How have you saved $ in these tougher times?

Reply Wed 30 Dec, 2009 01:43 pm
For our cable internet service provider I went to a lower bandwidth.
For our cell phone I switched to a cheaper provider.
For our home phone I switched from land-line to VOIP.

That worked out to $50 per month inclusive of taxes. It was kind'a fiddly and a bit time consuming to check out all the options and reconfigure things, but it all worked out really well and we have no noticeable loss of services.

That's $600 per year and when you figure the equivalent in pre-tax, pre-expense income...a true savings of close to double that per year.

Now I am going to switch from clay kitty litter to wood stove pellets; I have not figured out the savings yet but I'm guessing we'll save about $30 per year.

Exciting times indeed; how have y'all saved $ in these tougher times?
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Green Witch
Reply Wed 30 Dec, 2009 01:54 pm
We discovered if we hooked up the internet cable to the TV we get basic cable at no charge. Apparently the FCC ruled cable companies have to provide at least the local channels to all consumers after the HD shift. The cable companies have kept this a secret. We put a split connection on our box and now have free cable TV (@ 100 stations in my area) and just pay for the internet. We stream in things like HBO from Netflix which is a lot cheaper than high end cable.

The best way to save money is to first figure out what you are buying on impulse and the difference between your wants and your needs. Get rid of the impulses and most of the wants and you are on your way to having a lot more money. I think almost everyone can live on at least 20% less than their take home pay.

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Reply Wed 30 Dec, 2009 01:57 pm
I told the gas company to go blow.

I make my own hot water, and closed off the bedrooms.

I'm saving about $200 a month right now.
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Reply Wed 30 Dec, 2009 02:08 pm
The gas company charges about $10 per month service fee whether we use any gas or not. Total scam because the charges to turn it off for the summer and turn it back on in the winter equal or exceed the annual sum of the monthly fees (well when I last checked 5 years ago that was the case).

We do not actually need to use any gas because I installed electric zone heating throughout the house during our major reno 7 years ago. This gives me an idea so I'm going to check what all the fees are nowadays.
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Reply Wed 30 Dec, 2009 02:12 pm
I use shredded documents and junk mail in place of cat litter.

My mom and I both got rid of my land line and now have a cell phone with a shared family plan. I get a discount with the provider through my work and now I don't have to pay for long distance usage at all and can talk to my mom for free on the 'mobile to mobile' usage. Bonus that when I travel for work, I get great coverage and don't have to use the hotel phones (with outrageous charges) for personal calls.
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Green Witch
Reply Wed 30 Dec, 2009 02:13 pm
Best ways to save money:

>Cook from scratch with simple local ingredients.
>Grow your own or buy from a farmer's market.
>Don't shop for new clothing until something has been worn out and you have no choice but to replace it.
>Don't expand or build additional closet space. It will only tempt you to fill it up. Same for shelving and storage areas. Two car garages usually only contain one car and a lot of extra junk. Small spaces force you to own and thus buy less.
>Bring your own coffee and lunch to work (preferably leftovers from dinner the night before)
>Pay cash for your car (even if your first one is kind of crappy). Never lease. >Keep you car in good repair until it's nearly worthless while paying yourself the monthly equivalent of a car payment. Buy a new car with cash. Repeat cycle.
>Pay your credit cards in full at the end of the month. No cash, no buy.
>Comparison shop for anything and everything you need.
>Try and barter for goods and services.
>Use energy efficient bulbs and turn off lights/radio/tv etc when you leave a room.
>Drop the house temperature in winter until you are cold even with a sweater on. Up the temp until you are comfortable with that sweater.
>Try window fans at night instead of air conditioning. Humans have done just fine without A/C for thousands of years.
>Free kittens and puppies are not free.
>Cheap hair products often work as well as the expensive stuff.
>Keep a high credit rating and your insurance rates will be lower.
>Before buying new check sites like Craigslist and Ebay
>Buy furniture at auctions and estate sales before hitting the stores. Most new furniture is made from cheap materials anyway.
>Use your public library for books you will only read once.

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Reply Wed 30 Dec, 2009 02:34 pm
Some good tips GW.
Also, I did not know that about cable TV.

Timely subject.

A couple of weeks ago I was thinking "since we're going into the year 2010, I'm going to save an additional $2010 starting Jan. 1"

One thing I started, and it does seem to be making a difference is I decided to spend money only one day a week. I picked Saturdays.

I excluded things like doctors visits of course, or other appointments that have to occur during the week.

It's really taken the guesswork out of a lot of purchases for me.

If I see something I think I might need, or rather, or actually think I need because it's such a bargain, I tell myself I'll buy it on Saturday, when I can buy anything I want.
I know there's been a least a couple of things I couldn't even remember wanting by the time Saturday came.
Something else I figured out an alternative that's working just fine.
In addition, it eliminates any stopping at fast food places, which I only did maybe one a month, but now it's not an option.
I've thought about stopping at the store for something quick for dinner, and remembered it wasn't Saturday, so found something just as good I already had at home.

um....I planted some arugula, and it's sprouting on my window sill.
I planted the seeds in a used arugula container, with holes punched in the bottom, and the top of the arugula container us now the catch tray underneath.

I love arugula, and it's $3.99 a container.

