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Old 05-29-2014, 02:13 PM   #101
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There is a huge housing shortage in ND & SD.
Actually, these is a shortage of most everything. I had to cancel a business trip because I could not get a rental car or a hotel room for the week I was to be there. I suppose I could have stayed at one of the man camps, but that was not allowed by our client.
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Old 05-29-2014, 04:25 PM   #102
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If you don't mind sharing, what are the biggest cuts you've made that you don't miss?
I will tell you against my better judgement due to all the "well I could never save $600 on hair stylists because I cut my own hair now looking at my reflection in a store window using nothing but a rusty scissors I found in the dumpster outside of Goodwill" posts that are sure to follow.

Yes, I get that some people can't get the same degree of savings because they never spent as much to begin with. So what I write may not apply to anyone else.

- Shop warehouse stores (Costco and FoodMaxx) - saved $2,500
- DH did our taxes, not CPA
- No more train tickets to go to work
- No more milegage costs to get to train station
- No more work lunches
- With lower expenses we no longer needed life and disability insurance - $3K
- Lowered our energy bill from worst year of $4.4K to $1.6K current year
- No more extra vacation buy needed
- Ooma for landline - $600
- Prepaid cell phone plans - $600
- 2% instead of 1% cash back credit card
- Get gas at Costco with 2% back card
- Cut back on processed food and carry out
- Switched hair dressers - saved $660 year
- Sold a car no one was using. Replaced another with a car with better MPG and repair record model.
- Cut back cable to to Internet / basic cable on one TV - $1200
- Price shop cable rates every 6 months.
- Raised insurance deductibles - $500
- Make our own cleaning supplies
- Replaced many disposable items with reusable - water bottles, cloth towel and napkins, stainless steel pot scrubbers (one has lasted three years compared to the steel wool store ones that disintegrate after a month), rechargeable batteries
- Stopped a collecting hobby - $1k

I just started using many of the ideas from frugal forums and sustainable living ideas from sites like Mother Earth News, as long as the ideas don't involve crops, lye, livestock or hard work. I want to live low cost but not if it involves working like the Amish.
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Old 05-29-2014, 04:42 PM   #103
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- Get gas at Costco with 2% back card
Are you aware that PenFed has a cash back Visa card paying 5% for gas purchases? Note the $25 annual fee is waived if you have a Money Market Account, CD or other qualifying product.

https://www.penfed.org/Platinum-Cash-Rewards/
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Old 05-29-2014, 04:50 PM   #104
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Are you aware that PenFed has a cash back Visa card paying 5% for gas purchases? Note the $25 annual fee is waived if you have a Money Market Account, CD or other qualifying product.

https://www.penfed.org/Platinum-Cash-Rewards/

Thanks for the suggestion. Getting in the credit card game better is on my to do list, so I will take a look at that. I don't think I can use Visa at Costco, but we often need to fill up when there isn't a Costco around, so the Visa 5% back would come in handy.
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Old 05-30-2014, 10:46 AM   #105
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For that matter, the Costco AMEX gives a 3% rebate on gas purchases. Fee waived if you're a Costco member.
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Old 05-30-2014, 11:17 AM   #106
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I will tell you against my better judgement due to all the "well I could never save $600 on hair stylists because I cut my own hair now looking at my reflection in a store window using nothing but a rusty scissors I found in the dumpster outside of Goodwill" posts that are sure to follow.

Yes, I get that some people can't get the same degree of savings because they never spent as much to begin with. So what I write may not apply to anyone else. [...]
I don't feel that way at all. After reading your list, actually I am in awe. Also I love reading about what you have done to cut back! You have done a lot, and thanks for some terrific ideas.
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Old 05-30-2014, 11:22 AM   #107
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I don't feel that way at all. After reading your list, actually I am in awe. Also I love reading about what you have done to cut back! You have done a lot, and thanks for some terrific ideas.

Yes, the list was very good.... But the rusty scissors from the dumpster comment was an "instant classic".


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Old 05-30-2014, 11:30 AM   #108
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For that matter, the Costco AMEX gives a 3% rebate on gas purchases. Fee waived if you're a Costco member.
I'll check into that, too. Thanks.

I forgot our single biggest expense we don't miss - income taxes. Cutting expenses meant more to us than earning an extra dollar because of income taxes, especially when the extra dollar was taxed at the federal and state tax bracket whre the first full time income left off and the second full time income started.

We've cut six figures off our expenses since we decided to semi-ER, with income taxes included.

I think this blog post I found on another forum sums up much of what we realized by having more free time -

"Here in the West, a lifestyle of unnecessary spending has been deliberately cultivated and nurtured in the public by big business. Companies in all kinds of industries have a huge stake in the public’s penchant to be careless with their money. They will seek to encourage the public’s habit of casual or non-essential spending whenever they can."

"The ultimate tool for corporations to sustain a culture of this sort is to develop the 40-hour workweek as the normal lifestyle. Under these working conditions people have to build a life in the evenings and on weekends. This arrangement makes us naturally more inclined to spend heavily on entertainment and conveniences because our free time is so scarce

I’ve only been back at work for a few days, but already I’m noticing that the more wholesome activities are quickly dropping out of my life: walking, exercising, reading, meditating, and extra writing.


The one conspicuous similarity between these activities is that they cost little or no money, but they take time."

Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed
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Old 05-30-2014, 12:34 PM   #109
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I'll check into that, too. Thanks.

I forgot our single biggest expense we don't miss - income taxes. Cutting expenses meant more to us than earning an extra dollar because of income taxes, especially when the extra dollar was taxed at the federal and state tax bracket whre the first full time income left off and the second full time income started.

