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Old 01-10-2012, 03:22 PM   #61
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I agree with much of the below list, and to further comment....
1) Tools - I completely wired the cat5 phone system in my house when built in 1999, saving me $3,500...for which I had to buy $100 worth of tools. I do my own car maintenance, my own woodworking, my own basic electrical, etc. I know not everyone can learn all these things...but even for example caulking gun saved me $200 last year versus calling a plumber. This has saved me more each year than all the other items below combined.

2) Newspaper - can find many used items

3) Hire teens to do work around the yard, freeing me up to work a 2nd job earning an even higher wage

4) Offer to buy "damaged" items at stores. For example, I got 3 4x8 sheets of plywood at Lowes for a 40% discount because they had 1" of the edge damaged. Sometimes you have to look for these items...they tend to pull them off the shelves.

5) Look for different ways to solve problems. For example, I had camel crickets at one of my rentals. Everyone told me to buy chemical X to get rid of them...but I did research and found that they like dark, damp places OUTSIDE the house...so I eliminated some rubbish piles and uncovered the basement window well coverings...and 3 weeks later they were gone.

6) If you're FIREd, buy one good car and one "jalopy". When you both go somewhere together, take the good car...but when you just need something to go get your orajel for a toothache and the DW is at bridge club, take the jalopy....it sometimes doesn't make sense to have two "nice" cars when you're usually together (assuming you are...as we are).

7) Negotiate - For example, I get the NFL Sunday Ticket each year on DirectTV. They normally charge about $400 on an "auto renewal" package. So every year I cancel it after the season...then I call them every week in about June/July and ask if they are running any specials. I've gotten it for no more than $300 each of the past 7 years...and I usually get free movie channels for 3 months also. Just be cautious on this one...usually they tell you on the movie channels that if you don't call back to cancel them before a certain date...they will begin billing you for them...so I set this as an appointment on my calendar and call them a week before...and cancel.

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Originally Posted by Rowdy View Post
Here's my list:

- Ooma for practically free ($3.50/month) home phone service.
- Good antenna for picking up free HD digital TV.
- Tivo to record the free TV; yes this has a small cost, but much cheaper than cable.
- Streaming device (e.g. Roku, PS3 with Playon, etc) for streaming hulu, Netflix, etc.
- Equipment to do own lawn maintenance.
- Tools to maintain cars, house, etc. However, you'll need to know when to call in a pro.
- OBDII scan tool to pull car engine diagnostic codes.
- French press coffee pot and tea kettle for cheap, great coffee.
- Thermal leak detector to determine where extra caulking and installation are necessary.
- Device for measuring electrical use (vampire electric loads).
- CFL light bulbs.
- Programmable thermostat.
- Equipment for making your own beer or wine (never tried this...)
- Whole house fan.
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Old 01-10-2012, 04:43 PM   #62
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#1 - My spouse. She is in synch with respect to spending and investing.
#2 - I do my own taxes (and many others). Over my lifetime, taxes are probably my number one expense item. My savings are on the tax line, not the preparers fees.

One of the best ways to live below your means is to have high means. But I don't think that is what you are looking for.
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Old 01-10-2012, 05:11 PM   #63
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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
Of course one could just turn the cell phone off when going out and regard it as a device to call AAA or 911 from when on the road. Cell Phones come with voice mail, and so if it is important they will leave a message.
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Old 01-10-2012, 06:02 PM   #64
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I always enjoy these threads, agree with almost everything on them (especially the ones about learning to DIY), and learn something new each time.

I have one that will seem contrary to many of you: It's for younger folks, and probably won't work for the ones in IT departments .

When I started my first "professional" job, several older folks advised me to buy the best quality, classic-styled separates (suit jacket, skirt, trousers, blouses) I could afford. Just a few pieces - tweed, camelhair, navy blue - that could be changed around to look like many different outfits, merely by changing the blouse or adding a small scarf. Was this ever good advice! I still wear my Brooks Brothers wool suits that are 20 years old, and they still fit great and look stylish (BB didn't go in for the exaggerated shoulders or other "80's" touches). I can't even count how many wearings I've had out of those suits. I bought them all on sale at outlets (of course!) and probably have them down to $1.50 per wearing at this point.

While I do plan to live in casual clothes once I retire, there always comes a time when you have to dress to impress, and no doubt these old clothes will rise to the occasion - assuming my shape doesn't change too much with age.

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Old 01-10-2012, 06:07 PM   #65
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A strong set of 'deferred gratification' clamps.

Don't know, not sure I wanna know......
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Old 01-10-2012, 06:32 PM   #66
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#1 - My spouse. She is in synch with respect to spending and investing.
I'm lucky that way too, my accountant DW is naturally cheap frugal good with a buck too thank goodness...we're a good team.
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Old 01-10-2012, 06:33 PM   #67
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When my Dad was in the hospital last March and I was flying to Grand Junction to do who knows what with whom, I realized that I'd need a cell phone.

