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-   -   Cutting expenses—your best money saving tips? (https://www.early-retirement.org/forums/f28/cutting-expenses-your-best-money-saving-tips-109288.html)

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 expenses—your best money saving tips?

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. I’ve 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.

That’s 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


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


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;



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:


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


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.

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