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Creative Ways You Save Money.....
Old 07-23-2004, 11:56 AM   #1
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Creative Ways You Save Money.....

Thought this would be a good one...

Personal items
Clothing
Food
Interest payments
Investing
Travel
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Re: Creative Ways You Save Money.....
Old 07-23-2004, 04:44 PM   #2
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Re: Creative Ways You Save Money.....

Uh, I'm not sure where we're going with this thread, but one of my favorite little stupid ways to save money is to use a credit card that gives me something. *I like the Discover card for 1% or whatever it is back on what you spend. *I use my credit card for all my expenses (I travel for work, get reimbursed, and I spend a lot). *I also use it for as many regular expenses as much as I can. *I get paid to buy stuff I need to buy anyway, cool ! *
I think I'll do a lot better saving money in retirement. *Those of us still working make a lot of convenience purchases, like lunches out. *

Anyway, it was simple, and I'm sure it's something almsot everyone on this board is doing anyway.....
-pan-
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Re: Creative Ways You Save Money.....
Old 07-23-2004, 04:53 PM   #3
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Re: Creative Ways You Save Money.....

I do the card that pays me money back, too. *I only get a couple of hundred a year, but I'm happy with that.

One way to save money is not to pay interest, only earn interest. *Have no debt where you pay interest. *Saves anywhere from 3 - 22% depending on what type of debt. *This is my favorite. *
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Re: Creative Ways You Save Money.....
Old 07-24-2004, 03:02 AM   #4
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Re: Creative Ways You Save Money.....

Yeah, paying interest will kill you quickly, esp. credit card interest. Like I've mentioned in the past, I travel a lot and am generally unavailable, so some things occasionally slip thru the cracks. I've been late on a credit card before, even though I usually do it online. Paying the interest, even for the one month, drives me nuts, but it's the late charge, if you get one, that is even worse. Usually you can get rid of this with a quick call, but not always (see thread about throwing a fit !). Anyway, like most here, I NEVER carry a credit card balance and only use it b/c it makes me money, especially when I use it to buy stuff with somebody else's money !
As for interest, I hate to mention anything that might spark the 'pay off the mortgage' debate, but about a week ago I decided to pay off my (extremely meager) mortgage as I couldn't see any place in the market to return my interest reate (6.99%). Yeah, I know I could of HELOC'd and rode the rates up and paid it off after it got to this rate and other things, but hey, I'm a big fan of the KISS principle (keep it simple, stupid!).

-Pan
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Re: Creative Ways You Save Money.....
Old 07-24-2004, 03:15 AM   #5
 
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Re: Creative Ways You Save Money.....

Hello panhead, re. KISS system. Me too! Re. my posts
re "throwing a fit", I can't recall ever failing to negotiate down late fees, overdraft fees, etc. A few times I had to make a few calls and keep kicking it "up the line"
but always found someone to listen. Fifth Third Bank was
an exception on my credit consolidation request. I suppose I
could have prevailed eventually, but it was not worth my
time. A postscript. Today I got a letter explaining why they could not "increase my line" which I had never requested anyway. Imagine my angst if I had pulled together copies of tax returns and financials as they asked (idiots) and mailed it yesterday, only to get their final "No!" before they even got my response. They
are clueless and before I am done they will have a
million dollars of negative publicity, so they shot themselves in the foot big time!

John Galt
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Re: Creative Ways You Save Money.....
Old 07-27-2004, 01:15 AM   #6
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Re: Creative Ways You Save Money.....

Tommy,

Plenty of great advice elsewhere on the board from the 'Sages' on the topics of investing and interest, so I will not touch them here. As for the other items, here are a few easy tips from the '888' household.

Food: Wife and I both bring our own lunch to work from home every day.
Saving = a minimum of $2 to 3 a day, times 6 days per week (we work on Saturday) times 50 weeks per year equates to a minimum of $600 per annum saved.

Clothes: Always buy on sale or wholesale. We buy the majority of any necessary Winter clothes and stuff in Spring clearance sales (and Summer stuff in the Autumn sales) as we are not ultra hip cutting edge latest fashion freaks being a season out of style does not concern us. Savings in this area are not specifically identified but must come to at least another $300 to 400.

