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Old 05-27-2013, 12:03 PM   #61
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I like the concept of no-sacrifice frugality that was mentioned earlier in this thread but at the risk of sounding pompous, I think there's a better way to do this than to control your spending, and that is to control your desires. If you don't even feel the desire for something, you don't have to go to the trouble of trying to get it for less money.

It sounds like motivational guru talk, I know, but it seems to have worked for me.

I have set up my life so that the recurring costs are few, and the ones I do have are reasonable. Couponing when grocery shopping does my head in, so I go to Trader Joe's instead, where the general ambiance, friendliness and people-watching opportunities are all better than the big markets, and the prices don't yo-yo up and down on a weekly basis. The game of retailer and consumer constantly trying to outwit each other is, in my opinion, insulting to all parties involved.
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Old 05-27-2013, 12:19 PM   #62
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I guess that I have played the frugal game most of my adult life. Now that I am not longer w**king and currently living on a variety guaranteed income streams and taking my time on taping my tax-deferred stash, I am not nearly as frugal as I once was.

Being less frugal now is my payoff for being "tightfisted" all of those past years. I think that's how it's supposed to work.
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Old 05-27-2013, 12:55 PM   #63
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Couponing when grocery shopping does my head in, so I go to Trader Joe's instead, where the general ambiance, friendliness and people-watching opportunities are all better than the big markets, and the prices don't yo-yo up and down on a weekly basis. The game of retailer and consumer constantly trying to outwit each other is, in my opinion, insulting to all parties involved.
I have never thought of the insulting aspect before, but couponing to me is certainly deadly boring. I would rather take in a notch on my belt, or find work. Like you, I buy 85% of my food at Trader Joe. Meats including chicken and frozen fish are included. I only buy fresh fish elsewhere, and the occasional prime steaks form Whole Foods for a blowout occasion. Trader Joe is 6 blocks away, the people who work there are always upbeat and friendly, the other shoppers are copacetic and to me the whole experience seems completely human.

Everyone is different, that's for sure.

Ha
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Old 05-27-2013, 01:16 PM   #64
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You could also just use a small window air conditioner in your bedroom. As others have said, the roll around ones are not efficient or convenient.
If electricity got too outrageous, that's what I do. You can get a window one for a little over a $100. Fans will not do me any good, because I have to sleep with my comforter blanket. I have tried the sheet or light cover strategy with fan, and my comfort level needed to sleep was never achieved. My house is under 1500 sq. feet so a window unit wouldn't save me as much as someone with a big house. I have a friend who drops his a/c down to 65 degrees every might in the summer as he cannot stand the house to be warm to sleep in.
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Old 05-27-2013, 01:54 PM   #65
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..........Everyone is different, that's for sure.

Ha
Yea, I don't like fish and I resent the little monsters at TraderJoe's with their mini shopping carts blocking up the aisles. Much nicer looking women at TJ's though.

Now you kids, get off my lawn!
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Old 05-27-2013, 05:05 PM   #66
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I line dry clothes all year round....in the spring, summer and fall, outside ( I LOVE the smell of sheets and towels dried outdoors!!!!)

In the winter, I hang the stuff in the house overnight...it's amazing how quickly the items dry because the house is so dry from the heat being on-so it's like having a free humidifier!!!!

By watching the weather I generally never have to dry stuff when it's damp weather...

I want to pull the plug on TV but I have not worked up the nerve yet..I will say my projection TV from 2001, which still works like the day I bought it, will continue to be my TV til it dies....in my opinion there is nothing on TV worth purchasing a newer TV...
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Old 05-29-2013, 11:44 AM   #67
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...

Our worst habit is eating out. A lot. Nice restaurants. Thinking about taking cooking lessons.

Hello again, Seraphim, and thanks for adding to the discussion arising from my post.

When I used to be "Alex in Miami" I could buy this humongous book of local restaurant discount coupons for $25. The book was good for 6 months and restaurants in all price ranges used to be in the book. There were many, many restaurants in the higher price ranges that I would never have gone to except for those coupons. The least you would save on dinner for two would be 25% (on a buy one, get another at 50% off) with many restaurants giving a full 50% off (buy one, get one free).

Talk about scoring in the Frugal Game! That used to be great.

Living now in a more rural area, I have nothing like that available locally. But I'd love to hear from anyone who still lives in an urban area large enough to have the "critical mass" necessary to enable the availability of such a coupon book.

Anyone?

Alex in Virginia
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Old 05-29-2013, 11:57 AM   #68
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Hello again, Seraphim, and thanks for adding to the discussion arising from my post.

