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How far to save a buck?

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How far to save a buck?

Old 01-31-11, 12:25 AM
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WalksOn2Wheels
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How far to save a buck?

So I can imagine some folks here like simple, i.e. cheap, living. Sure the benefits of bike ownership vs. car ownership has it's ups and down financially. Mostly ups.

But what else do you do to save money? Any good money saving ideas?

I only ask because I just cut my own hair for the first time ever. It surprisingly turned out ok according to my wife. But I did it more for convenience (never found a decent hair place around here), but by today's standards, that's a good 15 bucks saved.
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Old 01-31-11, 02:55 AM
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Brew your own beer!
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Old 01-31-11, 03:53 AM
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I don't use credit cards, I pay cash. For example if I want something but can't afford it then I wait until I save enough money to buy it and pay for it with cash. When I get my paycheque I always take about 10% and pay myself first by putting money into savings.
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Old 01-31-11, 04:17 AM
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Wank wank wank ten quid in the bank.
Root root root spend more loot.

A lot of truth in that one.
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Old 01-31-11, 07:29 AM
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I've cut my own hair for the last 5 years or so, I just got to the point where I couldn't stand paying $18 for that. I just use clippers and a guard between 1/2" (summer) and 7/8" (winter).

I just paid off the credit cards for the first time in many years. I still use them but not until I have money in the bank to pay for it anyway, and only if I get some kind of reward points or something. For instance I get 3% back when I use my Amazon Visa at Amazon.com, but other than that I use the debit card and pull from checking.

I'm a pretty cheap dude. I start the plants for the garden from seed, which is more fun and way cheaper than buying them. I do all my own wrenching, both bike and car, so the total maintenance bill on the 15 year old car in the driveway with 135,000 miles on it is < $1500 including a few sets of new tires, oil changes, all consumables, a few new sensors, a brake job, some coolant pipes and a few other things replaced.

I drive very conservatively, and as a result my cars don't need much maintenance. I don't have to replace my brake pads until > 100,000 miles, and even then the rotors are still fine and I usually don't even have to turn them, just $35 for new pads, 30 minutes to thrown them on and I'm good. I know people who drive like they're in Nascar and they are putting new brakes (and suspension, and engine work, etc etc) on their cars every year, usually spending several thousand dollars in the process.

Most recently I've realized that I spend way too much on toys, and I've locked myself down. I spent about 6 months going through all my possessions and I sold/gave away/threw out about 80% of what I had. I haven't missed much of it, and even when I repurchased (I just bought a new telescope, for instance) I bought a more modest version of what I had before, for less money than I paid for it. I'm saving the money I otherwise would have spent on toys, and plan to travel instead.
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Old 01-31-11, 07:32 AM
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I've never had a cell phone or any type of pay TV, basically just because I was never really interested in either. Saved me thousands over the years for sure!

We do use a credit card, which gets payed off in full every month, never a cent in interest. Our particular card has the "drivers edge" rebate program, (cash back when you buy any new or used car from any private seller or dealer) so by using it the bank actually paid us money. We got over a thousand dollars back twice over the years. Plenty of banks offer other types of rebate programs to choose from. It's all about controlling what one spends, not what means they use for paying.
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Old 01-31-11, 08:39 AM
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Prepaid cell phones, they don't have to be crap either.
This will be my next phone, Tmobile Comet(Android).
No 3G/4G charge, I'll be using the free wifi. Not a heavy
cell user will get the $100 plan good for 1,000 minutes
for a year:

http://www.t-mobile.com/shop/phones/...-Comet-Prepaid

Oh on the haircut, I bought the haircutting set from Costco many years ago(6?).
It's paid for itself over and over, my girlfriend cuts my hair
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Old 01-31-11, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by 009jim View Post
Wank wank wank ten quid in the bank.
Root root root spend more loot.

A lot of truth in that one.
Could you translate that for us yanks?
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Old 01-31-11, 08:55 AM
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My wife cuts my hair. Does a better job than the people at SuperCuts or wherever normally did, too.

A couple other ideas that come to mind off the top of my head as changes I've made to save some money:
*Stretch your meat recipes by adding A LOT of onions, garlic, celery, etc. Texturized vegetable protein (TVP) makes for a good meat substitute, too, either on its own (flavored with boullion) or used as a filler to stretch meat. Of course, the first step before any of these should be to try to eat fewer meat-based meals altogether. Meat is expensive, especially if it's not feed lot industrial ag stuff.
*Make homemade iced tea instead of drinking soda or other premade/prebottled drinks if you want something w ith flavor. Otherwise, just drink tap water, which is 100s of times cheaper than any other drink. (i.e., don't drink bottled water - waste of $ and bad for the environment).
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Old 01-31-11, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
I've never had a cell phone or any type of pay TV, basically just because I was never really interested in either. Saved me thousands over the years for sure!
I dropped cable in favor of free over-the-air HDTV years ago. There's lots of information on the Web on local station towers and frequencies, how to build your own antenna out of coathangers, etc. I eventually went the deluxe route with two antennas in the attic recorded on a dedicated HTPC, but I still saved money over cable+DVR in less than a year, plus I can watch Hulu, Youtube, etc. in the living room.

