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-   -   What have you done to be frugal? (https://www.early-retirement.org/forums/f26/what-have-you-done-to-be-frugal-65925.html)

NoOneGetsIt 03-30-2013 08:04 PM

What have you done to be frugal?
 
In preparation for FIRE we have done many things including:
Gave up cable watch movies from library
Stopped trash service..what little we have we take to a public dumpster
Stopped eating expensive things like meat, fish and cheese (added health benefits)
Dropped collision on auto policy (cars are old enough we self insure)
Increased deductible on homeowners ins
Heat only rooms we live in during winter
Cell phones are pay as you go
No land line phone line
Buy jeans, tshirts and sweaters at thrift store (seattle goodwill is hands down best in the country...and i've looked!)
Bought furniture off craigslist
Make our own food..sauerkraut, spag sauce etc...much cheaper than store bought
Am sure there is more WHAT ELSE DO PEOPLE DO? Would love to learn!!

martyb 03-30-2013 08:09 PM

None of the things on your list, except dropping the land phone line.

Gotten debt-free and stayed that way for over 4 years now.

I have kept my net pay check at essentially the same amount for the last 5 years, holding expenses as close to the same as possible, saving the rest.

Dave_S 03-30-2013 08:23 PM

My wife and I buy almost all of our clothing and some household items at Kohls, only when stuff is on sale and we have a 30% off coupon. Clip coupons for groceries, and again only buy stuff when it's on sale.

heeyy_joe 03-30-2013 08:34 PM

I don't do anything different now than I've done for the last 30 years. That's why I have enough to FIre.

ERhoosier 03-30-2013 08:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by heeyy_joe (Post 1302628)
I don't do anything different now than I've done for the last 30 years. That's why I have enough to FIre.

Good point. For most it's a LBYM attitude. A lifestyle. DW often finds clearance bargains on clothes at retail stores, and has not changed as our finances have improved over the yrs. Still clip coupons for many things.

But must admit we sometimes have wasted $$$ by failing to look at overall value over time. Often the absolute cheapest route is more $$ over the long haul- like cheap paint ;)

tinlizzy 03-30-2013 09:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ERhoosier (Post 1302631)
But must admit we sometimes have wasted $$$ by failing to look at overall value over time. Often the absolute cheapest route is more $$ over the long haul- like cheap paint ;)

I was just thinking that when you posted. I was looking at my very expensive 23 year old carpet that looks almost as good as new and very glad I didn't cheap out.

I did however order it wholesale (it was $30sq yd at the store and $18sq yd from the carpet mill) from Dalton GA and had it shipped to my city ($27 via Roadway) and the carpet layer picked it up from the terminal. The carpet layer also told me to order Rebond padding to extend the carpet's life. It's Stainmaster by Dupont carpet for anyone wondering.

Never making a purchase without thinking it through has been successful for me.

DeborahB 03-30-2013 09:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by heeyy_joe (Post 1302628)
I don't do anything different now than I've done for the last 30 years. That's why I have enough to FIre.

+1

I always cooked most of our food at home so that eating out is a treat. We have inexpensive phone plans but we have a land line. We have cable. We have netflix. For several years, though, because books were needing their own room if I kept buying them - and they got expensive - I have tried to not buy books much, and use the library a lot. It's a mile from our house and I just reserve the books online and pick them up when they show up.

Doing a lot of online shopping (saves gas?) and I just decided Amazon prime was worth it - at least for a year. I'll re-evaluate then. The online shopping ends up cheaper in general.

Hey, the house & cars are paid for and we have no debt. So... I think we just always were frugal. But not to the point of changing a lot - luckily it hasn't been necessary.

W2R 03-30-2013 09:48 PM

Here are some ideas that have helped me in the past (although I am spending more now, intentionally).

1. Just don't buy so much stuff, period.
2. Cut recurring expenses to the bone. They'll kill your budget.
3. Buy a modest home that will be cheap and easy to maintain.
4. Do not buy a car that will not easily last 10+ years.
5. Pay off all debt, including mortgage. (Contraversial but worked for me)
6. Focus on free ways to have fun.
7. Don't pay for services you can do yourself, like haircuts and lawnmowing.
8. Challenge yourself each month to spend less than you ever have.

Live And Learn 03-30-2013 09:53 PM

I've always been frugal. I do eat meat and cheese but I comparison shop and stock up when its on sale. I can't remember the last time I paid full price for either one. As an example, I bought 10 turkeys at Thanksgiving. I cook them and debone them then freeze 1/2 a turkey per package. Half a turkey works for two dinners or one dinner and four lunches (family of two).

I shop for clothes at Goodwill and at after season sales (generally 50 - 70% discount).

I don't buy electronics very often - my TV is as deep as is is wide. I did buy a tablet for my 50th birthday but redeemed credit cards points to pay for it.

I have zero debt. I use my credit card for everything I can but pay in full every month. I use the points got frivolous purchases, such as the tablet.

Once I stop working the cellphone goes bye-bye (I can't wait !!!!), although I will probably get a $10 per month plan for dire needs.

I bike to where I'm going as much as possible. DH watches in awe as I unload groceries from my backpack. I'm not sure if biking to the store saves me all that much in gas but it definitely helps me stay away from unnecessary purchases!

Live And Learn 03-30-2013 09:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by W2R (Post 1302653)
Here are some ideas that have helped me in the past (although I am spending more now, intentionally).

1. Just don't buy so much stuff, period.
2. Cut recurring expenses to the bone. They'll kill your budget.
3. Buy a modest home that will be cheap and easy to maintain.
4. Do not buy a car that will not easily last 10+ years.
5. Pay off all debt, including mortgage. (Contraversial but worked for me)
6. Focus on free ways to have fun.
7. Don't pay for services you can do yourself, like haircuts and lawnmowing.
8. Challenge yourself each month to spend less than you ever have.

