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Old 01-08-2012, 10:55 PM   #21
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Another suggestion is to choose your hobbies wisely, with an eye to finding something you enjoy that is LBYM.

A few examples come to mind:

I have friends with expensive tastes in cars and boats (and feel the need to swap these out every few years). Not LBYM.

I have other friends who do arts and crafts of all types. Some of them are very talented, but there's really little/no money in selling anything they make, and cost of classes and the materials and inventory they keep on-hand to do these things boggles my mind. Not LBYM.

I have other friends who love to cook and their hobby is cooking. This can be LBYM.

I have other friends who enjoy home repairs and home remodeling. This is usually LBYM.

Even your choice of a healthy sports activity can either suck-up money (like downhill skiing) or be relatively inexpensive (like walking, bicycling).

When I first got the idea that RE was a possibility, I decided to make FIRE my hobby. I gave up all the other time-wasting, money-sucking hobbies that I used to do just to relieve the stress and dissatisfaction of a mega-corp job.

omni
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Old 01-08-2012, 11:11 PM   #22
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You Need A Budget - ynab - budgeting software. This really has made a difference for use. ynab.com

World of Warcraft - Yes there is a continuing subscription charge. However, this hobby is much, much, much cheaper than other hobbies I had before and it fills my leisure time so I'm not as tempted to do things that cost more money.

Subscription to Netflix and Hulu for streaming video - Yes there is a charge but it is much cheaper than cable was. We also bought an inexpensive antenna to get TV without cable. (We already had a Playstation to use to stream the video on TV. Can also use the TV).
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Old 01-08-2012, 11:21 PM   #23
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Subscription to the girlie magazine or website of your choice. Save on restaurants, movies, Valentines gifts, engagement and wedding rings, trips to in-laws, and home remodeling projects.

Also save on diapers, baby formula, orthodontics, college tuition, and wedding gifts.
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Old 01-09-2012, 12:00 AM   #24
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Get a library card. Read newspapers online.
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Old 01-09-2012, 05:08 AM   #25
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I think about how we lived when growing up. We did have a small single-family house and cars (that we bought at a junkyard and fixed up). But we did not have A/C, dishwasher, or icemaker in the refrigerator, and I didn't see the inside of a hotel or restaurant until I was in high school. And that was rare event indeed.

If it wasn't on sale we didn't buy it.

It's the mental attitude developed then that allowed me to buy my own home after the divorce. If it didn't involve food, clothing or shelter I didn't buy it for about the first five years. But as expected things started to get easier after that.

We have a long list of "wants". We have zero needs. It is important to know the difference.
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Old 01-09-2012, 07:10 AM   #26
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The best tool is self discipline. The best device is DIY. The best items are freebies. The best equipment is our body; with good care, it will last a long time and save tons of money.
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Old 01-09-2012, 07:39 AM   #27
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A bare-bones budget means low food cost, minimizing home repair expense, and limiting health care. Food cost can be reduced if you learn to prepare low cost meals in larger quantities and save for reheating. For this a good cookbook, along with the pressure cooker. You can avoid spending lots of money on home maintenance if you learn to do some repairs yourself. A good book and a basic set of tools. Limiting health care is more challenging, and staying healthy is a prerequisite. Develop an exercise that will keep your body in good shape and a diet that keeps you weight down. Take advantage of free screenings in your area, identify any low cost clinics.

These things are frequently discussed on the forum. You might start separate threads on home maintenance books and tools, low cost cooking, and exercise routines. Asking more specific questions results in some very good advice.
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Old 01-09-2012, 07:56 AM   #28
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Love this thread

These are all great points, and all true (at least the non "tongue-in-cheek" ones ). They are what allowed me to retire last month at 58. It really does boil down to knowing the difference between want and need, and being comfortable with not having a need to satisfy all your wants. An eye-opener for me a few years back were the results when I decided to make the effort to track my spending in detail for several months. Not just "the bills", but the day-to-day out of pocket and impulse buys. Example: I was spending $200 / month on cups of coffee!!! Of course, since I felt that coffee was a "need" and not a "want" (and instant was not on the table) I "invested" $20 in a quality thermos and brought my "needed" 4 cups o' joe to w#rk with me daily, saving a bundle. That's a minor goofy example, but you'll be surprised how you spend your money if you pay attention.
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Old 01-09-2012, 08:08 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by omni550 View Post
Another suggestion is to choose your hobbies wisely, with an eye to finding something you enjoy that is LBYM.

