That Frugal Thing You Do

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities

Postby VictoriaF » Fri Jun 04, 2010 3:00 pm

I don't buy high (or sell low).:D

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Postby stemikger » Sat Jun 05, 2010 1:21 pm

Last year when they were laying off people like crazy at my job, I stopped cable. I had an antenna put on my roof and paid nothing for T.V. Just recently I went back to DirectTV, because I missed it, but if I ever get laid off that will be the first thing to go.
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Postby Wonk » Sun Jun 06, 2010 12:38 pm

I just went through this thread with great interest. Compared to many of my peers, I'm frugal but not a miser. I spend a good amount of money on experiences--eating out and travel--rather than material goods like cars, clothes and gadgets (still have a few flat screens and an iphone though). Comparatively speaking, I spend about the same amount annually as most of my friends pay on their nice big house and eating at home, just in a different way.

Growing up, I watched my mom wash out ziplock bags and reuse them. I still feel bad throwing them into the recycle bin today, but I've decided its just not worth my time for the extra 2 cents. I also pay a cleaning lady once a month because I despise cleaning my house.

After an 80/20 analysis of my budget last year, I directed my energy to the highest expenses worth attacking: housing and taxes.

Housing: although not a traditional route for being frugal, I plan on building a house. I live in a desirable town that has a lot of residential rehabilitation going on. I'm in the process of buying a building lot and subdividing so I can build a townhouse-style twin. I'll be selling one unit and my wife and I will occupy the other side. I plan on being the GC during the construction which will save me about 25% per unit. This not only insulates me from the current downturn, but also allows me tax free earnings when I sell the house in a few years and do it all over again. Mortgage interest deduction means nothing to me if I can earn over 100K tax free by building and selling a home every 2 or more years.

Taxes: aside from using the homeowner tax credit as mentioned above, I work from home as a consultant and I find every way possible (legally) for the business to pick up expenses. Business picks up the tab for new computers, cell phone, eating out with potential clients, etc. Saves 28% or more while increasing quality of life.

There's a line I draw when trying to save money. If I'd rather just find a way to earn more rather than cut more, I'll do it. But I also try to eliminate expenses related to keeping up with the "joneses."
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Postby Die Hard » Sun Jun 06, 2010 8:17 pm

Here's another I forgot. I buy clothes from Goodwill (not everything). A shirt, pant or skirt costs $3.50 each (or less when 1/2 price special). If alteration is needed, I take the item to a neighbor who alters for between 5 and 8 dollars. She is on a fixed income and sometimes has trouble paying mortgage. I feel like I'm helping Goodwill's purpose and my neighbor. And the item ends up costing me less than $12.00!!
The best way to teach your children about money is to not have any.............
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Postby daytona084 » Mon Jun 07, 2010 12:04 am

I can't believe no one has mentioned this one...
If it's yellow, let it mellow; if it's brown, flush it down. :lol:
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Postby FF-Medic » Mon Jun 07, 2010 12:44 pm

We are frugal but do not live strapped.

My wife cuts my hair (which needs it every other week) so thats $20/month

We refill our water bottles and replace when needed.

Our water heater is set on a timer and only runs 4 hrs out of a day.

We do not watch TV and therefore do not have tv's or cable cost.

No internet as we both can use it at our jobs.

No home phone as we both have cells.

I hunt and fish which is a hobby of mine which results in meat for the freezer.

1st vehicle was used and I still have it with 236,000 on it.

Other one was bought new and paid off quickly and will be driven into the dirt, (I think it's frugal to be new if you buy with 0%interest and own it for 20+ yrs)

We are both hot natured so our heat rarely runs in winter.

We both eat at home or take our meals and when we go out we don't go to high end places.

I'm sure there are more than I can't remember, And I have picked up several good ideas from this thread.
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Postby The Wizard » Mon Jun 07, 2010 12:59 pm

Some of these frugality replies seem to go over the edge, even with a healthy dose of YMMV.
Maybe I'll start a thread focusing on what being frugal in some areas allows one to partake more extravagantly of in other areas.

