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List your most effective expense saving moves
Old 09-15-2015, 10:47 AM   #1
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List your most effective expense saving moves

I'm just getting started on cutting expenses without reducing our quality of life. Eager to hear about others' expense cutting strategies.
So far -
1) joined Fuel Group to cut LP heating expense
2) changed trash pickup providers
3) added additional solar capacity and mini split heat pump (yes there is an initial investment and payback period)
4) dropped HBO from DirecTV and added Netflix streaming instead (contemplating more changes)
5) last year replaced old cars with more fuel efficient cars (2011 Honda CRV and 2010 Toyota Prius)

What does your list look like?
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Old 09-15-2015, 10:56 AM   #2
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My biggest cost cutting expense has been to stop buying stocks at their highs ... I've done pretty well in the past few weeks.

Actually, so far, I haven't really needed to think about cutting expenses "yet". If my net worth ever starts going down and/or doesn't keep up with inflation, I may start thinking about it. Until then, I'll keep pumping money into the economy.
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Old 09-15-2015, 11:03 AM   #3
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We probably spend more time trying to reduce our Telecom/cable/satellite expenses than any thing else. Dropped all land lines years ago, use Netflix rather than more expensive cable/satellite. If I could get a good way to see live sports on the Internet, we could cut all satellite/cable. With 4 places this stuff really adds up and they will mickle and dime you to death.
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Old 09-15-2015, 11:03 AM   #4
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1) Keeping a car for a long, long time. Depreciation is a bigger expense than fuel + maintenance for most drivers.
2) No cable TV. Over-the-air and Netflix for us.
3) Low-priced cell phone and mobile data service. Republic Wireless costs me $15 per month and I get good coverage and all the data I normally use for my smartphone.
4) Try to limit the eating-out expenses. Coupons, etc. One meal for two at "Chez Priz" = 2 meals for two at Cheesecake Factory = 4 meals for two at Olive Garden = 15 Hothead Burrito "meals for two" takeout and watch a movie at home. Same total enjoyment?
5) Don't forget the big stuff. You can cut spending a lot faster by buying a more "reasonable" house (purchase price, taxes, insurance, heating/cooling) than by saving 10 cents per roll on paper towels. Yes, it's important to watch the pennies, too, but if you've overspent on the house, car, pricey school, etc, don't think you'll ever make up the difference by buying the generic brand of coffee filters.
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Old 09-15-2015, 11:13 AM   #5
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Focus on the big and the recurring expenses.
1. Shop around regularly for mortgage, insurance and mobile services
2. When not possible to shop around (say internet access) call regularly (every 6 months or so) and try to negotiate.
3. Comparison shop for any large purchase. Research deals for vacations and travel.
4. Join a warehouse shopping club (like Costco) and use it to bulk buy staples & other goods at great prices (like tires)
5. Get a good cash back credit card without an annual fee.

And the most important money saving tip for me is to step off the consumer treadmill and just say No to a lot of stuff.
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Old 09-15-2015, 11:24 AM   #6
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Downsizing to a condo in a relatively low cost of living area in a province with lowish taxes has saved me a lot of money. I cut cable over 3 years ago, saving about $1000 per year. I dropped my fee paying frequent flyer credit cards after ER. I am making the most of my fractionally owned vacation property by exchanging with some awesome 5 star resorts that I would never splurge on otherwise. I am becoming a bit of a gourmet cook because I have the time. I'm saving on food, but accumulating kitchen gadgets!
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Old 09-15-2015, 11:28 AM   #7
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In order of savings;
1) own and live in a 2 family house. Our unit is 2100sf, so not cramped.
2) hold cars for 8-10 years / ~175k mi. (Buy New Year's Eve)
3) max near the gov limit tax deferred retirement and hsa
4) keep stocked with expensive, tasty, nutritional food to help avoid going out

ER, here we come baby!
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Old 09-15-2015, 11:45 AM   #8
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In terms of savings, nothing comes close to the reduction in expenses when the kids moved out. If I had know how much of a difference it would make I'd have moved them out sooner.
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Old 09-15-2015, 11:50 AM   #9
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Dropping Internet from 35Mbps to 15Mbps with no loss of quality and saving $20/month.

Dropping AT&T for Republic Wireless to save $120/year for the first year after buying new phones, and $720/year after that.

Using Netflix, Amazon Prime, Marvel Unlimited for $27/month instead of paying more than double that for cable. Right now I'm just paying for Prime.

Mimimun insurance coverage, highest deductibles.

Finding a smaller apartment to downsize from two bedrooms to one.

Buying a loofah to take body temperature Navy showers and keeping the A/C at 78 instead of 76 is saving $30/month.

Wearing my around the house clothes for more than one day to minimize laundry loads. I used to do laundry twice a week. Now it's about ever week and a half.

Being a less agressive driver gets me an extra 50 miles to a tank.

Meal planning and meal prepping to cut grocery bills in half. Budgetbytes.com is my new favorite recipe site.

Using the library and the Overdrive library app to get movies and books.