As for personal items (household products, toothe paste, shower stuff etc), we buy on sale or when stuff is on a ''2 for 1''offer or the like and then BUY IN BULK. We are currently sat on at least 6 months of toiletries, all bought at less than half price. Saving around $200 a year I guess.

That adds up to around $1000 per annum saved with little or no real effort - we do not go out searching for the cheapest stuff, nor even go to different stores, just wait for the sales and promotions. All common sense really.

Basically, it is just opportunistic timing of purchases. Think Buffett buying stocks for Mrs888 buying our domestic consumables: she waits till it screams BUY BUY BUY and then loads up!!!!!!!

Another thing I have found useful is to periodically review, say every 6 months or so, our overall spending patterns to see where any 'sloppiness' has crept in. Example: in our last review, we noticed that the cell phone bills had been creeping up. We had been using the cell instead of just waiting till we got home or to the office and that on reflection there was no great urgency in most of the calls. So we decided to focus on that and bingo, bills are now down by nearly 25%.

Hopes this helps and stimulates some more suggestions.

Good luck

Simon 888
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Living on Oahu
Old 07-27-2004, 10:46 AM   #7
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Living on Oahu

No home heating system. Sweatshirts a couple mornings a year.

No home A/C. Ceiling fans & open windows. My kid thinks middle school is heaven on earth because the building has A/C.

Cheaper utility costs. Much cheaper if you use solar water heating & photovoltaic arrays, but even without the PV our utilities cost less than our Mainland homes (especially the ones that had winter). A few homeowners even have rooftop water catchments & cisterns. (We're not there-- yet.)

No winter clothes. No jackets & ties. No socks. No shoes. Mostly shorts & tank tops from Goodwill. Even the office dress code is much more relaxed-- I haven't seen a three-piece suit in over a decade.

Lower taxes (Hawaii is one of the most tax-friendly states for retirees). The excise tax is regressive but the property taxes are much lower (even with the recent runup in home values).

No long commutes. Gas is way more expensive but we drive much shorter distances. We actually spend fewer commuting dollars per year than any of our Mainland jobs. (And when you retire from commuting, you spend even less money on gas.)

Cars last longer (no snow, sleet, or road salt). Who cares if your defroster or car heater breaks. I even drove one car for three years without a choke...

One of the nation's best states for bicycle commuting. One year I put more miles on my bike than my car.

Extended growing season and a backyard orchard with two crops per year. Eating local and/or homegrown food-- pineapples, papaya, & mango-- instead of apples & peaches.

Minimal back-to-school shopping (sneakers).

Cheaper property maintenance (no freeze/thaw cycles).

Plentiful outdoor recreation. Hawaii has one of the nation's longest life expectancies and healthiest lifestyles. (Lower medical costs?)

I'm not trying to claim that Hawaii is a better place to live than anywhere else; we still have more than our share of problems. However, some of these methods might work in warmer Mainland climes. Unfortunately I don't think they'll work anywhere north of the 35th parallel (except maybe living without A/C).
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Re: Creative Ways You Save Money.....
Old 07-27-2004, 11:51 AM   #8
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Re: Creative Ways You Save Money.....

I do what for many of us is the usual:
buy in bulk, bring lunch to work, have no credit card debt.

I also don't have a cell phone (yep, I'm the one), PDA, or pager (if anyone still does).

Also stopped buying clothes that need to be drycleaned. If something from my old suit-wearing days has to be professionally cleaned, I take it to a low-cost place such as "Dry Clean Today" in Sacramento. Or I freshen up clothes with one of those home dry-cleaning kits.

When eating out we go for the "early bird" specials or eat off the Senior menu (although we're not seniors). Lower prices and smaller portions so we can't over eat.

For travel--especially for normally high-end trips-- do what my rich friends in Naples, Florida do: snap up bargains at charity auctions.
I recently bid on a National Public Radio on-line auction. "Bought" a four-night, five-day houseboating trip with speedboat included for under $1500. Normally it would have cost $4000 or more. Of course, we have to pay for food and gas, but it's still a pretty good deal.
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Re: Creative Ways You Save Money.....
Old 08-19-2004, 03:11 PM   #9
 
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Re: Creative Ways You Save Money.....

We have a credit card that pays us points that we are able to convert to cash that the bank allows us to put onto our mortgage principal!! It takes a long time to get enough points to make a big enough amount, but its better than having to buy useless merchandise with the points!

