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tb001 05-16-2021 11:21 AM

Cutting expensesóyour best money saving tips?
 
A little over a year in of being jobless for me and Iím regularly amazed at how much weíve been able to cut expenses just by having more time. We spent so much money on services just trying to keep life moving!

Iíve been so inspired by reading some of the random bits of advice that come up in other threads (thank you daylatedollarshort!) that I thought it would be interesting to have a dedicated thread for this. And I know lots of tips might be old hat to people who have been living frugally their whole life, but that was not us for sure.

A few for us that weíve implemented in the last year which have had or we expect to have a major impact on our spend, in no particular order:

We bought a good quality deli slicer and buy all of our meats and cheese in restaurant size quantities now. Having a local Costco business center is great for this. We go through a ton of deli meat and cheese, so this is easily saving us $500+/yr and we like the product better. I should probably include the vacuum sealer in this as well.

Costco business center probably deserves a separate mention. Huge quantities, but great prices and many items are 10-15%+ less expensive than Costco. There arenít very many locations but itís worth seeing if you have one nearby.

Instant pot yogurt. Very easy to make, much less expensive and far better than anything we can buy.

Homemade carbonated water. The initial cost outlay isnít cheap, but should result in savings over time. We go through a LOT of carbonated water! Goodbye soda stream!

Homemade beer, about $30/keg and the brewing supplies get bundled into my Ďhobbyí budget. Time will tell if this is actually frugal :D

Cutting the cable cord. Huge savings and better quality tv.

Cutting the high $ cell plans. I honestly canít believe we were spending that much per month on what feels like the exact same service.

Freezer meals. I spend about a day each month or two cooking and freezing down some of our favorites. Iím amazed at how often we reach for one of these meals when we otherwise would have done takeout. So much less expensive and healthier too. Iíve been able to replicate most of our favorite ethnic dishes.

Cash back credit cards. It took forever to convince DH to apply for these, but weíve saved so much just by optimizing our CC spend.

Iím still going through the budget and looking for more ways to save, but these were such obvious ones for our first year. And most have resulted in better quality, which was a surprise.

Next us for us is travel spend and figuring out cheap entertainment and restaurant deals.

So whatís been on your list?

tb001 05-16-2021 11:26 AM

I should also add optimizing our energy use, which is a work in progress, but paying back a lot. Don’t have time to detail what we’ve done so far right now, but will come back and update.

Retireby45ish 05-16-2021 11:36 AM

To piggy back off your cell phone plan updateÖ

Anything like cell plans, cable, internet, car insurance, home insurance, etc is worth revisiting yearly. These monthly expenses can add up if not left unchecked and as companies slowly increase them again. We find we can trim $20-60 a month from these over time by jumping companies which saves hundreds of dollars a year.

bizlady 05-16-2021 11:41 AM

Having ordered groceries online starting with covid, dropped our bill about 20%- no more impulse buys. We will stay with this, big time saver as well.

The Cosmic Avenger 05-16-2021 11:47 AM

I can't get everyone in my household to agree to cut the cord, but I have set up a Plex media server to better enjoy the DVDs and Blu-rays we have. (The NAS wasn't cheap either, but I've been running it for years and it serves (hah!) many purposes.) The box set of Warehouse 13 Blu-ray discs was $55 shipped, the 5 seasons on Amazon Prime Video would cost $122, and our family went through the whole series this year.

I also read about 2-3 ebooks a month from our library system. I've got a bunch on hold, and even more on a wait list.

And we finally got the 2% cash back Fidelity credit card, which we're going to use for everything except Amazon purchases, because we have their 5% cash back card for that. Much simpler than before, actually, where there were a few more categories to keep in mind.

OldShooter 05-16-2021 11:54 AM

Another saver: We use our local university dental school clinic because there is formal quality control and no motivation to sell us expensive add-ons like crowns. But the fees are maybe half what a regular dentist charges. I have read here that some university dental clinics are free.

rodi 05-16-2021 12:00 PM

Most bang for the buck is to look at recurring expenses. Since a savings is repeated periodically, rather than one time.

With that in mind we trimmed cellphone plan to a better plan (unlimited everything with t-mobile with senior discount - much cheaper than verizon, then ting.) We renegotiated cable/internet. We do this everytime the regnegotiation deal expires. We changed our shopping habits to costco every 2-3 weeks vs weekly - this helps us use *everything* we buy, rather than having extra food in the back of the pantry or fridge... Which has allowed our grocery bills to stay the same for 4 years - despite having teenage to young adult male children in the house. (Big appetites).

Other things that save money are choosing to do free things... I live near the beach and walking the dog on the beach is one of the best activities for me. I am a power user of the library (always have a queue of books to check out.) Working on the yard/garden myself rather than hiring out... kind of zen to pull weeds, believe it or not.

Jerry1 05-16-2021 12:23 PM

We hardly eat out any more. That saves us a lot. Savings wasn’t the goal, it was just a COVID thing, but we’re going to try to stick with it as things loosen up. It’s better food and much cheaper.

The main thing that saves money is that we just don’t do that much. We really don’t like to travel except for the occasional road trip to visit family in other states. And, we don’t need to be constantly entertained or busy. There was a meme that said something like you know you’re a recluse when the pandemic hits and it doesn’t really change your life. That’s kinda where we’re at. Though we did put in a pool. That won’t save money, but over a ten year period, I could easily see a travel bug spend more on travel than we did the pool. Staying home is cheaper than many other things.

ER Eddie 05-16-2021 12:28 PM

I'm not sure what your situation is, but if you have to pay for health insurance out of pocket, that is one of the biggest expenses of retirement. At least it has been for me. I've found that shopping around for health insurance has saved me quite a bit.

Same goes for home insurance and auto insurance. You can often save a couple hundred dollars a year (maybe more), just by shopping around.

The most important thing is just to get in the habit of questioning purchases. Ask, "Do I really need this? How much real value will this thing add to my life?"

I would be careful about cutting expenses in the food department. Yes, you can do it, but most cheap food is processed food and comes with a lot of downsides. You don't want to sacrifice your health just to save a buck. I've found that food is one of the areas where I do not mind spending extra. If I have to pay more to get quality, nutrient-dense real food, I'm happy to do it.

tmm99 05-16-2021 12:49 PM

I'm not sure if I can cut any more than what we're doing, or what we want to do, but since the pandemic started, we've been spending less as stores are closed, gyms are closed, can't travel, etc, etc. (I'm in Ontario, Canada and we've been in lockdown since April...)

I do look at flyers and stock up on grocery items that are on sale. Having an extra fridge and freezer helps with this endeavour.

brett 05-16-2021 01:00 PM

-paying for good tax advice when needed

-paying for good investment advice

-routinely shopping and comparing all recurring expenses-especially home and auto insurance, internet/tv/cell phone

-buying reliable, well built vehicles with all the options we like, keeping them properly maintained, and driving them for years until the maintenance cost/value lines intersect (usually 15 years)

-when we had a mortgage shopping for mortgage rates and negotiating non standard early repayment-semi monthly or periodic, into the contract.

-no, absolutely no consumer or credit card debt

-cut out all processed foods-cost less to eat and it is much healthier. No expensive junk food, fast food, etc.

-Costco for many items included RX, tires, bulk buys, etc.

-shop on value-lowest price can sometimes be the most expensive in the longer term

-credit cards that yield benefits-cash back, travel, etc

-since retiring we have travelled 4 months or more per year. Often we pick up last minute deals-especially in the past cruises, hotels, AI packages.

Overall, our biggest savings have been on recurring expenses, better/healthier eating, and picking up good travel offers. We are retired, never been unemployed, financially very secure. We have always done these things. It started when we were poor married students in university and continued from there. No doubt I have missed others that we simply do out of habit.

daylatedollarshort 05-16-2021 01:01 PM

I keep a spreadsheet of frugal hacks with amount of time each one would take to complete and the twenty year savings, and then calculate an hourly rate on my time. I try to focus on the ones with the highest payback, which as Rodi says are usually recurring costs.

We were probably wasteful spenders before we retired, so we had a lot of fat we could cut that improved, or at least didn't negatively impact, our lifestyle. We have hundreds of hacks, so I'll just list some entertainment ones in this post.

We make good use of community services like the library, local senior clubs, parks, beaches, college events and community sponsored events. In non-pandemic times, all the suburbs in spring to fall in our area have free outdoor concerts at parks, usually in nice picnic locations, with some very good bands. They seem to stagger them on different nights of the week to not compete with each other, so it is pretty easy to go out almost every night.

