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Old 10-19-2009, 03:34 PM   #141
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It's well known that retirees like to toodle around their communities in golf carts. Now, thanks to the federal tax credit in the stimulus plan aimed at getting people to buy high mileage cars, many people can get a golf cart nearly, or even totally, free!

Golf Cart Subsidies - WSJ.com
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Old 10-19-2009, 03:43 PM   #142
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It's well known that retirees like to toodle around their communities in golf carts. Now, thanks to the federal tax credit in the stimulus plan aimed at getting people to buy high mileage cars, many people can get a golf cart nearly, or even totally, free!
RVers are, also, gonna be interested in this.
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Old 10-19-2009, 03:54 PM   #143
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Let me second that ceiling fan idea. One of my relatives visited Texas/Louisiana where everyone has ceiling fans, so he installed some fans in his house in Chicago (1 in the living room, which is huge, and one in each of two bedrooms). He called me to ask if it was possible that the ceiling fans cut his electricity cost THAT much 'cause his bills were now running 30% less than normal!!! Worth the money and effort to install ceiling fans for sure.
And, for those of you who never have had ceiling fans, there is a button at the motor that allows you to have the air pulled up for summer and push the button down and the air is pulled down for winter. So, you can use ceiling fans all year around.
One thing they don't put in houses anymore are big, strong attic fans. I had one in my 1939 bungalow in Houston, and it would suck ALL the hot air out of the house after about an hour's use. I loved it, and wish they would use huge attic fans again in homes. Talk about cutting your electricity bill...it's great! Come home, suck out all the hot air and turn on the ceiling fans and a/c = lots of money savings.
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Old 10-19-2009, 04:07 PM   #144
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I think my greatest cost-savings tip is to fully enjoy the things I ALREADY have. For example, we have five 8'tall, 3' wide bookshelves crammed with books. I have not read at least half of them. I could read for three years and not get through all our books. So, I don't really need to buy more books.

This is true of a lot of the things in my house. We have a great picnic hamper we rarely use. Why not go on a picnic next time instead of out to a restaurant? I have a book about paperfolding and a stack of office paper -- this is something the kids and I could do for HOURS, and we'd enjoy it.

I try to remind myself that if I'm feeling bored, it's because I'm not really paying attention to the resources available to me here and now. I can always take a walk, look for birds at the local creek, play fetch with the dog.

And on a more practical note: We line-dry our laundry, except for sheets. This is about 8 loads a week. It saves us about $50 a month in electricity, and doesn't take up much more time than a dryer would.
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Old 10-19-2009, 04:08 PM   #145
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.....<snip>.....One thing they don't put in houses anymore are big, strong attic fans. I had one in my 1939 bungalow in Houston, and it would suck ALL the hot air out of the house after about an hour's use. I loved it, and wish they would use huge attic fans again in homes. Talk about cutting your electricity bill...it's great! Come home, suck out all the hot air and turn on the ceiling fans and a/c = lots of money savings.
These central attic fans are still sold and are relatively easy to install. I use two box fans set next to each other in a 4 foot wide window and achieve the same result. Last summer, in Michigan, I ran the central air conditioning a total of three days.
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Old 10-19-2009, 05:30 PM   #146
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Orchidflower, one of the first things I did when I moved into my new place was have 5 ceiling fans installed: one in each bedroom, one in the living room and one in the den where I have my TV. They are wonderful and I save a lot on the AC for sure, esp. on those marginal days when you need air circulating but not necessarily the central AC.
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Old 10-19-2009, 08:00 PM   #147
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A central attic fan would be worth installing to me. My gosh, the hot air is sucks out so fast is amazing! Why in the world did that ever become unpopular? They're fantastic.
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Old 10-19-2009, 08:27 PM   #148
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A central attic fan would be worth installing to me. My gosh, the hot air is sucks out so fast is amazing! Why in the world did that ever become unpopular? They're fantastic.
They went the way of vent windows in cars - everyone wants to just flip an air conditioning switch these days. I agree with you, though, they can save a lot of money in some areas of the country where it cools down significantly at night.
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Old 10-20-2009, 07:40 AM   #149
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A central attic fan would be worth installing to me. My gosh, the hot air is sucks out so fast is amazing! Why in the world did that ever become unpopular? They're fantastic.
I installed one of those (called a "whole house fan" then) in the house with wife #1. In the summer it would pull the curtains out about 30 degrees and we didn't turn on the A/C until temps reached the high 80's. It also needs someplace for the air pushed into the attic to go to so I installed a large vent in place of one of the gable vents.

