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21 Things We're Learning to Live Without

  1. Jan 23, 2010 #1

    Evo

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    This was an interesting article on how the economy is changing the way people live and how they're changing their buying and lifestyle.

    What changes, if any, have you been making to stretch your money?

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/21-Things-Were-Learning-to-usnews-3382196417.html?x=0&.v=1 [Broken]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
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  3. Jan 23, 2010 #2

    cronxeh

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    I could do without a girlfriend. Savings of thousands a year :biggrin:
     
  4. Jan 23, 2010 #3

    Borek

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    So far I am saving only on more expensive parts of my hobbies - at the moment it means plans of investing in new camera and lenses have to be suspended. And unless I will have some large orders soon I will save on a trip to Montcru. Other than that I am still OK, although it may change any time :yuck:

    But comparing our situation to situation of others can be difficult, life in Poland is rather cheap, with two of us working and living quite comfortably we probably earn together less than most other PFers do on their own.
     
  5. Jan 23, 2010 #4
    I don't know why anyone would do those 21 things even when the economy is good unless either s/he is idiot or filthy rich. Maybe Americans were overestimating their wealth ...
     
  6. Jan 23, 2010 #5

    turbo

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    My wife and I have always been frugal, without depriving ourselves of pleasurable things. If we can't pay cash, we don't buy. We had a mortgage on our last place, but paid it off early, and have not had any debt for about 25 years, now. Why pay interest on debt if you can pay yourself instead (via a retirement account, for instance)? I love gardening and canning, and things that don't can well can often be put in our chest freezers (we have 2) and be used throughout the winter. That saves a LOT of money. We had a bumper-crop of wild blackberries a couple of years back, and just today my wife took the last gallon bag out of the freezer. For years, we never had cell phones, unless I needed one for business. Now we have two prepaid Trac-Fones that keep us in enough minutes for our calling - $100/year/phone. Just make sure to buy a phone model that comes with double minutes for life (Trac-Fone always has at least one in the line-up) and you're set. No cable TV and no satellite dish - just broadcast TV and NetFlix rentals. I split and stack firewood for heating, and only use the furnace if we are going to be away for an extended time. I had the oil tank topped off last fall - we used just 100 gallons over the past 3 winters. Don't drive if you don't have to. I took my Subaru Forester in for its 3750 mile check up one year after buying it. It now has about 4400 miles on it. The dealership was sending me notices every couple of months saying that the Forester was "overdue" for its first maintenance - what do they know? Regarding food - we both cook from scratch. It's a whole lot cheaper to start with pasta, rice, beans, etc, and build soups, casseroles, etc from there, using vegetables that we have frozen, fresh home-grown garlic stored in our cold cellar, etc. We buy meats, cheeses, poultry, etc, but very few vegetables because we've got a lot frozen from the garden. We have a newspaper subscription, but the paper serves another purpose after it has been read - roll the section up into "sticks" to use as kindling for fires in the wood stove. Due to high ash content (carbonate and clay) most paper is unsuitable for kindling, but newsprint is generally quite clean. My wood is almost 2 years old before I burn it, so it is very dry and burns hot and clean. I haven't had to clean the chimney at all since the first winter, when I was late getting wood under cover. We'll probably burn about 4 cords this winter. At $165/cord, that's pretty cheap heat, and we keep the house nice and warm.

    None of the things we do have been new developments due to economic pressures. We have always been cautious with money. We bought this house and moved out of our old place and put it on the market because we could see a crash coming, and were likely to get a fair price for the old house due to unrealistic housing prices. Also, the town was deferring maintenance on roads, while making cosmetic "improvements" to the business district and raising taxes on home-owners. My friend (who was also the real-estate agent that listed our house) followed suit and put his old farm-house on the market, and he and his wife bought a very modest place a few miles from here. Some of our friends were buying or building in the boom market, and thought we were nuts for down-sizing so drastically. They don't think so anymore. Some of them are underwater on their mortgages and if either loses a job (most are 2-income couples), they'll be in big trouble.

    Advice for the youngsters - if you are going to buy something expensive, buy durable high-quality stuff that will not depreciate fast. A huge plasma TV is not an investment in any sense of the word. It depreciates the moment you leave the store and will be supplanted in a few years by better technology.

    I splurged and bought a 30-hp Kubota tractor/loader and a nice 6' PTO tiller attachment. That tractor has made my life a whole lot easier in some respects and will hold its value because I take very good care of it. I have been able to build access roads on my property with only the cost of diesel and raw materials (gravel, stone, etc) and my time. Sure beats paying some landscaper $75/hour to do the work - plus it's fun.
     