If you want a cell phone, you can give up your land line to save money.
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Old 01-31-11, 09:05 AM
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Nice with the haircut. I have never paid for a haircut in my life. I have been cutting my hair since high school and my mom cut it before that.

I try and buy used stuff whenever I can and its reasonable. I get alot of good stuff at thrift stores and on Craigslist. Its also nice to get stuff free as well.

If its something you won't use alot like a specific tool try and borrow it. I like having things of my own, but I have started to try this recently and it saves some cash and less stuff laying around. Be willing to lend stuff out to return the favor.

Food is a great way to save cash. Bring your own lunch, cook your own food etc. If you get used to doing this you can also start eating healthier as well if you care. =)
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Old 01-31-11, 09:05 AM
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I roast my own coffee and sell some to my neighbors and friends
I have a cell phone, but work pays for that.
Eating out can get out of control quickly. I try to cook at home - especially on weekends, then save leftovers for lunch during the week. I need to get back in the habit again - been slipping lately.
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Old 01-31-11, 09:22 AM
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Haircutting is something I've been doing by myself for the last several years as well. Going car free has saved us big. That's probably the biggest saver for us. Also no cell phone just use our landline with unlimitted long distance we got in our cable/internet bundle (we do have a prepaid that we share for emergencies, but mainly communications through the day are done via skype). And always packing my lunch rather than going out like most of my coworkers is saving a bunch. Oh and of course paying off our credit cards at the end of each month. Direct payroll deduction into long term savings and retirement accounts is nice too because we don't miss what we never see.
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Old 01-31-11, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by fsc View Post
Could you translate that for us yanks?
Staying home and masturbating = free
Going out with a girl and bringing her home = $$$
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Old 01-31-11, 09:52 AM
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buy a thermos..bring coffee to work...pack your lunch.
family talk plan..
contribute at least as much as your company matches on your 401k..
take the bike rack off of the car roof.. saves gas..
wear a sweater indoors...lower the heat in the house..get rid of them halogen bulbs..
buy your bike **** on craigslist..
here is a real classy one..get a long ass extension cord and steal your neighbor's power..
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Old 01-31-11, 10:06 AM
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I've been cutting my own hair for over 15 years. I wear it buzzed close. My wife cleans up and squares off the back.

I do nearly all of the repairs on my wife's mini-van (220,000 miles on it). This brings me over to your neck of the woods from time to time, hunting for cheap parts.
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Old 01-31-11, 10:31 AM
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I've gone through 2 buzz-cutters (shears) in the past 15 years. Total cost $25, you recoup it in 2 haircuts. Also useful if you like to keep a trim beard, or uh other areas. Also cut my kids' hair.

I don't have a cell phone. My wife has a prepaid phone for emergencies, we spend less than $40 a year on it.

We don't have a landline phone, we use Skype, $60 a year.

We don't have cable/satellite TV (except football season, we get DirecTV Sunday Ticket + base package).

We've never owned a new car, and we're down to 1 car now.

We shop in bulk (sam's club) and at Walmart.

I haven't had a new bike since I was 16 (and that was a scratch-and-dent Trek on sale for $300).

We try our best to live under our means which means for us a house that's less than what we could afford, cars less prestigious than we could be driving, grillouts and drinks at home instead of expensive five-star restaurants, driving to visit family (800+ miles away) instead of flying, etc.

We were notoriously cheap when dating - her a grad student on a stipend, me an undergrad with a minimum wage job - we'd cook each other dinner and go to each others' place and watch TV and do things young people in love do. No bars, very few restaurants, no movies, etc. We still had a lot of fun. A bottle of wine and 2 young people... you find fun

Our paycheck the first x% goes to church/charity/insurance/investments. We don't even see it. After that we pay the bills and put most of the rest into savings. We do have fun but family trips are things like driving and camping.

Living cheap is fun. I also think it's an important value to instill in kids. No, I'm not going to buy you a new toy because you broke it, I will fix it as long as I can but you need to learn to be careful with what you have. I will spend money on you where it's important (durable shoes, education, life experiences). I think it sends a good message.