If foregoing having internet and television at home, among other things, allows me to accumulate a net worth of $10M by age 90 instead of merely $7M, then I'd have to think about it for a while...
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Postby HomerJ » Mon Jun 07, 2010 4:33 pm

rrosenkoetter wrote:I've always looked at cars as tranportation only... I want reliable, but don't care about anything else...

My first (and only) new car was Hyundai Excel, which I bought with manual drive, no air conditioning (I lived in New Hampshire at the time), basic radio, and no dashboard cloak...

Cost my $7000, which I paid off very quickly...

All my other cars have been used Hondas or Toyotas... usually 2-3 years old with less than 40k miles. I pay cash for them... drive them for years...

It gives me a smug satisfaction to drive my 2003 Honda Civic to work each morning as I see my neighbors with their giant brand-new SUVs.

HOWEVER...

I'm turning 40 this year... my wife and I are doing well... my daughter could use a car for college... Normally I'd drive this Civic another 4 years... but maybe just maybe... I might look at something more fun....


Heh, it's funny to re-read this post from over a year ago...

By the way, I gave my daughter my old Honda Civic, and..... bought another used Honda Civic... Guess I'll get my "fun" car at 50 :)
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Postby scouter » Mon Jun 07, 2010 4:49 pm

Very entertaining thread. I imagine most of us are reading along, saying, "Oh yeah, I've done that, that's just good sense." and ""Wow! I've never done that! That's REALLY cheap!"

My wife and I have always bought our cars new, but never kept one less than 15 years. I ordered a Jeep CJ7 from the factory in the year I graduated college. (1978) Total cost $7000. Drove it for 15 years and sold it for $3500. Total cost of ownership (not counting routine maintenance) came out to $19.44/month. Our kids are currently driving a 17-year-old minivan, (runs like new), and my wife's minivan is 10, (also runs like new). We try hard to choose good vehicles and take good care of them. Bonus savings in the insurance premiums. We're not very stylish in our aged vehicles, but one of our cars is usually less than 8 years old, and we'll use that one to go to church, parties, weddings, etc.

I have practiced many of the cost-cutting measures in this thread, but now that we are in our mid-50's, we're "letting go" in a couple areas. We tip more generously, (provided the service is good), and we're giving more each year to charity, mostly through our church, as they're very efficient in their use of money. (and we like efficiency)

And we don't regret any of the frugal habits we've acquired along the way, as those habits have given us independence.
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Postby Moneybags1 » Mon Jun 07, 2010 6:33 pm

I dropped my cable effective June 8th, 2010. Got the idea from this board, been getting basic cable for $9.95 promo for 1 year now they want $14.95... For the first time in a long time I am line drying my clothes, use phone cards for long distance and use cell with a business deduction. Raised my Homeowners ded to $5k all other perils, 10% hurricane. I can afford the above but I am sick of these jokers raising prices and fees every year think we are a captive audience.
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Postby FF-Medic » Mon Jun 07, 2010 9:38 pm

The Wizard wrote:Some of these frugality replies seem to go over the edge, even with a healthy dose of YMMV.
Maybe I'll start a thread focusing on what being frugal in some areas allows one to partake more extravagantly of in other areas.

If foregoing having internet and television at home, among other things, allows me to accumulate a net worth of $10M by age 90 instead of merely $7M, then I'd have to think about it for a while...


Wiz, I agree. the TV is religion and we are rarely home anyway......As far as just sitting around being frugal, hardly we spend a lot on things that we enjoy, such as Scuba diving which is terribly unfrugal, as well as taking 5-7 trips/yr as we love to travel. We have our own personal libary as we enjoy reading and we just built a new home....As well as owning ATV's, and Boats.
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Postby NateW » Tue Jun 08, 2010 7:55 am

My hobby is saving money by fixing or building things many people pay others to do, and pay them alot. I live in the Washington, DC area and services are sky high, price wise. This has really raised our standard of living too.

I keep cars 15 years or longer, but I perform all repairs and maintenance myself, at home. If I need a special tool for the job, I buy or rent it. I find the job is done better and I save alot on labor and about 30% on parts. For example, I reccently replaced the timing belt on my car (Jetta TDI-diesel) and the parts were about $350 and the special tools $85, but the dealer quoted me $1500 for the job. I also replaced our gas hot water heater for about $450 (would have cost about $1400 for a plumber to do).