I follow on Facebook all the local park districts, state parks, college theater and music departments, local theater companies, tourist boards, favorite bands, etc. to see what activities they have planned for the week. Often there will be unadvertised specials, like free preview tickets. Once I bought tickets for a preview play / symphony performance at U.C. Berkeley with over 100 actors and musicians for $10 a ticket. Some of the members of famous bands that are locals will sometimes play small venues and dive bars with their friends just for fun, so I follow them if they have public social media accounts. The local tourist areas often have many events to attract visitors, like Napa usually has all sorts of musics crawls, outdoor concerts and festivals, many of which are free. In Napa we also usually have some kind of winery passport and a state parks pass we can use as well. For seat filler tickets, we've seen symphonies, ballets, lots of touring Broadway plays and been to foodie events with Michelin rated restaurants and at the CIA (the culinary one, not the spy agency) all just with last minute ticket deals.

Every year I buy an assortment of annual passes / memberships for gardens, zoos, museums, seat filler memberships, winery passes, parks, and theater memberships. I spend $500 - $1K every year in annual passes, and then a lot of what we do is free or cheap, plus the membership fees help support local parks and arts and culture. Like our local Costco one year had a pass for 36 wineries for $100 per person. Most of the gardens, zoos, and museums and other cultural attractions are in reciprocal programs like NARM, ROAM, AHS or ASTC, so buying one pass will get you free admission into hundreds of other similar institutions throughout the state / U.S.. Our local library has free and discount passes to around 70 cultural attractions. If you are a vet, Vet Tix has free unsold Ticketmaster and other event type tickets. The parks districts often have free or inexpensive events, like mine tours, boat tours with a naturalist, llama trips (haven't done that one yet) and hikes. Most here probably know this but lifetime National Parks passes for seniors are $80.

For dining out I like restaurant.com coupons for half off. Or we take advantage of happy hours and early bird specials. We like to go out for ethnic food like Indian or Thai, the kind of food Berkeley calls its Gourmet Ghetto. Some local restaurants have specials like 1/2 off pizza or burger on a certain week day. For movies we go on $5 Tuesdays.

W2R 05-16-2021 01:12 PM

Cutting expensesóyour best money saving tips?
 
Like Rodi, I have found that cutting back on recurring expenses is very helpful. Cheap cell phone plan with free phone, no landline, and no cable other than internet has helped. I quit the gym (sob!) because I wasn't using it. May re-join eventually. No magazines or internet website memberships, and no paid streaming video services other than Amazon Prime.

Stop caring about what other people think. IMO Madison Avenue exists because they can make us think that we want things we really don't want, and that other people will think more highly of us if we own these things. So, another money saving tip is to spend some time meditating and thinking about what you really, actually want in life. Then go for THAT, instead of buying other stuff that you really don't want. As a side benefit, you will be making fewer trips to the dump or Good Will, wondering why on earth you ever bought whatever-it-is.

As a game, try to think of free or nearly free activities or hobbies that you can enjoy in your spare time. We love to watch the antics of birds that frolic at a nearby boat launch, and the birds don't charge us a cent for it.

I don't travel, but that is just because I don't want to, not to save money. Still, it floors me when I see how much people spend on travel. I don't buy boats, planes, RVs, motorcycles, or sports cars. I figure if I don't need to rent something quite often, then buying it is a stone loser.

daylatedollarshort 05-16-2021 01:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by W2R (Post 2607593)
So, another money saving tip is to spend some time meditating and thinking about what you really, actually want in life. Then go for THAT, instead of buying other stuff that you really don't want.


I do think for us a big part of retirement savings has been just rethinking what makes us really happy. I like watching Tedtalks and picking up books at the library sales on positive psychology. There's not a lot of overlap between research based happiness factors and what advertisers want us to believe will make us happy. The happiest person the world, at least based on brain wave studies, is actually a Buddhist monk.

Dtail 05-16-2021 01:36 PM

We cut back on cell phone, cable and am doing more DIY projects.

Bamaman 05-16-2021 01:42 PM

When working, I was fortunately on expense account. When in the office, I took my lunch.

Never step foot into a drive in market. And as I drive somewhere, I note in my mind where the cheapest fuel prices are. We're seeing a 25 cent difference in our town for gas prices.

I do stop at McDonalds, but usually to get a $1.00 large Diet Coke or $1.19 ice cream cone. If I eat there, it's a $3.00 double cheeseburger and fries bundle and no drink. (I keep bottles of water in my cars.)

We try to eat out no more than 1x per week, and even then it's usually one of the $5.00 box fast food meals. We seldom go to a sit down restaurant more than 1x per month.

I try to leave the DW home when grocery shopping. She spends too much. We cook no more often than every other day, and rotate eating leftovers about every 3 days. We often cook on the grill--all year round.

Unless I have a reason to go somewhere, I try to drive nowhere 2-3 days a week. Not only do I save gasoline, but often if you leave it's to spend money on something.

Covid has kept us very close to home. We've traveled virtually nowhere in the last 14 months. And we're sitting on our returned airfare where our Berlin flight was cancelled 4/2020. All the government $ received the last year is also in reserve for international trips whenever Europe is ready for tourists. I can see a Baltic cruise in 2022.

W2R 05-16-2021 01:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by daylatedollarshort (Post 2607598)
I do think for us a big part of retirement savings has been just rethinking what makes us really happy. I like watching Tedtalks and picking up books at the library sales on positive psychology. There's not a lot of overlap between research based happiness factors and what advertisers want us to believe will make us happy. The happiest person the world, at least based on brain wave studies, is actually a Buddhist monk.

I agree completely! I came to a similar conclusion after my divorce.

Divorce is the worst kind of H*ll, IMO. For me, one of the very few good aspects of going through a divorce, was that it pretty much forced me to think at great length about what happened, why on earth I was so unhappy, and what I really want in life (so that I don't go through the horrific experience of divorce again). Honestly I probably spent as much time meditating as that Buddhist monk! :laugh: For a couple of years I spent several hours each day alone, thinking quietly while trying to get centered and figure out what went wrong, and what my real goals are in life. It helped, and as a nice side-effect it helped with my attempts at LBYM.

jebmke 05-16-2021 02:05 PM

Taxes are still our biggest expense. But consolidating in index funds and harvesting tax losses in down markets has really kept them as low as possible.

Markola 05-16-2021 02:13 PM

Cutting expensesóyour best money saving tips?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by OldShooter (Post 2607545)
Another saver: We use our local university dental school clinic because there is formal quality control and no motivation to sell us expensive add-ons like crowns. But the fees are maybe half what a regular dentist charges. I have read here that some university dental clinics are free.



Wow, thatís a massive tip. Thanks OldShooter! I just checked our local dental school and youíre right. Iím signing up.

SecondCor521 05-16-2021 02:14 PM

It's a bit dated now and so it probably leaves out a lot of the ways to save money with tech or on tech, but The Tightwad Gazette by Amy D. has pretty much every single money saving household trick out there. The magazine was compiled into a series of books which sort of serve as a frugal encyclopedia.

I find that in retirement I've been able to save a lot of money on taxes through study of the tax code and applying it to my situation. Similarly college financial aid is a subject which, if studied, can pay off well.

I do volunteer for two different things, both of which pay me more than I get by doing the volunteer work (The IRP may accuse me of having a couple of jobs.):

I donate platelets to the Red Cross. Every time I go, they give me a free bottled water and a snack or two. They regularly give me free shirts, which reduces my clothing budget. They occasionally give me $5 Amazon gift certificates, which eventually end up paying for a college textbook or something.

I also do volunteer tax prep for AARP Foundation Tax Aide. They have snacks sometimes. They reimburse mileage. I also got to e-file five federal and five state tax returns this year for free. This also keeps me on top of the tax code, see above.

In addition to the comments above about happiness, the general notion of "the money step" is broadly applicable and can save a lot. It's from Jeff Yeager's cheapskate book, and refers to the common pattern of "I have this problem, I'll solve it by buying something with money." His idea is that there are a lot of ways to solve problems without spending money, such as borrowing something or asking for help or whatever. Depending on how aggressive one wants to be, one can expand our list of options beyond those that are "buy X" or "buy Y", buy only as a last resort, or most aggressively exclude options like that.

