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Frugal Habits
Old 08-17-2005, 02:41 PM   #1
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Frugal Habits

Frugality and living below your means (LBYM) are virtues often expressed on this board.

What I am looking for are ideas for living a more frugal lifestyle on an ongoing basis. A few things that I practice along these lines are:

1. Wearing clothes and shoes until they wear out (DW often gives me grief for going out in public wearing shoes with holes in them, etc.)

2. Brown bagging, eating leftovers, or making canned soup (at a cost of around $1) for lunch instead of going out.

3. Doing errands on foot whenever feasible (saves gas, car maintenance, lowers mileage for insurance purposes).

4. Stay in reasonable physical condition. I usually walk 30 minutes, 4 times per week. (possibily saves on medical bills, and also accomplishes #3, but wears out shoes

5. Buying non perishible food that I know we will use-- when it is on sale whether I need it or not.

6. Trading hand me down kids clothes with others.

What are some of you tips

Regards,
Mike
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Re: Frugal Habits
Old 08-17-2005, 02:44 PM   #2
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Re: Frugal Habits

Own 1 car. Use public transit if feasible. Don't buy too much house.
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Re: Frugal Habits
Old 08-17-2005, 02:54 PM   #3
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Re: Frugal Habits

Dont have services that you dont really need or use (cable/direct tv, caller id, cell phone).

Bike to work.

Dont smoke.

Use your medical savings plan to save on taxes.

Go to the library.

Buy used cars or at least if buy new, keep for a very long time.

Buy in bulk.

Eat at home as much as possible.

Plan vacations close to home.
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Re: Frugal Habits
Old 08-17-2005, 03:04 PM   #4
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Re: Frugal Habits

If you can pay it off in full every month, get a good "rewards" credit card. I'm using Citi Platinum Dividend Select. %5 cash back on gas/grocery/drug store purchases, 1% back on everything else. $300 max cash back per year. You can get one in your spouse's name and bump that to $600.
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Re: Frugal Habits
Old 08-17-2005, 03:15 PM   #5
 
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Re: Frugal Habits

1. Have almost-worn-out clothing/shoes that you wear around the house.

2. Aggressive food shopping (keep price list like this so that you will know when a sale is really a sale).

3. Buy stuff at garage sales instead of new.

4. Cut down recurring expenses like electricity, heating, cable, etc.
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Re: Frugal Habits
Old 08-17-2005, 03:17 PM   #6
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Re: Frugal Habits

Oh...how about semi or downright shady things like:

Taking your own refreshments into the movie theater.

Making all your photo copies at work.

Eating "lunch" at Costco (free samples).

Getting all your hot sauce needs met from Taco Bell.

Collecting napkins, sugar, salt, and pepper packets from restraunts.

Finding "free" silverware at restaraunts, towels from motels.

Collecting fruit from trees in the area.

Sending letters with no stamp, making the intended recipient's address the return address.

Re-using stamps that do not appear to be cancelled.
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Re: Frugal Habits
Old 08-17-2005, 03:31 PM   #7
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Re: Frugal Habits

Better watch out... Did you see the espiode of Curb Your Enthusiasm where Larry accidentally took a fork out of a restaurant then he got convicted and had to stand outside the restaurant with a sandwich board on?
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Re: Frugal Habits
Old 08-17-2005, 03:32 PM   #8
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Re: Frugal Habits

1. Do your own taxes and work on minimizing them. Taxes are my number one expenditure and are probably yours, too. Learn about itemizing, consider starting a small home business, etc.

2. Shop all of your regular bills. Check to see if you can get lower rates on insurance, utilities, etc.

3. Sign up for autopay on all your bills. Saves stamps, envelopes, and makes sure everything gets paid on time.

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Re: Frugal Habits
Old 08-17-2005, 03:37 PM   #9
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Re: Frugal Habits

Thanks everyone, good suggestions. Al, I like your shopping list. I do things like buy 25 lb. bags of rice at Costco for $5.99 or something.