I remodeled our kitchen and a living room, built a deck. Saved thousands. I will also fix appliances that break, do my own plumbing and electrical wiring.

All of this was self taught. The key is that you have to have an interest in doing these things.

Some things I won't do and it is a real treat to have it done -- roofing and painting the exterior of our house. Just too big a job because I am getting older.

--Nate
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Postby The Wizard » Tue Jun 08, 2010 8:12 am

FF-Medic wrote:Wiz, I agree. the TV is religion and we are rarely home anyway......As far as just sitting around being frugal, hardly we spend a lot on things that we enjoy, such as Scuba diving which is terribly unfrugal, as well as taking 5-7 trips/yr as we love to travel. We have our own personal libary as we enjoy reading and we just built a new home....As well as owning ATV's, and Boats.

Good, I feel all better now.
I have a number of frugal techniques as well, such as heating the house in winter with wood stoves using "free" wood.
I'm a diver also and need a return trip to Belize. I'm thinking staying out on an atoll would be better this time...
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Postby bearcub » Tue Jun 08, 2010 8:41 am

1 When someone has their clothes drying in the laundry mat and leaves Illl throw my clothes in with theirs
2 Use teabags over 3 times
3Never buy shampoo or soap,take it from hotel rooms
4Let barrel get filled with rain water so I can water plants without putting the hose on.
5 Pickup dead deer on highway and make venison stew.
6Take sugar packets from coffeeshoppe
7Let suit air outside instead of bringing it to cleaners
8 Use hand signals when turning in car,so I dont burnout bulblight
"Im gonna get my kicks in before the whole S--t house goes up in flames" | Jim Morrison- doors
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Postby Wonk » Tue Jun 08, 2010 11:26 am

I'm curious if many other folks place a market value or ROI on their frugality. For instance, another consultant I know who is very well known in one industry bills at $500/hr and is booked solid. He wouldn't even think about painting his house or even so much as driving to the post office. His thinking is that after tax, he's earning $300/hr so it pays him to earn more and hire a painter at $25/hr. Same with his assistant at $20/hr who runs his errands for him.

I'm inclined to agree. That's why my frugality only goes so far. For instance, I absolutely hate cleaning the house. It may be considered a luxury to hire a cleaning lady for $150/mo, but I'd rather work another hour each month than spend a Saturday cleaning my house. Conversely, I refuse to buy new cars because of the depreciation. I'd rather buy after 2 years and 24k miles to have "like new" at a lower cost. I suppose it's just picking and choosing one's level of happiness.

At what point do you see a diminishing return on your frugality?
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Postby scouter » Tue Jun 08, 2010 4:09 pm

Wonk wrote:I'm curious if many other folks place a market value or ROI on their frugality.


I've always done this, especially in the years when my career was hot and I was real busy working. And I always factored taxes into the equation. If I was going to pay a painter $500 and I was making $100/hour, I'd figure that was worth about 7.5 hours of my work time, as I'd have to earn an extra $750 before taxes to pay him $500 after taxes.

During busy weeks, I would hire someone to do things like cut my grass, on slower weeks, I'd do it myself.
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Postby FF-Medic » Tue Jun 08, 2010 4:56 pm

Wonk wrote:I'm curious if many other folks place a market value or ROI on their frugality. For instance, another consultant I know who is very well known in one industry bills at $500/hr and is booked solid. He wouldn't even think about painting his house or even so much as driving to the post office. His thinking is that after tax, he's earning $300/hr so it pays him to earn more and hire a painter at $25/hr. Same with his assistant at $20/hr who runs his errands for him.

I'm inclined to agree. That's why my frugality only goes so far. For instance, I absolutely hate cleaning the house. It may be considered a luxury to hire a cleaning lady for $150/mo, but I'd rather work another hour each month than spend a Saturday cleaning my house. Conversely, I refuse to buy new cars because of the depreciation. I'd rather buy after 2 years and 24k miles to have "like new" at a lower cost. I suppose it's just picking and choosing one's level of happiness.

