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Old 06-27-2011, 10:42 AM   #81
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Impressive list Tom.

I'd forgot I started this thread. Since 2008 I've got a little less vigilant. But still it's fun to find those savings. Recently -- I got a Credit Union card that if one makes 12 purchases per month will pay 2% on 25k of savings. That rate will probably (hopefully) stay above normal interest rates for some years.
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Old 06-27-2011, 10:56 AM   #82
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For DH to retire last year and for me to ESR we knew we needed to significantly cut expenses. Several things we've done in the last year:

1. Sold the very large, energy inefficient house. This made a tremendous difference (currently in a rental, getting ready to build a much smaller, energy efficient house). Not just the cost of the house, but utilities, maintenance, repairs, etc.

2. When we moved to the rental we cancelled cable TV. We are doing fine between Netflix and Hulu.

3. Cancelled Vonage and just have cell phones.

4. Cut back on dining out.

5. Since DH no long drives 50 miles one way to his office and I only go to the office once a week, our toll road charges are about 90% less.

6. About 95% less dry cleaning. Basically mostly casual clothes and I don't buy anything that requires dry cleaning (basically just my work clothes and only working one day a week not much dry cleaning needed).

7. Younger son started college. Yes, that is spending less. Before he was in a private school. Last fall (at 16) he started community college. Much less expensive.

8. Older son is living on his own. I guess this isn't really DH and I saving money but it is a reduction in spending.

9. In budgeting, creating spending money categories for DH and I. We can spend $X amount on whatever we want but are limited to that amount. That has cut down on discretionary spending as each of us are saving up for specific things. Theoretically having the spending money categories shouldn't really make a difference but practically it does make a difference.
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Old 06-27-2011, 11:24 AM   #83
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I've talked to DW a lot about this. Have tried to find ways to cut down on living expenses without it being too painful. Here are some ways I've recently cut:

1) Lower ER's by indexing parts of portfolio. Savings around 2.5k annually.
2) Stopped taking WSJ. Savings around $300 annually (depending on what they would offer me to resubscribe after I dumped them).
3) Cancelled a useless cable package. Savings $200 annually.
4) Told DS he would have to pick up more of his living expenses while in college and plan on getting a summer job instead of doing summer school. Savings are high but exact amount unknown. He will still finish college though!
5) Make more use of retail sales and buy less.
6) Asked vet to write out subscription for Heartguard so we can buy it on the web.

Anyone else want to contribute a few of their recent innovations .

P.S. Sorry if this is a repeat of some previous thread.
What a light-weight !

If you really want to cut your expenses try out my ultra-frugal lifestyle !

Then a sack of beans and a sack of rice and you are set for a whole month !

Besides, Do you want to work for the man forever ?

The good life awaits you now.
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Old 06-27-2011, 11:34 AM   #84
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My motto is a dollar saved is better than a dollar earned. I don't pay tax on the dollar I saved.
This is my motto too and for the same reason. I have always been pretty big on combining coupons with great sales and store promotions. Every dollar that I save is a dollar that DH doesn't have to earn and pay payroll taxes and federal/state income taxes on.

I am going to go to Kohl's today. They have sheets on sale for 40-50% off. I have a coupon for an additional 30% off the sales price AND a coupon for $10 off any purchase of $20 or more. I will be using both of those to get a new set of sheets for our CA king at a deep discount. Our summer sheets finally bit the dust after years of use so they need to be replaced.
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Old 06-27-2011, 11:51 AM   #85
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Cut Dish tv bill from $91 to $45 by dropping Starz and America's Top 250 in favor of Top 120 or some such. Barely can tell the difference - maybe fewer golf channels? <modest golf clap>
Bought Roku player and anticipate subscribing to Netflix and Hulu+, bumping our internet speed, and dumping Dish entirely. Maybe no saving, but greater choice in what we watch and increased interweb speed.
Bought a place in the south so we can run from winter cold and summer heat utility bills - oh oops - we now have pool service or lawn service on the place we aren't living in.