$22 at Wal-Mart bought me a basic LG model with Verizon service. It had $15 on it, and another $20 got me a $2 bonus. It got me through two weeks of logistics & personnel hell, and it was indispensable.

But then what? It seemed like a sunk costs fallacy waste of good silicon to just throw it into a charity box after just two weeks. Keep in mind, I'll probably do that eventually. Just not yet.

Verizon insists that America's cell-phone infrastructure will implode if you don't refill the phone every 30 days with at least $15. What actually happens, though, is that the balance on the phone just goes to zero. It turns out (after extensive research by two sales staff at the Verizon store) that the account stays active until 90 days since the last refill. So, at day 30 when the balance goes to zero we set a reminder for 59 days later. On that date we refill the phone with $15 and restart the 30-day & 90-day clocks.

It turns out that one of us has been traveling just about every 90 days, so we're usually able to have the convenience of a cell phone for not much more than $5/month. Some months it's a bit more, but it's part of the price/convenience tradeoff of travel.

On the island, though, as far as I'm concerned it's still a worthless pile of silicon...

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Originally Posted by ratto View Post
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.
Yeah, but where the heck is the fun in that?!?
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Old 01-10-2012, 08:10 PM   #68
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Verizon insists that America's cell-phone infrastructure will implode if you don't refill the phone every 30 days with at least $15. What actually happens, though, is that the balance on the phone just goes to zero. It turns out (after extensive research by two sales staff at the Verizon store) that the account stays active until 90 days since the last refill. So, at day 30 when the balance goes to zero we set a reminder for 59 days later. On that date we refill the phone with $15 and restart the 30-day & 90-day clocks.
Wife does that with something like $100 for a year. I don't know how many minutes she buys but last year she used 18 minutes. Right before the expiration she texted charities to burn off most of the remaining minutes. Then refills for another year.
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Old 01-10-2012, 09:16 PM   #69
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Wife does that with something like $100 for a year. I don't know how many minutes she buys but last year she used 18 minutes. Right before the expiration she texted charities to burn off most of the remaining minutes. Then refills for another year.
With T-Mobile pre-paid, once you put $100 on it (will cover a year), you can add just $10 the next year, just 83 cents/month. Minutes roll over.

We use ~ 5 minutes/month. I've got a spreadsheet, but I think we are good for many years before we need to put more than $10 on it.

-ERD50
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Old 01-11-2012, 02:19 PM   #70
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Learning to cook and adopting a vegetarian (or nearly) diet helps. You'll save on food costs and possibly on medical expenses over your lifetime. We eat chicken maybe once a week and fish another once or twice. It's not at all to save money but it sure works out that way. Between that and seldom buying packaged/processed, sodium-drenched crap, our food bill is very low.

We're definitely not fanatics about it, and I'll enjoy a bacon-cheeseburger now and then, but if you learn to make what you like, a great salad can be more satisfying than a steak for a tiny fraction of the cost.
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Old 01-11-2012, 03:43 PM   #71
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Reference post #42. I need to make a trip to Florida and find out how Johnnie36 is affording to get all that stuff done on $50k /yr. Must be some cheap labor down south.
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Old 01-11-2012, 07:22 PM   #72
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Right before the expiration she texted charities to burn off most of the remaining minutes. Then refills for another year.
Oh, I like that idea! Thanks.
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Old 01-12-2012, 07:12 PM   #73
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A strong set of 'deferred gratification' clamps.
I was so excited to read REWahoo’s suggestion of using “delayed gratification clamps” to save money (i.e. live below my means--and therefore retire early) that I immediately checked out Amazon.com. The clamps were there and were deeply discounted, but I would have had to wait two days for them to be delivered (I use Amazon Prime). But, I mean, who can actually wait two days? Really? So, once again, jumping on the internet, I discovered the closest pair of clamps were at Neiman Marcus. I rushed right over (darn, just where is that delayed gratification when you need it)?

Anyhow, she (the sales lady) only had one pair of clamps left, but a great pair (OK, enough about the sales lady). These high-end clamps were trimmed in the finest grade Italian leather in which semi-precious stones were embedded. Obviously, these clamps were expensive, but some of the semi-precious stones brought out the blue in my eyes. I bought the clamps. Both style and function—can’t beat that.

OK, you guys are probably saying, “Wow, so far, so good.” But the problem is, these clamps didn’t come with instructions—except on how to clean the leather. And, REWahoo didn’t really explain how to use these things. Eventually, after a lot of trial and error I figured out what to clamp the clamps to—but, they kept slipping off (wow, was that an eerie/panicky deja vue moment that I’d like to forget). Anyhow, eventually my neighbor came up with the idea of using duct tape to keep the clamps from slipping off. But, now with the clamps on, well, it causes me walk with a peculiar gait. When people ask me about the brand-new hitch in my step, I simply explain that I’m wearing delayed gratification clamps so that I can retire early. I tell them that I got the idea from a guy named REWahoo who suggested it on the internet. They ask no more questions and tend to look away so I can’t really tell what they are thinking. I know that a number of the FIRE group members who have used these clamps or had some other plan of action, such as asset allocation and diversification, have experienced the same sort of reaction from co-workers and friends. Many of you have concluded that these people were simply jealous, but I’m not so sure it’s jealousy that they were experiencing.

