones--they grab like new now.

only save a few bucks but...
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Old 03-13-2011, 10:32 AM   #69
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Re: Stretching the shrinking dollar

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the brake and clutch pedal pads were worn on the outer edges such that if my feet(shoes) were even slightly wet they would slide off when being depressed. well, cheap is what i am, so i switched them instead of buying new ones--they grab like new now.

only save a few bucks but...
I had a similar problem last year. The rubber cover on the clutch pedal wore down and fell off, so I went to the local Pick-N-Pull and found a donor car with good rubber covers. The guy at the checkout counter just let me have them free. It only cost me the $2 entry fee and time, but the time spend walking outside in the sun was good exercise so it was time well spent.
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Old 03-13-2011, 08:52 PM   #70
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Re: Stretching the shrinking dollar

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I had a similar problem last year. The rubber cover on the clutch pedal wore down and fell off, so I went to the local Pick-N-Pull and found a donor car with good rubber covers. The guy at the checkout counter just let me have them free. It only cost me the $2 entry fee and time, but the time spend walking outside in the sun was good exercise so it was time well spent.
haha i love doing that, go in looking for something but end up with nothing, cant leave empty handed! ALWAYS some little screw or those odd light bulbs and fuses (i never need to buy another fuse again haha) or odd plastic chunk.

I think ive updated my base model work truck to the highest interior package for maybe $200 haha (seats center console, overhead console, pannels, kick pannel, odds and ends...

saving money, well once i got all the stuff ive always wanted (not crazy amounts but needed a better computer and flat screen) ive really just been saving what i can and investing it. shop at aldis (trader joes, discount membership free places) making my own furniture instead of buying that Vietnamese made crap (may not be as fancy but built 80X stronger, could support my car with my coffee table minus the table glass) buy things on discount (tv stand was originally $250 marked down to $50)

other than that i try to drive reasonable (i have to sadly admit my leadfoot is coming out again because i do have money with my new job) and my huge distaste for the moron drivers around here is getting higher daily (5/6 days a week that i work i almost get into an accident in a 3 mile drive)

still try to combine trips if possible and do consider going to one store thats right there VS driving a mile away in the city to save 20 cents. do try to use the interstate thru town to commute vs the what seems like 80 stop lights the non interstate way. (why retards go 45 in a marked 55 but really 65 zone when it rains i will never know)

trying to find mods for my vehicles that will up the torque at the lower rpms (ups mpg...)

got a plain jane apartment thats only 425 month instead of spending 550-690 a month for one in a better location (altho the location on mine is actually VERY nice and secluded) and fancier stuff, but really who am i to impress haha. keeping the waterheater temp low, furnace at 68 air at 74, windows as much as possible. id leave the shades open during the day but not with the ground level apartment im in...

im also running a test by unplugging everything i dont use daily to see how it affects my bills, already learned going from 68 to 69-70* heat raised the bill about $10 NOW i understand when my dad would flip when someone messed with the thermostat at home hahaha

gonna look into the laundrymat idea instead of paying $2.50 for wash and dry using the apartment complex's stuff (small washers, barely fit a level basket of clothes in them)

already replaced every light but 2 in my apartment with the 13W twisties (2 i did not replace are a water heater closet and hallway light that i never use)
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