At what point do you see a diminishing return on your frugality?


I agree with that philosophy and most of my frugality requires no time, other than oil changes among other things, that I do because I'm picky about the way things are done....My idea of frugality is for the most part it does not affect MY quality of life which may be different from someone else's but allows me to save on one area so that I can afford to splurge on another area.
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Postby daytona084 » Tue Jun 08, 2010 5:39 pm

Wonk wrote:I'm curious if many other folks place a market value or ROI on their frugality.


I get paid by the month, not by the hour. If I did bill for my services at $300/hour, a lot of things would be different!
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Postby nyinvestor718 » Tue Jun 08, 2010 5:48 pm

Atilla wrote:1. Cheap mortgage on a cheap house.
2. Keep investing expenses low.
3. No interest payments other than the 4.375% fixed mortgage.
4. Don't buy too much useless crap.
5. Krups espresso machine in the kitchen keeps me away from the coffee bar.
6. Wife and I brown bag lunch almost every day. I work from home, so I skip the bag.
7. Sneak booze into the topless pool at Mandalay Bay and just order diet Pepsi all afternoon.


Going to Vegas in July. Being 26 and on my own while maxing out all of my tax advantaged accounts, number 7 cracked me up :D :D
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Postby new2bogle » Tue Jun 08, 2010 5:52 pm

wjwhitney wrote:
Wonk wrote:I'm curious if many other folks place a market value or ROI on their frugality.


I get paid by the month, not by the hour. If I did bill for my services at $300/hour, a lot of things would be different!


Exactly.

Breaking down the per hour cost of something to compare do it yourself vs. hiring really only makes sense if you can work that extra time and make money. Salaried people can't usually do that.
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Postby Die Hard » Tue Jun 08, 2010 9:08 pm

bearcub wrote:1 When someone has their clothes drying in the laundry mat and leaves Illl throw my clothes in with theirs
2 Use teabags over 3 times
3Never buy shampoo or soap,take it from hotel rooms
4Let barrel get filled with rain water so I can water plants without putting the hose on.
5 Pickup dead deer on highway and make venison stew.
6Take sugar packets from coffeeshoppe
7Let suit air outside instead of bringing it to cleaners
8 Use hand signals when turning in car,so I dont burnout bulblight


OMG, I got a hefty laugh with this reply. And, BTW, the laugh was free (quite frugal). Really, #1, 5 and 8???? :shock:
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Postby mptfan » Wed Jun 09, 2010 9:59 am

wjwhitney wrote:I get paid by the month, not by the hour. If I did bill for my services at $300/hour, a lot of things would be different!


You could bill your services at $300 an hour if you want, it's collecting that would be an issue. :wink:
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Postby superlight » Wed Jun 09, 2010 2:10 pm

In some ways I know I'm too cheap, in some ways I think I do it right (I prefer a good lunch at an ethnic place every day), but now and then I splurge (like on a kayak I don't really use that often).

I think the healthiest pattern is to be frugal about the big things, and the long-term contracts, but to keep some "flash cash" for things like those lunches.

... I know where [I] can get a good Thai lunch at a sit down restaurant for $6.95!
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Postby Latecomer » Wed Jun 09, 2010 2:39 pm

I take my clothes out of the washer, place in the dryer set on "fluff" or
"low." This gets the wrinkles out. After about 10 minutes, I put the shirts on hangers, and then hang the whole works on the clothes line.

So, no ironing (which I hate to do!), and the shirts are ready to put in the closet. :idea:
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Postby steadyeddy » Wed Jun 09, 2010 2:55 pm

As a server, I had a man come into my restaurant the other day and spend twenty minutes trying to talk me into letting his wife and him split an all-you-can-eat ribs entree. He finally agreed to order two entrees, per the rules. He did, however, order only one pepsi which he proceeded to share with his wife. Early in the evening, he asked how late we were open. He said he wanted to be sure to stay for some time, so he could consume a greater quantity of ribs. He ended up electing to sit for over three hours to accomplish this task. During this period of time, he complained repeatedly about having to pay for two entrees. He said there had been a marked decline of civility in the restaurant industry. Apparently he had formerly been a regular diner at Old Country Buffet, but they had offended him by making him empty his wife's purse of the several dozen cookies he had stashed away. He said there were no signs indicating that taking extra cookies was prohibited, and he was astonished that the manager could have been so rude.

