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Re: Living on a lot less
Old 12-13-2005, 03:40 PM   #101
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Re: Living on a lot less

Hi Spike--

Those expenses are tough--but they can be managable. *Try the simple things like turning off lights and appliances; using flourecent bulb over incadescent. *Dialing down the thermostat and adding insulation can shave your gas, oil and/or electric bill, too. *And switch electrical providers to get the best price per kwh. * You can also up deductable for insurance coverage, as well as comparison shop for the best deals.

Look at Google and type in Living Below Your Means--you'll find an unbelievable assortment of materials and ideas to help you achieve your goal. *My advice has barely scratched the surface, believe me.

Professor
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Re: Living on a lot less
Old 12-13-2005, 06:13 PM   #102
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Re: Living on a lot less

Quote:
Originally Posted by spike
I am starting to gear up for retirement, by trying to reduce my monthly expenses. I have no debt but Lot's of monthly bills. So I added them up and it was much higher than I expected. But how do you cut, auto insurance, high home owners insurance, property tax, big utility bills etc.?

It's like a monkey on my back that I cannot shed.
If you never or rarely make claims on your insurances, you might consider increasing your home and auto insurance deductable. Check the amount your house is insured and possibly lower it. Access the county/state record on the property values in your area and determine you property may be over valued and therefore over taxed. Just a few suggestions.

MJ
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Re: Living on a lot less
Old 12-13-2005, 06:44 PM   #103
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Re: Living on a lot less

Other that what was already recommended...

Wrap hot water heater and turn it down to 120 or the lower of the settings (not vacation setting...that's probably too cold).

Open the dishwasher after washing and let air dry.
Check cell phone rate and see if you can lower the minutes.
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Re: Living on a lot less
Old 12-13-2005, 07:35 PM   #104
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Re: Living on a lot less

Quote:
Originally Posted by KB
Other that what was already recommended...

Wrap hot water heater and turn it down to 120 or the lower of the settings (not vacation setting...that's probably too cold).
*
Open the dishwasher after washing and let air dry.
Check cell phone rate and see if you can lower the minutes.
Our water heater is in the bathroom, maybe the warmest room in the house. We don't own a dishwasher, nor a cell phone, although
we may sign on soon. I know enough to keep the costs down.
It appears we will go "computer-less" while in Texas.
That should be interesting...................

JG
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Re: Living on a lot less
Old 12-13-2005, 07:49 PM   #105
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Re: Living on a lot less

If you're retired and don't use your car much (I bike quite a bit), you can qualify for "occaisional driver" status. For my insurance company, I think it's less than 7000 miles a year. I pay $396/year for full coverage. It would be less if I didn't have collision (i.e. drive a beater)...

And the car is a Civic, which gets 35-40 or more mpg. And I do my own maintenance. I like, for some twisted reason, busting my knuckles on rusty exhaust bolts.

pb
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Re: Living on a lot less
Old 12-14-2005, 09:34 AM   #106
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Re: Living on a lot less

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Originally Posted by HaHa
Could you give us a little more detail about this? It certainly sounds like something that would make a politician salivate while he worked to get rid of this.

Ha
They dont look at assets, and yes, the 1000K in bank would make interest. So perhaps that was stretching it, but if you're not working, and wife is not working and there is income under about 12K a year, you get the free coverage. If there is income at about 20K a year in that case, you get half price group coverage.

Its called FamilyHealth Plus, it was a political payoff to the head of the healthcare workers union to have more people utilize the system, keeping the taxpayers money steered towards this industry.

If they look at your last tax return, and gross income threshold is met, you get the coverage. This is a boon for those who become unemployed and run out of health bennies
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Re: Living on a lot less
Old 12-14-2005, 12:37 PM   #107
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Re: Living on a lot less


There's also Healthy NY. Google it and you'll find the home page. I think your adjusted gross income has to be under $25k and the health insurance payment (companies are mandated to offer a plan) run about $175, with drug coverage.
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Re: Living on a lot less
Old 12-14-2005, 06:53 PM   #108
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Re: Living on a lot less

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Originally Posted by kat
There's also Healthy NY.* Google it and you'll find the home page.* I think your adjusted gross income has to be under $25k and the health insurance payment (companies are mandated to offer a plan) run about $175, with drug coverage.
Right, Healthy NY, these are good plans, the put you in an HMO, you get soup to nuts I know with the other plan, such as eyeglasses, drugs and dental.

