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Old 01-09-2012, 07:41 PM   #41
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Two years ago, I too started tracking all of my expenses down to the dollar. It was an eye opening experience. I started analyzing every spending category to see if I could either eliminate it or reduce it and have succeeded in most of them. This is an ongoing process. One other tip I can add is that YouTube has been an excellent source of help for me. There are thousands of DIY videos online showing you how to do everything from cooking to fixing your lawnmower. It has saved me a lot of money.
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Old 01-09-2012, 08:02 PM   #42
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All very interesting posts and ideas, but I don't necessarily agree with those LBYM. I worked my a** off all my life, skimped and saved because that was how I was brought up. When I was in college I got $10 a week spending money. Give me a break! I was able to retire at 52 and to do that I really had to watch the spending. A few years back we started making some ground on investments. I decided last year that we were going to spend the money as we went and let the chips fall where they may. We still would be considered conservative people but I'm not interested in saving money. Our income is about $50000/yr and we spend every dime. A lot goes into our house which is DW's pride and joy. We hire everything done including window washing, lawn mowing, shrub trimming, various repairs and have a cleaning lady twice a month. We do our own cleaning in between. DW cooks quite a bit but we eat out once a day on average, either breakfast or lunch and dinner about three time /week. Nothing fancy mind you.

I guess you could say we are having the time of our lives. I'm 75 and DW is 73. Some health issues have caught up with us in recent years but we are enjoying life. Right now, LBYM to me means "living BEYOND you means".
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Old 01-09-2012, 08:29 PM   #43
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Thank you, Ratto, I could not have said it better myself.
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The best tool is self discipline. The best device is DIY.
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Old 01-09-2012, 08:58 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by JOHNNIE36 View Post
All very interesting posts and ideas, but I don't necessarily agree with those LBYM. I worked my a** off all my life, skimped and saved because that was how I was brought up. When I was in college I got $10 a week spending money. Give me a break! I was able to retire at 52 and to do that I really had to watch the spending. A few years back we started making some ground on investments. I decided last year that we were going to spend the money as we went and let the chips fall where they may. We still would be considered conservative people but I'm not interested in saving money. Our income is about $50000/yr and we spend every dime. A lot goes into our house which is DW's pride and joy. We hire everything done including window washing, lawn mowing, shrub trimming, various repairs and have a cleaning lady twice a month. We do our own cleaning in between. DW cooks quite a bit but we eat out once a day on average, either breakfast or lunch and dinner about three time /week. Nothing fancy mind you.

I guess you could say we are having the time of our lives. I'm 75 and DW is 73. Some health issues have caught up with us in recent years but we are enjoying life. Right now, LBYM to me means "living BEYOND you means".
Johnnie, you make a very valid point that while the freedom of FIRE is important and LBYM makes it possible, the line between living frugally and depriving yourself is a thin line. I think most of the posters in this thread are in their 50s and 60s and are where you were at when you retired at 52 and are in the mode of watching their spending.

I've visited SCC many times (I have 3 relatives and some family friends who live there) and I would think that $50k could buy one a very comfortable life in SCC. Congratulations and enjoy!!! You've earned it.
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Old 01-09-2012, 09:11 PM   #45
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All very interesting posts and ideas, but I don't necessarily agree with those LBYM...

...I guess you could say we are having the time of our lives. I'm 75 and DW is 73. Some health issues have caught up with us in recent years but we are enjoying life. Right now, LBYM to me means "living BEYOND you means".
Well, there's a time to save, and there's a time to spend. These younger people are still in the saving mode.

I am quite a bit younger than you, sir, but still, have been thinking I am getting close to that spendin' time myself.

Yeah, 10% WR! Got to keep up with the ReWahoos Jones. And I am even younger. Yeah, that will teach them!

Wait! What else do I spend money on? A house on the Puget Sound? Do I have enough for that?
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Old 01-09-2012, 10:00 PM   #46
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A public library card is #1@!

Next is the montly subscription to Netflix streaming. Cheap and good entertainment.

These are only suggestions as I am still among the working stiffs of the world.
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Old 01-09-2012, 10:08 PM   #47
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I got rid of my cellphone and installed a landline with basic service for $8/month. For long distance, I use Cheap International Calls, Internet Fax, VoIP, Call Forwarding, All Pay-As-You-Go in OneSuite

My digital answering machine (connected to the landline) was $2 from a thrift store. It works fine.

My dsl is the very basic dsl speed for $20/month.

No cable or satellite. My entire telecommunications bill (phone + internet) comes in at about $30/month.

I like not having a cellphone. It means that when I go out, no-one can get hold of me straight away. It's peaceful
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Old 01-10-2012, 12:56 AM   #48
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A pair of scissors, to cut up your credit cards.
Quite the opposite (for me) I went and got (another) credit card that had
a cash back feature. I do almost all my purchases with this card including my health insurance. It also makes it much easier to review my purchases later if i am so inclined.

I don't find myself wanting to buy stuff because I had a credit card. On the other hand, I never had a credit card until I was pushing 30 when I started to do a bit of traveling. Maybe that was an influence ?
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Old 01-10-2012, 01:10 AM   #49
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For me, a conservative mindset (hate wasting stuff) and time to track expenses on a spreadsheet (once done on paper).

I generally research my purchases looking at value, not just lowest cost. I watch my budget and challenge myself if I could still get the same value for less over time.

Tracking expenses help as things increase or get out of line, I look for cost savings.