Making up for it all by wildly successful yardsale-ing - got a drywall square and two airbake cookie sheets for $1 on Saturday - didn't haggle them down, just paid what they asked.
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Old 06-27-2011, 12:46 PM   #86
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After seeing my HI rise 25% for 2011 (following a 20% increase in 2010), I decided to look elsewhere. I found a hospital-only plan from Blue Cross which costs $500 per month less than what I had been paying. I know I will take on more risk now, but as long as any out-of-pocket expenses previously covered do not exceed $6,000 per year (very likely given that they have never been remotely close to $6,000), I will come out way ahead.

One other expense which rose slightly as a result is my federal income tax bill because I lose some of the tax deduction for medical expenses (sorry, Tom52, these dollars saved are taxable). But my state income tax bill is not affected much because I was barely exceeding the state's standard deduction anyway.

This huge savings more than offsets the rise in my cable TV bill ($50 per month) due to the end of the unusually good deal I had with them for 14 years. My total expenses are now reduced by 20%.
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Old 06-27-2011, 01:27 PM   #87
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Just got to the point where the sheets ripped, my old cell was on last legs, scored a few deals for "on the list when a deal strikes" (wants), and are getting ready to sink a bunch of $$$ on home improvements (of course on the semi-cheap [read mid-grade quality stuff]) to prep the home for ER! Still no need for the new car (running well, nothing wrong with the car other than high mileage, so good to be prepared)...and my savings are on track with my goals...my ER date is more driven by pension eligibility than savings amounts, so I am trying to max out the next 9 years for savings, deals, "fun investments" (certain things we enjoy - golf clubs, good camping gear, etc), and ensuring the house is as low maintenance, insulated, etc. as we will need it for years after retirement.
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Old 06-27-2011, 01:59 PM   #88
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1. Got rid of directv and AT&T phone - went to comcast bundle
2. Take the corvette off insurance in the winter
3. Grill out more - eat out less
4. Brew my own beer (may take awhile to realize savings due to start up costs)
5. drive less
6. Fewer vacations
7. Started doing our own tax returns
8. Run AC, sprinklers, lights, etc less
9. Buy less new clothes
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Old 06-27-2011, 02:07 PM   #89
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Last year I accepted an internal job transfer, from office headquarter position to a homebased telecommute position.

- reduced commute (25 miles one way)
- reduced lunches out
- reduced clothing cost (purchase/dry cleaning)
- reduced internet bill (they cover now)
- reduced landline and cell bill (they cover now)

While the job is not perfect, it works for me at the current moment.
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Old 06-27-2011, 08:25 PM   #90
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Continuing the Nostalgia Alcohol theme...Cold Duck, anyone? http://ezinearticles.com/?About-Cold-Duck&id=831473

Or Lancers, when we wanted to be "classy"
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Old 06-27-2011, 08:58 PM   #91
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After seeing my HI rise 25% for 2011 (following a 20% increase in 2010), I decided to look elsewhere. I found a hospital-only plan from Blue Cross which costs $500 per month less than what I had been paying.





Does the "hospital-only" plan you picked up cover literally what the name implies? Only the hospital portion of the expenses of a major illness? For example, if you had cancer would you have to pay the full bill for the oncologist and possibly a surgeon?
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Old 06-27-2011, 09:27 PM   #92
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I now try to get all of my clothing on sale.
I got the plumber to stop those leaking toilets and dripping hose bib.
Cutting back my term life insurance now that DD is on her own.
Do many of the repairs myself.
Higher deductible on insurance policies.
I am semi retired, so the days I work I always bring my lunch.
I spend an hour each week looking for ways to cut costs.
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Old 06-27-2011, 09:59 PM   #93
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My biggest way of cutting spending was decided to fix my car (bad transmission) rather than to buy relatively new. So far so good. Difference betweem spending about $1000 vs $20,000.
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Old 06-27-2011, 10:00 PM   #94
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Continuing the Nostalgia Alcohol theme...Cold Duck, anyone? http://ezinearticles.com/?About-Cold-Duck&id=831473

Or Lancers, when we wanted to be "classy"
In Canada it was Baby Duck: Baby Duck

Only consumed (along with bud/coors) when the breweries were on strike - which was often.

DD
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Old 06-27-2011, 10:10 PM   #95
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Does the "hospital-only" plan you picked up cover literally what the name implies? Only the hospital portion of the expenses of a major illness? For example, if you had cancer would you have to pay the full bill for the oncologist and possibly a surgeon?
The plan covers hospital services, not medical services, unless the medical service is performed by an actual employee of the hospital who is paid by the hospital (which I realize is not very typical these days).