We've cut six figures off our expenses since we decided to semi-ER, with income taxes included.

I think this blog post I found on another forum sums up much of what we realized by having more free time -

"Here in the West, a lifestyle of unnecessary spending has been deliberately cultivated and nurtured in the public by big business. Companies in all kinds of industries have a huge stake in the publicís penchant to be careless with their money. They will seek to encourage the publicís habit of casual or non-essential spending whenever they can."

"The ultimate tool for corporations to sustain a culture of this sort is to develop the 40-hour workweek as the normal lifestyle. Under these working conditions people have to build a life in the evenings and on weekends. This arrangement makes us naturally more inclined to spend heavily on entertainment and conveniences because our free time is so scarce

Iíve only been back at work for a few days, but already Iím noticing that the more wholesome activities are quickly dropping out of my life: walking, exercising, reading, meditating, and extra writing.


The one conspicuous similarity between these activities is that they cost little or no money, but they take time."

Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed
While I applaud your efforts to cut back and eliminate wasteful spending (we should all do this), you have to remember that the U.S. economy runs on mostly consumer spending. That's the way it was set up since the industrial revolution. I've got family members that have two cars in the garage that together, cost about as much as my house did when we moved last Fall. I think that's great for the economy. I'll stick with no debt and an old diesel Jetta.
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Old 05-30-2014, 03:18 PM   #110
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Originally Posted by daylatedollarshort View Post
I will tell you against my better judgement due to all the "well I could never save $600 on hair stylists because I cut my own hair now looking at my reflection in a store window using nothing but a rusty scissors I found in the dumpster outside of Goodwill" posts that are sure to follow.
LOL - Good one
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Old 05-31-2014, 09:51 AM   #111
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Wife and I made the decision afterward to stop looking for at least a year or so. We will get the youngest off to college in the fall and see how life is with just the two of us in our current place before considering a change. Maybe spend a little more on the place we have Now but it actually doesn't need much at all. Will focus on saving money and doing stuff.

Very happy tonight thinking about my $1400 mortgage instead of ~$4000 and $2800 in property taxes instead of $9 or $10k.
Finally snapped out of it? I was beginning to wonder if you were just yanking everyone's chains in the first place...
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Old 05-31-2014, 06:03 PM   #112
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Wow. Crazy, isn't it? We are originally from the Boston area, now in Michigan. For the price of an ordinary home in Boston, you can buy a castle here.
That's the way we felt when we moved from the Washington, DC area to WV. It's ~1,700 sf, half-finished basement into a family room, and two-car garage. No mansion by any measure but the same house in the DC area (lots of open space, golf course community, stocked trout stream 100 yards out the back door) this would be a multimillion dollar house. No way could we afford that.
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Old 05-31-2014, 06:10 PM   #113
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We have two houses, one in Reno and one in Hawaii......I wouldn't know where to start when it comes to explaining the difference in housing between these two cities.....but I am still in Hawaii, so go figure! LOL!
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Old 06-01-2014, 11:10 PM   #114
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I cant tell you whether to but that house or not. But I can give you 10 cents worth of advice, one Corporate Solider to another. Like you, DW and I have 2 motorcycles and a sports car, a corvette(an American Sports Car). We house them in a 2 car garage in a 3100 sq foot house. The same one we have lived in since 1989. It was paid off in 2003 and we are debt free.
About 3 years ago, we found a 5100 sq foot home with a 4 car garage. Even with the cash from our home and a sizable down payment we would have been at least $200,000 into a mortgage. We had an earnest money contract and were on the verge of moving. But we had to good sense to examine exactly what we were getting and how much value we could put on it. First of all we like to entertain and this home had a larger open area for that. It also had a media room and a pool with a waterfall which was much larger than our plain Jane pool built in 1978. And the wine cellar was awesome. Also it was in the most prestigious neighborhood in our area as well. I was 50 at the time and although my career was going well, I was hoping to retire by 55. At the end of the day, we walked away. So I remain in my current home and well on track to retire by December 2015, 2 months after turning 55. At that point I look forward to cruising the country pulling my motorcycles behind my 40 foot RV until I am ready to return home to the place we have called home since 1989. I lost about $1,200 in the process of almost buying that house. However, it was money well spent. And yes, when I want to get my motorcycles out of the garage, I have to back out my car. When I want to get my motorcycle trailer out, I have to move the Kayaks. But Oh Well, we all have our crosses to bear.
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Old 06-02-2014, 10:26 AM   #115
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Wife and I made the decision afterward to stop looking for at least a year or so. We will get the youngest off to college in the fall and see how life is with just the two of us in our current place before considering a change. Maybe spend a little more on the place we have Now but it actually doesn't need much at all. Will focus on saving money and doing stuff.

Very happy tonight thinking about my $1400 mortgage instead of ~$4000 and $2800 in property taxes instead of $9 or $10k.
Good decision! What a great idea to spend a little more on the place you have now, even though it doesn't need much. I have gotten such a kick out of my new metal side door with the enclosed blinds and keypad entry. It makes this house a lot more fun to live in, and for well under a thousand dollars.

If I ever move again, I will get a keypad entry installed immediately instead of waiting for 12 years, that's for sure. Next? Hmmm... maybe new blinds, hurricane shutters, or a bathroom remodel.
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Old 06-02-2014, 10:41 AM   #116
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As people strive to keep their historically low rate mortgages, I think many people will update and upgrade their homes rather than move and have to pay a higher rate.
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Old 06-02-2014, 10:52 AM   #117
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do not buy a bigger house.
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