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 Sophie Spence » Fri May 08, 2009 2:19 pm

Most frugal thing my husband and I did was see how many days in a row we could go without spending money, back in the days when we were first married, paying off student loans, and saving for our first house.

As time went by we stopped playing the game, but it had the lasting effect of getting us into thrifty habits (going to the library instead of the bookstore, etc.) which have served us well for 25 years.

Started playing again when my husband lost his job last year, and it's amazing how much difference it has made in our monthly expenses. :)
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Postby Bruce » Tue May 12, 2009 2:01 pm

You can save some $ by purchasing a refurbished IMac (or other Mac) direct from Apple. They come with Free shipping and the same warranty as a new machine.

Just search for "refurbished IMac" on the Apple store website.

I use a refurbished I Mac at home.

best regards,
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Postby manuvns » Wed May 13, 2009 12:56 am

i guess most common and best frugal thing to do in today's world would be to carry little to no debt ( including mortgage if possible )
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Postby bozo » Wed May 13, 2009 10:35 pm

I shop at Lunardi's only on Tuesdays and Thursdays, when we all get the senior discount of 5%. It may not sound like a lot, but it adds up. When you add the senior discount to the in-store specials, you can reduce your bill by a tad.

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Postby epilnk » Thu May 14, 2009 2:33 pm

Frugal? How's this: After I wash my glasses I tear half a sheet of a paper towel to dry them. Then I tuck it back beside the roll. Later my husband reuses it to dry his glasses, and also returns it to be eventually used on a spill. As far as I can tell the effect of this odd behavior on the budget is not huge. But the mindset behind it is what keeps us in good financial shape.
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Postby arthurb999 » Thu May 14, 2009 4:35 pm

epilnk wrote:Frugal? How's this: After I wash my glasses I tear half a sheet of a paper towel to dry them. Then I tuck it back beside the roll. Later my husband reuses it to dry his glasses, and also returns it to be eventually used on a spill. As far as I can tell the effect of this odd behavior on the budget is not huge. But the mindset behind it is what keeps us in good financial shape.



can't you just use a washable dishtowel :D
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Postby NYnative » Fri May 15, 2009 1:12 pm

"can't you just use a washable dishtowel"

Obviously you don't wear glasses. Towels will just make them sirt again and probably result in scratches. Best thing is a dedicated microfiber cloth - many uses, or Kimwipes delicate task wipes - can be reused several times.
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Postby ianferrel » Fri May 15, 2009 3:20 pm

paddyshack wrote:I have no issue paying $20 for a haircut - (I've never liked the look of having my hair all one length - a requirement for the self-haircut).
You don't have to cut your hair to all one length if you cut your own hair. You can do the same thing a barber or stylist would do with clippers or scissors. It's a bit harder doing it with mirrors, but after two pretty bad self-applied haircuts and a few more mediocre ones I can consistently give myself a better haircut than most barbers will give me.

However, for those who already have a hair style that is all one fairly short length, it's particularly silly to pay someone $15 every few months when you could just buy the clippers and do it yourself.

Also:
Drying eyeglasses with paper towels is likely to scratch them. I've always heard that you should use a soft cotton cloth to dry glasses.
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Postby bozo » Fri May 15, 2009 3:30 pm

I refuse to cut my own hair. However, I get a haircut only every four months.

I also get a senior discount and a "cash discount" when I do get it cut.

Those discounts are nice.

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Postby simpleinvesting1 » Mon Jun 15, 2009 1:03 am

I can not fingure out those things mentioned by some posters are real or sarcastic.
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Postby FamilyGuy » Mon Jun 15, 2009 11:02 am

I switched from having a lawn to a xeriscape. Using a drip irrigation system instead of sprinklers is saving us a fortune. Good idea in Arizona. 8)


I sometimes "borrow" splenda packets from Starbucks instead of paying $17 at Costco for a box of 1000. :wink:
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Postby Sam I Am » Mon Jun 15, 2009 11:12 am

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Postby celia » Sun Jun 21, 2009 5:11 am

I stayed married


I suppose we could add don't have kids....

