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Money saving tips
Old 04-08-2007, 07:38 PM   #1
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Money saving tips

One of the main ways of getting to FIRE is LBYM, but also spending wisely. I know many of us mow our own lawns, keep cars forever, shop at Costco, skip cable, etc. But do you do other things that are less obvious? I am not referring to doing without, but saving money on things that you do. Though I am asking the question, I do not have much to contribute other than these small things I have recently done:

Agree to paperless online billing for my landline, getting me a $1 credit every month
Signing up to have my electric bill charged to my cash back credit card (previously had been my checking account) getting me 1% back

It pays to glance at the inserts in the bill!

Any ideas that most of us could implement without much effort?
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Re: Money saving tips
Old 04-08-2007, 08:06 PM   #2
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Re: Money saving tips

Well, let's see....

shop at thrift stores for most clothing (I'm picky, I buy only name-brand shirts, usually for a buck or two apiece); cruise through two grocery stores on shopping day, picking up mainly the sale items (that I need) at each one; shovel my own snow, mow my own lawn with a hand mower (no tractors, snowblowers, etc); drive a 1996 Toyota Corolla for commuting (I have a newer pickup that I drive on weekends if I want to); grow a big garden, which provides all my vegetables for about 6+ months of the year.

Those are the ones that come to mind right away, but it's really a lifestyle, as most folks on this board know. The main thing is to not get in a position where you NEED to buy anything right away, and avoid impluse shopping at all costs.
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Re: Money saving tips
Old 04-08-2007, 08:16 PM   #3
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Re: Money saving tips

1. Use only one credit card and sign up for email notification of the bill, and pay the entire balance of the bill as soon as it arrives, don't wait until it is due. By following this advice, you will not lose track of various bills at various times of the month, you will not pay late fees, and you will not pay interest.

2. Do not use a debit card. You will subject yourself to unauthorized withdrawals from your account which will be a hassle to recover, if ever.

3. If you have cable, don't pay $5 extra every month for the privilege of having a cable box. Your TV will work just fine if you plug the cable directly into the TV.

4. Never buy a warranty or an extended service contract for anything, it's a waste of money.

5. Never buy any type of life insurance except term life, and do not pay for life insurance if no one relies on you for financial support, or, you already have enough money to provide for them if you die.

6. Review your various insurance policies, especially auto and home, and figure out what specific coverages and deductibles you are paying for. You may find that you are paying for coverages or deductibles that you don't need or don't want. And if you don't understand what a specific coverage is for, cancel it, you likely don't need it.

7. Don't buy more house than you need.

8. Do not buy anything if you have to finance it (except a house and one reasonably priced car). If you have to finance it, you can't afford it.

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Re: Money saving tips
Old 04-08-2007, 08:36 PM   #4
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Re: Money saving tips

Before acquiring something, ask yourself if it's worth the time and money for repair, maintenance, cleaning, and protecting.
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Re: Money saving tips
Old 04-08-2007, 08:51 PM   #5
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Re: Money saving tips

Quote:
Originally Posted by JustCurious
7. Don't buy more house than you need.
I'll second that one.

"Buy the house you need" will probably save you more money than all the other "tips" combined. By buying a relatively modest house (it can still be nice!), you'll have money to spend on other things (or save!).

Alternatively, "rent the house you need" when it makes sense. If you can save tens of thousands per year by renting, then that may make sense.
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Re: Money saving tips
Old 04-08-2007, 09:12 PM   #6
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Re: Money saving tips

Justin, you are so right. I should have made that #1 on my list. A bigger house means higher mortgage payments, higher taxes, higher insurance, higher maintenance, higher utility bills, higher costs for furniture and furnishing, homeowner's dues (usually), and the higher cost of keeping up with the neighbor's spending.
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Re: Money saving tips
Old 04-08-2007, 09:27 PM   #7
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Re: Money saving tips

Quote:
Originally Posted by Khan
Before acquiring something, ask yourself if it's worth the time and money for repair, maintenance, cleaning, and protecting.
Right on. The other hidden cost of owning things is dealing with the clutter they cause. I'm in the process right now of getting ready to move, and I've spent weeks just sorting through stuff that I've not used in many years and may not use for many more years. And I consider myself pretty good at not being a packrat.

I like to consider places like home depot and thrift stores to be my extra storage spaces. When I have a small piece of hardware somewhere at home but-not-sure-where, it's often easier and cheaper to just buy another one from the store than to dig through and organize all my little stashes of miscellania.

I don't use plastic ice chests often for camping, so whenever I need one I just buy it at the thrift store for $3 or so and then donate it back when I'm done with it. That way it doesn't take up my storage space and force me to move it aside when I want to get to my stuff.
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Re: Money saving tips
Old 04-08-2007, 09:40 PM   #8
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Re: Money saving tips

Quote:
Originally Posted by free4now
Right on. The other hidden cost of owning things is dealing with the clutter they cause. I'm in the process right now of getting ready to move, and I've spent weeks just sorting through stuff that I've not used in many years and may not use for many more years. And I consider myself pretty good at not being a packrat.

I like to consider places like home depot and thrift stores to be my extra storage spaces. When I have a small piece of hardware somewhere at home but-not-sure-where, it's often easier and cheaper to just buy another one from the store than to dig through and organize all my little stashes of miscellania.

I don't use plastic ice chests often for camping, so whenever I need one I just buy it at the thrift store for $3 or so and then donate it back when I'm done with it. That way it doesn't take up my storage space and force me to move it aside when I want to get to my stuff.
That hadn't occurred to me, but you're right.

Can also be expanded to vehicles. Buy a small safe efficient car; you can always rent a pickup/SUV/station wagon for a day or week.
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Re: Money saving tips
Old 04-08-2007, 10:04 PM   #9
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Re: Money saving tips

"Scrip." The private school my daughter attends sells scrip, which is really just gift cards for many different retailers (restaurrants, hotel chains, supermarkets, etc). The cards make good gifts, and I use the hotel gift cards to pay for my business trip hotel stays. I pay full price for the gift card, but the companies that sell them refund a percentage (3-15%, depending on the merchant) to the school. The school splits this refund with me (they use half for school improvements, credit the other half toward our next tuition payment). The cards are a bit of a PITA to keep track of, but I've saved hundreds of dollars by buying them.

If you've got a church group or PTA that sels them, you might look into this. If you want to be a hero, offer to start a SCRIP program at a charity you like.

Here's a web site for one of the larger scrip companies. http://tinyurl.com/3djuf4


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Re: Money saving tips
Old 04-08-2007, 10:31 PM   #10
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Re: Money saving tips

We charge everything on one credit card. At the end of the year we get a sweet 200 to 300 dollar refund for purchases. Easy money just pay off the card every month.
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