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Reduced spending lately, how?
Old 11-02-2008, 03:59 PM   #1
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Reduced spending lately, how?

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.
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Old 11-02-2008, 04:17 PM   #2
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0) Hmmm, we've never paid for WSJ, cable or college. We have cheaper pets (birds). My wife and daughter volunteer in a thrift shop, so most of their clothes have always been used.

1) Normally, our family eats out 3 or 4 times a week, so we've cut back to 2 times. I stopped going out for lunch and take a homemade salad instead.

2) My son can now wear the shoes my older daughter used to wear, so we don't buy him new shoes.
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Old 11-02-2008, 04:22 PM   #3
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My son can now wear the shoes my older daughter used to wear, so we don't buy him new shoes.
American millionaires live high on the hog.
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Old 11-02-2008, 04:26 PM   #4
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0) Hmmm, we've never paid for WSJ, cable or college. We have cheaper pets (birds). My wife and daughter volunteer in a thrift shop, so most of their clothes have always been used.

1) Normally, our family eats out 3 or 4 times a week, so we've cut back to 2 times. I stopped going out for lunch and take a homemade salad instead.

2) My son can now wear the shoes my older daughter used to wear, so we don't buy him new shoes.
Are you serious about number 2?
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Old 11-02-2008, 04:41 PM   #5
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2) My son can now wear the shoes my older daughter used to wear, so we don't buy him new shoes.
I had an older brother and don't think I had any new clothes until I turned 16 and out grew him. Amazingly, he never got anything I outgrew.

I didn't mind but I might of had a different opinion if he was an older sister. I could never learn to walk in heels. I never would have needed the training bra either.
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Old 11-02-2008, 04:41 PM   #6
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Yes, I am serious. My daughter got free basketball shoes from her team and now my son wears those whenever he has to put shoes on. He doesn't need any other shoes.
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Old 11-02-2008, 04:44 PM   #7
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Got rid of bank deposit box and got a small home safe instead: saved $70 a year.
Tracked down and eliminated bank fees and other charges: saved $300 a year.
Tracked ATM withdrawals more thoroughly: so far saved $600 this year.
Did my own taxes instead of going to HR Block: saved $350 a year.
Reduced electric bill by upgrading A/C system: saved $200 a year (probably a bit more now that electric rates have gone up 20%).
Changed cable provider (better service, more channels but cheaper): saved $200 a year. I couldn't be happier with the switch.
Changed phone providers and eliminated features we never used (call forwarding, etc...): saved about $200 a year.

Also home insurance went down about $350 this year, but only because they reduced coverage for water damage, so it may not be such a good deal.
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Old 11-02-2008, 04:50 PM   #8
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Hmmm - gonna try and force myself to spend an extra 10k next year on travel and entertainment. Just ran ORP and I'm not getting any younger.

That's a huge switch from my early 90's ER practices - some of which relatives and my late SO considered a tad extreme.

heh heh heh - Just the memory of what a cheap bastard I used to be brings a tear to my eye. .

P.S. The ORP calculator has been 'adjusted' 7% real return vs 10 of old and changed when I can croak plus my now from several yrs ago portfolio is down about 25% - and still the clock ticks on - I need to force, I say force myself to spend cause I can't take it with me.
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Old 11-02-2008, 04:55 PM   #9
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My strategy has been to w*rk more: I earned $500 on a free lance job last week to pay for new furniture. And I bought cheap furniture rather than the more expensive piece I had been planning on buying.

I won't be renewing my gym membership either. I have a set of dumb bells at home that i will use instead. That and the local hiking trails.

Not planning any international travel in the near future either.

Also, I gave my daughter some FF miles which she added to her miles to visit me at christmas rather than my paying $500. Airline fares are crazy this season!
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Old 11-02-2008, 04:58 PM   #10
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DSL - go to lowest MBS - apx $20/mo
Cancel phone service - only use cell phones
Cell Phone - ask for discount from provider
Credit card - get cash back
Cable Co - cancel - use HDTV antenna
Car Oil Change - do it yourself
Ceramic heater in rooms begin occupied instead of heating the whole house.
Use small oven with convention instead of large oven. $35
Health Ins. raise deductible
Food Shopping - Walmart with coupons
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Old 11-02-2008, 05:13 PM   #11
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Um, actually I'm spending more! Just booked a week long cruise to the Caribbean for a week for 6 of us. Got a good deal on it, and we're doing ok financially. I have that "travel/misc" line item in the budget that I don't ever seem to use up, so I'm working on that.

