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Surprising Budget Ideas
Old 05-25-2014, 07:08 PM   #1
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Surprising Budget Ideas

I was just curious if anyone went over their budget and found ways to save that surprised them.I have gone over mine and am kind of at a loss of where to save.I realize everyone is different but we all have places where we can save.Please share your ideas.
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Old 05-25-2014, 07:47 PM   #2
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Everyone has been there at one time or another. This is my list:

1. Stay out of stores!
2. Except for food, if you got along without it yesterday you don't need it today.
3. It wasn't an issue then but now it would be stop reading any online advertising. I didn't look at any advertising, or ignored that which I couldn't escape.
4. Somebody nearby has less money than you do. What are they doing to manage?
5. Prepare all food from scratch. If it came in a box you can make it cheaper or make something else.
6. You do have a cooler to bring lunch to work in, right? If not, buy one, and use it every day. It will pay for itself within a week.
7. Restaurants are off-limits. Don't even think about it.
8. Tap water is cheap and plentiful. You don't need anything else to drink.
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Old 05-25-2014, 08:00 PM   #3
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Yes,number 7-Restaurants is a big one for me.So hard to stay away.Maybe I can taper down.
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Old 05-25-2014, 08:30 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Walt34 View Post
Everyone has been there at one time or another. This is my list:

1. Stay out of stores!
2. Except for food, if you got along without it yesterday you don't need it today.
3. It wasn't an issue then but now it would be stop reading any online advertising. I didn't look at any advertising, or ignored that which I couldn't escape.
4. Somebody nearby has less money than you do. What are they doing to manage?
5. Prepare all food from scratch. If it came in a box you can make it cheaper or make something else.
6. You do have a cooler to bring lunch to work in, right? If not, buy one, and use it every day. It will pay for itself within a week.
7. Restaurants are off-limits. Don't even think about it.
8. Tap water is cheap and plentiful. You don't need anything else to drink.
+1 and a few more....

9. Shop for lower-priced car and home insurance. You don't have to wait until your renewal period, as your "old" insurance company will refund the unused amount of the last premium you paid if you switch providers mid-stream.
10. Review your cable bill and see what you can eliminate. If you see that new subscribers are being offered a better deal, call up your cable company and ask to speak to the retention department and ask them to match the same offer. Or consider dumping cable entirely.
11. Review your cell phone bills. If you're not using your plan to the maximum, switch to a cheaper plan. Providers will do this while you are still under contract.
12. Review your monthly bills and see what you can eliminate/delay/do yourself (wash car, mow lawn, fertilize lawn, basic home repairs, etc.).
13. Skip the Starbucks and bring your own coffee to work.
14. Reduce/eliminate alcohol consumption, as this can add up.
15. If you belong to a gym, drop the membership and start exercising outdoors (walking, bicycling, etc. are all inexpensive).
16. If you're working, review your W-4 withholding to make sure that you're not overpaying your taxes during the year just to get a huge refund in April.
17. If you've got car payments, look at how you can get rid of them -- turn a leased car in early or sell it and get a smaller/cheaper car or, better yet, a used car with no payments.
18. If you have a newspaper or magazine subscription, cancel it.
19. Look for free entertainment -- lots of free summer concerts, etc. BTW, I just ran across this that has lots of ideas http://www.bloglovin.com/frame?post=...click=0&user=0

omni
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Old 05-25-2014, 08:43 PM   #5
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What others have said and........

Start canning your food. It is so easy, will pay for itself 10 fold and the quality is much much better. We can items we eat a lot of such as pizza sauce, salsa, spaghetti sauce and jams. I can't tell you how much money it saves us. Tip: to get tomatoes even cheaper visit your local farmers market and ask for canning tomatoes during the growing season. You will be able to buy them for next to nothing.

During the fall make big batches of homemade soups (chicken noodle, stuffed green pepper, Italian wedding, etc.) and put them in big enough serving size containers to feed your family then freeze them. During the winter months when you are in a pinch for something to eat, instead of going out to eat you can break out a container of homemade soup, throw it in the microwave and enjoy!

Make an in person visit to your insurance agent (or just shop around) at least one time a year to keep your premiums as low as possible. Auto insurance in particular seems to creep up in costs if you don't review it periodically.