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Reply Wed 30 Dec, 2009 02:49 pm
I could bring home shredded paper from work to use as kitty litter and save about $60.00 per year. It would be lighter and easier to dispose of than either the wood stove pellets I was thinking of switching to, or the clay I am presently buying.

Not only that but we would not have to mess with clay tracked through the house. A small amount of baking soda should work to keep down the cat-poo-smells.
Green Witch
Reply Wed 30 Dec, 2009 02:52 pm
You have to wean a cat into the use of anything other than what it is used to. Start by doing a mix of the litter with the paper and gradually cut down on the litter. Do you have any lumber mills near you? Sawdust also works and absorbs better.
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Reply Wed 30 Dec, 2009 03:26 pm
There is a mini-mill nearby, I never thought of that!
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Reply Wed 30 Dec, 2009 05:32 pm
Wow, great suggestions here!

I love the shredded-junk-mail-cat-litter idea.

I enjoy my "cheap" hobby. For instance, I never, ever, buy new clothing. I always get new clothes at thrift stores. I feel all virtuous and happy when I get a designer suit for, like, $2.50.

I also never buy brand-new cars, lamps, sofas, etc.

I use Jojoba Oil in place of facial moisturizers. I use a mixture of baking soda & peroxide to whiten my teeth. I canceled our (Sprint) long-distance phone service and switched to phone cards, and saved that $9/month we were being charged even if we didn't make any long-distance calls.

I have no cable TV. I like to knit or read library books instead.

We always refill our printer cartridges instead of buying new ones. Saves quite a bit of $!

And yeah, cooking at home, not eating out, is a biggie.

I prolly have lots more, but can't remember them at the moment.
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Reply Wed 30 Dec, 2009 05:43 pm
weve used our pastures for two months later than we usually do this year and weve already saved about 2000$ on sheep feed (we did this because we wont breed the ewes until February and then well be back in lush pasture during the end of their gestation)
The market for lamb is pretty much year round now (it used to be ethnic driven). So we can , at least on paper, save about 10K on feed this herd year (july to july).
Also, weve switched from alfalfa to a high protein orchard grass hay (17% avg) . Thats much cheaper to plant and grow and it doesnt require as much bullshit as alfalfa.

Ive gone and made several huge batches of biodiesel for my one truck and for my 2 tractors.BIG SAVINGS. (We havent even figured out the savings yet but its ell over 1500$)

Ill brew 2 batches of Lapsang from the same tea lkeaves..
Its a fairly strong tea so the second batch isnt appreciably weaker.
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Reply Wed 30 Dec, 2009 06:50 pm
I have rarely spent, besides old bills and recurrent bills, on other than groceries for years. The exceptions are one magazine subscription, rare buying at the good will, and ordering a few books about four times a year. Among the recurrent bills is my dsl connection. Some food will go first.
Last splurge was going to a chicago a2k meet in 2006.
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Tai Chi
Reply Wed 30 Dec, 2009 09:05 pm
Our cable TV provider gave us up! (Got a letter telling us they were not going to be providing service anymore.) So we gave up TV. Get 2 channels with the rabbit ears. I mostly read anyway -- have a used book store near me that lets me trade in. Gave up our long distance plan and use pre-paid cards -- way cheaper than carrying a plan. Both the Mr and I take our lunch to school/work. I cook mostly from scratch. (The crockpot is my friend.) Keep the thermostat low. Avoid service fees wherever possible. (You know, other than the TV, this is how we've always lived come to think of it.)
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Reply Wed 30 Dec, 2009 09:16 pm
I replaced the ink jet printer with a laser printer. The little bit extra it cost one time has more than made up for the high priced ink cartridges I was either purchasing or refilling when they dried out and rarely got any actual use.

I've used the same $30 laser cartridge for about 18 months. In that time I would have spent twice that much on liquid ink for the ink jet and not gotten nearly as many sheets of printed paper from them.

Laser printers are "dry ink" on demand rather than "wet ink" hanging around drying out until you need to use it.
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Reply Wed 30 Dec, 2009 11:24 pm
If you're handy with an old soldering iron you can melt open the laser cartridge and put in new the stuff and dump out the old stuff. I've been doing it for years and it works just as well as the recycled cartridges you can buy. Yep, I'm talking about laser not ink jet!
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Reply Thu 31 Dec, 2009 01:08 am
How have I survived?

Only just, a few times. But mostly by some pretty severe belt-tightening, concentrating on the essentials, like bills & food. Oddly enough it hasn't been all that hard. Most of the time, that is.
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Reply Thu 31 Dec, 2009 08:16 am
"We don't have the money for that" became my mantra with the girls. It was only hard the first few times. Then it became normal. Then they stopped asking.
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Reply Thu 31 Dec, 2009 09:00 am
I've focused on the positive the past year. My goal was to sock away an emergency savings equal to 6 months of take home pay. Just knowing that I had to save X number of dollars each month made me rethink every purchase decision. Really cut down on impulse buying.

I also got rid of my land line and dumped the expensive cell phone plan for a pay-as-you-go cell phone. We used to eat out once or twice a week. We rarely do that anymore. And I take sack lunches to work. I shop sales and stock up on bulk items when they are cheap.
Reply Thu 31 Dec, 2009 03:46 pm
I also stopped the newspaper. I can read all the news I need online. Saving me another $20/mo.

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