So, to answer your question, assuming the oncologist and surgeon were not hospital employees and instead are billing me separately, then those bills would not be covered.

A visit to the ER would have some of the costs covered but some of them not covered. Then again, I have not been a patient to an ER since 1980 or a patient for more than ER since 1971.

And if I am injured in a car accident, the most hazardous thing I do, I am fully covered by my car insurance policy.
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Old 06-27-2011, 10:18 PM   #96
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The plan covers hospital services, not medical services, unless the medical service is performed by an actual employee of the hospital who is paid by the hospital (which I realize is not very typical these days).

So, to answer your question, assuming the oncologist and surgeon were not hospital employees and instead are billing me separately, then those bills would not be covered.

A visit to the ER would have some of the costs covered but some of them not covered. Then again, I have not been a patient to an ER since 1980 or a patient for more than ER since 1971.

And if I am injured in a car accident, the most hazardous thing I do, I am fully covered by my car insurance policy.
Thanks for the info. Interesting. I have no issue with your strategy other than it leaves you exposed to the possibility of a pile of doc bills during a long illness, especially one that requires multiple surgeries and specialists. What would really be slick would be if Blue Cross would offer a rider to your plan that amounts to a high deductible (say $25k) for the doc bills for a small additional premium.
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Old 06-27-2011, 10:40 PM   #97
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1. ride bikes whenever we can, our gas expenses have gone way down and excellent for our health
2. pack drinks and food whenever we leave the house = especially on bikes so we eat correctly
3. yardsales, craigslist, thrift stores mean we buy nothing except personal hygiene and undergarments new
4. huge garden and cook everything from scratch
5. got off the gift giving train for adults in the family. Now a card and call do. Got a lot of resistance but finally it worked.
6. learned how to install tile- putting in our own floors downstairs saved at least $7,000
7. but we paid for our kids college. An investment that has proved to be worth every penny.
8. write down every penny you spend. We have records from 1976 to present detailing what we earned, spent and saved, as well as a record of our net worth, enabling us to retire very early.
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Old 06-27-2011, 10:45 PM   #98
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I would welcome a high-deductible version of my previous plan which did cover typical stuff such as drugs and doctors, but I could not find one. I would welcome a rider such as the one you described, too.

And I will be looking for a lower-cost version of my old plan if/when Obamacare becomes law in a few years, so the added risk I am taking on is not necessarily one I will have to endure for 17 more years until I am eligible for Medicare.

As long as I limit any previously covered expenses to $6,000 (today; that gap is likely to widen) I will come out ahead with the hospital-only plan. Even if I run up out-of-pocket bills of $50k in one year, I won't go bankrupt by any stretch.
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Old 06-27-2011, 11:26 PM   #99
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These are some of the things that we've done to reduce spending in the past year. The bulk of the cost savings come from moving in with the BF and combining expenses. I didn't realize how much this saves us every year, but it really adds up.

Housing and utilities: Now that we aren't maintaining two places, we are saving $1200/month in rent. We merged our two family cell phone plans into a single plan, saving another $75/month, and downgraded our landline plan to save another $15/month. We also bought a space heater and have stopped using the central heat during the winter months.

Car costs: We combined our car insurance policies, saving $800/year. I take the bus to work rather than driving, which saves about $150/month in gas. Nowadays, we drive my old but low-mileage compact car on weekends rather than my BF’s more luxurious but far less reliable 10 year old BMW. This saves us about $250/year in gas costs, and hopefully it will allow us to keep his car longer and cut down on the exorbitant maintenance/repair costs.

Food costs: We have started cooking more on weekends rather than eating out, which saves about $200/month. I save another $100/month by packing lunches for work.

Household goods: We got a Costco membership last year, and have been stocking up in bulk. I also have been trying to get better about clipping and using coupons. This saves us about $25/month.

Impulse spending: Now that I’m working full-time, I have much less time for on-line shopping and impulse buying. This means I probably spend about $50 less per month buying clothes and other things that I really don’t need.
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Old 06-27-2011, 11:55 PM   #100
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Making up for it all by wildly successful yardsale-ing - got a drywall square and two airbake cookie sheets for $1 on Saturday - didn't haggle them down, just paid what they asked.
Wow.
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