I don't remember noticing any huge savings on electricity but there were other issues more pressing at the time.
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Old 10-20-2009, 09:55 AM   #150
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Using Schwab One card for purchases and billings. Got 2% back.
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Old 10-20-2009, 10:50 AM   #151
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From the article...
“There are a lot of kids these days who don’t even know what a clothespin is,” he said. “They think it’s a potato chip clip.”
I have a 4 year old daughter, so I had to experiment with this. I held up a clothes pin, and asked my daughter to tell me what it is. She said "a clip". And when asked what else it is, she said "a chip clip" and "a clip for keeping bags closed so the food won't get nasty". I asked her what else it is, and what else could it be used for, and just got more chip clip related answers.

She didn't understand when I explained to her that it was a clothes pin. And this is with her grandma still actively using clothes pin to line dry virtually everything. They are just chip clips now.
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Old 10-20-2009, 11:42 AM   #152
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These central attic fans are still sold and are relatively easy to install. I use two box fans set next to each other in a 4 foot wide window and achieve the same result. Last summer, in Michigan, I ran the central air conditioning a total of three days.
I don't think I used my A/C at all this summer. It really helps that I live on a street with tall elm trees that provide lots of shade to my house. Of course it has taken about a century to grow them, so this may not be something you can implement in the short term!
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Old 10-20-2009, 11:46 AM   #153
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A central attic fan would be worth installing to me. My gosh, the hot air is sucks out so fast is amazing! Why in the world did that ever become unpopular? They're fantastic.
I also installed an electric attic fan but if I may ask, what temperature did you set the thermostat to in the attic before the fan turns off. I had mine set at 90 but I was told that's too low.
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Old 10-20-2009, 01:58 PM   #154
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Maybe 10 years ago I learned from a Dentist who was a client to get the Citibank Advantage card as it gives you a mile for each dollar you spend on American Airlines. I have over 180,000 miles saved for when my eldercaring duties are thru to travel anywhere on. Takes about 40,000 miles for an overseas trip with planning ahead, so hello! SE Asia, S. America, Europe, etc. I plan to use those miles up before I get too old and crotchety..ha!

My Dream: Mine just sucked air up and out thru the turbines in the roof and the vent in the side of the roof. I had no thermostat. This fan was installed probably when the bungalow was built in 1939 maybe, but I have no idea when it was put in. It worked great for the first 15 years I was there and then died one day, so I had another installed by an electrician.They obviously still were making them 10 years ago. I mean to tell you I am a real fan of these attic fans, but mine wasn't so fancy as yours I guess...but it did work well, and didn't cost much to install one or I'd remember the price (I seem to only remember the overpriced items anymore).
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Old 10-20-2009, 02:13 PM   #155
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Some tips:

(1) If you only need cell phone for emergencies, sign up for T-Mobile plan with $100 original investment + phone price (~$32). This gives you Gold status in the prepaid plan. After that, I am paying $10/YEAR. $100 gets you over 1000 minutes for first year, $10 once-a-year gets you 35 more minutes... So, you get 1 year for ~$140, 2 years for ~$150, 3 years for $160, etc. Even for 1 year it beats the cheapest non-prepaid plan and many prepaid ones where you have to contribute something every 3 months. If anyone knows a better deal, please let us know!