A couple years ago, I went on an energy reduction campaign. I replaced every feasible incandescent light with a compact florescent, I installed a water heater blanket, insulated the hot water pipes in the attic, and got a more efficient HVAC unit.

I hadn't considered taxes an expense, but finding legal ways to reduce taxes is a worthy endeavor.

And...in case you didn't know, most of my previous "ideas" were just meant as a joke...
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Re: Frugal Habits
Old 08-17-2005, 03:57 PM   #10
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Re: Frugal Habits

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mountain_Mike
Oh...how about semi or downright shady things like:

Taking your own refreshments into the movie theater.

Making all your photo copies at work.

Eating "lunch" at Costco (free samples).

Getting all your hot sauce needs met from Taco Bell.

Collecting napkins, sugar, salt, and pepper packets from restraunts.

Finding "free" silverware at restaraunts, towels from motels.

Collecting fruit from trees in the area.

Sending letters with no stamp, making the intended recipient's address the return address.

Re-using stamps that do not appear to be cancelled.
I think these have been done before. My late wife was really bad (good) about her "five finger discounts" of things like this. We had sugar, salt, pepper, hot sauce, mustard, ketsup, napkings etc. all over the place. She also bought everything in bulk. We had to convert several closets into "pantries" to store all the bulk stuff she bought. The kicker was there were only the two of us and we had so much stuff like this that it ended up going bad before we could use it. I still have about a year supply of paper towels and a 5 year supply of paper plates here.

I think there are even some "candy" dishes that look a lot like ashtrays from several different Las Vegas "hotels".

Frugal is good...........larceny is bad.

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Re: Frugal Habits
Old 08-17-2005, 04:19 PM   #11
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Re: Frugal Habits

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mountain_Mike
And...in case you didn't know, most of my previous "ideas" were just meant as a joke...
Oh... I think I have done all of those at one point or another. I LOVE taco bell hot sauce. I eat there occasionally to I can get a bag full of hot salsa packets to tide me over till the next Taco bell run...
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Re: Frugal Habits
Old 08-17-2005, 04:33 PM   #12
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Re: Frugal Habits

Many of the frugal things I do are such second nature, that its tough for me to even recognize them as anything special or worth sharing.

I think getting your recurring expenses down is probably the biggest thing you can do. Having more money in your pocket that's not already dedicated to mandatory spending gives you more flexibility and allows you to have the cash you need to take advantage of good deals when they come along. The things I do regularly are:

-No cable TV, minimal phone service (only recently got a cell phone). Use phone cards bought online for long distance.

-Buy fuel efficient economy cars and maintain them so you're not wasting a lot of money on gas.

-Taxes. Much of my husband's compensation is tax-free this is not a huge problem for us, but stuff like maxing out TSP and putting money into a regular IRA instead of a Roth during some years to qualify for the Saver's Tax Credit saves us even more. We also plan taxes a year ahead of time and make sure that we don't have excess withholding.

-Auto pay on all bills - no fuss and no late fees.

-I shop most of our casual clothes at thrift stores when possible.

-When you can't compromise on quality (like husband's running shoes) shop online for the best deal, use coupons, or stock up when the item goes on sale.

-We like to cook and like good food, but I always purchase at the lowest possible price. If stuff we use goes on sale we buy a lot. Buying 15lbs of lamb or chicken when it goes on sale takes the same amount of time as buying 1 lb. I cook from the freezer and pantry and seldom make a special trip to the store just because I have a craving. I used to buy produce at a Mexican grocery - limited selection but rock bottom prices. If you have a medium to large family, it can sometimes be worth it to have an extra freezer.

-Avoid convenience foods as much as possible. I've found that with a little bit of practice you can make from-scratch food almost as fast as from a box or can, and it tastes better.