I've saved $1000/month doing all this recently. $440 of which isn't including downsizing. There hasn't been any loss in quality of life.
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Old 09-15-2015, 11:53 AM   #10
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2) hold cars for 8-10 years / ~175k mi. (Buy New Year's Eve)
3) max near the gov limit tax deferred retirement and hsa
I think for me, #3 is the biggest source of savings. Single so 25% federal and 9.3% state marginal income tax really adds up.

Of course, keeping cars for as long as practical helps reduce after tax spending which means more money available for tax deferred retirement plans. For me, a $500 monthly car payment ($6,000/yr) means $9,000/yr that could be going into deferred comp.
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Old 09-15-2015, 12:02 PM   #11
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(1) Only receive television signals OTA.
(2) dropped my landline.
(3) Free or cheap activities and entertainment that I like
(4) don't like to travel.
(5) don't long for planes, boats, RV's, glamourous sports cars, etc.
(6) live in a somewhat low COL area in the South
(7) turn out the lights when I leave the room
(8) small, well insulated, fairly energy efficient home
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Old 09-15-2015, 12:10 PM   #12
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. . . keeping the A/C at 78 instead of 76 is saving $30/month.

. . . There hasn't been any loss in quality of life.
Uh. A 78 F home is a bridge too far for me. It costs us about $1 to $2 a day extra to be at 72 year 'round, and that's some of the best money our household spends, IMO. But, we're all different.
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Old 09-15-2015, 12:18 PM   #13
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Last week I moved my '79 New Yorker 5th Ave from my regular car insurance to my antique policy. On the regular policy it was $200 a year for liability-only. On the antique, it's $53 a year for full coverage of an agreed value of $4,000.

So, about a $150 per year savings. It's small, but it's a start!
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Old 09-15-2015, 12:19 PM   #14
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Moved to a smaller home on the bus line.
Went car-free.
Dropped our AT&T plan for Cricket (cell phones)
Netflix instead of cable.
Library instead of Amazon

Our current project is working on our cooking and coffee-making at home.

Housing and Cars were the two biggies. Compared to those changes clipping coupons is a drop in the bucket.

SIS
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Old 09-15-2015, 12:20 PM   #15
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Uh. A 78 F home is a bridge too far for me. It costs us about $1 to $2 a day extra to be at 72 year 'round, and that's some of the best money our household spends, IMO. But, we're all different.
I used to keep mine around 78-80, with ceiling fans running full blast, and it was tolerable. But I've noticed that my tolerance isn't so great as I get older, so now it's usually 75-76. At 74, sometimes I get condensation, so I'd be reluctant to go too much lower.
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Old 09-15-2015, 12:32 PM   #16
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Quote:
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Uh. A 78 F home is a bridge too far for me. It costs us about $1 to $2 a day extra to be at 72 year 'round, and that's some of the best money our household spends, IMO. But, we're all different.
I grew up in the California desert. I'm just as happy at 80-85. I compromised on lower because my girlfriend thinks she'll melt if it's hotter, and that seems to be the sweet spot at keeping the humidity below 60%. An hour before bedtime it goes down to 75 with a fan blowing down on us from under a vent.
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Old 09-15-2015, 12:56 PM   #17
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Stocking up on booze in California and running it in to Oregon?
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Old 09-15-2015, 01:20 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by lem1955 View Post
I'm just getting started on cutting expenses without reducing our quality of life. Eager to hear about others' expense cutting strategies.
So far -
1) joined Fuel Group to cut LP heating expense
2) changed trash pickup providers
3) added additional solar capacity and mini split heat pump (yes there is an initial investment and payback period)
4) dropped HBO from DirecTV and added Netflix streaming instead (contemplating more changes)
5) last year replaced old cars with more fuel efficient cars (2011 Honda CRV and 2010 Toyota Prius)

What does your list look like?
1) Limit electricity contract to 12 month intervals and move to new lower cost provider most years when my current provider is non-competitive (very easily done in my state).
2) Keep my older cars for many, many, many years (last car had for 21 yrs) rather than replace with new ones. I like to work on cars so this is feasible with me where it may be impractical for others. The cost savings exceeds my fuel savings if I moved to a newer, fuel efficient car.
3) Limit insurance to liability only on older cars, high deductible on all cars. High deductible on house insurance also.
4) Yearly think though cash back credit cards and ensure we have the ones we want. Quarterly sign up for 5% cash backs on specific cards and have a cheat sheet on which cards to use for what types of purchases each quarter.
5) Challenge my property value yearly though a low cost legal service. Keeps my home value down and property taxes from increasing each year as occurred before I started doing this.
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Old 09-15-2015, 02:33 PM   #19
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Carrying a very low rate 30 year fixed mortgage for a significant chunk of my home's worth. The money has been invested into my AA, and has grown significantly faster (ie. in a positive direction) than my home's value. Plus the tax deduction has helped keep me in the 15% bracket, allowing me to save other significant amounts by playing tax games.
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Old 09-15-2015, 02:54 PM   #20
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With the great benefit of hindsight:

Maxed out deductions for 401k, IRA, etc and did whatever was necessary to live on the rest.

heh heh heh - it was accident/fate/kismet that my 401k was 'Bogle's Folly' thus leading to my self education and to some extent this forum among others.

Roughly 22 years of ER.
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