ER2B 05-16-2021 02:45 PM

I go to barber school for a $5 haircut. $7 if you add tip.

daylatedollarshort 05-16-2021 02:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SecondCor521 (Post 2607625)
It's a bit dated now and so it probably leaves out a lot of the ways to save money with tech or on tech, but The Tightwad Gazette by Amy D. has pretty much every single money saving household trick out there. The magazine was compiled into a series of books which sort of serve as a frugal encyclopedia.

I find that in retirement I've been able to save a lot of money on taxes through study of the tax code and applying it to my situation. Similarly college financial aid is a subject which, if studied, can pay off well.

I have the Tightwad Gazette, too. She helped me save a lot on groceries. Did the same with tax and financial aid books.

The number one college saver for us was having our kids study the Payscale reports on salaries by major and by college. (Now there is College Scorecard). Every time they would bring up a more expensive school, we would say if you can make an economic case for the more expensive school, we will consider it. But tuition was free for them at in state public schools with grants, and most of the expensive private, out of state or international schools they brought up had lower starting salaries and much lower payback periods.

Getting their kids into elite colleges in our area seemed to be like an arms race among many of the parents, but not on picking a self supporting major or payback period for their investment. I never really understood that. Why pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for a college with low starting salaries when there are great public options here in state? San Jose State costs less than $8K per year in tuition and is in the top 10 schools in terms of alumni hires at the big tech companies here.

Bamaman 05-16-2021 03:05 PM

We have found shopping at Aldi's to be the absolutely cheapest place to buy groceries.

At the more expensive grocery store chains, we buy sale items and house brands.

We watch the grocery ads on Tuesdays to decide what sale items to buy that day and what sale items will be coming on Wednesday.

And we're very thankful to live where grocery items are very low cost--versus other parts of the U.S.

Ncc1701 05-16-2021 03:10 PM

1. Don't just shop for cheap auto insurance, I actually chose an insurance Co. that charged me MORE for car insurance BUT charged me less for my Home and Umbrella coverage resulting in net savings of $800/yr. Always shop for all three at the same time.

2. Hotel credit cards often give me a rate of return greater than the 2% cash back you could earn with other cards and you aren't limited to a few rooms like you are with frequent flyer award seats on a flight. I use the Hilton Amex.

3. Always drive with Waze and a radar detector on. They have saved me from many a ticket. And when you use Waze, please be sure to CONTRIBUTE by reporting police when you see them.

4. A 20% tip just for eating in a restaurant? No thanks, I'll order take out and if the weather is nice, eat in a park. The mall food court is also a good alternative.

tb001 05-16-2021 03:29 PM

I’m loving these! I should have added ebooks from the library to my list as well. It’s completely changed my reading habits. I’ve shared my kindle account with my mom and now we can share library books too, so she’s saving money as well

Taxes is a good one. DH usually handles the taxes so I do as much as I can on my end in terms of getting everything ready and he works with the attorney. But now that we’re drawing down our accounts we need to be more strategic, especially re long term tax implications.

I’m curious about the college financial aid. Our kids are still young, so we’re not there yet, but will have to start thinking about this in the next 5-10 yrs.

On debt, we use debt strategically. So refinancing at historic lows, no CC debt at all, but we will take advantage of 0% interest for budgeted items, as it saves on taxes and in theory is better than immediately paying out of pocket.

We pay a huge premium right now for health insurance. That’s the biggest item I’d like to focus on, but we have good insurance so waiting until we’re off cobra to do that.

I’ve read through the tightwad gazette issues, with lots of great advice there.

Regarding energy use, we have solar and hybrid electric vehicles, so we plan our trips carefully to try to maximize battery. Most of my trips are done completely off the battery, which is free to charge. We’ve converted all of our lighting to LED have put in fairly extensive automation to conserve energy. My big project this summer will be to minimize AC usage.

I’ve tried to focus on the larger recurring expenses first, but need to be more strategic now, as we’re targeting lower spend areas.

teetee 05-16-2021 03:40 PM

Most of my reasoning for cutting expenses is that if I let someone do it I will simply waste my time away doing something else that's not helpful, so something like oil change for my car, minor plumbing for the house, and keep the doctors away are all on my to-do list.

The rest is just to visit the deal websites to get coupons and discounts on daily necessities. And never ever borrow money because debt and loan interest are the major source in the way between me and my wealth.

For communications: I currently spend about $50 total for 3 cellphone lines for my elder relatives a year. My own cell and the internet are paid by the company I work for. No cable or any subscriptions.

Mr. Tightwad 05-16-2021 03:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ER2B (Post 2607637)
I go to barber school for a $5 haircut. $7 if you add tip.

I used to do the same. Now I just cut my own. 48 hours later nobody can tell the difference.

Palmtree 05-16-2021 03:49 PM

Do the small repairs around your house instead of hiring someone. From simple plumbing leaks or running toilets to replacing a light switch or installing landscape lighting, there are so many simple repairs you can do by simply watching a couple of YouTube videos.

RetiredAndLovingIt 05-16-2021 04:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tb001 (Post 2607658)
I’m loving these! I should have added ebooks from the library to my list as well. It’s completely changed my reading habits. I’ve shared my kindle account with my mom and now we can share library books too, so she’s saving money as well

Taxes is a good one. DH usually handles the taxes so I do as much as I can on my end in terms of getting everything ready and he works with the attorney. But now that we’re drawing down our accounts we need to be more strategic, especially re long term tax implications.

I’m curious about the college financial aid. Our kids are still young, so we’re not there yet, but will have to start thinking about this in the next 5-10 yrs.

On debt, we use debt strategically. So refinancing at historic lows, no CC debt at all, but we will take advantage of 0% interest for budgeted items, as it saves on taxes and in theory is better than immediately paying out of pocket.

We pay a huge premium right now for health insurance. That’s the biggest item I’d like to focus on, but we have good insurance so waiting until we’re off cobra to do that.

I’ve read through the tightwad gazette issues, with lots of great advice there.

Regarding energy use, we have solar and hybrid electric vehicles, so we plan our trips carefully to try to maximize battery. Most of my trips are done completely off the battery, which is free to charge. We’ve converted all of our lighting to LED have put in fairly extensive automation to conserve energy. My big project this summer will be to minimize AC usage.

I’ve tried to focus on the larger recurring expenses first, but need to be more strategic now, as we’re targeting lower spend areas.

Due to our dry climate, Swamp coolers work well extremely well in the western states especially California. They actually work better that a/c units and cost pennies to run, I only turn on my a/c a couple of days in August when it gets humid. My bills are always less than $100 in the summer and my house is freezing.

teetee 05-16-2021 04:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by daylatedollarshort (Post 2607589)
I keep a spreadsheet of frugal hacks with amount of time each one would take to complete and the twenty year savings, and then calculate an hourly rate on my time. I try to focus on the ones with the highest payback, which as Rodi says are usually recurring costs.

We were probably wasteful spenders before we retired, so we had a lot of fat we could cut that improved, or at least didn't negatively impact, our lifestyle. We have hundreds of hacks, so I'll just list some entertainment ones in this post.

We make good use of community services like the library, local senior clubs, parks, beaches, college events and community sponsored events. In non-pandemic times, all the suburbs in spring to fall in our area have free outdoor concerts at parks, usually in nice picnic locations, with some very good bands. They seem to stagger them on different nights of the week to not compete with each other, so it is pretty easy to go out almost every night.

I follow on Facebook all the local park districts, state parks, college theater and music departments, local theater companies, tourist boards, favorite bands, etc. to see what activities they have planned for the week. Often there will be unadvertised specials, like free preview tickets. Once I bought tickets for a preview play / symphony performance at U.C. Berkeley with over 100 actors and musicians for $10 a ticket. Some of the members of famous bands that are locals will sometimes play small venues and dive bars with their friends just for fun, so I follow them if they have public social media accounts. The local tourist areas often have many events to attract visitors, like Napa usually has all sorts of musics crawls, outdoor concerts and festivals, many of which are free. In Napa we also usually have some kind of winery passport and a state parks pass we can use as well. For seat filler tickets, we've seen symphonies, ballets, lots of touring Broadway plays and been to foodie events with Michelin rated restaurants and at the CIA (the culinary one, not the spy agency) all just with last minute ticket deals.

