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Old 09-21-2014, 06:31 PM   #41
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Hope you're enjoying your stay. At $24, I'm guessing this may be a Norton. If so, as I understand it, Norton has some of the highest levels of antioxidants of any wine. So, maybe this is saving money on health? Have it with some dark chocolate...you know, for the health benefits

Yes, thanks, we had a great time! This was our 4th visit. The wine wasn't Norton but we did include some Norton in the bottles we bought to take home.

One other thought on saving money: DH and I managed with one car for 11 years. He was retired. Ironically, we decided to buy a second one because my job was getting too hectic and he needed it for doc appointments more often and I retired 3 months later. (Brief summary: got tired of the BS, the numbers looked good , so I quit.). We still have 2 cars but we saved a bundle having only one for 11 years.
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Old 09-25-2014, 10:00 AM   #42
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I have really ramped up the "frugalness" lately and finding it actually fun to see how much I can save on a monthly basis. Here are some of my saving habbits.

No cable. Use Netflix and Hulu.
Consumer Cellular. $50/month for two phones and all the voice and texts I can use. No land line.
Still drive my 02 GMC with 200k plus miles which runs good
Water with eating out meals which are limited to two a month. We really don't think eating out is a big deal and could cut it out completely.
$400/month grocery budget for three and we eat clean. We could actually cut this.
No purchase of New items if possible. Bought kid's last bike on C List and saved over $100.
Heat at 65 and AC at 78.
Limit shower time.
Hand water lawn to control amount used.
Catch rain water for garden watering.
Do my own vehicle and home maintenance when possible.
Use local library and parks for free recreation.
No fancy vacations. We own a small RV and our vacations are camping trips to State Parks.
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Old 09-25-2014, 10:19 AM   #43
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I haven't spent the time to read the whole thread yet so I don't know if anyone has mentioned this....I cut my own hair and trim my dog. I've been doing mine since I was 20 (over 25 years). Most guys hair are very easy to do if you are the handy DIY type of person. I started doing my dogs coat after grooming prices went up and now it's a piece of cake. I'm still working on getting my wife to let me try hers. Maybe in actual retirement. Of course hers is the most expensive.

I repair/install/make anything I feel I can tackle and still do a good job. And because it's mine I usually do a better job than the 'pro' who's just looking to move to the next $ source.
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Old 09-25-2014, 10:37 AM   #44
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It would be nice if we could keep this an ongoing thread. I am always looking for new ideas. I also find it fun to see how much I can save on an ongoing basis.

This week I canceled Hulu Plus and so far no one has complained.
I signed up for a program to get a $1K rebate from the water department to pay for xeriscaping the front yard.
I joined several Freecycle groups.
Received my $30 train tickets from a library program.
Received a bunch of free products like headphones and an LED bulb for doing product reviews.
Bought a new in the box grill for $5 at a thrift shop.
The local grocery store had grass fed beef overstocked and marked down to half price so I bought it all and put it in the freezer.
We went to a free lecture at the planetarium by a NASA rocket scientist.
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Old 09-25-2014, 10:48 AM   #45
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Various family members have pooled our library cards so that we can download ebooks instead of buying one-read Kindle books. As we all burn through a lot of books, this is collectively a big savings.

I've been working on DH to drop cable for years. I'm appalled by what we spend for cable. Of course, I never watch TV and didn't even own one prior to our marriage so I can see no downside to dropping it....

All LED lighting, all drip irrigation.
Am so in love with library e-books! And, at risk of exposing my sneaky side, a trick I use is to download them via USB cord to my old Kindle (Gen 2) which I leave turned off for WiFi. They then live there for as long as it takes me to get around to reading them. And no, it does not prevent the book from being returned. I've tested this multiple times to be sure.