My kids used to kid me that I was so cheap, that I wouldn't drive thru a fast food place, even though we had a coupon for a "free" item. I figured as long as there were fewer coupons than people in the car, I'd end up paying for the item for those without coupons. Where I live, some of the businesses give coupon "rewards" for kids who read extra books or excel somehow in school. This is smart on the business's end, since the kids usually have to have at least one adult go with them who end up paying full price.
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Postby livesoft » Sun Jun 21, 2009 9:57 am

I make my kids figure out how to pay their own allowances.
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Postby travelfar » Tue Jun 23, 2009 2:12 pm

Library for books and DVDs. If they don't have something that I want, I write a suggestion, which sometimes works.

I used to buy books all the time. They were mostly used, but I still paid something for them. If I want to own a book and not just check it out from the library, I've built up credit trading in my old books at a used book store, so usually look there first.
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Postby EmergDoc » Tue Jun 23, 2009 9:13 pm

Sophie Spence wrote:Started playing again when my husband lost his job last year, and it's amazing how much difference it has made in our monthly expenses. :)


That's a very important skill. Most people have a very hard time cutting back their lifestyle.
1) Invest you must 2) Time is your friend 3) Impulse is your enemy | 4) Basic arithmetic works 5) Stick to simplicity 6) Stay the course
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Postby animal » Tue Jun 23, 2009 11:19 pm

Like many others here, I haven't seen a professional barber in 11 years. Wahl clippers do the trick.

Receive amazon gift cards for responding to online surveys. Bought the last 4 books for free.

Brown bag breakfast & lunch, make my morning coffee at home instead of going to DD.

Sams club to buy in certain items in bulk.
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Postby Arby » Wed Jun 24, 2009 12:59 am

1) Work the frequent flyer programs. You can get lots of miles by getting a credit card or opening brokerage accounts. I was able to fly to Bali for free (including long stopovers in Thailand, one time 9 months) three times.

The program I know best is United Mileage Plus if anyone has questions.

2) Shop at Trader Joe's (if one's in your area).
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Postby manuvns » Mon Jul 27, 2009 3:09 pm

Sam I Am wrote:FamilyGuy wrote:
I sometimes "borrow" splenda packets from Starbucks instead of paying $17 at Costco for a box of 1000.


Hey! Enough of that! I'm a Starbucks shareholder. No stealing, please!

Sam I Am

PS: I like your show. :lol:


nothing compared to stealing glass of milk and half and half . I have seen people walk in steal the milk and walk out . economy must be real bad .
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Postby Belmont » Wed Jul 29, 2009 3:34 pm

I take a slightly different approach.

Outside of buying in bulk when possible, I enjoy life with the luxuries that many of you seem to scoff at. While you're smugly driving your 2002 Civic, I'm smugly driving my $85,000 Lexus and still putting more money away than you.

Not everyone who has nice toys is an idiot with their money. I chose to focus on growing my income as opposed to clipping coupons and cheaping out on popcorn at the movies, and because of that I have the best of both worlds. I also donate money to my favorite charities monthly.

Sorry if that seems mean or harsh, but some of you should consider putting more of an emphasis on making money as opposed to being so miserly with what you have.
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Postby beardsworth » Wed Jul 29, 2009 3:52 pm

Belmont wrote:I take a slightly different approach.

Outside of buying in bulk when possible, I enjoy life with the luxuries that many of you seem to scoff at. While you're smugly driving your 2002 Civic, I'm smugly driving my $85,000 Lexus and still putting more money away than you.

Not everyone who has nice toys is an idiot with their money. I chose to focus on growing my income as opposed to clipping coupons and cheaping out on popcorn at the movies, and because of that I have the best of both worlds. I also donate money to my favorite charities monthly.

Sorry if that seems mean or harsh, but some of you should consider putting more of an emphasis on making money as opposed to being so miserly with what you have.


But the subject of this thread, as indicated by its original title, was "That Frugal Thing You Do," not "that grow-your-income conspicuous consumption thing you do." Perhaps you meant to post here:

viewtopic.php?t=36702&start=0

?

:)

Marc
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Postby SpaceMonkey » Thu Jul 30, 2009 9:08 am

manuvns wrote:
Sam I Am wrote:FamilyGuy wrote:
I sometimes "borrow" splenda packets from Starbucks instead of paying $17 at Costco for a box of 1000.


Hey! Enough of that! I'm a Starbucks shareholder. No stealing, please!