Every year I buy an assortment of annual passes / memberships for gardens, zoos, museums, seat filler memberships, winery passes, parks, and theater memberships. I spend $500 - $1K every year in annual passes, and then a lot of what we do is free or cheap, plus the membership fees help support local parks and arts and culture. Like our local Costco one year had a pass for 36 wineries for $100 per person. Most of the gardens, zoos, and museums and other cultural attractions are in reciprocal programs like NARM, ROAM, AHS or ASTC, so buying one pass will get you free admission into hundreds of other similar institutions throughout the state / U.S.. Our local library has free and discount passes to around 70 cultural attractions. If you are a vet, Vet Tix has free unsold Ticketmaster and other event type tickets. The parks districts often have free or inexpensive events, like mine tours, boat tours with a naturalist, llama trips (haven't done that one yet) and hikes. Most here probably know this but lifetime National Parks passes for seniors are $80.

For dining out I like restaurant.com coupons for half off. Or we take advantage of happy hours and early bird specials. We like to go out for ethnic food like Indian or Thai, the kind of food Berkeley calls its Gourmet Ghetto. Some local restaurants have specials like 1/2 off pizza or burger on a certain week day. For movies we go on $5 Tuesdays.

If buying membership is a way to save money, I totally agree with your assessment on the wasteful level before you retired. I have no clue about half of the stuff you wish to be exposed to via the various membership.

An asian proverb says it is easy to get from being frugal to being wasteful (you just need the yolo mentality) but it is difficult to go the opposite direction. I am glad you found the compremise.

RetireeRobert 05-16-2021 04:16 PM

Cut insurance policies. Auto is mandated by government, but others are not.

tb001 05-16-2021 04:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by teetee (Post 2607677)
If buying membership is a way to save money, I totally agree with your assessment on the wasteful level before you retired. I have no clue about half of the stuff you wish to be exposed to via the various membership.

An asian proverb says it is easy to get from being frugal to being wasteful (you just need the yolo mentality) but it is difficult to go the opposite direction. I am glad you found the compremise.

We’ve found some memberships to be a great value for us. We are lucky to live in an area with a great zoo 20 min from our house. With young kids, we go at least once a month. We pack a picnic lunch and take refillable cups in for drinks. Had a great day with the kids for under $5. DH and I sometimes go there during the week as a date.

Others have been hit or miss. You just have to know how much you’re going to use it vs an alternative less expensive option.

For me, it’s not necessarily about living as cheaply as possible, but getting the most enjoyment for your dollar and not being wasteful. Food is a great example. We used to spend a LOT on food. I’ve cut probably 20-25% of our spend at least. But we’re eating better than ever. Fewer take out meals, home cooked turkey for deli meat, etc... The frugal thing is often better for us and the environment!

tb001 05-16-2021 04:45 PM

I’ll add, in addition to the DIY jobs that palm tree mentioned, we’re making an effort to repair vs replace when it makes sense.

bada bing 05-16-2021 06:19 PM

My 2004 Camry was going to be traded in for new or a low mile lease turn-in. The combination of rising car prices, especially late model used prices and my boredom over Covid lockdown had me take on a project. I changed out brakes, struts, cv joints, tires, engine mounts, flushed coolant and transmission and recharged air conditioning. Full engine tune up. I may drive it another 5 years now. I dumped just over $1000 in parts and maybe 50 hours of my time I'm a slow mechanic and I have a truck to dive while the car is down. 145,000 miles on it now, seems like 200K is reasonable considering it's running like new now. I imagine my next new car will be my last, especially if I can squeeze out another 5 years on what I have.

l8_apex 05-16-2021 06:58 PM

Lawn mowing service would be minimum $80 for my yard now, most likely $100 for cut and edging (so $400/mo in the summer). I do it myself - seems to be my largest expense that I can keep to a minimum as I have never eaten out very often.

Sanstar 05-16-2021 07:28 PM

Eliminating meat and dairy cut the grocery bill and intermittent fasting cut it even more. Cutting out ultra processed foods and eating one meal a day, lots of water has not only cut grocery expense way down but cut out 1 of 3 prescription meds and reduced the other two. Hoping to be drug free in a few months.

Housing costs reduced by selling paid off house, renting an apartment. No property taxes, upgrades, repairs and need for all the yard tools, lawn mower and their maintenance. Utilities are a fraction. For us, in our area renting vs heating, cooling,maintaining a paid off house on an acre was better than budget neutral. Gym and pool are free vs what I was paying when we were in the house. Earnings from house sale are invested.

Some of COVID activities will continue, such as diy haircuts and dog grooming.

daylatedollarshort 05-16-2021 08:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sanstar (Post 2607749)
Some of COVID activities will continue, such as diy haircuts and dog grooming.


I bought a hair cutting guide on Amazon similar to the Crea Clip and learned to cut my own hair during the pandemic, too. It seems to look the same as the salon cut. I least I tell myself it does. Crea Clip has videos online that show users how to cut all different kinds of styles and even add in layers. I can even cut the back of my hair by brushing it forward and using the guide to trim the ends.

The Cosmic Avenger 05-16-2021 09:09 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by daylatedollarshort (Post 2607765)
I bought a hair cutting guide on Amazon similar to the Crea Clip and learned to cut my own hair during the pandemic, too,. It seems to look the same as the salon cut. I least I tell myself it does. Crea Clip has videos online that show users how to cut all different kinds of styles and even add in layers. I can even cut the back of my hair by brushing it forward and using the guide to trim the ends.

I didn't even need to watch a video to cut my hair with these! :coolsmiley:

DayDreaming 05-17-2021 05:59 AM

Upgraded appliances. It's a big up-front expense but saves money in the long run.

- replaced a very old refrigerator which was larger than I needed with a smaller one: saves me about $13/month in electric costs
- replace a very old oil fired boiler: too soon to tell but seems this will cut my fuel oil bills in half.

NameTaken2 05-17-2021 08:12 AM

Little stuff adds up-
Last year started buying a 15K sqft bag of ACE HW fertilizer for my 5K sqft lawn, to use for 3 applications. Cost: $30 on sale. The 5K 4-step bags are $70.

Obviously, no fertilizer is an option for optimum savings. Also, many want the seasonal weed/feed, etc blends.

harllee 05-17-2021 08:21 AM

For the best money saving tips go to Mr Money Mustache Forum. You don't need to join to read that Forum. There are some hard core money savers there.

brett 05-17-2021 08:36 AM

I bought an cordless hair cutter from Amazon in May '20 It was not to save money but rather to bypass the barber during covid.

While DW was cutting my hair last week she asked me if I realized how much I saved by doing this even though this was not why.

It is a fair amount. I think I have had six home cuts now. Seems OK. Might not ever return to the barber.

kcowan 05-17-2021 08:55 AM

When we retired, we used the extra time to assess recurring costs and pare them to the bones eliminating duplicate credit cards and cutting back on Internet costs and telephone calls and more.

Then I just pared other things down because we had time on our hands so we could use it to cook at home, do our own hair things like that so when Covid came along it was kind of more of the same like we didn't go out as much to eat or get services.

The biggest savings event was buying a snowbird property in Mexico and reducing our annual budget by 40%. After following that plan since 2008, we are now at the stage of spending some of that extra savings.

But we will not return to those expensive recurring expenses, just going out with friends and resuming travel. I have had my nose and ears waxed and a medical pedicure, both I consider strategic expenses occasionally.

pacergal 05-17-2021 10:04 AM

We have never been big spenders, always LBYM type, saved like crazy so we would have money to do what we wanted in retirement!
That being said, we have done what many have mentioned here(although some on hold due to covid closure): all bulbs were switched to LED several years ago, use public library--rarely buy books, magazines, or newspapers anymore, always shopped grocery ads and bought bulk when on sale, use low cost hair cutting such as great clips, Reduce/Reuse/Recycle what we can, do meatless meals several times a week, grow some veggies and berries in our
garden, use local Adult community Center for classes(many are from the local community college for less cost) and occasional lunch on Wednesdays.
However, we don't go out of our way to cut costs--if we really want something, we allow ourselves the luxury to buy it! That is why we saved for retirement :-)

Sojourner 05-17-2021 11:43 AM

Haven't seen it mentioned yet, so I'll suggest doing the occasional streaming subscription "shuffle". For example, instead of subscribing to Netflix, Paramount+, HBO, and Hulu all year long and leaving them on auto-pilot, keep only one or two (or maybe three) active at any one time, and rotate among them. You honestly can't make full use of more than a few streaming services at a time, anyway, so why pay for all of them full-time?

Also, a big thumbs up for the oft-mentioned suggestion of reevaluating and repricing ongoing costs like natural gas, insurance, mobile phone plans, and cable/satellite services. Savings can easily exceed $500/year compared to auto-pilot.