-philip
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Old 01-31-11, 10:35 AM
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Do as much as you can yourself, minimize and combine your bills, price hunt when possible. Buy used things, only spend more money if it means something will last much longer.

Also, stay away from new bikes... they will cost you LOTS of money.
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Old 01-31-11, 10:56 AM
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i keep my thermostat at 60 degrees and just wear sweat shirts if i'm chilly. that's an easy way to save a ton of money in a cold climate city like chicago. the savings between 72 degrees (most people's concept of "room temperature") and 60 degrees is considerable when totaled up over an entire winter.

in the summer, i don't turn the AC on unless it's humid and over 85. by extending my body's indoor comfort range from 60 to 85, my energy costs are much, much less than a household who keeps indoor temps at 72 degrees year round.
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Old 01-31-11, 11:05 AM
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Some of things my girlfriend and I do.
- Brew own beer/mead/cider (in addition to buying from micro-breweries, though that doesn't really save money...)
- Use a couple of simple ingredients for all household (including body) cleaning. Dr. Bronners for body/hair/pets, mix it with Borax for laundry detergent, and household/kitchen/bathroom cleaner. Vinegar for tile floors, windows, and misc. things. Ammonia in place of vinegar if things are really dirty.
- Grow own herbs, and veggies in the summer. We'll probably sign up for a CSA as well this season.
- Own 1 (shared between both of us) '95 Honda Civic with 215,000 miles and still going strong. No car payments, and only requires routine maintenance
- Netflix, and bunny ears in favor of a cable subscription.
- Water filter in place of bottled water.
- Bring own lunch, and coffee to work/school instead of going out.
- Buy regular, or bulk sized foods and put into smaller containers to bring to work/school instead of buying "snack sized" things. Buy whole fruits instead of buying pre-made fruit salads.
- Bring own thermos to coffee shop. Most places will take a couple of cents off if you have a thermos.
- Buy used furniture, clothes, and pets.
- Spend the extra money, and buy quality instead of cheap crap that has to be replaced often.
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Old 01-31-11, 12:21 PM
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The best way I know to save money is to work long hours, thus earning more while having no time to spend it. The second best way is to spend my free time riding a bike (keeps me from shopping).
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Old 01-31-11, 12:32 PM
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I also have only a pre-paid phone. $5/month. I wouldn't have one at all other than my wife got mad at me when I had multiple flats once a couple of years ago and was over an hour late. Got one the next day.

I wouldn't have any kind of a TV subscription if it was just me. Mainly my wife wants to watch sports. The kids and I watch everything off the internet.
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Old 01-31-11, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
i keep my thermostat at 60 degrees and just wear sweat shirts if i'm chilly. that's an easy way to save a ton of money in a cold climate city like chicago. the savings between 72 degrees (most people's concept of "room temperature") and 60 degrees is considerable when totaled up over an entire winter.

in the summer, i don't turn the AC on unless it's humid and over 85. by extending my body's indoor comfort range from 60 to 85, my energy costs are much, much less than a household who keeps indoor temps at 72 degrees year round.
Wow, 72 is "room temperature?" Ours is set to 62 in the day, and about 50 at night. If it was just me, I'd probably keep it even colder. I also don't use the AC at all in the summer, though my family will turn it on at about 80 degrees. Most of the summer I'm outside anyway.
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Old 01-31-11, 12:37 PM
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Wow, lots of good replies!

On the haircut, I thought I should specify I actually did a full on scissor cut with a fade and everything. Just used the electric shears to clean up around the edges. It was quite a wild experience.

It's odd, my wife and I do live cheaply, but me a student with a part time on campus job and her making roughly 35 grand after taxes AND free rent (she works for the apartment's after school program) we still have to watch our budget like hawks. Things that help are a cash based, envelope budget system. If we have X amount for food that month and we run out, we have to take it out of something else, like our monthly allowances.

Also, I bought a used motorcycle (old motorcycle developed transmission issues) and had to finance, but we paid it off in a year. Her car is the same one she got from her parents, a 95 Saturn SL1 with over 170K miles now. I do all the work on that car and it's been great. Still running well aside from some suspension clunks in the front end. I should look at that soon...

And yes, food is the killer. Eating out can get out of control. I'm making more of an effort to bring lunch to school because you just can't buy lunch for a 200+ pound bicycle commuter for under 5 bucks.

I should take to heart the idea of buying used stuff when possible. I just love the feel of new stuff. I say I'm not materialistic, but then I lust after bicycling or camping gear half the time. And the thought of buying that stuff used never enters my mind because I just love the new gear smell.
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Old 01-31-11, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by envane View Post
Staying home and masturbating = free
Going out with a girl and bringing her home = $$$
That's what I thought it meant....
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