Anyway, it’s too soon to know if REWahoo’s suggestion is going to allow me to retire early. I do know it’s really uncomfortable wearing these clamps to bed every night.

I wonder if unclemicks “pssst Wellesley” might have been a better idea.
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Old 01-12-2012, 07:15 PM   #74
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Can't believe you didn't check Craigslist...
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Old 01-12-2012, 07:27 PM   #75
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Give up: let her have it her way .... don't divorce.
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Old 01-12-2012, 08:25 PM   #76
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I was so excited to read REWahoo’s suggestion of using “delayed gratification clamps” ...

... I discovered the closest pair of clamps were at Neiman Marcus. I rushed right over (darn, just where is that delayed gratification when you need it)?...

...But the problem is, these clamps didn’t come with instructions—except on how to clean the leather. And, REWahoo didn’t really explain how to use these things. Eventually, after a lot of trial and error I figured out what to clamp the clamps to—but, they kept slipping off (wow, was that an eerie/panicky deja vue moment that I’d like to forget)...

...Anyhow, eventually my neighbor came up with the idea of using duct tape to keep the clamps from slipping off. But, now with the clamps on, well, it causes me walk with a peculiar gait. When people ask me about the brand-new hitch in my step, I simply explain that I’m wearing delayed gratification clamps so that I can retire early...
Huh? The clamps, if of the right size, should not need to be held on with duct tape. Nor should they cause you to walk funny... Something is very wrong...

Could it be?....

OMG! The sales lady did not tell you? Oh yes, the presence of all those semi-precious stones explains it...

You bought the clamps that were meant for WOMEN! Those, I will have to break the news to you, are installed in a different manner, and in a different place.

Oh no! Stop immediately, or your deformity will be permanent.
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Old 01-12-2012, 09:44 PM   #77
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Originally Posted by redduck View Post
I was so excited to read REWahoo’s suggestion of using “delayed gratification clamps” to save money (i.e. live below my means--and therefore retire early) that I immediately checked out Amazon.com. The clamps were there and were deeply discounted, but I would have had to wait two days for them to be delivered (I use Amazon Prime). But, I mean, who can actually wait two days? Really? So, once again, jumping on the internet, I discovered the closest pair of clamps were at Neiman Marcus. I rushed right over (darn, just where is that delayed gratification when you need it)?

Anyhow, she (the sales lady) only had one pair of clamps left, but a great pair (OK, enough about the sales lady). These high-end clamps were trimmed in the finest grade Italian leather in which semi-precious stones were embedded. Obviously, these clamps were expensive, but some of the semi-precious stones brought out the blue in my eyes. I bought the clamps. Both style and function—can’t beat that.

OK, you guys are probably saying, “Wow, so far, so good.” But the problem is, these clamps didn’t come with instructions—except on how to clean the leather. And, REWahoo didn’t really explain how to use these things. Eventually, after a lot of trial and error I figured out what to clamp the clamps to—but, they kept slipping off (wow, was that an eerie/panicky deja vue moment that I’d like to forget). Anyhow, eventually my neighbor came up with the idea of using duct tape to keep the clamps from slipping off. But, now with the clamps on, well, it causes me walk with a peculiar gait. When people ask me about the brand-new hitch in my step, I simply explain that I’m wearing delayed gratification clamps so that I can retire early. I tell them that I got the idea from a guy named REWahoo who suggested it on the internet. They ask no more questions and tend to look away so I can’t really tell what they are thinking. I know that a number of the FIRE group members who have used these clamps or had some other plan of action, such as asset allocation and diversification, have experienced the same sort of reaction from co-workers and friends. Many of you have concluded that these people were simply jealous, but I’m not so sure it’s jealousy that they were experiencing.

Anyway, it’s too soon to know if REWahoo’s suggestion is going to allow me to retire early. I do know it’s really uncomfortable wearing these clamps to bed every night.

I wonder if unclemicks “pssst Wellesley” might have been a better idea.
This post is useless without pictures
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Old 01-12-2012, 09:46 PM   #78
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This post is useless without pictures
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Old 01-12-2012, 09:51 PM   #79
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I'll say ReWahoo needs to post a picture of himself modeling these clamps to show how it should be done. He's the one who brought this up!
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Old 01-13-2012, 09:26 PM   #80
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This post is useless without pictures
You just might want to re-think seeing this.
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