Those are just a few off the top of my head.....
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Old 05-26-2014, 01:53 AM   #6
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- Thermal cooker - works like a crock pot but without electricity
- Foaming soap pumps - use 75% less soap, buy bulk soap to fill on Amazon.
- 2% cash back credit card
- LED bulbs, drying racks, cloth napkins, reusable batteries, solar lights. solar Christmas lights
- Instant Pot - reduced energy cooking
- Library - free books, online courses, DVDs, ebooks, audio books, music downloads from Freegal (you get to keep the music and videos), free passes for local attractions - museums, gardens, zoos
- Free signup bonuses for checking and saving accounts - we've made thousands doing this between us and the kids
- Signing up for store and restaurant newsletters and getting some unusually good coupons and free stuff now and then. Staples sent us a $10 gift card (free) and $30 off $60, even sale items. Sears just sent us a gift card for $20 off clothes and $25 off garden supplies. I guess the idea is to get us in the store to buy more but I try not to buy much more than the gift card amounts. We bought 12 pairs of socks and a garden hose with the gift certificates from Sears for a few dollars each. From Staples I bought toilet paper, a year's supply of dish detergent, paper clips and dish soap.
- $2 ink cartridges from Amazon - Sophia Global - works like the brand name. I recycle them for $2 a cartridge at one of the office supply stores when they are empty.
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Old 05-26-2014, 07:10 AM   #7
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Stay off Amazon and Ebay when you have been drinking, trust me on this !
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Old 05-26-2014, 08:20 AM   #8
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DH and I have always been very wary of anything with monthly payments. For years it was just the cable bill and the mortgage. That's expanded to include the HELOC we tapped to buy a car; at 2.75% it made more sense to do that than take the $$ out of our investments. Then when I left my job I wanted to replace the iPhone the company had provided.

But- take a good, hard look at your monthly fixed costs (some examples are listed above), challenge every one, and be cautious about taking on new ones. If they include credit card debt, start paying off the higher-interest cards first.

I agree with staying out of stores. I went into Target a couple of weeks ago to buy a screen cover for the new iPhone. The only one they had for my model was $30, and then I found a good deal on a few other things that I hadn't planned to buy and ended up spending $45. Oops. Every time you go into the store for lettuce and find yourself thinking, "well, I hadn't planned to buy X, but if I buy two I get one free", walk away from the display. You're being manipulated.

Also- be careful about wasting food. Most veggies can be blanched and frozen if you're not going to use them. There are plenty of ways to incorporate them into soups or stir-fries, but you need to check the produce drawer and use things before they get slimy. Same with bits of leftover meat. We also keep a giant plastic bag in the freezer with all the ends and fibrous parts of vegetables, and DH makes a great broth when we have enough. (You cook it forever then strain out the solids, which go into the compost pile.)
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Old 05-26-2014, 08:31 AM   #9
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According to scientific studies, you can use 1/4-1/8 of the recommended amount of laundry detergent for IMPROVED results. In fact, you can wash your clothes without detergent a few times to eliminate the residue. So the 60 load package you buy will give you 240 or more loads!

The internet is full of recipes for laundry detergent. Once I read the studies mentioned above, I decided that there was no need to diy.
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Old 05-26-2014, 09:10 AM   #10
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Hi everyone. I haven't posted in a long time. Hoping to be more active on this great forum.

Like Walt said, stay out of the stores as much as possible and NEVER go to Costco when you're hungry (Oh yum! Pickled artichoke hearts, a whole gallon of em')

Gardening if you're so inclined. Even a few container grown veggies if you're short on space. Cheap and better tasting.
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Old 05-26-2014, 09:18 AM   #11
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I now buy my blue jeans online from eBay, yes, slightly used generally but at $5-$9 a pair it is a great savings.

Use shipping apps when shopping and then ask store to match price or get it where cheaper.
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Old 05-26-2014, 09:38 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by frayne View Post
Stay off Amazon and Ebay when you have been drinking, trust me on this !
+1

And stop all emails from retailers (Nordstrom is my downfall) and catalogs (Garnet Hill, Eddie Bauer). Way too easy to order when they send you a "SALE!!!" email every other day.
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Old 05-26-2014, 10:35 AM   #13
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I agree about not wasting food. We are still working on this. We try to do a better job of checking the fridge for food about to go bad and freezing it or making soup with stock on sale at Target + leftovers + a few fresh or freezer ingredients.

I make a big batch of beans now and then in the thermal cooker and freeze them in small packets to use in soups or salads.

We bought a turbo oven and energy efficient chest freezer which allows us to stock up on meat on sale and cook it without defrosting it, even rock solid Cornish hens. We have saved money on carry out and fast food because we can make dinner quicker in the turbo oven than we can drive to a fast food place and back.

I also have a rice cooker that cooks a starch on the bottom, like brown rice or quinoa, and steams fresh veggies and chicken breasts on the top while the rice cooks.

Some of our biggest energy users were the cook top and wall oven, so cooking more with energy efficient small appliances has helped to reduce our energy bill to about a third of what it used to be. Plus we don't heat the house up as much, so we save on AC in the summer.
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Old 05-26-2014, 11:01 AM   #14
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For anything I don't need right away, spend a little time shopping online before running to the store. I can always get razor blades, ink cartridges cheaper online.

For my smart phone, I could go to local store and pay $15 to $30 for protective shell or order from Hong Kong for less than $5.
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Old 05-26-2014, 11:12 AM   #15
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For my smart phone, I could go to local store and pay $15 to $30 for protective shell or order from Hong Kong for less than $5.
You're right; I paid for convenience. I'd just gotten the phone and of COURSE the spare plastic screen I had from my old model didn't fit this one even though I tried to trim it, and I wanted to keep the new phone pristine.