Top notch stuff, I believe HNY, has it also.
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Re: Living on a lot less
Old 12-15-2005, 04:34 AM   #109
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Re: Living on a lot less


Healthy NY is more streamlined, for example no glasses or dental. Drug coverage is about $12 more a month. It's still a good deal. A lot of people don't know about it. The governor tried to drop it this year and the legislature wouldn't let him.

I like that there's a plan for solo proprietors. I decided to draw my small self-employment income down to practically nothing (but not nothing) and use this plan next year, since NY doesn't offer any catastrophic-only coverage. As long as I still have a wee bit of income and the plan is still there, there's health coverage.
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Re: Living on a lot less
Old 12-15-2005, 09:54 PM   #110
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Re: Living on a lot less

Thanks all. These sound like great plans.

Ha
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Re: Living on a lot less
Old 12-17-2005, 01:42 PM   #111
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Re: Living on a lot less

Quote:
Originally Posted by spike
how do you cut, auto insurance, high home owners insurance, property tax, big utility bills etc.?
We moved to a lower cost of living area (Bay Area to SC) and bought a lower-price home (40% lower), which not only reduced property taxes by 75%--we ditched the mortgage completely.

We increased the deductibles on our auto and homeowner's insurance. It also helps to use the same insurer for all of your needs. Remember that newer cars cost more to insure, so keep your car(s) a long time and/or buy used. When you replace a car, consider the insurance costs of different models you're considering.

Water is expensive here so we use a well for irrigation. That cut 2/3 of our water bill, but will take a few years to pay for itself. We have bottom-tier landline phone service and a family plan for our mobiles ($50/month for the 2 of us). We have no separate charge for trash collection, it's included in the property taxes. But if we had the option, we'd take our own trash to the dump/recylcing center, like we did in a previous town.*We have a 3-year-old, well-insulated house with a heat pump, which is relatively easy on electric use (averaged $120/month on electricity in an almost all-electric house...that will increase, though). WE keep our house temp set to the mid-60s unless we have company. If we feel cold in winter, we put on thick sox and a sweatshirt or fleece. If we feel hot in summer, we go to the beach ;-) We use LP gas for stove, grill, and fireplace...refill cost was $200 last week ($118 last time!), but we only need a fill once every 18 months.

We're semi-retired, and our income is 75% less than it was at our peak (I'm completely retired and my husband is working at a lower paying and less stressful job...software biz to college teaching). But our expenses are also 75% lower, so we're doing great--it wasn't even hard.
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Re: Living on a lot less
Old 12-19-2005, 08:31 AM   #112
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Re: Living on a lot less

We currently live in San Diego and have purchased a house in Oregon.* We plan to move after we sell our home in June.* Property taxes will decrease by $500* a year.* Electricity is 33% cheaper there.* We now have a house with a pool and spa.* Our bill this month was $266 this month for gas & electricity. Utility costs will decrease significantly. Additionally, we'll save a lot on landscaping and home maintenance when we move.* *Homeowners insurance will drop* (San Diego is a very fire prone area).

Water is expensive in Southern California. Our current home requires a lot of water for landscaping, we average $100 a month for this.* The home we're moving to, has a larger lot, but is landscaped with only a very small grass area and lots of Ponderosa Pine trees which will require very little irrigation.

Without the large landscaping and Pool/spa maintenance expenses, we'll be able to save a tremendous amount of money.

I'll be drawing a modest pension with more than half of our income coming from a taxable account.* We'll leave our tax deferred accounts intact for as long as possible. Hence, our income taxes will be much lower.

We now have a large house payment, mainly because we refinanced to pay cash for the home in Oregon. Once we sell, we will no longer have a mortgage.

There will be no sales tax in the state we're moving to.* We're paying 7 3/4 % here, while it's 8 1/4 % in a nearby city where I work.

We will no longer have commuting expenses to work.* My wife drives 50 round trip, while I'm driving about 15 miles.* Auto related expenses should be much lower.

Between the two of us, we're contributing $33,000 per year to a 401k, 403b and 457.* We're presently reducing taxes, saving for retirement and* getting used to taking home less money.
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