Nick12 05-17-2021 11:54 AM

+1 on the book The Tightwad Gazette. It's a wonderful book.

steelyman 05-17-2021 12:02 PM

Cutting expensesóyour best money saving tips?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Sojourner (Post 2607982)
Haven't seen it mentioned yet, so I'll suggest doing the occasional streaming subscription "shuffle". For example, instead of subscribing to Netflix, Paramount+, HBO, and Hulu all year long and leaving them on auto-pilot, keep only one or two (or maybe three) active at any one time, and rotate among them. You honestly can't make full use of more than a few streaming services at a time, anyway, so why pay for all of them full-time?


I agree. Iíve just canceled a trial for Acorn. I tried it and it seems good but I was rarely watching it. I seem to be more of a Britbox-er.

Thatís why you get a trial after all. To give it a try!!

[ADDED]That was a savings of $6/mo, enough to cover PBS Passport which I use far more.

FANOFJESUS 05-17-2021 12:10 PM

Check out this video for saving money. I have watched this at least ten times. I find it amazing how cheap she can live. Gets really good at the 2 minute mark https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0oRQFAoqIk&t=175s

daylatedollarshort 05-17-2021 12:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nick12 (Post 2607989)
+1 on the book The Tightwad Gazette. It's a wonderful book.

We really cut our grocery expenses with help from that book, especially the idea of keeping a price book (spreadsheet now) and stockpiling groceries on sale. Like I stocked up on frozen grape juice for 99 cents that regularly sells for $3 at the supermarkets near us. Where else can you get a 200% return on your money these days? Produce at the ethnic markets and discount stores near us is often under a $1 a pound for conventional produce and $1 a pound for organic, but it is hard to find those kind of prices at local supermarkets. The retail supermarkets near us often charge 2 - 5 more than the discount stores and ethnic markets.

I also like to buy cooking without recipe books at the library book sales. That makes it easier to make meals with what we've stockpiled and what is a good deal that week in the stores instead of picking out a recipe first and then paying full price for all the ingredients.

daylatedollarshort 05-17-2021 12:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FANOFJESUS (Post 2607992)
Check out this video for saving money. I have watched this at least ten times.


I just started watching her videos, Princess Prepper, and found a few good ideas already.

skipro33 05-17-2021 12:30 PM

Sometimes you gotta spend money to save money. Installed solar 3 years into retirement back in 2015 and have not paid an electric bill since. O.K. one year I paid 16 cents, but other than that, nada. To keep the solar install cost down, the cheapest solar is the solar you don't need to buy. I upgraded my appliances to energy efficient ones, converted to LED bulbs, insulated the attic better, awnings on west facing windows and screen doors to take advantage of breezes. This cut my solar design down to 5Kw from 7Kw I would have otherwise needed to run everything.
Bought a fuel efficient car and kept my diesel truck, which is now 15 years old and works fine. For groceries, I go to SAM's and ask the butcher for cryovac sealed larger cuts of meat. Beef short ribs normally $8 or $9 a pound I get for $4 a pound. Bone-in rib roasts I get for $6 a pound on sale and break them down to rib eye steaks they sell for over $10 a pound. Their $5 roasted chickens can't be beat. We'll make a batch of chicken enchiladas and make several meals from one. A 1 gallon jug of coconut oil is $20 from Amazon; https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
It's sold as popcorn oil, but 100% unflavored coconut oil is still coconut oil.

Turned down the water heater temperature. Fill the propane tank, 500 gallons, in July when the local distributor has a $1 a gallon sale.

I do all my own landscaping and a little gardening (deer are too hungry to leave my plants alone and fencing gets me huge bucks with lots of wire tangled in their antlers...) But my wife has been successful growing all her own herbs.

We play host at a campground in Oregon as tour guides to a lighthouse along the coast. 4 hours a day, 3 days a week. Another couple do another 3 days with one day closed. 9 weeks for free. Lots of time for side trips.

Motion lights outdoors and some inside, like bathrooms. Automatic humidity sensor for the bathroom fan too. Turns on and off on it's own. Clothes line to dry laundry. I love that one! I like my bath towels a bit stiff from line drying. I feel invigorated after a shower and scrubbing down with the bath towel to dry off.

Started buying flower seeds instead of plants to garden with. Probably saving at least $500 a year on that alone!
I have 10 hanging pots and a couple dozen other ground pots as well as flower beds with annuals that I now just seed instead of using potted plants from the nursery. There are 10 pots in this photo alone;

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/D1...-no?authuser=0

.

brett 05-17-2021 01:26 PM

We review and evaluate the need and the cost of recurring charges on a regular basis. It has saved us a fair bit of money and the savings go forward each month.

We have always shopped for value. I do not like shopping so I tend to buy things that last longer. I am more than willing to pay for a longer lasting, well made product.

When it comes to technology, I always buy one generation back...which can sometimes mean 6 months or a a year. I am not willing to pay a premium to own the latest cell phone. My $120. Moto cell phone is four years old and works just fine for me. Especially since it will only be the latest and greatest for 9 months max. Same with all electronics.

I wanted to avoid the barber during covid. Ordered a hair clipper set in May 20. Been using it ever since. The barber shops where we live are closed again for another month or so.

teetee 05-17-2021 07:47 PM

Another thing I found helpful to keep myself in check is to realize how expensive it is to declutter. I recently found it costs $7 at our local dump station to get ride of a small appliance (e.g. microwave) and more for appliances that use refrigerant (window AC, dehumidifier).

It costs to buy, it costs to run, it costs to maintain, and at the end of the life cycle, it costs to discard.

GravitySucks 05-17-2021 08:30 PM

Still the best money saving tip!
By TravelLover:

https://www.early-retirement.org/for....php?p=1478169


Rarely bathe. Drink Sterno straight from the can.

SmallCityDave 05-17-2021 08:52 PM

Best advice would be do a zero based budget and live by it for a while, it's crazy how much we spend on items that aren't on the budget.

Koolau 05-18-2021 04:54 AM

One of our cars recently failed to start. I assume it's either electrical (maybe a coil - not too expensive to fix) or fuel pump (maybe a grand or more to fix.) As it's a '99, we made the (not too) painful decision to "delete" it from our inventory. Not counting what we would spend on maintenance, this will likely save us $1000/year JUST in tags and insurance. We decided that we VERY rarely actually NEED 2 cars. We may just be able to rent our extra parking space for $50 or $100 per month. SO, minimally, getting rid of a car may well save us $1500/year or more. YMMV

Aerides 05-18-2021 05:34 AM

I am much more comfortable with BTD than cutting, but:

I make sure I am taking advantage of all the benefits/offers, etc. that can come attached to credit cards. Even if the card has a fee, good bene's I actually use can be well be worth it. Things like ride share discounts, streaming credits, partner offers.

When eyeing a new purchase, I always sign up for newsletters for that merchant and wait - get a 10-25% coupon to use for a first order within a few days. Buying things full price is almost always a bad idea. I'm in the middle of replacing a lot of furniture right now. I stake out everything I want, and wait and pounce during sales and specials. Doesn't require too much patience.

I use Rakuten for cash back online, usually just 2-4%, occasionally up to 15%, but it really adds up if I'm good about it. They will also find online coupons and automatically apply those if I missed them.

When I do buy something non-trivial I will check the price for a couple weeks after in case the price drops. And I will call for a credit, or return and repurchase if I have to.

And thursday mornings, because it is the law in florida, I peruse the weekly publix flyer. I will load up on a BOGO or really good deal if it's one of my staples.

Trailwalker 05-18-2021 08:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by The Cosmic Avenger (Post 2607768)
I didn't even need to watch a video to cut my hair with these! :coolsmiley:


I have one of those, lol. One of the first things I did upon retirement was to decide to give up on commercial haircuts. With my receding hairline, the costs didn't justify the benefits. I like the simplicity of this little tool. Also, no brushes or combs to buy.

Nick12 05-18-2021 09:06 AM

I bought a Norelco 360 degree self cutting unit that is no longer made. It sells on eBay for 6x the price. I bought it 10 years ago new at Target for $20. I have not paid for a monthly hair cut going on 10 years.

38Chevy454 05-18-2021 09:26 AM

Late to this discussion, but my main cost saving methods are pretty basic:
1) Buy on sale when it makes sense to stock up.
2) Do almost all of my house and car maintenance myself.
3) Use coupons when I can. Not too proud to use a BOGO or whatever discount is available.
4) Can shop thrift stores, garage sales, or other secondhand for some items.
5) Just being conscientious about what the true cost of something will be. Consider recurring costs as mentioned previously by other replies.

harllee 05-18-2021 10:36 AM

I buy many things cheaper on Ebay than I can get from a store or from Amazon. Just this morning I was looking for a certain brand of toothpaste. Could not find it in the local store and it was pricey on Amazon and Walmart.com. I found 3 tubes of the toothpaste on Ebay for the same price as one tube on Amazon. You do have to watch out to be sure items are not expired on Ebay.