I have a thought/suggestion regarding weaning your DH off of cable. Could you and he do a dry run for a period of, say a month, to see how it 'feels' to use a service like $7.99 Netflix or HuluPlus instead? Either he'll miss it terribly, and thus you'll know cable needs to remain a spending priority, or he'll discover it's kind of cool to have access to what you want when you want and join you onboard the dump-cable bandwagon.
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Old 09-25-2014, 12:59 PM   #46
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Woodstove-chop my own
Repair, when I can, instead of replace (but how much can you repair a $30 appliance?) I broke the top to a slow cooker. The OEM was $12 but the DW found a thrift store "suitable" replacement for $1.50.
Drive a 2003 auto with 146k miles. Just replaced the terminal ends myself. Battery store said that it required a dealer. I guess they never had electronics kits as kids. Parts $5.
Have a small garden. It is more for the freshness than saving $, but the vine ripened tomatoes with fresh basil and a pinch of fresh oregano can't be beat. I just can't figure out how to grow the Mozzarella, balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
Each spring I study and use volunteer plants instead of buying from a nursery. And I grow my own from clippings. A little root hormone goes a long way. This year I had volunteer mustard, butterfly bush, ornamental grasses, spirea, forsythia. Some times I do the National Arbor Day - 10 for $10.
Vacation out of season. Getting ready to go to a luxury penthouse condo on the ocean for about 50%.
Bought a $20 heat gun that tells me where I am losing heat. Insulating is easy, finding the source of the loss is not so easy. This laser gun fixes that.
Keep records of those thrift shop donations. They can pile up.
Some may not like this but I buy meats mainly on last day sale, then freeze. I am thawing wings that were originally $2.99 per pound. Last day $1.95.
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Old 09-25-2014, 01:52 PM   #47
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Disconnected or placed on a power strip all electricity using devices that use power when not in use. This has lowered my monthly electric bill.
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Old 09-25-2014, 02:16 PM   #48
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i like the daily bookbub.com alerts! Every day there are 1 or 2 free ebooks that look interesting and I will never have to buy a book for my kindle again!
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Old 09-25-2014, 02:29 PM   #49
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Disconnected or placed on a power strip all electricity using devices that use power when not in use. This has lowered my monthly electric bill.
I have to question this often repeated advice. Yes, if you have some things that really suck power 24/7 that are rarely used, it makes sense to shut them down.

But most of these things really use very, very little power in their 'off'/standby state. Their usage may be a rounding error on your bill, not really measurable at all. You may never even recoup the cost of the power strip. And some devices will last longer being 'always on', rather than going through a power cycle.

I use a kill-a-watt meter to help determine which things warrant being shut down, and try to consider any on/off wear and tear. I stopped shutting off my old inkjet printer after I measured its standby power. It didn't even register on my kill-a-watt meter, (so even if 1/2 W, that would be ~ 3 cents per month), and turning it on/off made it go through a start up cycle that added wear and tear to it.

So be selective, or it really isn't worth it.

-ERD50
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Old 09-25-2014, 02:36 PM   #50
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Bought a $20 heat gun that tells me where I am losing heat. Insulating is easy, finding the source of the loss is not so easy. This laser gun fixes that.
That's a great idea. May I ask what brand you bought?
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Old 09-25-2014, 03:17 PM   #51
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We have 5 Verizon phone contracts and as they expire we are moving, unless someone has a better idea to TracPhones. That way each phone service can be customized and priced by use and need.

Anyone else doing that? If so hows it working for you?
I just moved 4 Verizon phones to PagePlus (uses Verizon network). We don't use our cellphones alot so I got 4 $80/2000 minute/1 year cards. Went from $120 / month to $320 per year for cellphones - savings of $1,120 per year ! They have several plans, so you might want to check them out.

Raised thermostat from 73 to 74 degrees. Saved $30 on a one month bill. Over 5 hot months that will be $150 annual savings. Trying to get DH to "suffer" with 75 degrees to see how much more that saves.
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Old 09-25-2014, 03:25 PM   #52
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Anyone else doing that? If so hows it working for you?
We've been using Tracfones for about the last 8 or 10 years, they're fine for our purposes. But then we don't talk a lot when out and we maintain a land line because cell phone reception is spotty where we live. Great when it works, not so good otherwise.
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Old 09-25-2014, 03:30 PM   #53
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That's a great idea. May I ask what brand you bought?
Black and Decker TLD100 Thermal Leak Detector $28.02 at Amazon.

It is a fun toy to play with. It found many leaks for me.
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Old 09-25-2014, 03:34 PM   #54
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Black and Decker TLD100 Thermal Leak Detector $28.02 at Amazon.

It is a fun toy to play with. It found many leaks for me.
Thank you, I didn't even know something like that existed. At least not at an affordable price. I put it on my wish list at Amazon and will order one later.
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Old 09-25-2014, 03:47 PM   #55
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Black and Decker TLD100 Thermal Leak Detector $28.02 at Amazon.

