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Old 06-30-2011, 11:37 AM   #121
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Before DH retired we switched from Vonage (basic plan including fees $24/mo) to a MagicJack ($20/YEAR) and it's been absolutely fine. I used an older computer in the basement (MagicJack needs the computer left on all the time) and ran a line to the kitchen where we hooked it up to the base phone with an answering machine. The phone set we bought has 4 cordless units so we have extensions all over. Very nice to eliminate a monthly bill for very small startup costs.

Our 2 cell phones are prepaid plans that were grandfathered into Verizon when they bought Alltel. There is no monthly cost. We prepay and the money is only used when we make a call, the money never expires. Right now this is guaranteed until 2014, but who knows what "guarantee" means when dealing with Verizon. If they change the plan we'll have to shop around again.

From a discussion on this board I found the recipe for homemade laundry detergent. This has been a huge cost savings! I haven't done a breakdown of costs per load but I know I spend a lot less than $7.99 (Tide unscented liquid 32 loads) on the ingredients that last many months and many batches of the homemade powder. DH loves the very neutral smell of the clean laundry.
Homemade Laundry Soap Detergent – Do It Yourself Naturally

I also tried the recipe for homemade dishwasher detergent and the results were not satisfactory so I don't use that anymore.

I've always used the library for all the magazines that I'm too cheap to buy. I also read books all the time and I get all of them at the library. I know many people like to buy and keep books but I don't feel the need to own them and keep them.

When DH retired I changed his driving status with our car insurance and his rate dropped a few dollars a month.

I get a lot of frugal ideas from this message board.
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Old 06-30-2011, 12:03 PM   #122
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Wow Sue, making your own dishwasher and laundry detergent ... I think you get a gold star for this! I'm worried for Proctor and Gamble
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Old 06-30-2011, 12:07 PM   #123
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Originally Posted by Sue J View Post
Before DH retired we switched from Vonage (basic plan including fees $24/mo) to a MagicJack ($20/YEAR) and it's been absolutely fine. I used an older computer in the basement (MagicJack needs the computer left on all the time) and ran a line to the kitchen where we hooked it up to the base phone with an answering machine.
I don't mean to pick on you, Sue J, just wanted to use your statement as illustration regarding electric consumption and a way I save money.

Electricity is cheap, but when you have phantom loads (such as a computer left on year round), it adds up quickly. A rule of thumb I use is that every 1 watt of phantom load equals about a dollar a year in increased electricity costs (assuming $0.11 per kWh, which is average).

Take Sue J's computer. If it uses around 70-80 watts (like my old computer without much load on the cpu and not including the monitor or speakers), then it costs around $70-80 a year to power that computer (ignoring increased cooling expenses to remove the heat the computer generates). Still cheaper than $24/mo for vonage, but not free.

I did a quick inventory in my house to see what uses power when on and when in standby. I figured out that some devices pull a bunch of power when in standby, so I turn them off. The vast majority of devices use about a watt when in standby, so I don't worry about unplugging them or turning off a power strip as some recommend.

To complete an energy inventory for yourself, you can use a Kill A Watt meter, such as this:
Kill A Watt at amazon for about $20:
http://www.amazon.com/P3-Internation...9452953&sr=8-1

Knowing how much energy something costs lets you figure out if it is worth it on an ongoing basis. Sure, something may only cost a tiny bit to buy, but if the energy costs over its operational life far exceed the purchase price, you may want to pay up for something more energy efficient or avoid its use altogether.
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Old 06-30-2011, 12:30 PM   #124
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I think Amazon prime is saving me money as well. I know it is saving me time for sure, and probably gas since I don't have to go out to pick up the stuff I need.'

About the only thing I can cut is my cable and cell phone plans, and I am working on those.
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Old 06-30-2011, 01:13 PM   #125
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I think Amazon prime is saving me money as well. I know it is saving me time for sure, and probably gas since I don't have to go out to pick up the stuff I need.'

About the only thing I can cut is my cable and cell phone plans, and I am working on those.
I'm surprised/confused at/by all the comments from people claiming they 'save' money with Amazon Prime?