He repeated several times that he was a "very frugal man," so I guess would be considered "that frugal thing he does"!
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Postby ted123 » Wed Jun 09, 2010 3:06 pm

new2bogle wrote:
wjwhitney wrote:
Wonk wrote:I'm curious if many other folks place a market value or ROI on their frugality.


I get paid by the month, not by the hour. If I did bill for my services at $300/hour, a lot of things would be different!


Exactly.

Breaking down the per hour cost of something to compare do it yourself vs. hiring really only makes sense if you can work that extra time and make money. Salaried people can't usually do that.


I think you still need to have some understanding of how much your time is worth if you want to know whether DIYing is really saving you anything (obviously, if you enjoy DIYing, then that's something else entirely).

We pay for both housecleaning and (starting this year) yard maintenance. The housecleaning is a bargain, IMO. I'm less sure about the yard maintenance but in both cases they free up many hours of my time and do a better job than I would have done to boot.

Obviously, I don't consider either frugal.
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Postby Sidney » Wed Jun 09, 2010 3:09 pm

steadyeddy wrote:As a server, I had a man come into my restaurant the other day and spend twenty minutes trying to talk me into letting his wife and him split an all-you-can-eat ribs entree. He finally agreed to order two entrees, per the rules. He did, however, order only one pepsi which he proceeded to share with his wife. Early in the evening, he asked how late we were open. He said he wanted to be sure to stay for some time, so he could consume a greater quantity of ribs. He ended up electing to sit for over three hours to accomplish this task. During this period of time, he complained repeatedly about having to pay for two entrees. He said there had been a marked decline of civility in the restaurant industry. Apparently he had formerly been a regular diner at Old Country Buffet, but they had offended him by making him empty his wife's purse of the several dozen cookies he had stashed away. He said there were no signs indicating that taking extra cookies was prohibited, and he was astonished that the manager could have been so rude.

He repeated several times that he was a "very frugal man," so I guess would be considered "that frugal thing he does"!


Let me guess. Both of them grossly obese.
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Postby Anthony » Fri Jun 18, 2010 8:28 pm

1. Buy coupons off eBay for my favorite foods, then buy in bulk when they go on sale.
2. Also get foods from places like Big Lots, Costco, and bakery outlets.
3. Brown bag lunches to work and carry snacks with me.
4. Got a set of Wahl hair clippers for $20 to cut my own hair with.
5. Use prepaid Tracfone.
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Postby dual » Fri Jun 18, 2010 9:02 pm

dm200 wrote:On principle (with a secondary frugality motive), I refuse to use bottled water. In the US, 99.99% of municipal water (at considerable expense) is perfectly safe. Bottled water is a scam. [I have to hand it to the marketeers].


Well, not to hijack the thread, but I disagree. Most municipal water treatment plants have switched to using chloramine instead of chlorine. Chloramine gives me diarrhea. You cannot remove it from water by letting it stand like you could with chlorine. You also cannot remove it with charcoal filter pitchers and even reverse osmosis filters decrease the concentration minimally.

In addition, all those plastic bottles clog landfills are an environmental nightmare.


I agree but until the local powers that be change the treatment, I am buying the bottled water albeit in large containers to minimize cost.
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Postby Taylor Larimore » Fri Jun 18, 2010 9:35 pm

Hi Bogleheads:

My Dad was manager of the Miami Laundry. We had a service department where laundry and dry-cleaning items accumulated that were unidentified or never picked up.