  7. Jan 23, 2010 #6

    Evo

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    I've started keeping the thermostat for the heat at 60F and just use a small space heater in my bedroom.

    I use cold water to wash my clothes and I take short warm, not hot showers.

    I try to go to the store for groceries, etc... only twice a month. If I am out of something I need for a recipe, I will wait until my next shopping trip to get it. The only thing that might warrant a special trip is running out my blood pressure medicine, but I usually make sure I get that refilled in time.

    I don't go out for fast food, and get delivery maybe once a month, but the place is just around the corner, literally. I don't go malling.
     
  8. Jan 23, 2010 #7

    Ivan Seeking

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    22). Conan O'Brian

    When we have had to curtail out spending in the past, dinners out were first on the list. One can spend a small fortune each year on fine dining.

    We have always been conservative wrt energy use.
     
  9. Jan 23, 2010 #8

    DaveC426913

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  10. Jan 23, 2010 #9
    My philosophy is it is fine to live luxuriously, but only if you can legitimately afford it (i.e. not live on credit and debt). Aside from a car and home, pay for everything with cash for the most part, just use a credit card for small things to maintain good credit.

    If you want say a big flat-screen television then save up for it and purchase it with cash, or you can buy it on installment, but make it the ONLY thing (aside from mortgage and car) you are paying installments on for that time being, until you pay it off.

    I don't understand the people who make say six figures but then buy a huge home with a mortgage and expensive car and live paycheck to paycheck, TOO STRESSFUL! Again, huge home and luxury vehicle is fine, AS LONG AS YOU CAN COMFORTABLY AFFORD IT. I'd rather make six figures and buy a smaller home and pay a huge down payment, be able to handle the mortgage easy, have a decent working vehicle and be debt-free and fairly worry-free.
     
  11. Jan 23, 2010 #10

    cronxeh

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  12. Jan 23, 2010 #11

    CRGreathouse

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    I would like to have bought even my car with cash, but I wasn't able to make my old one last long enough for that to happen.

    I use my credit card fairly extensively -- you can't use cash online -- but I pay it off in full every month.
     
  13. Jan 23, 2010 #12
    We cut back on the Christmas gifts to the servants, but it wasn't really cost effective.
     
  14. Jan 23, 2010 #13

    turbo

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    C'mon boys and girls! Unless you are living in a horrendously expensive area of the US, you can scale back, get out of debt, and save for yourself. We paid cash for our last 3 Harleys, my Nissan pickup, my wife's Legacy sedan, my Forester SUV, and the house that we live in currently, and the Kubota tractor and tiller. It is beyond stupid to borrow money to buy stuff when your savings are currently earning less than 1% interest. Either get yourself squared away and ready, or bend over and grab your ankles.
     
  15. Jan 23, 2010 #14
    I think the easiest way to find out where the money goes is to write down every penny you spend for a month
     
  16. Jan 23, 2010 #15
    give up your credit cards for a while and pay for everything in cash. suddenly, you'll have newfound appreciation for how much you actually spend in a day.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2010
  17. Jan 23, 2010 #16

    CRGreathouse

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    I agree with your sentiment, but not with your reasoning:

    Interest rates being low strikes me as a reason to borrow rather than save.
     
  18. Jan 23, 2010 #17
    Spending more of it on those who have the least.:smile:
     
  19. Jan 24, 2010 #18
    Healthcare and privacy?
     
  20. Jan 24, 2010 #19

    Mentallic

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    Don't take showers. It's every American's money-saving scheme:

    • It saves water
    • You don't need an excuse to dump your expensive girlfriend
    • It's too embarrassing to go out in public and shop

    You'd be a fool not to take advantage of this gold mine!
     
  21. Jan 24, 2010 #20

    Borg

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    Like Turbo-1, we have no mortgage or car payments and we cook most of our food from scratch. When we got our house, our goal was to pay it off ASAP. We paid it off in 8 years by making more than double payments. Even making one extra payment per year will reduce a 30 year mortgage to about 22 years. I was floored by the number of people who thought that it was a bad idea because I "would lose my mortgage deduction". :uhh:

    We clip coupons from the paper each week even though we don't need to. There is one grocery store chain in the area that doubles and occasionally triples coupons. I have walked out of there with multiple bags of groceries, paying less than $20 more times than I can count. The trick is to find things that are on sale and use a great coupon at the same time. Even then, I still compare it to the store brand to see if it's really a bargain.

    We also don't go out to eat that often. Sunday afternoon is when we prepare our lunches for the week so we save a lot there also. There are probably 30 people in my area at work but I rarely see more than two or three lunches in the refrigerator. The cafeteria downstairs is always busy though.
     
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