I wear an expensive shoe because of foot issues. I bought the first pair (for $160!) at a local retailer. I have bought more pairs on Ebay (usually new or slightly worn returns) for less than half the price.

qwerty3656 05-18-2021 10:56 AM

Thrift shops like Salvation Army/Good Will/St. Vincent DePaul

daylatedollarshort 05-18-2021 02:09 PM

Mason jars - Since we are into sustainable living, I use mason jars for as much as I can. They last forever, the glass is recyclable, and they are interchangeable. I use mason jars for foods storage, cut flowers and organizing around the house, like holding office supplies. I have solar light tops for outdoor lighting, shaker tops, soap dispenser tops, a lamp kit and shaker tops. The shaker tops hold baking soda which I use for cleaning. For hand soap I buy Dr. Bronner's Castille soap and dilute it in the mason jars with the pump top lids for hand soap.

I make my own non-toxic cleaning supplies with ingredients like Dr. Bronner's soap, baking soda, essential oils and vinegar: Dilutions Cheat Sheet for Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soap – Dr. Bronner's (drbronner.com)

daylatedollarshort 05-18-2021 02:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by qwerty3656 (Post 2608404)
Thrift shops like Salvation Army/Good Will/St. Vincent DePaul


+1. In our are there are also some very nice boutique type thrift shops from local charities. I found them using the thrift shop ratings on Yelp.

Koolau 05-18-2021 03:08 PM

Honestly, I know of several ways we could cut expenses, but have become lazy. It COSTS to cut expenses - that is, you actually have to use your brain and maybe a bit of braun to save most money. It may even take MONEY to save money.

Examples might include:

Phantom Electricity - I'm guessing 15 or even 20% of our electricity is "wasted" because of "instant on" features, all those little converters (they look like battery chargers) that make the cable box work, that make the internet box work, that charge the electric shavers, that keep the printer and TV "hot" at all times, on and on. There are folks who "gang" these on a power strip and turn the strip off at night. Doing so saves a few hundred watts of electricity which becomes several kilowatts by the end of the month. BUT on the off chance, I can't sleep (or DW) and get up to play on the computer for a couple of hours or maybe watch TV it takes anywhere from 3 to 6 minutes to make things "work" again. SWAG: We could save $15/month since our electricity is expensive.

Drying clothes: We used to religiously hang up clothes - right in the apartment as the trades came through and gave a great drying effect. Now that we're old, we say "I'll pay the money to just transfer to the dryer and save the 20 minutes of sorting undies to the rack, shirts to plastic hangers, towels and shorts across the backs of chairs, etc. etc." SWAG $1/load could be saved for 15 minutes work (net - stuff still has to be hung up.)

Fridge: Our fridge probably uses the most electricity of all the appliances (as we don't use the stove much and our HOA dues pipes in our hot water without a meter.) We could get rid of the current 10-year-old fridge and buy one of the newer more efficient models and pick a smaller one as well - what's the use of freezing a bunch of stuff that we could WALK to Costco (fat chance) and buy every other day or so. BUT, looking at the COST of a new fridge, we can "waste" a lot of electricity and come out ahead until the thing dies. AND we have heard - The newer the fridge (or, pick an "efficient" appliance) the shorter its projected life time. SO my SWAG: We might "save" $15/month at a cost of $1000+ to replace a working fridge with one that won't last 10 years.

CARS: Mentioned earlier, we're getting rid of one - but the other one only gets 25mpg in our hands. We could double that with a Prius cause our upstairs neighbor (who drives like a maniac from Boston - which he is (maniac on the road) and originally from "BASTON") got 50 mpg. But when he moved, he wanted (and got) $16K for his used Prius. My car several years back cost $13K and I only drive it (pre-Covid) 4000 miles/year. You do the math and it probably doesn't work for us but COULD save a commuter a BUNCH of money 50mpg vs 25 mpg.

COOKING: We already save a bunch. We "cook" with a microwave and a toaster oven. Everything here is electric, so its all about watts. Cooking a burger or chicken breast on the stove or in the convection oven costs way more watts than using the toaster oven. DW has it down to a science now. Nuke the frozen (whatever) to thaw. Stick it into the toaster oven for X or Y or Z minutes. Check it (just because ole Ko'olau is fearful of Sam and Ella visiting) and throw it on a paper plate (with sauce.) I'm guessing we use half the electricity of heating up the "big" oven to do the same. (By the way, waste heat here just makes things "hot" - even in the winter.:facepalm: It doesn't mean you save heating fuel.)

AC: Yeah, we could use it a few days a year, but the (maniac) upstairs had one of the rollable "window" in-and-out units for his DW who had asthma. I think it was maybe 1000 watts or some such. We just strip to underwear and turn on the fans those few days when it's truly hot - when the trades die.

Haircuts: Okay, that's work. DW does it TO herself and TO me. MOST times it looks okay and, hey, it'll grow back!:laugh: BUT, the real reason I do it is to avoid going to the barber. I just hate that and can't even explain why. Now, I sit on the shower chair (you "old" people know what I'm talkin' 'bout) and DW does her thing - then I turn on the shower and I'm good to go.) Savings: at least $10 plus a trip to the barber. YMMV

I'll quit until inspired again.

Scuba 05-19-2021 01:47 PM

We havenít been particularly focused on cutting expenses since our ER. Other than 2020 when we spent much less due to COVID, our spending has been pretty consistent except for moving and remodeling our new home.

We initially thought about buying a vacation condo. After thinking about it, we realized that for us, a second home just adds costs and headaches. Instead, we purchased a nicer property than we would have if it were just a vacation home and moved to it. We kept our former home but rented it out to a long-term tenant so now instead of increasing our costs, weíve actually increased our net cash flow. Not something we planned, but it is a nice bit of extra cash. And if we ever decide to stop traveling so much and live in two homes instead, we have the flexibility to do that.

We still have two cars, but cutting down to one may make sense for us at some point. Our cars are 15 years old and eliminating one would save us around $1,500-$2,000/year in insurance, licensing, etc.

As others have said, COVID made a difference that has continued to result in savings. DH now cuts his own hair with a bit of help from me. I stopped getting pedicures every 6 weeks and now only go occasionally. Neither of us has bought many clothes in the last 2 years. We do still enjoy eating out, but got in the habit of staying in more often, which is cheaper and healthier. Sadly, a few people we bought gifts for regularly passed away so we arenít spending as much on gifts either.

Our spending on groceries has gone up a lot as prices are way up and we eat at home more often. We buy a lot less wine than we used to, mainly because we cut back to manage our weight. Our healthcare insurance has skyrocketed since ER, but when I did a search last year to compare costs, everything else that was remotely comparable cost the same or more.

Like most people on this site, we have never been ďkeep up with the JonesĒ types. We donít penny pinch but we also make sure we feel like what we do spend money on is good value for us. Almost half of our spending is discretionary, so if we ever needed to, we could ratchet down pretty easily. Fortunately since our ER, the market has performed very well so we have a higher net worth than we did when we retired, despite living 100% off our portfolio for 4.5 years. Lucky timing!

tb001 05-22-2021 08:31 AM

Some really good suggestions! I watched the video posted earlier and don’t think I would ever be interested in living that extreme, but it’s interesting to learn about for sure!

I’m much more interested personally in making cuts that mean minimal change in our quality of life for a little extra effort. After moving to a prepaid phone plan, I now cringe at how much money we wasted over the years!

In reading the replies, a few more jump to mind for us.

Gel pedicures. They are about the same price wise but last forever.
While DH won’t let me cut his hair (though I think my cuts are better than some of the bad ones he’s gotten), I am cutting the kids hair since covid. And I need to start doing my own color. I did it once during the height of covid here and honestly liked it better than what my stylist does.

I also use poshmark or other used clothing apps for a lot of clothes. I haven’t used them for jewelry yet, but I have my eye on a few pieces. I need to clean out my closet and start putting some of my old work clothes on there too.

On my to do list is to put in more automation to cut energy use and rearrange when we’re using energy to maximize our $/kwh. So killing those phantom draws is on the list for us, though I suspect it’s far less than 15% of our use.

street 05-22-2021 08:50 AM

Very interesting thread. The frugal ad LBYM is a gene we all have so many of the saving tips and things we do everyday is who we are in general.

