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Old 08-02-2014, 11:29 PM   #41
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In total amount of saving, my top 3 are:

1) housing - live in lesser neighborhood in Bay Area, cheaper house than what we can afford
2) car - have only one, takes company shuttle for commute, Hyndai instead of Benz, BMW, Lexux, etc.
3) travel - budget, economy class, frequency
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Old 08-03-2014, 07:16 AM   #42
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Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Huntsville
Posts: 62
Own yard work.
No cable, stream NETFLIX,etc
Consumer cellular, no landline
Low investment fees, no FA.
Maintain good health, retired military gives me cheap healthcare
Eat out only a couple times per month
No credit cards, pay cash for everything
DW cooks almost every meal from scratch
Pack my lunch
No Starbucks
No designer name clothing
Enjoy good beer and bourbon in moderation
Vacations are spent in our RV
By used, but in good shape, durable goods from CRAIGSLIST when they are needed
Drive a 12 yo GMC with 200k but still going strong
Most of my own home maintenance
Oh, and we homeschool our 10 yo son. He loves it and is well advanced academically and it saves us big time over private school

I do spend on hobbies. I love to fly fish and duck hunt and short road trips on my Harley.

I feel I live a full life and not deprived. Frugal does not have to hurt. Balance is key. I'll ER at 55 in four years.



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Old 08-03-2014, 07:35 AM   #43
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Other than taxes, over which one has limited control, housing is usually the biggest expense and therefore the biggest opportunity for savings. When I long ago became specific in my plans for early retirement, I focused on limiting housing-related expenses, and there have been many collateral benefits to this approach.

Although I live in an expensive area of NYC, I live in a very modest co-op apartment, fully paid off and therefore no mortgage costs. Property taxes are proportionally low. I don't need much furniture. My electricity bills are miniscule. Very little spent on renovation over the years since there is not much to renovate.

Money that would have been spent on a larger home and related items was squirreled away and invested, allowing me to comfortably retire in my late 40s.

I have to admit I have little sympathy for someone who openly complains about how much they hate their job or struggle to keep up financially, while at the same time they chain themselves to the financial burden of a large house - and possibly two if they also own a vacation property. For me, simplifying my life into a smaller, less expensive home about 15 years ago was one of the wisest decisions I ever made.
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Old 08-03-2014, 07:47 AM   #44
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I remember something my first boss out of college said too me about personal finance. He said, "You'll find that when you get a raise, you'll end up spending it all as you constantly upgrade your lifestyle. The more you make, you more you'll spend. It's really hard to keep up."

I thought this was a crazy way of thinking. Even then my intuition told me that a LBYM lifestyle was the way to go.
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Old 08-03-2014, 09:48 AM   #45
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Rarely bathe. Drink Sterno straight from the can.
+1

Also turn underwear inside out to get multiple use and reduce frequency of laundering.
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Old 08-03-2014, 09:49 AM   #46
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Other than taxes, over which one has limited control, housing is usually the biggest expense and therefore the biggest opportunity for savings. When I long ago became specific in my plans for early retirement, I focused on limiting housing-related expenses, and there have been many collateral benefits to this approach.

Although I live in an expensive area of NYC, I live in a very modest co-op apartment, fully paid off and therefore no mortgage costs. Property taxes are proportionally low. I don't need much furniture. My electricity bills are miniscule. Very little spent on renovation over the years since there is not much to renovate.

Money that would have been spent on a larger home and related items was squirreled away and invested, allowing me to comfortably retire in my late 40s.

I have to admit I have little sympathy for someone who openly complains about how much they hate their job or struggle to keep up financially, while at the same time they chain themselves to the financial burden of a large house - and possibly two if they also own a vacation property. For me, simplifying my life into a smaller, less expensive home about 15 years ago was one of the wisest decisions I ever made.
We are late to the game but have realized the same thing about our current house. I have been looking at what neighbors' houses sell for and what they paid for them 10 years ago and the ones that bought in 2004, despite housing price increases in our area in the last couple of years, have maybe broke even on the price. Over ten years they still lost quite a bit of money when you add in upgrades, repairs, inflation, opportunity cost of capital, property taxes, realtors fees, insurance, furnishings, and either the money or their time cost for yard work and housecleaning. Renting or buying smaller / lower cost $ sq foot would have been much more economical.

Plus I realized in semi-ER that our taxable income is largely controllable, and the higher overhead for our current house means higher draws, which in turn raises our income taxes, lowers financial aid and raises our health care premiums.

For people really into their houses, gardens and workshops, I can see where it is worth the money, but we have decided that for us downsizing is the way to go.
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Old 08-03-2014, 10:11 AM   #47
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Like many others, I save a lot the following ways:
1) Do my own car and house maintenance (mowing, trimming, etc).
2) Do my own taxes and all the bookkeeping for my small home-based side business.
3) Don't eat dinner out much, except when traveling. I live in the country, so eating out is not so convenient.
4) Don't drive a new luxury car, but also not a small $#!tbox little car.
5) Live in nice, but modest house with a big detached garage.
6) Do my own house and appliance repairs.
7) Use a coupon when I can, or stock up when a good 2-for-1 sale or closeout for something I will use.
8) Get online deals when it is appropriate for buying things.
9) No debt besides small mortgage payment at low interest rate.
10) My favorite designers are Levi's and Dickies, I do not own anything that would be considered designer fashion. My wife may have a couple purses or similar that are designer she got as gifts.