A few examples come to mind:

I have friends with expensive tastes in cars and boats (and feel the need to swap these out every few years). Not LBYM.

I have other friends who do arts and crafts of all types. Some of them are very talented, but there's really little/no money in selling anything they make, and cost of classes and the materials and inventory they keep on-hand to do these things boggles my mind. Not LBYM.

I have other friends who love to cook and their hobby is cooking. This can be LBYM.

I have other friends who enjoy home repairs and home remodeling. This is usually LBYM.

Even your choice of a healthy sports activity can either suck-up money (like downhill skiing) or be relatively inexpensive (like walking, bicycling).

When I first got the idea that RE was a possibility, I decided to make FIRE my hobby. I gave up all the other time-wasting, money-sucking hobbies that I used to do just to relieve the stress and dissatisfaction of a mega-corp job.

omni
Great point. It's not about deprivation, it's about finding something you enjoy that isn't so expensive.

A friend of ours loves to paint. She sells her works, and while I don't think shes making any significant $/hr, it probably more than offsets her costs. Essentially a zero $ hobby. Of course, her husband flies a small plane, and is building one, so net that out, and....

-ERD50
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Old 01-09-2012, 08:20 AM   #30
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I have always found that spending money on tools(and learning or knowing how to use them) can almost always be justified, given that most tools are not very expensive, and the cost per hour of hiring almost any trades person, gets very expensive very quick.
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Old 01-09-2012, 09:26 AM   #31
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It starts with having the mindset which I take you've already conquered. From there - being determined not to waste money, letting go of materialism (within reason, we all have our own priorities and means) and simplifying your life. In general we cut expenses we didn't really need, and reduced frequency of spending on things we enjoyed - it's not always a question of giving things up. Our specifics:
  • We sold our boat, and all the expense that went with it. That was huge, but we sail all we want with sailing friends we made in 20 years of boating.
  • We cut back on dining out, groceries, entertainment in general. For example, we still go out just as often, just not to great restaurants like we used to (we were really over the top). Lunch out instead of dinner some times. Drinking less in restaurants, have a glass of wine at home after dinner (safer on the road too).
  • We've reduced spending on internet, TV, phone (dropped landline and don't miss it), car & home insurance (recently), lawncare and lots of personal incidental expenses. Didn't eliminate any of them, but you might be surprised how much you can save if you make the effort. Prices for goods and services are negotiable way more often than most people think, but you have to ask.
  • We use a setback thermostat with aggressive settings (cold in winter, warm in summer) - a few degrees can help. Rate increases offset our usage reductions, but would have been worse.
  • We drink cheaper wine than we used to, splurge on something nice once in a while (instead of regularly).
  • Whole house is CFL's other than appliances.
  • Less frequent vacation, but no less enjoyable.
  • And we do as much as we can for ourselves in home maintenance and repair. Guess I'm cheap, but I have never paid anyone to cut my grass for example, good for me to do it myself.
  • Haven't been able to reduce spending on the dog (and won't, she gets whatever she needs), gifts, charities, medical (biggest worry), DW's nail appts and HOA fees (drat).
  • This one may be controversial - we deliberately drifted away from just a few big spender friends in the past five years or so, mostly one couple. Folks who were more interested in bigger houses, more expensive cars, boats, vacations, restaurants, latest fashions/fads, etc. We started to realize most of their conversation centered around their possessions. Used to be important to me to be connected in that way, but not anymore. Sadly, they're still trying to buy their happiness, thankfully we realized it can't be done years ago. 'The richer your friends, the more it will cost you.'
Decluttering has been surprisingly liberating! And we honestly don't feel deprived, we feel like we're living smarter!
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Old 01-09-2012, 10:23 AM   #32
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In retrospect, selling my car 10 years ago and buying a bicycle was a good move. It saved me a bunch of money and because, along with public transport, it is my sole form of transportation, it gives me an enforced exercise routine. Every time I want to go to the market, the drugstore, out to meet a friend, almost anywhere in fact, I have no choice but to get some exercise in the course of doing so.

Not for everyone, but a good plan of action if you can do it.
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Old 01-09-2012, 10:54 AM   #33
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I'm another one that uses a food vacuuming system. I can buy bulk meats or mark downs and freeze them. I also freeze leftovers from restaurants since the portions are so big.

Someone else mentioned using the library instead of buying books and magazines. I do this too, because I like to read all the fluff magazines (People, US) and the current news magazines (Time, Newsweek, Money, Kiplingers) but I'm too cheap to subscribe. I read a lot of books too.