We still shop around, buy on sale and find the best possible price on all most everything. Many of the things that saves money that were mentioned is a natural thing for us to do.

With that being said, at this point in our life those things we are saving at means very little if any, that would change our quality of life or even change what we are worth. Most of the saving we do is habit from who we are. At this stage in the game saving a dollar here or there isn't going to break or make us.

Koolau 05-22-2021 04:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by street (Post 2610029)
Very interesting thread. The frugal ad LBYM is a gene we all have so many of the saving tips and things we do everyday is who we are in general.

We still shop around, buy on sale and find the best possible price on all most everything. Many of the things that saves money that were mentioned is a natural thing for us to do.

With that being said, at this point in our life those things we are saving at means very little if any, that would change our quality of life or even change what we are worth. Most of the saving we do is habit from who we are. At this stage in the game saving a dollar here or there isn't going to break or make us.

All so very true. AND it STILL feels good to believe we got the best deal! Or it still feels good to "save" a buck, here and there. I think it must be THAT attitude that got us to FIRE in the first place. If I never lose that attitude, I'll still die happy AND my kids won't have as much stuff to shovel into a dumpster!! :laugh:

travelover 05-23-2021 05:12 PM

I didn't read every post so this may be a duplicate, but I renegotiate our internet service every year. They have been ratcheting it up on me, but yesterday I backed off a price increase of $10 / month, to save $120 a year. Not bad for a 10 minute phone call.

To save on flea and tick stuff for the dog, I buy the generic version in the size for extra large dogs, then give my medium sized dog half the vial every month.

daylatedollarshort 05-23-2021 09:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by travelover (Post 2610726)
I didn't read every post so this may be a duplicate, but I renegotiate our internet service every year. They have been ratcheting it up on me, but yesterday I backed off a price increase of $10 / month, to save $120 a year. Not bad for a 10 minute phone call.


Our main ISP won't usually negotiate much on rates for existing customers, so we either switch ISPs or rotate the account name between DH and me every year to get the new customer rates.

tb001 05-23-2021 10:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by daylatedollarshort (Post 2610800)
Our main ISP won't usually negotiate much on rates for existing customers, so we either switch ISPs or rotate the account name between DH and me every year to get the new customer rates.

Ah, thatís a good tip to use your spouseís name! We have a good deal on our internet, but I know it will go up in august, so Iíve been looking at alternatives. So far I havenít found any cheaper options. Will have to see if we can just shut off and re-establish service in his name.

Nick12 05-23-2021 10:41 PM

When in I was in college I lived in an apt and I had no meal plan on campus. When I worked in the cafeteria I ate for free.

DYI on car repair , You Tube is your friend. My Honda dealer charges $90 for a cabin air filter replacement. The part is $30. It takes less than 60 seconds to change it.

tb001 05-23-2021 10:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by travelover (Post 2610726)
I didn't read every post so this may be a duplicate, but I renegotiate our internet service every year. They have been ratcheting it up on me, but yesterday I backed off a price increase of $10 / month, to save $120 a year. Not bad for a 10 minute phone call.

To save on flea and tick stuff for the dog, I buy the generic version in the size for extra large dogs, then give my medium sized dog half the vial every month.

I wish I could convince DH to do this with the flea meds! We use the generic, but buy the smaller dog size. Heís too worried he wonít split the dose correctly. The cost differential is annoying!

Sunset 05-23-2021 11:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tb001 (Post 2610811)
Ah, thatís a good tip to use your spouseís name! We have a good deal on our internet, but I know it will go up in august, so Iíve been looking at alternatives. So far I havenít found any cheaper options. Will have to see if we can just shut off and re-establish service in his name.

A few yrs ago, when the cable company came in to set up our internet as we were switching from a different provider, the tech assumed our switching was from Wife to Husband. He said a LOT of people do it.
Less folks actually switch companies. ???

RobbieB 05-24-2021 12:01 AM

I grow my own pot.

daylatedollarshort 05-24-2021 12:31 AM

Toilet paper is usually a lot cheaper bought online and buy the pound. Corporations purposely make it hard to compare prices with mega rolls and double rolls and all the other marketing gimmicks. If you buy on Amazon, the shipping weights are usually listed, making price per pound calculations possible.

GravitySucks 05-24-2021 09:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by travelover (Post 2610726)
I didn't read every post so this may be a duplicate, but I renegotiate our internet service every year. They have been ratcheting it up on me, but yesterday I backed off a price increase of $10 / month, to save $120 a year. Not bad for a 10 minute phone call.

To save on flea and tick stuff for the dog, I buy the generic version in the size for extra large dogs, then give my medium sized dog half the vial every month.

Careful with the flea and tick meds. I was buying online and saving 20% but my vet had to put down 2 dogs that were poisoned by knock offs.
My dogs groomer also bought online. Her pup got a bad rash and after a vet visit called Bayer - they said the serial number was Not valid and she must have a knock off product.

Not worth the risk.

Jerry1 05-24-2021 09:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by travelover (Post 2610726)
To save on flea and tick stuff for the dog, I buy the generic version in the size for extra large dogs, then give my medium sized dog half the vial every month.

Quote:

Originally Posted by tb001 (Post 2610813)
I wish I could convince DH to do this with the flea meds! We use the generic, but buy the smaller dog size. He’s too worried he won’t split the dose correctly. The cost differential is annoying!

I found a Canadian company that charges about half for the brand that my vet sold me. The place is https://www.canadapetcare.com I haven’t run out of my first batch that the vet sold me (new dog), but I think I’m going to try them next month when I do run out.

KingOfTheCheapos 05-24-2021 09:59 AM

Ditto on cutting reoccurring expenses as being the best way to reduce overall cost. The challenge is how to cut expenses without cutting quality.

For groceries, I shop at GroceryOutlet and WinCo. The shops aren't as nice as upper market chains but they have the same products.

For telephones, I subscribe to the pre-paid version of the carrier i.e. not AT&T but Cricket, not T-Mobile by MetroPCS. That saves a bundle and the network coverage is the same (though I guess in a priority situation I'd be bumped).

travelover 05-24-2021 06:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GravitySucks (Post 2610961)
Careful with the flea and tick meds. I was buying online and saving 20% but my vet had to put down 2 dogs that were poisoned by knock offs.
My dogs groomer also bought online. Her pup got a bad rash and after a vet visit called Bayer - they said the serial number was Not valid and she must have a knock off product.

Not worth the risk.

You appear to be implying that I am buying knock off brands from some sleazy company. I'm talking about PetArmor from Walmart.

brett 05-24-2021 07:30 PM

We had two cars. We rented for four years. A condo on a golf course that was very close to rapid public transport.

We had two cars. We decided to get rid of one. We did not think we needed two.
Besides, we could always rent one for a few days but we never did. Saved us a fair amount. Repairs, insurance, registration, etc.

We do two international trips a year. 8-9 weeks each. Occasionally longer. We cancelled all insurance on our vehicle with the exception of fire and theft. Saved us a fair bit doing this twice a year for eight years.

Boose 05-24-2021 09:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RobbieB (Post 2610822)
I grow my own pot.

My dad bakes cookies and cinnamon rolls, then trades them with his neighbor for some homegrown pot

KingOfTheCheapos 05-25-2021 08:13 AM

Ah good one. We did that for the first 10 years of living in the USA. Had only one car but lived in an a downtown area. Another upside to this is with all the walking you do you stay healthy and the lack of stress driving in peak hour.

Quote:

Originally Posted by brett (Post 2611176)
We had two cars. We rented for four years. A condo on a golf course that was very close to rapid public transport.

We had two cars. We decided to get rid of one. We did not think we needed two.
Besides, we could always rent one for a few days but we never did. Saved us a fair amount. Repairs, insurance, registration, etc.

We do two international trips a year. 8-9 weeks each. Occasionally longer. We cancelled all insurance on our vehicle with the exception of fire and theft. Saved us a fair bit doing this twice a year for eight years.


Golden sunsets 05-25-2021 08:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jerry1 (Post 2610967)
I found a Canadian company that charges about half for the brand that my vet sold me. The place is https://www.canadapetcare.com I havenít run out of my first batch that the vet sold me (new dog), but I think Iím going to try them next month when I do run out.

I found this suggestion of interest. I just ordered and paid for the next six month supply of Sentinel Spectrum and Bravecto for my pet. The cost was $176.17, but I will get a refund of $17 from the manufacturers.