When I used to be "Alex in Miami" I could buy this humongous book of local restaurant discount coupons for $25. The book was good for 6 months and restaurants in all price ranges used to be in the book. There were many, many restaurants in the higher price ranges that I would never have gone to except for those coupons. The least you would save on dinner for two would be 25% (on a buy one, get another at 50% off) with many restaurants giving a full 50% off (buy one, get one free).

Talk about scoring in the Frugal Game! That used to be great.

Living now in a more rural area, I have nothing like that available locally. But I'd love to hear from anyone who still lives in an urban area large enough to have the "critical mass" necessary to enable the availability of such a coupon book.

Anyone?

Alex in Virginia
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Old 05-29-2013, 12:28 PM   #69
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I think there's a better way to do this than to control your spending, and that is to control your desires. If you don't even feel the desire for something, you don't have to go to the trouble of trying to get it for less money.
Bingo!! That is so true, and also very well expressed.

When saving for retirement and actively LBYM'ing, "the Frugal Game" was something entirely different for me than that discussed in the first post of this thread. The game was to try to spend less each month than I had been during the months before.

The emphasis for me was on not spending, instead of on spending (even for things that cost less). It is amazing how much can be saved by ignoring coupons, sales, and bargain purchases, and just making fewer purchases entirely.
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Old 05-29-2013, 01:02 PM   #70
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It is amazing how much can be saved by ignoring coupons, sales, and bargain purchases, and just making fewer purchases entirely.
Plus, this is much less annoying and you build up less that has to be taken to the dump.

However sales are good when you have children. Can't get their feet to stop growing. Children, as wonderfully transforming as they are, involve you in many things that if you were alone you might be pleased to avoid.

Ha
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Old 05-29-2013, 03:45 PM   #71
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Bingo!! That is so true, and also very well expressed.

When saving for retirement and actively LBYM'ing, "the Frugal Game" was something entirely different for me than that discussed in the first post of this thread. The game was to try to spend less each month than I had been during the months before.

The emphasis for me was on not spending, instead of on spending (even for things that cost less). It is amazing how much can be saved by ignoring coupons, sales, and bargain purchases, and just making fewer purchases entirely.
I see LBYM and the Frugal Game as two pieces of a puzzle - they compliment each other. LBYM is a reduction in demand. The Frugal Game is getting the biggest bang for the buck once you've decided to make a purchase within the LBYM spending.
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Old 05-31-2013, 12:26 PM   #72
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I see LBYM and the Frugal Game as two pieces of a puzzle - they compliment each other. LBYM is a reduction in demand. The Frugal Game is getting the biggest bang for the buck once you've decided to make a purchase within the LBYM spending.

Great point, Live And Learn. Thanks for adding it to the discussion arising from my original post.

How's this for "biggest bang for the buck" in groceries. I got my hands on another of those coupons good for $5 off $25 in purchased groceries. Headed straight for the meat department ON A DEPARTMENT SALE DAY and picked up 2.75 pounds of brisket, 2 pounds of center cut pork chops, 2 pounds of boneless chuck steak (my favorite) and 5 and a half pounds of chicken thighs. And my whole bill was... wait for it... $17.27! Combining the sale price discounts with the $5 coupon saved me 58% off the regular prices.

Woo hoo!

(Oh, since I haven't mentioned it before: another fun thing about the Frugal Game is the bragging rights!)

Alex in Virginia
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Old 06-01-2013, 09:54 PM   #73
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How's this for "biggest bang for the buck" in groceries. I got my hands on another of those coupons good for $5 off $25 in purchased groceries. Headed straight for the meat department ON A DEPARTMENT SALE DAY and picked up 2.75 pounds of brisket, 2 pounds of center cut pork chops, 2 pounds of boneless chuck steak (my favorite) and 5 and a half pounds of chicken thighs. And my whole bill was... wait for it... $17.27! Combining the sale price discounts with the $5 coupon saved me 58% off the regular prices.

Woo hoo!

(Oh, since I haven't mentioned it before: another fun thing about the Frugal Game is the bragging rights!)

Alex in Virginia
Nice work !
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Old 06-02-2013, 02:31 AM   #74
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I guess that I have played the frugal game most of my adult life. Now that I am not longer w**king and currently living on a variety guaranteed income streams and taking my time on taping my tax-deferred stash, I am not nearly as frugal as I once was.

Being less frugal now is my payoff for being "tightfisted" all of those past years. I think that's how it's supposed to work.

Hello, MickeyD, and thanks for adding that viewpoint to the discussion arising from my original post.