I love this post !! Its perfect

Bestwifeever 03-30-2013 10:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NoOneGetsIt (Post 1302613)
....
Stopped trash service..what little we have we take to a public dumpster
....

Although we have done many of the OP's list in our lives at one time or another, we feel fortunate that we don't have to do any now.

And no way would our town let a resident cancel the town-wide contracted trash service, as a public health issue--you must live outside that kind of jurisdiction if you can just use a dumpster instead? Where do you find a public dumpster?

NoOneGetsIt 03-30-2013 11:38 PM

Some towns have disposal not advertised at recycling centers. Some don't. When we lived in some towns trash was part of city property taxes.

obgyn65 03-31-2013 02:06 AM

I have done none of the below except drop the landline. I am well compensated and have always been frugal. The key is to LBYM.

The two biggest 'traps' I have been able to avoid are : 1) avoid losing a ton of money on buying a huge house in 2000-2008. I only bought a nice condo cash 2) I have never invested in shares until very recently. Had I been invested heavily in shares in 2008, I think I would have panicked and would have sold everything, therefore would have lost significant amounts then.

Can you imagine those who bought a $1,000,000 home in 2008, now worth $300k, and who sold every share they owned in 2009? I don't think they can FIRE. Unless they make extremely good money and/or will get a huge inheritance.

Quote:

Originally Posted by NoOneGetsIt (Post 1302613)
In preparation for FIRE we have done many things including:
Gave up cable watch movies from library
Stopped trash service..what little we have we take to a public dumpster
Stopped eating expensive things like meat, fish and cheese (added health benefits)
Dropped collision on auto policy (cars are old enough we self insure)
Increased deductible on homeowners ins
Heat only rooms we live in during winter
Cell phones are pay as you go
No land line phone line
Buy jeans, tshirts and sweaters at thrift store (seattle goodwill is hands down best in the country...and i've looked!)
Bought furniture off craigslist
Make our own food..sauerkraut, spag sauce etc...much cheaper than store bought
Am sure there is more WHAT ELSE DO PEOPLE DO? Would love to learn!!


sengsational 03-31-2013 02:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NoOneGetsIt (Post 1302613)
Gave up cable watch movies from library
Cell phones are pay as you go
No land line phone line

Never had cable, ever. Never wanted it. Always had more cell phone than I wanted from megacorp, but the family uses tracphone. Gave up land line just recently (finally), and went with Ooma (voip).

But the BIGGEST thing I did (goes in the LBYM category) was a "mistake" or "luck" or whatever. I was moving from Atlanta just before the Olympics and didn't want to sell in the soft market (even though I would have broken-even on the house). So I rented out the house. But I didn't have a renter yet (the "luck/mistake" part), when I bought my current house. That means I couldn't qualify for as much of a house here in Charlotte. This unplanned situation was, by far, what has given me as much financial flexibility as I have now. I ended-up doubling my money on the Atlanta house, which became my kids' 529 accounts.


--Dale--

jon-nyc 03-31-2013 02:53 AM

I've always (well, for a long long time) been an LBYMer but my M was always high enough that my LBY stories don't usually impress.

The exceptions - I got rid of cable 20 years ago. Which meant getting rid of TV, since there was no Hulu and Netflix to replace it with. I think about how much more reading I have done in my adult life due to that one simple decision.

I also drive a very old but low mileage car. (97 Corolla, 37k miles).

Amethyst 03-31-2013 04:40 AM

We don't eat out.

Cutting our own hair is a bridge too far IMHO - whole family has naturally curly hair, which could easily be turned into a clown wig by untrained hands.

Amethyst

foxfirev5 03-31-2013 04:59 AM

Save something out of each paycheck in addition to automatic retirement amounts. Whether it's $50 or $5000 -bonuses are always saved, every paycheck for over 30 years.
After the bills are paid that has not left much for frivolous expenses.

Walt34 03-31-2013 05:19 AM

Spend less than income. What one spends on matters less than that spending is less than income.

bondi688 03-31-2013 05:40 AM

Be frugal , but don't penalize yourself.

CDN_47 03-31-2013 06:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Amethyst (Post 1302696)
We don't eat out.

Cutting our own hair is a bridge too far IMHO - whole family has naturally curly hair, which could easily be turned into a clown wig by untrained hands.

Amethyst

LOL, thanks for my first laugh today :laugh:

For us, we have only recently learned how to LBYM. By that, I mean in the last 8 years or so. This was more out of shocked realization that we were quickly approaching my previous goal of FI at 55.

Best lessons for LBYM that we've learned are:

1) ignore your neighbour(s) whose last name is Jones. IMHO, cars and homes are the major reason why people can't retire early. I don't understand people's need to replace their cars every few years, and is working an extra 10 years really worth that 3rd bathroom???

2) Combine entertainment activities with exercise. We recently starting hiking every weekend. Great cardio.

3) I know this is a personal choice, but we cancelled both of our cell plans (Still have a work cell).

4) Relentlessly look after your own best interests when being charged a recurring bill. Most banks, cable companies, phone companies, etc., will negotiate lower prices for your continued business.

5) We own a home with a small piece of property (50x100). But it's enough to grow a significant portion of our fruits and vegetables for the summer, fall and part of winter. This saves us a ton of money.

6) Where you have the skills, do your own renovations to your home. I'll do just about anything, except when it comes to electrical and major plumbing.

I believe we've only scratched the surface for money-saving ideas, without negatively impacting our lifestyle.


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