Every six months or so, I would go to the service department to select our clothing--often much nicer than I could afford. For many years I never spent a dime on clothing.
"Simplicity is the master key to financial success." -- Jack Bogle
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Postby mickeyd » Sat Jun 19, 2010 12:51 pm

I am not mechanically inclined, however I try to do as much preventative maintenance as possible on my vehicles (change oil, replace filters, replace bulbs, etc) which saves me money and gets me involved with my cars health and welfare on a regular basis. The Internet and service manuals have proven to be a great assistance to me in this process. I also keep a pretty extensive log (Excel) on all maintenance and repairs that are done on my cars (even annual state inspection and registration).
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Postby Beezthree » Sun Jun 20, 2010 3:48 am

Almost there wrote:GRT2BOUTDOORS wrote:
I wish there was an In-n-Out here on the east coast.

There is one in Andover NJ on Rt. 206.


incorrect. there are only in-n-out burger chains in 4 western states: california, utah, nevada and arizona.
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Postby the intruder » Sun Jun 20, 2010 3:10 pm

get some one else to pay my costs.

I have a commuter benefit plan that allows me to pay for my train costs and parking with pre tax dollars that saves me $75 per month in taxes (commuter benefit is exempt from federal, state or FICA tax).
IRS allows entire amount of my contribution to the commuter plan to be used to buy my monthly commuter pass and parking payments. Or I can work from home and save $25 a day.

I aways max out my FSA account balance by using auto reimbursement which allows FSA payments for expenses of out of network providers who limit their reimbursements to the amount that they can collect under the health insurance plan.

I get the WSJ ($2) for free by picking up a WSJ that was left on the train.

I can always find office supplies to buy on sale and use a discount coupon.

I dont see any value to DIY if it takes more time from me to DIY or for things that required specialized knowledege such as most car repairs. My time is valuable and I can usually make more money by working than I save by DIY.

I dont cut my own lawn or maintain my property because it would take too much time and I save money by not owning a lawn mower.

There is no reason to do something you hate such as cleaning the house because you wind up hating yourself for doing it.
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Postby the intruder » Sun Jun 20, 2010 8:17 pm

mptfan wrote:
wjwhitney wrote:I get paid by the month, not by the hour. If I did bill for my services at $300/hour, a lot of things would be different!


You could bill your services at $300 an hour if you want, it's collecting that would be an issue. :wink:


you get paid by collecting a a cash retainer in advance and then drawing against it as you bill your time. Its not worth chasing clients who wont pay upfront.
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Postby runthetrails » Mon Jun 21, 2010 10:09 am

I get my reading material from the library or through paperbackswap.com. In the past my wife and I easily spent $50-$100 a month on impulse at the local bookstore, plus the odd Amazon order. Now if I find something of interest it goes on my To Be Read list and my wish list at PBS. I receive and send out a book or two on average per week through PBS. I occasionally choose to hang on to a book that I think I will want to reread or loan to friends, but reposting most books keeps them from contributing to house clutter.
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Postby boffalora » Mon Jun 21, 2010 11:16 am

When shopping for tires I always look for "special purchase" opportunities at reputable tire dealers. These are recognizable name-brand tires marketed with alternate or private brand names, purchased as a result of being ineligible for distribution through their regular channels for business reasons, not because of any quality problems. DOT ratings are the same as for the name-brand equivalents.

Example: I bought a set of Michelin MXV4 tires branded "Warrior" from a Cooper tire dealer. Warrior is an established Chinese brand purchased by Michelin. The first run of MXV4s made at Michelin's new Shanghai plant, branded Warrior, was originally intended for Asian distribution only, but some were sent to the US via an independent wholesaler. MXV4s now sold at US Michelin dealers are often made at the same plant.

The Warriors sold for 50% of the Michelin MXV4 price.
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Postby Doughnut » Mon Jun 21, 2010 11:56 am

I would never call myself frugal, but after reading this tread I realized that in some way, I am.