There was a thread on this awhile back - some people really need prime as they are travelling, and only spend a few days at one place - a few others had good reasons. But otherwise, like many others, I just wait till I have $25 worth (and keep some 'fillers' on hand in my cart - things I need eventually, but can wait). Free shipping is plenty fast for me - and it's FREE, unlike Prime (I guess students can get it free?). How can I 'save' by spending $ for something that's free?

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Old 06-30-2011, 01:14 PM   #126
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How can I 'save' by spending $ for something that's free?
Volume.

I don't claim to save a penny with Amazon Prime, I simply think I get more than my money's worth via the convenience and speed of shipment provided DW and I plus our extended family.
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Old 06-30-2011, 02:58 PM   #127
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I kinda agree with the whole deferred gratification thing on Amazon Prime. I just would rather wait than pay the annual fee. I do buy a good bit from Amazon, but like others, just keep stuff in my cart until I get to the $25 level.

And I love my Killawatt! Lots of things in my house that have a phantom load in my house is now on a power strip that I can turn off when not needed.
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Old 06-30-2011, 03:18 PM   #128
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Some things are not eligible for free standard shipping. Prime for me is about free shipping, not getting it fast.
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Old 06-30-2011, 03:26 PM   #129
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Originally Posted by Bimmerbill View Post
Some things are not eligible for free standard shipping. Prime for me is about free shipping, not getting it fast.
Now this is something I haven't considered. Many Amazon items are from 3rd parties and the shipping costs make Amazon (+ free shippping) the preferred choice. So is Prime available for all purchases on Amazon regardless of source?
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Old 06-30-2011, 03:57 PM   #130
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Some things are not eligible for free standard shipping. Prime for me is about free shipping, not getting it fast.
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Originally Posted by Lsbcal View Post
Now this is something I haven't considered. Many Amazon items are from 3rd parties and the shipping costs make Amazon (+ free shippping) the preferred choice. So is Prime available for all purchases on Amazon regardless of source?
Bimmerbill, are you sure about that? I just tried to buy something that had a shipping charge, and I was never prompted that I could get it shipped faster for 'free' by joining Amazon Prime. I seem to recall seeing that notice whenever it applies (edit - yep, I just put an under $25 'free standard shipping on orders >$25' item in my cart, and was prompted that I could get 'free' shipping by joining Prime). I'm pretty sure Prime only applies to the stuff that would qualify for standard free shipping.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/custom...60#eligibility

Quote:
Ineligible

Items fulfilled by merchants such as Target and Amazon Marketplace sellers.

...

Any item that doesn't have a message indicating that it's eligible for Prime on its product page.
That's not 100% clear on the relationship between "Prime" and "Free Standard Shipping", but clearly not everything I want to buy qualifies for Prime. And amazon seems to be going more and more to these 3rd party merchants.

-ERD50
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Old 06-30-2011, 04:02 PM   #131
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And amazon seems to be going more and more to these 3rd party merchants.

-ERD50
I don't think that's entirely accurate:

Quote:
Amazon.com has terminated its relationship with approximately 10,000 Internet business partners in California after Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law that requires out-of-state electronic retailers to collect sales tax on purchases from Golden State customers.
Amazon won't collect sales tax; cuts off California affiliates - latimes.com
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Old 06-30-2011, 04:19 PM   #132
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Probably that tax issue will wind up being resolved at the Federal level and/or by the Supreme Court. Will be interesting to watch, especially for us Californians.
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Old 06-30-2011, 04:20 PM   #133
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Yes, the tax issue has cut out entire states. I don't know what the totals are, but compared to 5 years ago or so, it sure seems like a much higher % of offers are 3rd party. That's just my impression, I don't know if there is any public data on it.

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Old 06-30-2011, 04:39 PM   #134
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Probably that tax issue will wind up being resolved at the Federal level and/or by the Supreme Court. Will be interesting to watch, especially for us Californians.
I think ultimately it has to. I think a person in State A doing business with a retailer in State B would clearly fall under the auspices of "interstate commerce", and thus any laws regarding the required collection of state sales taxes (or lack thereof) would seem like the role of Congress here since the Constitution very clearly indicates that regulation of interstate commerce is a function of Congress.
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Old 06-30-2011, 08:02 PM   #135
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I don't mean to pick on you, Sue J, just wanted to use your statement as illustration regarding electric consumption and a way I save money.