(2) Instead of signing up for gym, consider buying a treadmill or other gym-like equipment. Aside from $$ savings, you get time savings, it's easier to make yourself go workout, you get to use your own shower, etc...

(3) prepare a lot of food at once and freeze it - both $$ and time savings

(4) try to find best rewards card (schwab 2% for all purchases is one I just
started on)

(5) some more general:
- doing your own taxes. It also helps you understand your own tax planning
- tracking all your expenses make it easier to cut down on some and plan for others (e.g. when searching for best rewards card you can see how much you normally put on a card to see if it makes sense to get into tiered offers).
- since time = money, make sure you don't spend too much of the former for too little of the latter... find a way to quickly estimate how much time you want to spend researching something (e.g. if price savings will be ~$25 if you search out the best deal, would it be worth spending 2 hours looking for best deal? How about 6 hours + extra hour of driving? etc.).. If someone has a good ideas in this area, I am all ears. I'd love to cut down on researching things! Too many choices is bad in some cases :-)
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Old 10-20-2009, 02:38 PM   #156
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(2) Instead of signing up for gym, consider buying a treadmill or other gym-like equipment. Aside from $$ savings, you get time savings, it's easier to make yourself go workout, you get to use your own shower, etc...
This idea can be enhanced even further. As I said in an earlier post (#32):

Quote:
I have a $2,000 treadmill, a $2,000 Stair Stepper, and a $300 Joe Weider Weight Machine -- Total cost: less than $150
Explained in this thread (Post #34).

The key to this is to make sure you hold out for the high quality stuff -- there is a lot of junk in this category.
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Old 10-20-2009, 02:43 PM   #157
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Some tips:
...(snip)...
(2) Instead of signing up for gym, consider buying a treadmill or other gym-like equipment. Aside from $$ savings, you get time savings, it's easier to make yourself go workout, you get to use your own shower, etc...
Or just put on some hiking shoes and head for the great outdoors. Some good bird watching out here too. Running shoes also work too.
...
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(5) some more general:
- doing your own taxes. It also helps you understand your own tax planning
And tax planning can be additive to your investment returns.
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Old 10-20-2009, 04:03 PM   #158
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..................
(1) If you only need cell phone for emergencies, sign up for T-Mobile plan with $100 original investment + phone price (~$32). This gives you Gold status in the prepaid plan. After that, I am paying $10/YEAR. $100 gets you over 1000 minutes for first year, $10 once-a-year gets you 35 more minutes... So, you get 1 year for ~$140, 2 years for ~$150, 3 years for $160, etc. Even for 1 year it beats the cheapest non-prepaid plan and many prepaid ones where you have to contribute something every 3 months. If anyone knows a better deal, please let us know!..........
Depending on how many minutes you need, this might be better. I have Virgin Mobile which provides a free phone and you have to contribute $15 every 3 months (if using autopay on a credit card, otherwise $20 every 3 months). Calls are 18 cents a minute, but all money carries forward indefinitely. So basically it costs me $60 a year.
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Old 10-20-2009, 05:47 PM   #159
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Great thread! Much food for thought from all contributors. Very easy to pick a few suggestions and save some $$$$ without much sacrifice, if any at all.
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Old 10-20-2009, 07:00 PM   #160
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Depending on how many minutes you need, this might be better. I have Virgin Mobile which provides a free phone and you have to contribute $15 every 3 months (if using autopay on a credit card, otherwise $20 every 3 months). Calls are 18 cents a minute, but all money carries forward indefinitely. So basically it costs me $60 a year.
Thanks travelover, one thing to add to T-Mobile plan is it also carries over minutes (not sure if this was clear). Since I don't use mine much, I still have ~1000 minutes after 2.5 years so far (and ~$160 in total expenses). Sounds like under Virgin Mobile, you get ~333 minutes per year (6000/18). So, if you need more minutes, Virgin Mobile sounds like a good option. If you need less, T-Mobile plan will cost less starting after 2 years.
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