Here is what I do:

• Cook at home and brown bag my breakfasts and lunches (this is due to strict diet reasons).
• Use minimum household chemicals (mostly for health reason but it also helps to save).
• Enjoy coffee at home; never buy coffee away from home unless I'm traveling.
• Don’t drink soda or eat fast food (mainly for health reason).
• Do my own pedicures and manicures, unless it is a special occasion.
• Never pay credit card interest.
• I have a pre-tax commuter benefit plan and FSA.
• Hunt for deals for all big ticket purchases, clothing (I buy mostly good quality stuff) and vacations.
• We try to stick to rewards credit cards.
• Driving 10 years old car that we bought used.
• Reuse grocery plastic bags as a trash bags (main goal to pollute land field as little as possible).
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Postby SSSS » Mon Jun 21, 2010 9:07 pm

I eat at a restaurant every day. Counter-intuitive, but it enables some nice savings if you're willing to eliminate things you never actually use:

1. No perishable food kept at home, meaning no spoilage or waste.
2. No silverware, plates, etc.
3. No need to buy, maintain, and replace kitchen appliances.
4. No dish washing, detergent, etc.
5. Pantry becomes a general-purpose storage room.
6. Drastically-reduced shopping (and reduced exposure to impulse purchases).
7. No water, gas, or electricity used for cooking or dish washing.
8. No table! Extra space!
9. No need to maintain a collection of spices, ingredients, etc.

It's probably not as cheap as never eating at restaurants, but it's definitely cheaper than the "hybrid" option of sometimes eating at restaurants but still having to own and maintain appliances, a kitchen and dining room, ingredients, perishable food, silverware, plates, dining table, etc.

(I'm a bachelor if you couldn't guess.)
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The Library!

Postby Fallible » Mon Jun 21, 2010 10:30 pm

In retirement, using the local library several times a week for reading and research is probably the best "frugal thing I do." Sadly, libraries are struggling, losing staff, cutting some services, even closing some branches. The waiting lists for new books and other materials are impossibly long and it can take months before your name finally comes up. Still, libraries are one of the best bargains going and to show my appreciation, I plan to do some volunteer work at a local library starting this fall.

B.J.
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Postby mickeyd » Wed Jun 23, 2010 7:15 pm

libraries are one of the best bargains go


And best of all, you have already paid for them.
Part-Owner of Texas | | “The CMH-the Cost Matters Hypothesis -is all that is needed to explain why indexing must and will work… Yes, it is that simple.” John C. Bogle
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Postby thatch » Mon Jan 17, 2011 3:03 am

1) Brown bag lunch
2) Use public transport & only drive 60mph for ~6k miles/yr
3) Base meals on oatmeal/pasta/rice/beans
4) Use public library (the interlibrary request thing is fantastic)
5) Keep basic Straighttalk phone and $33/month plan

Dating is the only downfall, although with a good ethnic restaurant and creative fun, it's only about $20 a night (in the early stages).
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Postby adrian.ryan18 » Mon Jan 17, 2011 7:31 am

I steer clear of impulse buying! Every bit of shopping is planned in advance!
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Postby njuser » Mon Jan 17, 2011 9:01 am

bearcub wrote:1 When someone has their clothes drying in the laundry mat and leaves Illl throw my clothes in with theirs
2 Use teabags over 3 times
3Never buy shampoo or soap,take it from hotel rooms
4Let barrel get filled with rain water so I can water plants without putting the hose on.
5 Pickup dead deer on highway and make venison stew.
6Take sugar packets from coffeeshoppe
7Let suit air outside instead of bringing it to cleaners
8 Use hand signals when turning in car,so I dont burnout bulblight


I wasn't that impressed until I saw #8.
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Postby imagardener » Mon Jan 17, 2011 10:17 am

Using the library is my most frugal act, provides hours of entertainment and advances my knowledge and it's free.

I am fortunate enough to live between two counties that offer reciprocal use of their libraries so have expanded access to many books including interlibrary loan.

Both libraries also have used books and magazines for sale and I just discovered that at one I can get last weeks copy of The Economist for 25 cents. The library itself does not have a subscription but it does have Morningstar.