Electricity is cheap, but when you have phantom loads (such as a computer left on year round), it adds up quickly. A rule of thumb I use is that every 1 watt of phantom load equals about a dollar a year in increased electricity costs (assuming $0.11 per kWh, which is average).

Take Sue J's computer. If it uses around 70-80 watts (like my old computer without much load on the cpu and not including the monitor or speakers), then it costs around $70-80 a year to power that computer (ignoring increased cooling expenses to remove the heat the computer generates). Still cheaper than $24/mo for vonage, but not free.

I did a quick inventory in my house to see what uses power when on and when in standby. I figured out that some devices pull a bunch of power when in standby, so I turn them off. The vast majority of devices use about a watt when in standby, so I don't worry about unplugging them or turning off a power strip as some recommend.

To complete an energy inventory for yourself, you can use a Kill A Watt meter, such as this:
Kill A Watt at amazon for about $20:
Amazon.com: P3 International P4400 Kill A Watt Electricity Usage Monitor: Home Improvement

Knowing how much energy something costs lets you figure out if it is worth it on an ongoing basis. Sure, something may only cost a tiny bit to buy, but if the energy costs over its operational life far exceed the purchase price, you may want to pay up for something more energy efficient or avoid its use altogether.
No offense taken Fuego, we're thinking along the same lines.

A few weeks ago we got a Kill A Watt, (one day special at NewEgg.com for $16.95 and free shipping). I used it on a few things but not on that computer that's on for the MagicJack. So I just did that now. You're spot on about how much electricity it uses, just about 75 watts for the CPU with the monitor always turned off.

Our rate is .0774/KWH plus a Power Cost Factor of .0177122/KWH for a total of rate of .0951122/KWH.

Tell me if I'm figuring this correctly....

75 Watts x24hrs x 30 days = 54000 Watts = 54KWH

54KWH x .0951122 = $5.13/ month

Roughly $62/year for the electricity.

Very interesting. Seems like a good choice to have the MagicJack but it's good to consider the additional electricity involved.

Now, if I could just get DH to turn off the lights when he leaves the room....
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Old 06-30-2011, 10:27 PM   #136
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Forgot two other significant $$ savers from the last 10 months: spouse wanted me to grow my hair long anyway, and with that and doing all the hair coloring myself, save close to 1K a year.
Also: I'm wearing Walmart underwear and slacks right now. Haven't bought any full price clothing in a year. Marshalls, Ross, etc. Now frequenting only discount stores. Food at Walmart or Kriger (gas discount), not Publix.
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Old 06-30-2011, 11:21 PM   #137
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I save money by not wearing Walmart underwear.


sorry - it had to be said.
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Old 07-01-2011, 12:10 AM   #138
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I think ultimately it has to. I think a person in State A doing business with a retailer in State B would clearly fall under the auspices of "interstate commerce", and thus any laws regarding the required collection of state sales taxes (or lack thereof) would seem like the role of Congress here since the Constitution very clearly indicates that regulation of interstate commerce is a function of Congress.
Well, considering that total lack of any activity has been ruled to effect interstate commerce (http://www.ca6.uscourts.gov/opinions...1a0168p-06.pdf), I'd say you are pretty safe in this assumption.

Having snarked that, I'd like to know more about Amazon Prime. I order a lot of stuff from Amazon (side business), and much of it comes from third parties. I was assuming that I would have to pay shipping from them even with Prime. Am I wrong? Are there a number of third party vendors where I would have to pay shipping under normal circumstances, but not under Prime? These are situations where the $25 limit for free shipping doesn't come into play. Anybody have any more info?
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Old 07-01-2011, 03:20 AM   #139
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I do the same : cook more at home, eat out less. Not sure if I make any savings this way though...
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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.
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Old 07-01-2011, 07:45 AM   #140
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I save money by not wearing Walmart underwear.


sorry - it had to be said.
Hehe!!
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