Sam I Am

PS: I like your show. :lol:


nothing compared to stealing glass of milk and half and half . I have seen people walk in steal the milk and walk out . economy must be real bad .


Or the even more insidious "ghetto latte"
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Mailing with EXACT postage........

Postby Sam I Am » Thu Jul 30, 2009 3:05 pm

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Postby wilson08 » Thu Jul 30, 2009 4:11 pm

stratton wrote:Live in a state with no income tax. :lol:


But do you get hammered on property tax and/or sales tax to
make up the difference ?
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Postby bogglehead » Thu Jul 30, 2009 4:47 pm

Sophie Spence wrote:Most frugal thing my husband and I did was see how many days in a row we could go without spending money, back in the days when we were first married, paying off student loans, and saving for our first house.

As time went by we stopped playing the game, but it had the lasting effect of getting us into thrifty habits (going to the library instead of the bookstore, etc.) which have served us well for 25 years.

Started playing again when my husband lost his job last year, and it's amazing how much difference it has made in our monthly expenses. :)



I play this game with myself all of the time, but unfortunately I rarely win. I've tried to convince my wife that we should try this together but we always end up spending some small amount of money each day no matter how hard we try. Maybe we'll try again soon, I still think it would save us money in the long run.

I also thought about trying to do all shopping one day a week instead of little trips daily. I've noticed that the mid-week Target/Grocery runs always seem to add up to more than one large weekly run. I guess if we didn't buy it on Saturday we can wait until the following Saturday and if we still need it, then it's likely important.
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Postby mickeyd » Thu Jul 30, 2009 4:54 pm

Do not buy books.
Do not buy CDs.
Do not buy DVDs.
Get books, CDs, and DVDs from you local public library that you have already paid for in your property taxes.
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Postby Boglenaut » Thu Jul 30, 2009 5:10 pm

Belmont wrote:I take a slightly different approach.

Outside of buying in bulk when possible, I enjoy life with the luxuries that many of you seem to scoff at. While you're smugly driving your 2002 Civic, I'm smugly driving my $85,000 Lexus and still putting more money away than you.

Not everyone who has nice toys is an idiot with their money. I chose to focus on growing my income as opposed to clipping coupons and cheaping out on popcorn at the movies, and because of that I have the best of both worlds. I also donate money to my favorite charities monthly.

Sorry if that seems mean or harsh, but some of you should consider putting more of an emphasis on making money as opposed to being so miserly with what you have.



We have a sister thread going called "That Extravagant Thing You Do". Your post really belongs on that thread. Most people do some of both -- this one is for the frugal thing you do. So the buying in bulk belongs here...the Lexus is for the other thread. Thanks.

As far as making money, I suppose some people prefer to make less with less stress. Not everyone choses o work 90 hour weeks so they can drive a Lexus. There is actually a movement that became popular recently about people who make less on purpose but live a simpler life. I don't think it is for you to judge others when it come to decisions like that.
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Postby Padlin » Thu Jul 30, 2009 9:07 pm

I'm not all that frugal when I see what the rest do. I like going to the barber. The 3 barbers are all over 70, mine is in his 80's, they are more fun then people my age.

I guess the biggest things would be... Not keeping up with the Jones. We drive Corollas, till they die.
Seldom hire anyone to do anything, we do most things for ourselves.
Rarely buy more clothes, don't really care what's "in style". I do like LL Bean stuff though.
Don't use credit.
Live in what would today be considered a small home.
I sock away much of our income, doesn't leave a lot to spend on a whim. I have to send off for the $$$ if I want something big which gives me time to change my mind.
I was going to put down, vacation in the RV, but it doesn't exactly fit in the frugal column.
Regards | Bob
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Postby dpbsmith » Thu Jul 30, 2009 9:37 pm

Switching from Gillette shaving gel which cost $3.29 for a 7-ounce can that lasted me about 2-1/2 months to Barbasol, $1.49 for an 11-ounce can that lasts me 7 months. Woo hoo, I save $13 a year!

At that rate it will only take me two years to make up for the 12-ride commuter rail ticket that went through the wash with five rides still left on it, and came out ruined.
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Postby Gill » Thu Jul 30, 2009 9:46 pm

Belmont wrote:I take a slightly different approach.

