What purchase saved you the most money?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
David1986
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What purchase saved you the most money?

Post by David1986 » Thu Oct 04, 2018 4:00 pm

I usually focus on not spending money to grow my net worth but there are some purchases that save you more than their cost.
My friend and I purchased hair clippers at Costco for $40 2 years ago and have buzzed each other's hair since.
My cost: $20. Has saved me $240 in haircuts so far.
What purchase(s) have you made that saved you the most money?

HIinvestor
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Re: What purchase saved you the most money?

Post by HIinvestor » Thu Oct 04, 2018 4:06 pm

The things that have saved us the most money:
Staying married to same wonderful spouse who is on same page on spending/saving—priceless
Keeping vehicles for many, many years
Staying in same “starter home” we bought and not “upgrading/upsizing”
Preparing many meals at home
Buying quality, low-priced luggage and using it for s decade
Having child attend U where he got 50% tuition scholarship
Having kid attend CC

sergio
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Re: What purchase saved you the most money?

Post by sergio » Thu Oct 04, 2018 4:17 pm

Buying a modem the day I signed up for comcast (vs leasing one) probably has saved me $1000+ over the years...

livesoft
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Re: What purchase saved you the most money?

Post by livesoft » Thu Oct 04, 2018 4:20 pm

Bought a $650 camera and received a $350 photo printer and 13 x 19" photo paper free.
Wiki This signature message sponsored by sscritic: Learn to fish.

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: What purchase saved you the most money?

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Thu Oct 04, 2018 4:24 pm

VTSAX

chasingadvice
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Re: What purchase saved you the most money?

Post by chasingadvice » Thu Oct 04, 2018 4:30 pm

- Buying Vanguard Index funds and never paying for any financial/investment advisory fee.
- Buying an indoor antenna ($30) for OTA channels and cheap $35 chromecast device have saved me $50+ per month in cable TV service.
Over the period of last 6 years, I might have saved approx. $50*12*6 = $3600
- Buying a lower priced and high mpg Honda car might have saved me quite a bit in gas $$ over last 10 years.
- Buying car wash equipment saves me $25 every month in carwash service.
- Cooking meals at home as much as possible
Last edited by chasingadvice on Thu Oct 04, 2018 5:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

barnaclebob
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Re: What purchase saved you the most money?

Post by barnaclebob » Thu Oct 04, 2018 4:40 pm

Hmmm.

I'm sure my power tools (table saw, router, miter saw) have at least broken even vs paying to have the things I've build with them.

A Roku let us cut the cord and thats probably been a $100 a month savings for at least two years.

Our crab pots caught their value of crab and bait in the first season we used them but we probably wouldn't have eaten as much crab without them. Anything in the future just has to cover the cost of bait if we don't have any fish scraps. We used a kayak that was loaned to us for free, so no boat costs.

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Phineas J. Whoopee
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Re: What purchase saved you the most money?

Post by Phineas J. Whoopee » Thu Oct 04, 2018 5:12 pm

My dwelling.
PJW

Chuck5781
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Re: What purchase saved you the most money?

Post by Chuck5781 » Thu Oct 04, 2018 5:17 pm

First, of course, is being married to my only wife for 40 years. Not really a purchase, but far more impactful than any other decision.

Second, my most significant savings moment occurred when I realized what annual fees actually were, both charged by my investment advisor and also the mutual funds he recommended. I had always known them, fully disclosed of course, but actually realizing what I was paying versus what Vanguard index funds cost, and understanding that premium was buying me nothing.

That lightbulb moment, and the courage to move my investments in spite of the arrogance of my investment advisor (and frankly the entire broker/manager industry) has saved us a great deal of money. Over time, a great deal of money.
The richest man is not he who has the most, but he who needs the least.

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GoldStar
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Re: What purchase saved you the most money?

Post by GoldStar » Thu Oct 04, 2018 5:19 pm

My house.

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dm200
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Re: What purchase saved you the most money?

Post by dm200 » Thu Oct 04, 2018 5:21 pm

Buying a house right after getting married about 40 years ago. We paid about $76,000 then (seemed like a lot), and it is now worth about $650,000.

If we rented a similar home in our locality today, the rent would be about $4,000 per month!!

Being married to the same woman for 40+ years has, on balance, been financially good.

delamer
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Re: What purchase saved you the most money?

Post by delamer » Thu Oct 04, 2018 5:23 pm

Subscription to Worth magazine.

Scott Burns wrote for it. I began reading his syndicated newspaper column and his advocacy for index funds led me to becoming a Boglehead.

Teague
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Re: What purchase saved you the most money?

Post by Teague » Thu Oct 04, 2018 5:25 pm

Many years ago I bought the books "The millionaire next door" and "The wealthy barber." Those purchases saved me (or caused me to save) hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Semper Augustus

retiredjg
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Re: What purchase saved you the most money?

