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Old 07-27-2011, 11:16 AM   #41
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BTW, she's got all kinds of cheapskate posts. There was one where she talked about saving money with cold showers!
SIL and her DH used to subject us to that whenever we visited them in Scotland. They had the water temperature set very low and only turned on the water heater immediately before they needed it. The first one in would get a cool shower, the 2nd person in would inevitably end up with it running cold before they finished.

This last visit a few weeks ago was much better. They have mellowed in their old age. Plenty of hot water.
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Old 07-27-2011, 12:02 PM   #42
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We're over that income range and we try not to buy them any new clothes. Always try to leech some clothes from friends/relatives. Of course, our kids are less than 2 so they don't know the difference.
Not just with clothes, I try not to buy anything new if it's appropriate. Even though we have money to buy things new, I just don't see a value in it.
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Old 07-27-2011, 01:12 PM   #43
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You should delve deeper into her blogs, she practices "passive cooling", no central or window AC units at all. Says based in central PA, temps hit 100 for a few days, and all they did was draw the curtains during the day and using ceiling fans. She mentioned the temp got up to 83. This appears to be her choice and based on her other blogs, she appears to be going very green, reducing landfills, repurposing items (check out solar cooking eggs in a pot, cardboard box and storm window pane), minimizing utility usage, etc.

DW's friend has 3 boys all older than our only son. He gets all their nicer castoffs. All from nice stores, LL Bean and Gap stuff, most barely worn or never worn. We've only had to buy him some new shoes, socks and underwear. Really helps save on items he'll only wear for maybe 1 year at most. We freecycle to others and also get things too.

I for one practice getting "used" clothing. I get cast offs using freecycle too, comes in very handy since I'm always doing things that damage clothing,i.e., painting, outdoor work, installing/working in and around fiberglass insulation, working on the yard, plumbing/sump pump work, working in tight crawl spaces and also cleaning up water seepage/leaks. I prefer not to buy t'shirts at $5-10 new when companies love to hand them out for free in so many ways they call "marketing", all you need to do is ask for them.
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Old 07-27-2011, 01:31 PM   #44
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Why, we couldn't even afford air...

Wore some hand-me-down clothing, and used second-hand school books. I turned out okay.

On second thought...
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Old 07-27-2011, 01:33 PM   #45
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If the garage sale/hand me down clothes have enough holes in them, no need to pay for AC.
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Old 07-27-2011, 01:33 PM   #46
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Nothing wrong with used clothes IMO, except the time needed to find them. The opportunity cost of time spent must be considered when attempting to be frugal.

Everyone has their own personal of level of frugality they are comfortable with. Doing with less will feel like suffering, doing with more won't bring lasting happiness.

Testing yourself to determine what is and is not acceptable can be interesting. I'll do without bottled water or cable tv easily. Take a bus instead of cab with no issues, assuming I have time. I don't even consider having a smart phone. On the other hand - my attempt at no AC failed miserably. A few days in the mid-90's with an 80+ degree house, and I cracked. A couple weeks later and the AC is on constantly and it is 74 degrees inside 24/7.
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Old 07-27-2011, 03:29 PM   #47
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Miser Mom responds

This is Miser Mom herself responding: It's wild reading all these comments -- thank you, all! I appreciate the chance to see my own life through other peoples' eyes.

I'll elaborate a little. Yes, we could afford store-bought clothes, but I "force" my sons (and myself) to wear yard-sale clothes. We could afford meat at every meal, but I "force" my kids to eat meat-less (or less-meat) meals often. We could afford to drive everywhere, but my sons and I bicycle or walk most places under 1 mile. I'm awfully tough on my kids. Oh, how they suffer!

If you saw my kids, you'd think they were very happy. (Maybe they actually are.)

Thanks again for a lot of encouraging comments -- and also for the comments that make me critically examine my life.
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Old 07-27-2011, 03:59 PM   #48
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I would not go out of my way to purchase 2nd hand clothing, however, if a sibling or close relative had something they did not need or like I would take it.

I recently took some things from my son that he was not wearing and that I was able to use.

We always tried to shop the sales when the kids were younger and they kept out growing clothing. We would later put it up for sale at a consignment shop to get a few bucks.

I don't think that $160 k is a huge amount of income for 2 wage earners. Not much left after mortgage, taxes, 401k, vacations, car payments, insurance not to mention food and clothing.
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Old 07-27-2011, 04:11 PM   #49
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I have a 5 month old son and a 2 year old nephew so my son wears clothes that have been handed down almost exclusively. Whether you have the money or not it makes sense to buy used, especially for young children. The clothes are just as "cute" but a lot less expensive or, in my case, free!
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Old 07-27-2011, 04:20 PM   #50
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Oh, please, our daughter wouldn't be forced to wear second-hand clothes. If she didn't like what was available at Goodwill & garage sales then she was free to save her allowance (or do jobs around the house) and go buy her own clothes.
+1

Force is such a strong word. I just quizzed my kids the other day about whether a lifetime of LBYM was going to cause them to be spendthrifts when they were on their own — they swore up and down that they are forever cheapskates just like mom and dad.
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Old 07-27-2011, 04:56 PM   #51
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Welcome Miser Mom! I enjoyed your article and can appreciate how being frugal can reap extra rewards for a larger household. I like the "walk or bike most places under a mile". I find myself doing the same and enjoy not driving whenever I can.
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Old 07-27-2011, 05:24 PM   #52
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Welcome Miser Mom! I enjoyed your article and can appreciate how being frugal can reap extra rewards for a larger household. I like the "walk or bike most places under a mile". I find myself doing the same and enjoy not driving whenever I can.
+1