Outside of buying in bulk when possible, I enjoy life with the luxuries that many of you seem to scoff at. While you're smugly driving your 2002 Civic, I'm smugly driving my $85,000 Lexus and still putting more money away than you.

Not everyone who has nice toys is an idiot with their money. I chose to focus on growing my income as opposed to clipping coupons and cheaping out on popcorn at the movies, and because of that I have the best of both worlds. I also donate money to my favorite charities monthly.

Sorry if that seems mean or harsh, but some of you should consider putting more of an emphasis on making money as opposed to being so miserly with what you have.


Not all of us are 29 years old either. How do you justify an $85,000 car with your still modest savings?
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Postby traineeinvestor » Thu Jul 30, 2009 10:25 pm

Living in a jurisdiction with a tax rate of 16% on salaries and net rental income (dropping to 15% this year as part of the government's plan to give relief against the effects of the recession) with no tax on dividends, interest or capital gains certainly helps (although partly offset by the very high cost of living).

I have never owned a car in Hong Kong. Given the duty of up to 100% (on the aggregate of the purchase price, shipping and various other costs) this has been a massive saving over the last 17 years.

For my first six years in Hong Kong I lived in very low cost accomodation. Given what rents are in this city, that was a huge saving.

I attend lectures/training courses at my employer for the sandwiches.

Given current rate of hair loss, I expect I will be able to save on haircuts in the near future.
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Office Projects

Postby giacolet » Thu Jul 30, 2009 11:13 pm

samiam saves by using a postal scale for determining accurate postage:

But, that little postal scale has saved us dollars and dollars


I use the little postal scale at the office, too, and the postage meter, and the copy machine and the fax machine and ALL my office supplies in wondrous variety.
May your heart always be joyful. | May your song always be sung. | May you stay forever young. | ----Bob Dylan
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Postby TheEternalVortex » Fri Jul 31, 2009 12:49 am

I like to get free t-shirts from going to various events or being part of various groups. I haven't bought a t-shirt in a long time.
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Postby giacolet » Fri Jul 31, 2009 7:37 am

Just for clarification ... I have my employer's permission to use the office supplies for personal use.

He is an attorney and I bring him title insurance revenue and help to make his practice more efficient. He is happy to have me. If I use a legal pad once or twice a year, or post-it notes or a hi-liter or a 3-ring binder it's inconsequential in the overall scheme of his $300.00 per hour billings and a couple of $3000.00 premiums on commercial real estate transactions I bring in in addition to the normal refi's, residential closings and searches for his legal work.

The last law firm I worked for the employees (40 or so) were provided with coffee and or juice and bagels every day. Most of them were diet conscious females who ate half a bagel. The firm didn't seem to hire the heavy weights.
May your heart always be joyful. | May your song always be sung. | May you stay forever young. | ----Bob Dylan
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Postby Sam I Am » Fri Jul 31, 2009 1:37 pm

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Postby Boglenaut » Thu Aug 27, 2009 12:34 pm

Thanks
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Postby Judsen » Thu Aug 27, 2009 1:51 pm

I love the independence that frugal living provides. I have often told my grandchildren "I don't live "cheap" because I have to. I live cheap so that I won't have to"
They see me give a man under a bridge a $50 and in the same day use a half a paper towell when a half will do.
The frugal thing I do is teach by example "Waste not want not"
BTW I'm not at all cheap when it comes to their birthdays (except that they get homemade cards along with the $.)
Be the change you want to see in the world
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Bars of Soap

Postby giacolet » Thu Aug 27, 2009 3:27 pm

I've raked through my drawers and pulled out about 8 full bars of soap from hotels, motels, hospitals. I had about half a dozen small hotel-sized soaps as well, along with travel sized shampoo, conditioner and deoderant.