Not really a savings, but I actually make money on my old car hobby, fix them up and then enjoy driving them; and eventually when sold I make profit (not incl my labor).
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Old 08-03-2014, 10:45 AM   #48
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I'm a little different than a lot of people here, but I'm still a LBYM person that others sometimes call cheap!

1) I don't save on TV, heating and air, phone, hot tub, or any other utilities. I'm willing to pay to be as comfortable as I want.
2) I buy relatively expensive cars but keep them for about 15 years.
3) I'll buy expensive furnishing's, but try to take good care of them and make them last.
4) I'll buy whatever I want with respect to sporting goods and hobbies.

The things that I'm frugal on:

1) Don't spend money on drinks when eating out. I'll have water instead of wasting money on soda or wine.
2) Don't go to expensive restaurants often, maybe once or twice a year.
3) Don't stay at expensive Hotels for one or two night trips.
4) I set a vacation and entertainment budget that is relatively low and stick to it.
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Old 08-03-2014, 11:36 AM   #49
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I started pre-saving for things rather than buying on credit or loans. It's funny how you jealously protect already earned money compared to future money. (House excepted in this.)

Example car - If you have a paid off car, then the hypothetical future car payments can be put in the bank each month and earn interest (OK, maybe not now) rather than paying interest. Do this for everything you can.

Impulse buys become - I really want that. New savings bucket. At some point you make the purchase in confidence or find out you would rather keep your money.

I spent years living out of these piggy bank accounts, retired, and discovered I am now totally insane. I'm still doing it rather than enjoying the resulting "riches" while I am still around.
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Old 08-03-2014, 11:48 AM   #50
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I'm a little different than a lot of people here
And not doing things the way others do isn't right or wrong, it's just your way.
Quote:
4) I set a vacation and entertainment budget that is relatively low and stick to it.
Ouch! Here's where we have a big difference in personal tastes. One of the major reasons we FIRE'd was to have the time and resources for enjoying travel and entertainment. We work hard to get value out of the travel and entertainment dollars we spend, but it is one of our major expenditures.

Each to his own and may everyone enjoy life!
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Old 08-03-2014, 12:35 PM   #51
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I simply slash my expenses as much as possible in any way possible, without making myself uncomfortable.

Utilities - A/C on 79 or 80, heat on 69 or 70. I only have a desk lamp on when I'm in my office (using the computer). Don't keep lights on in other parts of the house. Try not to waste water - not only higher water bills, but higher sewer and gas (hot water heater) bills. Don't have cable. Check out movies from the library.

Groceries - Shop at Aldi for nearly everything I can (except animal proteins). Don't typically snack much, only eat reasonably-sized main meals that I usually cook myself. I do splurge (for social reasons) on grabbing lunch with some co-workers a few times a week, probably $2,000/year rate.

Insurance - Only pay $60/month for my $5,500 deductible health care plan. Am healthy, so only been to the doctor 1 time in the past 10 years.

Fun/social activities - Might splurge a bit here, but only occasionally do I go out. I am dating, and sometimes involves long distance, so that is a relatively large expenditure.

Auto - Drive a $18,000 (MSRP) hatchback, purchased new. I've averaged 30 mpg, so relatively fuel efficient.

Mortgage - 1.99% PenFed 5 year Home Equity Loan. Don't pay closing costs.

Am largely waiting to get married before the massive travel expenditures start, so until that happens, am just content having a low-key, relaxed, fun life in the meantime. Cash outflow is probably $20,000-$25,000/year, excluding car allowance.
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Old 08-03-2014, 12:53 PM   #52
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I lied about the bathing.
I'm guessing once a month, whether you need it or not.
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Old 08-03-2014, 01:55 PM   #53
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I lied about the bathing.
Which part - 'bathing' or 'rarely'?

-ERD50
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Old 08-03-2014, 03:36 PM   #54
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Like most I'm DIY when able - mowing, vehicle maintenance/repairs and the like. I've hired a lawn guy for the rest of this season for a health issue but expect to be fully recovered in plenty of time to shovel snow if we get any.

Designer clothes? I wouldn't know one of them if it bit me.

For the most part we eat at home but will splurge once in a while. When we were working lunches came from home.

We do buy new vehicles but keep them until either reliability, availability of parts or basic economics says it it time to let it go.

We're not big on travel so don't spend on hotels, meals out, etc.
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Old 08-03-2014, 09:00 PM   #55
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Rarely bathe. Drink Sterno straight from the can.

I went upscale from that. I buy whiskey in large volume from Costco and then wear the barrel when its empty af the end of the week and save tons on clothing!
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Old 08-03-2014, 10:12 PM   #56
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No worries. We have a special line item for you, SM.
That should work!


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Old 08-03-2014, 11:29 PM   #57
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No car - public transport out here is excellent and low cost. Over 20-30 years that is a huge saving.
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