I figure worst-case is that the government will bail me out if I need some money.

Oh yeah, and everything else is already cut to the bone, so there's not much to cut elsewhere unless we sold the house and moved somewhere cheaper.
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Old 11-02-2008, 05:19 PM   #12
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...P.S. The ORP calculator has been 'adjusted' 7% real return vs 10 of old and changed when I can croak plus my now from several yrs ago portfolio is down about 25% - and still the clock ticks on - I need to force, I say force myself to spend cause I can't take it with me.
DW reminds me about need to have fun. If I was single I'd be really cheap, I think. We will still go out about once for dinner per week but sometimes just do the take out pizza and a lunch occasionally at a fast food place (DW loves Port-O-Sub). I never tip more then 15%.
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Old 11-02-2008, 05:26 PM   #13
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Cancelled our January Florida vacation. Actually the company we were to rent from went BK so it was cancelled for us. Surprisingly nothing was on CC for a deposit or whatever, but I'll be watching.
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Old 11-02-2008, 05:39 PM   #14
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I'm thinking of either dropping cable (and getting an antenna and watching it on PC) or dropping DSL and switching to cable (internet and basic cable).

Any opinions as to which?
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Old 11-02-2008, 05:50 PM   #15
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Still saving up for 12 day cruise 2009 booked in fall 2007, so the budget has been cut back on other discretionary spending already for the past year.

-dh2b is brown bagging almost all the time
- i limit my fun lunches to 2x per week, sometimes only 1x. one of the weekly lunch dates has a buy 9, get 1 free coupon.
- saving gas on my vehicle - i limit my shopping trips to bi-monthly, and get dh2b to stop on the way home for frequent refill items (milk, bread etc)
- less meat in diet. i buy meat in bulk and divvy up into small packages at home.
- re-read investment books on hand, not buying new ones.
- finding books at garage sales locally for upcoming winter blizzard day reading
- assessing house for energy efficiency and identifying and sealing leaks
- ulp, considering a part time j*b to ease budget tensions
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Old 11-02-2008, 05:54 PM   #16
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I'm thinking of either dropping cable (and getting an antenna and watching it on PC) or dropping DSL and switching to cable (internet and basic cable).

Any opinions as to which?
I have been happy with cable internet and "bare bones basic" cable (not "extended basic" cable) for my TV.

The price for all of this went up from $57 to $60 this fall.

Before I went to this setup, I had DSL and no cable (no TV). That's OK but I like having cable TV, now that I have it. Sometimes they give you a discount if you get both Cable TV and internet.

To answer the original question about how we are reducing spending, I'm not. I feel like I should be, but haven't really cut back on anything that I can think of. I am still working so the money is still coming in.
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Old 11-02-2008, 06:06 PM   #17
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I am very happy with my cable internet. I sometimes use the DSL at my MIL's house and it is so sloooowwwww comparatively.... No way I could downgrade.


We also have an extended basic + HBO cable TV package. TV is a pretty important source of entertainment for us so even with all the extras it remains a great value.
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Old 11-02-2008, 06:06 PM   #18
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switched from cable homephone cell phone internet. to just DSL and a pay as you go cell phone with costs me maybe $10 a month with how often I talk.

Also motorcycle to work saves me $30 a week when gas was $4.

Drinking at home and bringing a sandwich for lunch also cuts down quite a bit.
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Old 11-02-2008, 06:07 PM   #19
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1. Deferred new car purchase
2. Deferred lots of other purchases, e.g. linens
3. Cancelled home internet account
4. Most important thing I've done: refused to expend personal funds and time on work related travel. I used to be an idiot about this, thought it was my professional duty and privilege to accommodate requests to present at professional conferences. Not any more! I now also take into account the opportunity cost of my time. If an organization that I don't work for wants me to speak, it'll cost them.
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Old 11-02-2008, 06:14 PM   #20
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I'm thinking of either dropping cable (and getting an antenna and watching it on PC) or dropping DSL and switching to cable (internet and basic cable).

Any opinions as to which?
Our cable company offers a bundled service that includes TV, phone, and internet. Financially it is probably a little better. But in a power outage they only guarantee 24 hours of phone service. If we have an earthquake or some very prolonged power outage (has happened in our county) then this would be a bummer. So I want to keep the landline.

When I called up to cancel part of the cable package the rep assured me that executives were looking into new packages to reduce costs. Comcast recently raised their rates and I think the backlash has been very big. So stay tuned for updated packages.
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