First thing we did when we ER'ed was to sell a car so we only have one, and we now use our bikes a lot. Where we RE'ed to is very well set up for bikes.
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Old 07-27-2011, 05:28 PM   #53
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This is Miser Mom herself responding: It's wild reading all these comments -- thank you, all! I appreciate the chance to see my own life through other peoples' eyes.
I'll elaborate a little. Yes, we could afford store-bought clothes, but I "force" my sons (and myself) to wear yard-sale clothes. We could afford meat at every meal, but I "force" my kids to eat meat-less (or less-meat) meals often. We could afford to drive everywhere, but my sons and I bicycle or walk most places under 1 mile. I'm awfully tough on my kids. Oh, how they suffer!
If you saw my kids, you'd think they were very happy. (Maybe they actually are.)
Thanks again for a lot of encouraging comments -- and also for the comments that make me critically examine my life.
Welcome to the board! Now that you already have a newsletter blog, when's the book coming out?

FWIW we're not sure that the OP has any experience with parenting children.

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Force is such a strong word. I just quizzed my kids the other day about whether a lifetime of LBYM was going to cause them to be spendthrifts when they were on their own — they swore up and down that they are forever cheapskates just like mom and dad.
They're just looking forward to the day when they have to pick out our full-care facilities...
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Old 07-27-2011, 06:23 PM   #54
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They're just looking forward to the day when they have to pick out our full-care facilities...
hahahahaha

raised on our frugal ways, i suspect we're going to be set on an ice floe and bid a fond farewell
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Old 07-27-2011, 06:53 PM   #55
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Welcome to the board! Now that you already have a newsletter blog, when's the book coming out?

FWIW we're not sure that the OP has any experience with parenting children.
I second Nords' welcome, MiserMom. I think you're doing great. And I believe the OP has acknowledged on another thread that he is childless.
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Old 07-27-2011, 07:32 PM   #56
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We could afford meat at every meal, but I "force" my kids to eat meat-less (or less-meat) meals often.
As a man who developed a robust musculature through weight training in his teenage years, I was on more or less on the caveman diet. I still like devouring 1# ribeye steaks, pork chops or shashlik (i.e., Russian shishkabob.) Kids need a lot of animal protein to grow - I wouldn't skimp on that, just to save a buck that you could easily afford otherwise.

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We could afford to drive everywhere, but my sons and I bicycle or walk most places under 1 mile. I'm awfully tough on my kids. Oh, how they suffer!
A good exercise regimen is definitely beneficial; I always try to walk anywhere to get my 30 minutes of walking per day (which is super easy in Europe, but super hard in most places in America, since a lot of places have no safe sidewalks!)

But tell us, are you so cheap as to not pay for them to join kids' sports leagues? My sister laid out about $30K/yr for her kids to play in high quality leagues (that were so good the only way to find suitable competition was to go away on a 400 mile road trip!) Although since I was never a big "team player", I didn't join such leagues, I think for most kids, it's a big psychological development tool.
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Old 07-27-2011, 08:23 PM   #57
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I come from a family of 4 kids. Look back through our old family photos, and you'll see the same sweatshirts pass down from my older sister, to me, to my younger brother, and (if it held up to serving two 10 year old boys) my younger sister.

Not ALL of our clothes were used; we each got some new clothes at the beginning of the school year. But many unisex items were re-used within our family, and often picked up used at thrift stores.
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Old 07-27-2011, 08:23 PM   #58
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I don't have a problem with making my kid wear second hand clothes, provided they fit and look good, but I often find these days its just not worth my time to scour thrift stores. Things like boys jeans are hard to find used in good condition. My strategy is just to buy a bunch in the next couple of sizes when I find a good deal. Shorts and swim wear I buy at the end of season clearance sales. T-shirts seem to just come out of nowhere so I don't really worry about those.
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Old 07-27-2011, 09:04 PM   #59
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As a man who developed a robust musculature through weight training in his teenage years, I was on more or less on the caveman diet. I still like devouring 1# ribeye steaks, pork chops or shashlik (i.e., Russian shishkabob.) Kids need a lot of animal protein to grow - I wouldn't skimp on that, just to save a buck that you could easily afford otherwise.



A good exercise regimen is definitely beneficial; I always try to walk anywhere to get my 30 minutes of walking per day (which is super easy in Europe, but super hard in most places in America, since a lot of places have no safe sidewalks!)

But tell us, are you so cheap as to not pay for them to join kids' sports leagues? My sister laid out about $30K/yr for her kids to play in high quality leagues (that were so good the only way to find suitable competition was to go away on a 400 mile road trip!) Although since I was never a big "team player", I didn't join such leagues, I think for most kids, it's a big psychological development tool.
First welcome Miser Mom. As you can see many here practice some of what you preach.

Second please ignore this poster. He neither had kids nor pays his bills so wouldn't understand what it is you are doing nor why.

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Old 07-27-2011, 09:32 PM   #60
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But tell us, are you so cheap as to not pay for them to join kids' sports leagues? My sister laid out about $30K/yr for her kids to play in high quality leagues (that were so good the only way to find suitable competition was to go away on a 400 mile road trip!)
Can you add some detail on what costs $30k/yr for sports leagues? I have one child in little league that cost us $300, even if I added soccer, basketball and football, maybe $1200 - $1500 for the year and he'd have a pretty full schedule. You mentioned kids, so for 2 kids, $15k/kid/yr? Even that sounds like a lot to pay for sports leagues...unless it's golf and these are the country club entrance dues? The other possible answer would be a lot more kids?
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