Sometimes I do make the conscious decision that I'm overpaying to save time/hassle, but it's good to make sure it's a conscious decision.
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Old 05-26-2014, 11:22 AM   #16
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Get a Kill a Watt meter and see where all your electricity is going. Take action as appropriate.

If you have windows that get blasted by the sun for hours, add proper tint to block out the rays.

Check your attic insulation to see if it covers the whole upstairs and is thick enough to do some good.

Tune up your furnace in the fall (if it needs it). Check window/door gaps for deteriorating or lack of weatherstripping.
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Old 05-26-2014, 12:51 PM   #17
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Bicycling to the store and errands as much as possible. I am entered in the National Bike Challenge (If my name is drawn, I could win a supply of toilet paper. So now you can think of me every time you use toilet paper. And the sad part is I might not be the only one ). According to their stats, I have saved $179 so far this month by riding vs. driving. Since some of these were for exercise, when I would not have taken my car, I realistically saved about $100 for just this month my riding by bike vs. driving. The other big change was setting up a multi-family (in our case generational) household. While people will sometimes set up a multi-family households when financial circumstances require it, we elected to try it for various reasons, including financial. (There maybe people reading this who live in co-ops or similar multi-family resource sharing arrangements) It is a less expensive way to live but being in our first year, not sure how much we will save.
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Old 05-26-2014, 01:03 PM   #18
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All great ideas!

But like you said, everyone is different. Track your spending and look it over regularly. Where do you get the most enjoyment/satisfaction/fulfillment for the buck? Which activities/expenses are just not doing if for you? Maybe you're doing them because of expectations or social pressure or they were things that you once enjoyed. This is obvious, but focus on and tackle the big expenses first.

Dominguez has a good chapter and some tools in "Your money or your life".
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Old 05-26-2014, 01:16 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Pleeplus View Post
Start canning your food. It is so easy, will pay for itself 10 fold and the quality is much much better. ...
While I do some of this stuff for the 'fun of it', can you really save that much? Canned tomatoes are pretty darn cheap.

Quote:
Originally Posted by daylatedollarshort View Post
- Thermal cooker - works like a crock pot but without electricity

- Instant Pot - reduced energy cooking ...
I really doubt this is saving any significant $ (if at all, depending), and I doubt you get your investment back. Even assuming a higher end of $0.20/cooking cycle, and assuming zero energy cost for the thermal cooker (which of course there must be a cost to this, but it's tough to estimate),

A slow cooker only costs a penny or two an hour to run. A basic slow cooker is cheap ($15-$20?). If you pay an extra $50 for a thermal pot (reasonable $?), that is 250 cooking cycles to break even, with VERY generous assumptions.

Same with an Instant Pot - how do you figure TCO?


Quote:
- LED bulbs, ...., reusable batteries, solar lights. solar Christmas lights
LED bulbs and reusable batteries - it really depends on usage, you need to analyze this pretty closely and factor amortized cost of the chargers, etc. For the solar lights, unless you are saving the cost of installing remote wiring, I really doubt you will save $, probably the opposite. Electricity is cheap, solar panels and batteries are not.

I think my advice to the OP would be more generic - every single time you use or go to buy something, think about it. Is this something you really value? Could you do without? If not, are there cheaper better value alternatives? Then research those products/services. Especially for often purchased items, and high $$ items.

What works for one will not work for another. I've had a cell phone plan for years that meets my needs, and costs < $1/month, after one year at < $10/month (T-Mobile pre-paid 'Gold Plan'). DW has taken to doing more texting, but she can still get by with me adding at the rate of less than $10/month. and the nice thing is, we can upgrade by the day to unlimited talk/text/data for $3 on the days we need it. We've never needed it, always had wi-fi available for the times we needed data when we were out.


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Originally Posted by frayne View Post
Stay off Amazon and Ebay when you have been drinking, trust me on this !
Good advice! In a similar vein...

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VEGEMATIC by Steve Goodman

Fell asleep last night with the T-V on. Oh, what a dream I had.

I dreamed I answered every single one of those late night mail order ads.

And four to six weeks later, much to my surprise,

The mailman came to my front door, and I couldn't believe my eyes

When he brought the Vegematic, and the Pocket Fisherman too,

Illuminated illustrated history of life,

And Boxcar Willie with a Ginzu knife,

A bamboo steamer, and a Garden Weasel too,

And a tie-dyed, dayglow souvenir shirt from Six Flags Over Burbank. ....

Read more at GOODMAN STEVE - VEGEMATIC LYRICS


-ERD50
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Old 05-26-2014, 01:23 PM   #20
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I now buy my blue jeans online from eBay, yes, slightly used generally but at $5-$9 a pair it is a great savings.

Use shipping apps when shopping and then ask store to match price or get it where cheaper.

Conversely, I've sold a good number of jeans (and used men's shirts) on eBay. In fact, I'm (very lazily) "working" on getting some stuff together for eBay right now. Or more accurately, wife is in the garage going through some boxes and I'll have a pile of stuff to get rid of shortly....
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