I am fortunate to live in a very literary-minded area of Florida (Sarasota County). 71% of owners have a library card, much higher than national average.
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Postby kenyan » Mon Jan 17, 2011 12:31 pm

1. Never tip! Those add up. For bonus points, snatch up a tip or two off of the tables as you're walking out.
2. Never give to charity. Show them the homeless person responses in this thread on how to get by.
3. Get all of my electronics on 30-day return policies and return them each month. Use a different store each time so they don't get wise. Costco will last you even longer!
4. Halloween is a great time to stock up on high-calorie items that can feed you through the winter. Scope out the houses that leave the "please take one" baskets. Disregard their instructions. Also, kids are pretty wimpy, so taking their candy is easy if they're not escorted.
5. During business travel, make PB&J and charge them for the max per diem. Alternate with Top Ramen when bored.
6. Don't buy umbrellas. They're free in coffee shops in the cans by the door.
7. Yes, I'm joking.
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Postby Default User BR » Mon Jan 17, 2011 1:02 pm

imagardener wrote:Using the library is my most frugal act, provides hours of entertainment and advances my knowledge and it's free.

I will strongly agree here. Ever since I found out that the county library has a web interface for the catalog and your personal account, I have been making good use of the it. Besides books, CDs and DVDs are available.



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Postby Keim » Mon Jan 17, 2011 1:08 pm

Lots of little things. Here are some big ticket items:
Still have first car, house and wife. :wink:
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Postby guitarguy » Mon Jan 17, 2011 1:12 pm

I'm frugal to an extent. IMHO you should cut costs when you can but don't get crazy about it! I like my cable and flat screen TV (which was a black friday deal), my Macbook, iPhone (which I got for like 70% off when they were about to release the iPhone 4), and keeping the heat above 61. I like eating steak every once in a while. I don't think it's worth the time washing a sandwich baggie and saving 1/2 a cent (no offense!).

When you want luxury stuff like cable and electronics...just shop around and find a good deal on it! 8)

I also drive (paid for) used cars, do almost all car maintenance and many home repairs, turn lights off and heat down when not home/in the rooms, use coupons to eat out and don't go to really fancy restaurants unless it's a special occasion. I do a LOT of cooking at home, always bring lunch and coffee to work, etc etc. Nothing to really diminish my quality of life.

Some of the things on here are hilarious...I certainly hope the dude who's stealing 20 sugar packets from the coffee shop and then sticking his left arm out the window to pull over and grab that contaminated venison from the side of the highway is joking! :lol:
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Postby kenyan » Mon Jan 17, 2011 1:32 pm

Yeah, I don't think I'm very frugal compared to a lot of the people here, just in comparison to the general populace. I will agree on the library - saves us a ton of money on books and music.

I also play video games like an earlier poster, and save a lot of money by buying a lot of games 8+ months after release, usually off of amazon.com. $15-20 with free shipping beats $67 new. I can usually trade in this $15 games for $10 once I'm done with them. The major exception to this is for the newest multiplayer game that I really want to play with my friends. I can still typically score them for $40 or so off of amazon with their deals, and often have gift cards.
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Postby jellelo » Mon Jan 17, 2011 4:18 pm

I use my razor anywhere from 6-12 months, I only replace it when it starts to hurt.
I repair my own vehicles

brown bag lunches

I use fatwallet/slickdeals/techbargains to buy things.

I use the net to buy as much as i can to save on sales tax.

i work inside sales so i can wear my same uniform all week. It sounds gross but it's more of a sitting job. In the summer i can only make it two days.

I pay all of my bills online to cut out the post office when i can.

I clip coupons.

I buy cars that are 5-7 years old since that seems to be the sweet spot with depreciation. I also choose the most reliable japanese made models.

When my wife and i go out to five guys we get one drink since you can get refills for free.

I normally order water, but that is b/c i am a runner and don't always drink soda or tea.

I will get the wegmans brand of food sometimes. Even though it is generic, some of their food is really good.

I try to limit any dining out. It is nice to treat yourself sometimes.

We don't go to movie theatres.

I will not let being cheap affect the quality of life. As much as i save, that allows me to spend elsewhere. My wife and i love to eat and will spend to make awesome meals at home. I speed constantly and don't really care too much about the gas consumption (19mpg), but will go to the gas station with the lowest price.



I hate paying $150 a month for cable/internet but this keeps the wife happy and off my butt and that is a great value.

I have thought of using a prepaid phone plan but haven't pursued it yet.
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