Anne S
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Re: Creative Ways You Save Money.....
Old 08-19-2004, 04:00 PM   #10
 
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Re: Creative Ways You Save Money.....

I think that the biggest items to watch are the montly recurring bills. I am a firm believer in this.

Things to watch are:

1.) Cable TV - Use a free antenna in the attic like I do Save about $40 a month - $500 a year! - Antenna pays for itself in 6 months!

2.) Cell Phones - Don't use one - they're annoying to most people anway! - Another $500 per year!

3.) High Speed Internet - Last time I checked this was $60 a month vs. $20 for dial-up (dial-up is a lot faster than 10 years ago-people in my neighborhood say that my dial-up is about as fast as their cable modem) - Savings of $500 per year.

4.) Magazine and Newspaper subscriptions.

5.) If you have gotten rid of the Cell Phone and Have a 'land Line' cancel the Long distance service and get a Phone Card for around 2-3 cents a minute, if you don't use long distance much like myself.

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Re: Creative Ways You Save Money.....
Old 08-19-2004, 04:29 PM   #11
 
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Re: Creative Ways You Save Money.....


Haircuts @ home -- ~100/year.
Looks fine w/ short hair.
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Re: Living on Oahu
Old 08-19-2004, 04:32 PM   #12
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Re: Living on Oahu

Nords, I am curious....have you always lived in Hawaii? If not, what got you there? retirement?

I was wondering what it would be like to pack up from New England and move to a tropical island in the middle of the ocean...and yet still be in the US.

Was it much of an adjustment?
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Re: Creative Ways You Save Money.....
Old 08-19-2004, 04:37 PM   #13
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Re: Creative Ways You Save Money.....

I like all cut-throats suggestions. We think alike, although if I could get hi-speed internet I would.

No cell phone, no magazines, no newspapers (except once in a while I'll pick up a copy).

I can read anything I want on the internet just about for free...why would I pay?

Also, this year we are cutting over to wood heat from oil...it'll be a lot more work, but my wood is free (I have 175+ acres of it) and I like the self-sufficiency aspect of it. That is about a $3000 per year savings for me; I will pay for the new boiler in 1/2 a year. If I had to buy the wood it would be hard to justify....




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Well, technically Hawaii is in the U.S. but...
Old 08-20-2004, 05:43 PM   #14
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Well, technically Hawaii is in the U.S. but...

FarmerEd,

I think Hawaii is the world's best. We came here courtesy of the U.S. Navy in 1989. Spouse & I had spent our lives on the East Coast & Europe but when we tried for San Diego we were asked to go to Hawaii.

If you've never lived on a tropical island then it's the biggest adjustment you'll ever make. Oahu is the most "urban" yet only about 30x40 miles (~600 sq mi) with <1 million. Some people get island (cabin) fever (not me) or wax nostalgic for the "changing seasons" (?!?). Some miss long drives since almost any drive here is less than an hour (my longest commute ever was 25 minutes). People complain incessantly about traffic but no traffic jam can approach the horrors of DC or LA or Boston. Interisland cruises are very cheap since you can literally leave at the last minute. But any plane flight outside the islands is a minimum of five hours.

The human body adjusts for cold weather so your first year here you'd be perpetually overheated, dehydrated, & absolutely miserable. Next year you'd be griping like a local if the mercury dipped below 70. Hawaii is much cooler & dryer than the Caribbean or the Gulf of Mexico. Daily weather is usually 75-85 with tradewind breezes & morning mauka showers, slightly hotter in the summer & slightly cooler in the winter. "Winter" temps can drop below 60 a day or two in the early mornings and I'm usually whimpering in a fetal ball under four blankets. Tradewinds blow about 320 days/year to reduce the temps/humidity and darn near eliminate the mosquitoes. Pollution & urban haze is non-existent-- the sky is always blue, every day has a rainbow, sunsets are awesome chiaroscuros, and every night has wonderful constellations.

We've lived all over the world so we enjoy the multicultural lifestyle. No race or nationality is a majority here. Racism has declined but there's still a lot of family insularity. Hawaii recognizes 267 different languages. It's absolutely fascinating to listen to other families tell their stories-- just about everyone has grandparent immigrants. A block party will have a dozen different new foods, conversation is sprinkled with slang from three or four languages (including pidgin), kids learn basic ukulele in elementary school, and cultural ties are very strong. In one weekend you can go from a luau to a bon dance to just about any culture's festival celebrations. I think of Japan as a nice friendly place to visit friends while Norfolk, VA & New London, CT seem foreign.