So I checked the same products on canadapet.com and sure enough the Bravecto is $67.50 for 2 doses in Canada, compared to the $114 I paid. However, the Sentinel Spectrum, is $104.10 for 6 doses in Canada, vs the $52.99 I paid. So it works great for some meds obviously, but not for all.

daylatedollarshort 05-25-2021 11:41 AM

I thought of another expense cut while improving lifestyle activities while making dinner last night - making my own healthy salad dressings. It doesn't take much time to throw together a dressing of olive oil, vinegar and some spices or seasonings. Many commercial dressings cost more and have sugar, unhealthy fats, or a lot of suspect chemical preservatives. I use a high polyphenol olive oil which is supposed to be good for killing cancer cells. I started putting it on the outside of my skin, too, on any suspicious looking spots or moles and some of them disappeared in a few days.

GravitySucks 05-25-2021 11:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by travelover (Post 2611154)
You appear to be implying that I am buying knock off brands from some sleazy company. I'm talking about PetArmor from Walmart.

Certainly didn't mean to imply that.
In my groomers and vets customers cases it was bogus Soresito collars purchased on Amazon.
I now buy my puppers collars from Petco or his Vet so I have a local throat to choke.

RetireeRobert 05-26-2021 05:33 PM

Cut landline and use MintMobile hone service.

Use a rooftop TV antenna for free over-the-air digital TV, and cut cable out.

tb001 05-26-2021 07:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by daylatedollarshort (Post 2611372)
I thought of another expense cut while improving lifestyle activities while making dinner last night - making my own healthy salad dressings. It doesn't take much time to throw together a dressing of olive oil, vinegar and some spices or seasonings. Many commercial dressings cost more and have sugar, unhealthy fats, or a lot of suspect chemical preservatives. I use a high polyphenol olive oil which is supposed to be good for killing cancer cells. I started putting it on the outside of my skin, too, on any suspicious looking spots or moles and some of them disappeared in a few days.

Thatís a great one! I make about half of our dressings. Much better than what comes in a bottle. Iím working on getting a good deli style mustard now.

KingOfTheCheapos 05-26-2021 07:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tb001 (Post 2612178)
Thatís a great one! I make about half of our dressings. Much better than what comes in a bottle. Iím working on getting a good deli style mustard now.

Not to be mean, but how much does that really save you? Or are you guys having salad dressing squirting fights where you live? Ah retirement must be fun out your way!

tb001 05-26-2021 07:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by KingOfTheCheapos (Post 2612181)
Not to be mean, but how much does that really save you? Or are you guys having salad dressing squirting fights where you live? Ah retirement must be fun out your way!

I actually have no idea how much it saves us, but they are so much better that the quality/$ is higher, which is important to me. And DH eats a LOT of salad!! We go through a 5lb bag of cabbage and 6-12 stalks of romaine a week. It’s like living with a very large rabbit :D

And eta that the deli mustards are ridiculously expensive. We go through a lot of mustard too.

daylatedollarshort 05-26-2021 09:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by KingOfTheCheapos (Post 2612181)
Not to be mean, but how much does that really save you? Or are you guys having salad dressing squirting fights where you live? Ah retirement must be fun out your way!

Why say "not to be mean" than follow that with a sarcastic comment? In a thread on cutting expenses?

If a high polyphenol olive oil helps you not get cancer, it could save a lot in medical bills. I also don't quite get why you took tb001's quote out of context and didn't include the part about the chemicals, sugar and unhealthy fats in most commercial dressings.

daylatedollarshort 05-26-2021 10:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tb001 (Post 2612184)
I actually have no idea how much it saves us, but they are so much better that the quality/$ is higher, which is important to me. And DH eats a LOT of salad!! We go through a 5lb bag of cabbage and 6-12 stalks of romaine a week. It’s like living with a very large rabbit :D

And eta that the deli mustards are ridiculously expensive. We go through a lot of mustard too.

I have been buying a Koroneiki olive oil from World Market. It is one of the the kinds recommended by cancer researcher William Li for its anti-cancer, immune enhancing and DNA protecting qualities - A Doctor's Tip For Finding The Healthiest Olive Oil (mindbodygreen.com).

tb001 05-26-2021 11:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by daylatedollarshort (Post 2612240)
I have been buying a Koroneiki olive oil from World Market. It is one of the the kinds recommended by cancer researcher William Li for its anti-cancer, immune enhancing and DNA protecting qualities - A Doctor's Tip For Finding The Healthiest Olive Oil (mindbodygreen.com).

Oh interesting! We go through so much that I usually buy it at Costco, but some things are probably worth spending more on. Thanks for the recommendation.

daylatedollarshort 05-27-2021 11:28 PM

In our area many of the same items at Whole Foods are at 99 Cents Only and Grocery Outlet. The 99CO prices are about a third of the WF price for many items including shiitake mushrooms, fresh herbs and radish sprouts. GO prices are around half. GO puts the savings on the receipt and their price comparisons are pretty accurate. Today we spent around $100 on foods like organic frozen berries and organic meats and saved $102 over retail prices.

We also went to a thrift shop that had a sale on books for 25 cents each. Two books that cost 50 cents total would have cost $10 used on Amazon.

Not a bad morning of $111.50 savings just for shopping at an outlet and thrift shop instead of retail stores.

EastWest Gal 05-28-2021 04:41 AM

I have herbs in my garden. Oregano, sage, rosemary and thyme are hardy perennials, and I have them all, as ornamentals. My sage bushes are at least 10 years old. The leaves dry up a bit in the winter though.

I planted a small bed of cilantro in early fall and planned to put more down in the spring. It survived under the snow and thrived this year. Itís going to seed now, but I have a new volunteer plant. The seeds are the coriander, which Iíll use. Parsley planted last year also survived the winter. Basil is grown indoors hydroponically. Itís fairly delicate for outside and attracts Japanese beetles.

The herbs cost $1-2 a bunch, and you get too much or too little. Iíve saved a lot using perennial herbs as ornamentals.

Jerry1 05-28-2021 04:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by EastWest Gal (Post 2612772)
The herbs cost $1-2 a bunch, and you get too much or too little. Iíve saved a lot using perennial herbs as ornamentals.

I hate trying to buy fresh herbs. It's always expensive and I hardly ever use it all. The recipe I'm working on will take like a quarter of the bunch and the rest just goes bad. I'll have to plant some of the perennial ones you mentioned. Being in a northern state, I never thought of planting herbs that would overwinter.

USGrant1962 05-28-2021 06:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Koolau (Post 2608524)
Honestly, I know of several ways we could cut expenses, but have become lazy. It COSTS to cut expenses - that is, you actually have to use your brain and maybe a bit of braun to save most money. It may even take MONEY to save money.

Examples might include:

Phantom Electricity -

... Doing so saves a few hundred watts of electricity which becomes several kilowatts by the end of the month.

.

You can relax on the phantom power. Even a large TV only draws up to 3 watts in standby, and unused phone chargers draw maybe 0.1 watt. You are probably wasting ~10 watts, not "a few hundred".

Cable boxes, cable modems, and routers are probably the worst overnight offenders - but they all have a reboot process and would be a total pain to switch on to use.

flintnational 05-28-2021 06:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Boose (Post 2611218)
My dad bakes cookies and cinnamon rolls, then trades them with his neighbor for some homegrown pot

Either the value of pot has gone way down or the value of cookies has gone way up! :)

Koolau 05-28-2021 06:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by USGrant1962 (Post 2612793)
You can relax on the phantom power. Even a large TV only draws up to 3 watts in standby, and unused phone chargers draw maybe 0.1 watt. You are probably wasting ~10 watts, not "a few hundred".

Cable boxes, cable modems, and routers are probably the worst overnight offenders - but they all have a reboot process and would be a total pain to switch on to use.

Yes, I can tell just by putting my hand on the cable and internet boxes that they are the big consumers even though not used. I think when I reboot the internet box, it takes a couple of minutes but the cable can take 4 or even 5 minutes - depending on why it went out. A local power fail seems the worst while an intentional shut down seems less stressful to the system - or maybe I'm just ready for the delay since I caused it. I think I'll stay lazy and not worry about it even though electricity is more than $0.30/KWH here. I know folks who depend on AC here and their electricity bill can run $400. Mine stays in the $70 to $90 range and IIRC we'd pay about $20+ if we didn't use a KW. All those fees add up. Thanks for the input. Aloha.


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