I am experiencing "frugalism" very differently, which I think is synthesized in the title to my original post. Like you, I too have a variety of guaranteed (or semi-guaranteed) income streams. Added together those income streams cover my basic living expenses 3 times over. And yet, I keep playing the Frugal Game because I really, really find it to be fun.

Every time I optimize my basic cost of living basis, even if just by a little bit, I still get a happy kick out of it. It just adds another smidgen of spice to my day-to-day life.

Cheers,

Alex in Virginia
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Old 06-03-2013, 10:08 PM   #75
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Old 06-04-2013, 07:40 AM   #76
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I think there's a better way to do this than to control your spending, and that is to control your desires.
That is the key, and why so many will never be able to retire and will only stop working when health issues force them to.
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I forgot to mention cash back cards!
Old 06-07-2013, 06:32 AM   #77
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I forgot to mention cash back cards!

(Hello, All... Please consider this an add-on to my original post.)


Just a couple of months ago, I found another fun way to play the Frugal Game: cash back credit cards! The idea of getting another 3% (sometimes even 5%) off on groceries and on gasoline is a big winner, I think. So now I only carry cash-back credit cards in my wallet.

Used to be I always paid for my groceries with my debit card. Charging groceries just struck me as really, really lame. Not anymore, though. My poor debit card is gathering dust in my wallet. If I can get another 3% off on groceries on top of whatever discounts and coupon savings I've been able to score... bring it on! (Just pay off the balance monthly, that's all.)

As so happens, I've actually had at least 2 cash-back credit cards for years. I just never paid attention to that feature. So my cash back points had been accumulating unintentionally for who knows how long (because apparently they don't expire). With those past accruals to give me a jump start, I just reached the minimum redemption level on my Bank of America and Discover cards. And I got an extra "chaching!" when I did my redemptions!

I found out that the Bank of America card will add an extra 10% to my redemption amount if I process that redemption as a deposit to my BofA checking account. So... why not! Chaching!

Then I found that my Discover Card would jack up my redemption amount BY 25 PERCENT if I took it as a Bed, Bath & Beyond gift card. Hey! That's where I go to buy my Keurig single-serving coffee thingies (and always using a hefty discount coupon). So... of course! I took that redemption deal and now, the next time I go to get coffee supplies at BB&BY I'll be getting even more of the stuff and it will be for free. Chaching! Chaching!

What about you? Have you got any nifty cash-back credit card stories to share?

Alex in Virginia
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Old 06-07-2013, 09:18 AM   #78
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I have had cash back credit cards in the past and they are ok. As I once found out the problem with some of Discover's offerings (and I imagine other offerings as well) is that they are limited. I once bought a few thousand worth of kitchen appliances using Discover during a time period that they offered 5% cash back on home improvement items, only to find out that the high cash back rate was limited to a small amount of purchases since I failed to read the fine print.

(What I did make out on though is that Discover doubled the time for the manufacturer's warranty which save me over $600 in repairs on those appliances).

I find the 2 miles/points for each $1 spent cards to be much more convenient. We use Escape by Discover (unfortunately no longer available, but grandfathered) but there are other similar deals still available from what I have read. Since we travel enough to fully use the credits, we end up getting 2% back on everything we charge and most of our spending is put on that card which is paid off every month.

While I could finagle the various cash back deals and probably do better, to be candid, I have better ways to spend my time.
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Old 06-07-2013, 10:30 AM   #79
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I have had cash back credit cards in the past and they are ok. As I once found out the problem with some of Discover's offerings (and I imagine other offerings as well) is that they are limited. I once bought a few thousand worth of kitchen appliances using Discover during a time period that they offered 5% cash back on home improvement items, only to find out that the high cash back rate was limited to a small amount of purchases since I failed to read the fine print.

(What I did make out on though is that Discover doubled the time for the manufacturer's warranty which save me over $600 in repairs on those appliances).

I find the 2 miles/points for each $1 spent cards to be much more convenient. We use Escape by Discover (unfortunately no longer available, but grandfathered) but there are other similar deals still available from what I have read. Since we travel enough to fully use the credits, we end up getting 2% back on everything we charge and most of our spending is put on that card which is paid off every month.

While I could finagle the various cash back deals and probably do better, to be candid, I have better ways to spend my time.
I am like you, PB, I will use them as often as possible, but do not go reaching for the last buck. There are some real fanatics and I admire them for it. For example, a 5% cash back card with a $1500 offering for a typical 3 month buying window. Say it is at Walgreens for that three months. People who do not normally buy anything at Walgreens will then go in and buy $1500 worth of various gift cards and then spend them elsewhere to capture their 5%.
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