We got a Magicjack phone line when DH retired. We did a free one month trial while still keeping our landline and really like it so the landline, and the monthly bill are gone. Ours is the kind that has to have a computer on but they have a new one that is without a computer, just needs a router connection.

Another money saver is a prepaid cell phone. We have a grandfathered in plan from Alltel which was bought out by Verizon. We will stay with it as long as we can then maybe get a Tracfone because of their deals on prepaid plans.

And another vote for a pressure cooker. I found this one on Amazon and LOVE IT!
Amazon.com: Futura by Hawkins Hard Anodized 5.0 Litre Pressure Cooker from Hawkins: Home Improvement
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Old 01-09-2012, 11:43 AM   #34
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This one may be controversial - we deliberately drifted away from just a few big spender friends in the past five years or so, mostly one couple. Folks who were more interested in bigger houses, more expensive cars, boats, vacations, restaurants, latest fashions/fads, etc. We started to realize most of their conversation centered around their possessions. Used to be important to me to be connected in that way, but not anymore. Sadly, they're still trying to buy their happiness, thankfully we realized it can't be done years ago. 'The richer your friends, the more it will cost you.'
We had friends who choose to send thier 3 kids to private middle and high schools. Costs were roughly 10k/kid/year AND there is no bus system ... parents drive the little tots EVERY day (easily another couple k/kid). So it wasn't long before she had DW's ear about all the "bennifits". They cornered me in a full court press. I fought them off ... and no, we don't see them much anymore.

And my boys are doing just fine in the middle school down the street ... all A's and 1 B between them last reporting period.
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Old 01-09-2012, 12:25 PM   #35
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I listened to a financial planner in 1995 and put 5000 in a mutual fund he said would grow. Now 17 years later the investment is worth 6475. and I just leave it there to remind myself that the best person to handle your money is yourself.
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Old 01-09-2012, 12:25 PM   #36
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A set of butchering tools to break down bulk purchases of meat and a large freezer.
A self propelled walk behind mower, motorized hedge trimmer / brush cutter.
Tree trimming saws.
Outdoor drying of laundry.
A good bull rake.
A 20 quart soup pot.
A pair of 9 quart cast iron dutch ovens.
A 6 quart saute pot with a steamer insert.
A cast stone oven insert and bread baking accessories.
A couple of dozen each of 2 quart, 1 quart and 1 pint canning jars.
A three quart ice cream machine and a heavy 3.5 quart sauce pan for custards.
A big green egg.
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Old 01-09-2012, 12:29 PM   #37
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I try to avoid eating out, I watch what groceries I buy and buy quantities on sale for freezing. I buy tools to do my own repairs. doing your own repairs takes a little reading and sometimes a lot of work, but you gain on both ends you exercise your mind and your body. most jobs can be done by the average person, you just have to figure out what your time is worth to you.
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Old 01-09-2012, 01:09 PM   #38
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Dishwasher. We had a crappy one when we bought the house. We had to prewash all dishes before loading them in the dishwasher. As a result, eating at home was a pain because you had a sink full of dishes to clean each day. We didn't mind cooking but the cleaning up was very inconvenient. This probably led to eating out more often or more convenience foods that didn't require dishes.

Eventually we replaced the old dishwasher with a new mid-range dishwasher (bought at half off prices online of course ). That sucker cleans probably 98% of dishes without a need to pre-rinse. Makes loading it a breeze. Result is we are more inclined to cook and eat at home. Saves money and is probably healthier too.

Kill-A-Watt meter - lets us know how much electricity our devices use so we can focus our attentions on money saving energy conservation where it makes sense. The unit costs under $20 but has shown us how to save hundreds in electricity usage.
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Old 01-09-2012, 01:23 PM   #39
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Rice cooker.

Yes, it can be done with a covered pot but making rice overnight (for work) saves a lot of hassle.

Freezable dishes to freeze the huge batch of sauce that you make for your rice.
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Old 01-09-2012, 06:42 PM   #40
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For example, someone might say "buy a $200 Keurig coffemaker to save money instead of buying Starbucks!" Yes, that would save a little money, but wouldn't it be even cheaper (if you had no coffeemaker) to buy instant coffee and heat the water in the microwave that you already have?
.
Maybe we could just put the coffee beans in the pressure cooker.

The idea of making a gallon of espresso is oddly appealing to me. I can sleep next month...
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