For young dreamers, the three biggest industries here are tourism, the state govt, and the military (in about that order). Jobs are plentiful (employment is only 3%) but careers can be difficult since the pyramid narrows pretty quickly. Most Hawaii kids (~70%?) attend Mainland colleges and then get jobs on the Mainland for 10-15 years before returning to raise their families here. I think some of that is wanderlust-- I've noticed that the kids who attend the local schools & universities will build a life here if that's more important than chasing a career. Office attire is slacks & aloha shirt. Many women wear mu'u-mu'u on Aloha Fridays with lei and flowers in their hair. A three-piece suit is unheard of and even coat/tie looks overdressed to me. Heavy surf causes acute workplace absenteeism.

Taxes are greatly improved and property taxes are among the nation's lowest. Schools still have a bum rap but that's improving. Our kid's public schools are a middle-upper class neighborhood where the parents are very involved and achievement is high. Their courses are way above what I was doing 30 years ago in PA's public schools. OTOH Hawaii's blue-collar neighborhoods tend to have overworked parents and many foreign languages so the schools are probably just as challenged as East LA or the Bronx.

Expenses... the media makes sensational comparisons of Mainland apples to local oranges. The "Paradise Tax" is proclaimed to be 30% but no one should try to duplicate their Mainland habits here so I think it's realistically 10-15%. (But it's still cheaper than CA!) Gas is about $2.15/gal but I drive less than 3000 miles a year (and less than 6000 when I was working). Milk is $3.85/gal but I don't drink it much. Brand-name cereal is $3-4/box but generics are $1.50. Potatoes/fries are expensive but rice is very cheap. Kona coffee is incredibly cheap. Papaya, mango, lychee, tangerines, coconuts, bananas, lemons, & macadamia nuts are free off our backyard trees-- and we occasionally have two crops/year. Fish is extremely cheap (free if you know a friend with a boat). Land is very expensive but houses are cheaper to build-- no insulation and no double-paned thermal-glazed windows necessary. Our utility bills are about $175/mo (including CATV & newspaper) and we don't use A/C or heat. Clothing is much cheaper, cars last much longer (despite the salt air), houses need less maintenance, you don't "winterize", solar water heaters & electricity are everywhere, and some houses in the hills even have water catchments with cisterns.

So, even if you've already lived in the tropics, I'd recommend a couple weeks on Oahu & a neighbor island. Any time of the year is good (although August & September can actually get into the 90s) but February is very popular with New England snowbirds!
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Re: Creative Ways You Save Money.....
Old 08-20-2004, 07:24 PM   #15
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Re: Creative Ways You Save Money.....

My parents bought a co-op on Ena in HNL, they left in October and returned in late March. They loved it. The only problem was that the flight was too expensive (and the co-op too small) for the kids and grand-kids to visit.

The cost of living was modest, housing aside. Anyone considering buying a residence in HI needs to research the unique land title issues there.

Better HI than FL!

If the commute isn't an issue HI is a great place to live.

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Re: Creative Ways You Save Money.....
Old 08-26-2004, 09:18 AM   #16
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Re: Creative Ways You Save Money.....

Quote:
3.) High Speed Internet - Last time I checked this was $60 a month vs. $20 for dial-up (dial-up is a lot faster than 10 years ago-people in my neighborhood say that my dial-up is about as fast as their cable modem) - Savings of $500 per year.
Might be worth another check. I pay $26.95/month for high speed DSL from SBC, and they even give you the modem free when you sign up for one year. That is the standard rate under a plan, not a limited term rate.
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Re: Creative Ways You Save Money.....
Old 08-26-2004, 09:57 AM   #17
 
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Re: Creative Ways You Save Money.....

Quote:

Might be worth another check. *I pay $26.95/month for high speed DSL from SBC, and they even give you the modem free when you sign up for one year. *That is the standard rate under a plan, not a limited term rate.
DSL is not available in my area. If I had the deal you got, I'd go for it in a minute.

DSL is wierd about where they offer it. You have to be within so many feet of a facility to get it. :
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