-We like to eat out, but try to make sure that our restaurant meals are planned entertainment and not just because we are too lazy to cook. We find that going out for breakfast is more relaxing and way cheaper than going out for dinner.

-Invite people over as a cheap social event. Feeding an extra person or 3 is often still cheaper than going out. Most of the time our guest would even bring wine or dessert.

-DVDs instead of going to the theater (we love Netflix).

-Free or cheap entertainment. The spouse and I are both athletic and we like to run, bicycle, swim, go to the gym, or spend a day hiking. All free or nearly so.

-Recognize when its worth paying more for something that will last a long time.
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Re: Frugal Habits
Old 08-17-2005, 04:34 PM   #13
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Re: Frugal Habits

Justin,

I have done some of the questionable ideas, but not the downright illegal stuff. I've been known to walk out of Taco Bell with a few packets of hot sauce. On a recent trip to Disneyland, I brought in bottled water that cost me 24 cents rather than purchase their $4.00 water.

Another frugal thing I've cultivated is making inexpensive food. Several years ago, I realized that we were spending $400 - $600 per month eating out. That is when I personally took over making dinner. This is no hardship, since I enjoy cooking and the family likes most of what I make--they are used to inexpensive things like tacos, spaghetti, chicken & rice, or whatever. They even like Spam!
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Re: Frugal Habits
Old 08-17-2005, 04:44 PM   #14
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Re: Frugal Habits

I like to go out and eat too. Wife and I probably spend $50-100/month on this. It is our one "luxury". But we do it on the cheap. Coupons or specials almost everywhere. I look at restaurant selection as a cost-benefit analysis. There is a local mexican place we go to that has huge lunch specials for $4. We always have leftovers. We almost always go there because it is hard to justify spending 100% more at other places that have $7-8 plates for lunch. It is almost cheaper than Taco Bell (one of my favorites, but not the wife's).
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Re: Frugal Habits
Old 08-17-2005, 04:46 PM   #15
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Re: Frugal Habits

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mountain_Mike
They even like Spam!
oohhh Spammmmm...

Spam, eggs and rice for breakfast hmmmm, brudda
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Re: Frugal Habits
Old 08-17-2005, 04:54 PM   #16
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Re: Frugal Habits



For those in northern climes... saving on winter energy, I predict will be big business this winter. Remember the energy crisis when we were all running around sealing up our drafty windows and doors?

I say forget the expensive 3M window shrink wrap. Shop at Home Depot for cheap near-transparant painters protective film. Staple or thumb tack it to the inside window trim. Night look crappy for a few months but the savings can be huge.


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Re: Frugal Habits
Old 08-17-2005, 05:02 PM   #17
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Re: Frugal Habits

Recycle dryer sheets.*
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Re: Frugal Habits
Old 08-17-2005, 05:20 PM   #18
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Re: Frugal Habits

Quote:
Originally Posted by justin
Oh...* I think I have done all of those at one point or another.* I LOVE taco bell hot sauce.* I eat there occasionally to I can get a bag full of hot salsa packets to tide me over till the next Taco bell run...
I once ordered lunch in a suburb of Albuquerque, at Taco Bell.
It was my misfortune to witness the folks who were preparing my food.
I paid, but I tossed the whole works in the garbage on my way out.

JG
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Re: Frugal Habits
Old 08-17-2005, 05:29 PM   #19
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Re: Frugal Habits

JG,

What did you witness? If it was something unsanitary, a call to the Health Dept. may be in order.
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Re: Frugal Habits
Old 08-17-2005, 05:37 PM   #20
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Re: Frugal Habits

Quote:
Originally Posted by malakito
1.* Do your own taxes and work on minimizing them.* Taxes are my number one expenditure and are probably yours, too.*

malakito
What sort of taxes? I pay -0- federal income, SS or self employment taxes.
Of course I pay fed. gas taxes, sales tax, property tax, etc, but
certainly not my "number one expenditure".

JG
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