I've got a couple of months of soap supply to use and I won't have to buy the body wash I prefer.
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Postby isleep » Thu Aug 27, 2009 5:10 pm

Check it out.... you can save a ton of money by selling all your stuff and moving into your vehicle. Well it helps if you have a nice, big vehicle, like a truck, van or SUV. If not, you can find one in decent condition for around $5K. If you want to make it livable, all you have to do is install an aux. battery system + solar panels, a small 12V fridge, an exhaust fan (A/C draws too much power) and a few other things. You can park it almost anywhere for cheap or even for free. No property taxes, no mortgage, less junk to keep track of, and more opportunities to travel. I lost my job a few months ago and this is exactly what I'm doing until the job market recovers. I don't care if it takes 6 months or a few years, because it's a very low-cost way of living and I can survive easily for a decade this way (actually much longer if I can find some part time gigs here and there). This isn't for everyone (it's easier if you're single) but I know quite a few people who are living this way, including an ex-coworker. Yeah, the one who lost most of his income and possessions due to divorce... I was never married and never will be, so for me it's just about saving money, adventure, travel, and making something positive out of a bad situation.

Some useful links:
http://cheaprvliving.com/
http://vandwellers.org/
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Postby Petrocelli » Thu Aug 27, 2009 5:38 pm

isleep wrote:Check it out.... you can save a ton of money by selling all your stuff and moving into your vehicle.


Living in a vehicle? Sleep on the ground if you really want to save money.
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Postby CodeMaster » Thu Aug 27, 2009 7:43 pm

Refill my bottle waters with clean good tasting Bay Area tap water and put it back in the fridge...
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Postby CodeMaster » Thu Aug 27, 2009 7:47 pm

isleep wrote:Check it out.... you can save a ton of money by selling all your stuff and moving into your vehicle. Well it helps if you have a nice, big vehicle, like a truck, van or SUV. If not, you can find one in decent condition for around $5K. If you want to make it livable, all you have to do is install an aux. battery system + solar panels, a small 12V fridge, an exhaust fan (A/C draws too much power) and a few other things. You can park it almost anywhere for cheap or even for free. No property taxes, no mortgage, less junk to keep track of, and more opportunities to travel. I lost my job a few months ago and this is exactly what I'm doing until the job market recovers. I don't care if it takes 6 months or a few years, because it's a very low-cost way of living and I can survive easily for a decade this way (actually much longer if I can find some part time gigs here and there). This isn't for everyone (it's easier if you're single) but I know quite a few people who are living this way, including an ex-coworker. Yeah, the one who lost most of his income and possessions due to divorce... I was never married and never will be, so for me it's just about saving money, adventure, travel, and making something positive out of a bad situation.

Some useful links:
http://cheaprvliving.com/
http://vandwellers.org/


That is amazing... DING DING DING. YOU WIN.

I knew an engineer who hid himself out in the forrest in some hidden area... great way to live free and use gym showers and etc... of course you wont get girls this way but its more frugal to find hookers (divorce, dates, etc cost more). I have a laptop (x61s) which has mobile net access and 8 hour battery life which I can use in the forrest too.

I think I might try living homeless... its a pretty good idea. This forum is amazing!
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Postby retiredjg » Thu Aug 27, 2009 8:11 pm

Living in the forest? Nice, but careful where you do it.

In National Parks, generally you can't. In National Forests and BLM, you can, but have to move around because there are limits to how long you can stay in one place. Rules vary by location. They even vary from one NF to the one right next to it.

State and municipal areas have different rules from the above. You always have to be sure you know where you are and what the rules are for that little postage stamp of land that you are camping on.

Think you can get away with it? You might, but eventually some unexpected thing will happen and you're caught. Not a problem if they just say "move along", but if you've got something illegal going on, you'll likely end up in jail because without a local address you are considered a flight risk.
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Postby isleep » Thu Aug 27, 2009 11:47 pm

retiredjg wrote:Living in the forest? Nice, but careful where you do it.


That's why I'm heading out west, where most of the NF and BLM areas are and for that matter large expanses of wilderness where I can camp out in solitude, with only the local animals as companions. The animals won't give me tickets or look down on me or imprison me, etc. which is what would happen were I to try this in human-populated areas.

My vehicle is already setup with a towing package and can handle a decent-sized trailer (6500 lbs), so living in a cheap RV park will be an option once I decide to return to civilization. No trailer for now though, because the places I want to go are quite off the beaten path. Definitely no campgrounds or parks, that's for sure...