I do have my niche, growing up we never went on a vacation. Now, I make sure our family leaves town to make memories 4 - 8 times a year. I guess that's my hangup for now.
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Old 01-10-2012, 07:05 AM   #50
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Quite the opposite (for me) I went and got (another) credit card that had a cash back feature. ....
I paid my auto and home insurance this week with my Fidelity AmEx. I made $24 simply by whipping out my card (after I price shopped for insurance).
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Old 01-10-2012, 07:08 AM   #51
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One of the best investments that I ever made was a home repair guide published by Reader's Digest. I've advanced since then, but it made me realize that most home repairs are simple and I've saved a ton of money over the years by doing my own stuff.
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Old 01-10-2012, 07:15 AM   #52
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Old 01-10-2012, 08:47 AM   #53
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Originally Posted by JOHNNIE36 View Post
All very interesting posts and ideas, but I don't necessarily agree with those LBYM. We still would be considered conservative people but I'm not interested in saving money. Our income is about $50000/yr and we spend every dime. A lot goes into our house which is DW's pride and joy. We hire everything done including window washing, lawn mowing, shrub trimming, various repairs and have a cleaning lady twice a month. We do our own cleaning in between. DW cooks quite a bit but we eat out once a day on average, either breakfast or lunch and dinner about three time /week. Nothing fancy mind you.

Right now, LBYM to me means "living BEYOND you means".
More power to you. Ideally we all share our POV's and experiences, and from there others make the choices that suit them, easy-peasy...
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Old 01-10-2012, 09:31 AM   #54
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The biggest tool for me was a "need/want" mental filter. ....

Now I'm doing better financially and spend money on wants (like taking my kids on trips), but I still know exactly where that line is and am very aware when money leaves my life which side of the line it is on.

Best of all, need/want filters are very cheap to acquire. Mine was free with just a little thinking and a fair amount of discipline.

2Cor521
This.

If you're recording expenses, try this experiment. Write, after after each expense, "need" or "want". For lots of things we buy (like a car), it's really a percent, "I need a car, but if I only bought the car I needed the cost would be about 60% of this one". So you

Given my situation, I can think about the things my folks had when I was growing up and figure that lifestyle as my baseline "needs".

It turns out that lots of stuff we buy is in the "want" category.
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Old 01-10-2012, 09:56 AM   #55
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To answer the question in a more literal way, I have found that I often justify buying tools as the need arises by comparing the cost with that of having the work done. For example, I bought wheel ramps and an oil filter wrench knowing that I could save that amount the first or second time I changed my own oil.

My $300 chainsaw paid for itself after a few months of free firewood.

Any kind of plumbing tool will probably be cheaper than having a plumber do the work.

My Kill-a-watt meter may have paid for itself, that's not so clear.

I agree that home repair books were great investments, but I'd say that now, the Internet is much better for that kind of thing.
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Old 01-10-2012, 10:07 AM   #56
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For me, the biggest savers come from a good set of basic tools. When a home repair job comes up, I find out how much it costs to have the job done. Then I inventory the tools that I have, can rent, or need to buy. Then materials with enough extra for the do-overs that a rookie needs to do twice to get it right. That was how I built up my tool chest, a couple of tools at a time. The benefits are craftsmanship that I couldn't afford to pay for and enough self reliance skills to know that I can build a home from scratch should the need ever arise again.

My DW would say that it is a good set of pots and pans. We bought a set of Cephalon pans. Not LBYM on the face, but with thick evenly heating metal pans, we never waste food with burn or scorch places, and always get beautiful carmalization that makes a dollar grab bag of mixed vegetables into a banquet that I find few local restaurants match. Now, when we splurge and go out, it is to search for the food that we enjoy so much that we clone the recipe at home.
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Old 01-10-2012, 10:09 AM   #57
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My Kill-a-watt meter may have paid for itself, that's not so clear.
Yes, I have yet to find a case where the meter told me something I didn't already know that could save me money. I have yet to put it on two of the TVs with DVD players and stuff hooked up - need to check those loads. I did find one kids shelf stereo drew as much power 'off' as it did 'on'. So we unplugged it if it wasn't going to be in use for a long time, (since bit the dust), but it only drew ~ night light levels anyhow.


OTOH, I learned that some things are so low power in sleep mode, that there is no sense in turning them on/off. My printer doesn't even register (<1W) on the thing when it's asleep. But a power on runs it through a dance, probably more wear/tear with an on/off. I leave it on 24/7/365.


Kill-a-watt has been more of a diagnostic tool for me. I have verified that my old fridge & freezer are using ~ the same energy they were rated at ~ 20 years ago (energy stickers). Fridge is using 100W average, not bad and probably no worse than the new ones with ice makers (the ice maker isn't included in the energy sticker on new fridges!). So roughly $9/mo for the old fridge, and about $6/month for the old freezer. New fridge is supposed to be even better, and I have ice maker turned off. Should measure it again.

-ERD50
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Old 01-10-2012, 11:22 AM   #58
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Essentially a zero $ hobby. Of course, her husband flies a small plane, and is building one, so net that out, and....

-ERD50
In my mid-20's I bought an airplane and owned it for two years. It was a lot of fun, but at the cost of spending every spare nickel on it. At the time that cost was worth it to me and no regrets about that.

Ten years later I found that radio control models were 80% as much fun for perhaps 5% of the cost at most. Pretty good ROI.

Now a very high-end R/C model is $5-7K and an expensive full-size airplane is in the "if you have to ask you can't afford it" category.

So there are alternatives.
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Old 01-10-2012, 11:46 AM   #59
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Garage sales are great for pots and pans. Even the fanciest name brand pan may cost under $2 at a garage sale, so you can buy them by trial and error.
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Old 01-10-2012, 02:04 PM   #60
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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.
Very well put!
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