It is a fun toy to play with. It found many leaks for me.
Thanks, I have added that to my Amazon queue. I'll treat myself next time I have enough CC rewards to pay for it.
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Old 09-25-2014, 08:19 PM   #56
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Raised thermostat from 73 to 74 degrees. Saved $30 on a one month bill. Over 5 hot months that will be $150 annual savings. Trying to get DH to "suffer" with 75 degrees to see how much more that saves.
We are at set at 78 in the summer so I am doing some laughing here.
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Old 09-25-2014, 08:33 PM   #57
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My wife and I switched cell phone service from Verizon (~$70/month) to Republic Wireless ($20/month - unlimited voice and text; unlimited data only when within wifi range). I recently bought an OBI 100 VoIP telephone adapter which, when configured with Google voice, allows us to make and receive free national phone calls and dirt cheap international calls from our usual home telephones - allowing us to ditch the monthly phone service charge. Still trying to find a way to get rid of the Verizon Fios television service. That's a tough one though because DW's mother comes to stay with us for about six months of the year from Romania, and Verizon has Romanian programming.
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Old 09-26-2014, 08:02 AM   #58
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I keep trying to get myself to do this, but I just break my ESPN addiction. Hate those guys.
I know - that and some of the local stations, MA, like NESN own the market and if you want to see, i.e., the Celtics, play you have no choice except to buy an NBA League pass for $150/year and be subject to stupid blackout games.... gerrr
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Old 09-26-2014, 10:12 AM   #59
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Switched from Verizon's ancient Family Plan (since the mid-90's I think) to StraightTalk, going from $95 a month for two phones, 1000 minutes total, to $60 a month for two phones, unlimited talk and text, and, I think, 2MB of data. Since we have basic phones, we use the data for local search only, and never come close to using it all up. Have been thinking of converting to Smart phones in order to leverage the data in our plan, but just can't get excited enough to do it. Too many years of being chained to a BlackBerry via my j*b. Plus, our Kindle Fires work just fine in our normal lives. Lots of free WiFi out there.
We bought Verizon compatible Basic phones ($49 ea), and I can't tell any difference between our former 'front end' Verizon service vs our current backbone Verizon usage via StraightTalk. Should have done this years ago!

I made a bunch of other cost saving changes our first year in retirement:

- Revised housecleaning service from every two, to every three, weeks.
- Revised haircuts from every six, to every eight,weeks.
- Dropped cable and landline phone.
- Started taking group lessons in place of private lessons (dance, tennis and piano).
- Use Goldstar.com for 50% off almost all of our live theater events.
- Use TravelZoo.com for many of our travel jaunts, going wherever the next great deal is. We are able to be flexible with our travel dates in retirement, which has been a great way to leverage these 'hot' deals.
- Stopped ordering alcohol when we dine out, instead starting off the evening with our own wine and cheese plate here at home. We dress up and flirt, just as if we were already at the restaurant. Actually has turned out to be a great addition to our night-out evenings.
- Started washing our own cars.
- Dropped all online subscriptions - news, radio, credit monitoring - and use free sources instead.
- Dropped all snail mail subscriptions except one each, which we still barely have time to read.
- Cook from scratch, which is probably more a hobby for me than anything else. The result though, is that we eat wonderfully, our fridge/freezer/pantry are always full, we cut our food budget back by almost $2,000 a year, and I haven't had to increase it in the four years since we FIRE'd.
- Raised our AC to 77 in the summer, and pretty much keep it off in the winter other than a quick 15 min warm up on the occasional cold mornings. (We live in a warm climate). That added up to almost $500 in annual savings.
- Scoured our automated online banking transactions in Year One, and found a ton of stupid stuff we cancelled - life insurance, virus software for old computers, pest control (from when we had a dog, i.e., fleas).
- Raised our HO deductibles to $2000. Purchased an umbrella policy with the premium savings.

In looking through this list, there is nothing we'd go back to even some four years later. All painless stuff that isn't missed whatsoever.
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Old 09-26-2014, 10:47 AM   #60
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In looking through this list, there is nothing we'd go back to even some four years later. All painless stuff that isn't missed whatsoever.
Great list. We did much of the same. We have time now to go over every expense, kw of electricity and therm of gas. Doing that cut over a decade off our ER date.

We're several years in and I still keep finding things we can cut that we don't miss and without lowering our lifestyle. I wish we had done this 30 years ago but I guess better late than never.
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