I'll have to move around every two weeks to reprovision with fresh food/water, so the typical BLM limits for staying at a given location aren't a problem. Not that the BLM police would have much chance of finding me out in the first place. ;-)

I currently have an old IBM Thinkpad, but will probably downsize to a smaller netbook that draws less power. When 100% of your energy is from solar panels, you have to conserve in any which way possible (the Engel fridge is the biggest power hog, but nonetheless critical for a balanced diet with fresh fruit, veggies, cheese, etc.) I'm not much worried about networking, since there probably won't be any GSM coverage in most wild areas. That leaves satellite, but it's probably not worth the cost.

Oh, I'm bringing my 12-gauge, just in case. And I'm going to pick up a Ruger 9mm also. I'll probably never need to use them, but it's better to be prepared... Ditto with standard survival gear, including two good knives, a fire-starting kit, and water purifiers.
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Postby CodeMaster » Fri Aug 28, 2009 2:19 am

isleep wrote:
retiredjg wrote:Living in the forest? Nice, but careful where you do it.


That's why I'm heading out west, where most of the NF and BLM areas are and for that matter large expanses of wilderness where I can camp out in solitude, with only the local animals as companions. The animals won't give me tickets or look down on me or imprison me, etc. which is what would happen were I to try this in human-populated areas.

My vehicle is already setup with a towing package and can handle a decent-sized trailer (6500 lbs), so living in a cheap RV park will be an option once I decide to return to civilization. No trailer for now though, because the places I want to go are quite off the beaten path. Definitely no campgrounds or parks, that's for sure...

I'll have to move around every two weeks to reprovision with fresh food/water, so the typical BLM limits for staying at a given location aren't a problem. Not that the BLM police would have much chance of finding me out in the first place. ;-)

I currently have an old IBM Thinkpad, but will probably downsize to a smaller netbook that draws less power. When 100% of your energy is from solar panels, you have to conserve in any which way possible (the Engel fridge is the biggest power hog, but nonetheless critical for a balanced diet with fresh fruit, veggies, cheese, etc.) I'm not much worried about networking, since there probably won't be any GSM coverage in most wild areas. That leaves satellite, but it's probably not worth the cost.

Oh, I'm bringing my 12-gauge, just in case. And I'm going to pick up a Ruger 9mm also. I'll probably never need to use them, but it's better to be prepared... Ditto with standard survival gear, including two good knives, a fire-starting kit, and water purifiers.


I actually researched RV's and Trailers... they are like studios! Which is what I'm staying in now to save money and its really comfortable and I'm happy though it costs 1 grand a month . I was wondering, would you know where in the Bay Area around SF or the surrounding cities could you peacefully park a trailer or RV so you could actually live there without any police problems in general but still be connected to the city to go to work, do laundry, etc... got any ideas? Or any ideas on how to find locations where people do that around here?
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Postby notPatience » Fri Aug 28, 2009 3:16 am

Sigh. All the folks not buying books means I and my fellow authors will be employing every frugality listed . . . and more.

If you have an author whose work you like enough to want to have future books from that person to read, I'd encourage you to:
-- buy their books new (buy at discount stores/use coupons!)
-- request your local library buy their books
-- check out their books from your local library (most libraries assess the traffic on a book in deciding future purchases)
-- use inter-library loan if your library doesn't have it.

Publishers look at an author's sales when determining whether to buy another book. That's new sales, of course, because neither the author, nor the publisher get anything when a book is sold used.
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Postby CodeMaster » Fri Aug 28, 2009 9:11 pm

I buy books from Borders and make sure I read it before the 30 day return limit then I return it. Saves space and money for me... or I'll copy a ebook on my PC if its free.
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Postby 366Abbott » Fri Aug 28, 2009 11:44 pm

I don't live beyond my means. I think saving before spending. I have, however, failed to find a way to walk by Starbucks instead of into Starbucks.
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Postby DA » Sat Aug 29, 2009 6:36 am

CodeMaster wrote:I buy books from Borders and make sure I read it before the 30 day return limit then I return it.

That's not frugal. It's abusive. :cry:
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Postby Sunny Sarkar » Sat Aug 29, 2009 7:54 am

celia wrote:
I stayed married


I suppose we could add don't have kids...


In thr third world, having a kid is like buying an annuity for retirement income. "Looking after your parents" is passed on proudly as a family value. Unfortunately this also leads to preference towards having a male child, and other horrendous social problems follow.
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