Post by retiredjg » Thu Oct 04, 2018 5:28 pm

I think that buying cars that last a long time has saved money in the long run. They cost more on the front end, but a used Toyota or Honda is hard to beat for the long run.

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NavyIC3
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Re: What purchase saved you the most money?

Post by NavyIC3 » Thu Oct 04, 2018 5:53 pm

Insulating the attic. Saved the cost of the insulation in the first year.

bgf
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Re: What purchase saved you the most money?

Post by bgf » Thu Oct 04, 2018 6:04 pm

buying used cars rather than buying new/leasing what we "could afford." ditto for buying a house sufficient for our family needs but well within what we "could afford."
“TE OCCIDERE POSSUNT SED TE EDERE NON POSSUNT NEFAS EST"

runner3081
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Re: What purchase saved you the most money?

Post by runner3081 » Thu Oct 04, 2018 6:05 pm

-OTA Antenna allowed us to ditch cable.
-New AC system will pay off very quickly in lower bills

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Cycle
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Re: What purchase saved you the most money?

Post by Cycle » Thu Oct 04, 2018 6:05 pm

Duplex.

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Pizza_and_Beer
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Re: What purchase saved you the most money?

Post by Pizza_and_Beer » Thu Oct 04, 2018 6:17 pm

My bicycle to get around town/commute to work. Paid for itself in six months and saves me from having to buy a $121/month transit pass. Not to mention, the 1.5 hours of exercise each day has kept the doctor away.

helloeveryone
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Re: What purchase saved you the most money?

Post by helloeveryone » Thu Oct 04, 2018 9:59 pm

My boss told me about bogleheads.org 2 years ago. I was already doing well in terms of saving 15-20% towards retirement but this forum has really helped in many other aspects of my financial literacy.

The $ spent on books that the site recommends will have millions fold in returns if we "stay the course". (those available at the library were free, if not then used with amazon prime if it was cheaper than new with amazon prime)

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celia
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Re: What purchase saved you the most money?

Post by celia » Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:34 pm

Sending our kids to K-12 private schools (church-based) with parental involvement in the school helped all our kids to get into the top-tier colleges of their choice and graduate with no/little debt and reasonable parental financial support (saving more than the cumulative cost of K-12 tuition). Between college scholarships/ grants/ financial aid (while we still paid for private school for younger siblings) and on-campus jobs, they were able to pursue their dreams at colleges that matched their occupational goals.

Buying and staying in the same house in California for over 30 years has kept our housing costs reasonable. Our house is now worth more than every dollar we ever spent on it, meaning when we cash out some day, we will get all our money back plus some.

Subscribing to Dan Wiener's newsletter, The Independent Adviser for Vanguard Investors, helped me see some funds from a different perspective early on. Many Bogleheads mock him and his newsletter without ever having read an article, but I learn something new every month. I also now own some, but not all, of the funds he recommends in his model portfolios, 3 of which started in 1991. (There are multiple portfolios in order to accommodate how aggressive/conservative your AA is.)

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Sandtrap
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Re: What purchase saved you the most money?

Post by Sandtrap » Thu Oct 04, 2018 11:00 pm

'The Little Book on Common Sense Investing" by J. Bogle.
Worth every penny.
Bought for $15
Saved me at least 10 million percent of that.

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unclescrooge
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Re: What purchase saved you the most money?

Post by unclescrooge » Fri Oct 05, 2018 12:17 am

Not driving to work had saved me at least 40 hrs a month over the past 2 years and at least $4000 a year in car costs.

As a result I get to see more of my kids.

BusterMcTaco
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Re: What purchase saved you the most money?

Post by BusterMcTaco » Fri Oct 05, 2018 12:29 am

Mileage run which got me status for free upgrades. Even though i might not have paid for those otherwise, the lounge access and food/drink has more than covered that last run.

H-Town
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Re: What purchase saved you the most money?

Post by H-Town » Fri Oct 05, 2018 1:46 am

David1986 wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 4:00 pm
I usually focus on not spending money to grow my net worth but there are some purchases that save you more than their cost.
My friend and I purchased hair clippers at Costco for $40 2 years ago and have buzzed each other's hair since.
My cost: $20. Has saved me $240 in haircuts so far.
What purchase(s) have you made that saved you the most money?
This book. Saving me thousands in fees and many costly mistakes.
Image

TheOscarGuy
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Location: Where I wanna be.

Re: What purchase saved you the most money?

Post by TheOscarGuy » Fri Oct 05, 2018 8:18 am

David1986 wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 4:00 pm
I usually focus on not spending money to grow my net worth but there are some purchases that save you more than their cost.
My friend and I purchased hair clippers at Costco for $40 2 years ago and have buzzed each other's hair since.
My cost: $20. Has saved me $240 in haircuts so far.
What purchase(s) have you made that saved you the most money?
Its funny how many posts mention wife when the title is "purchases saved you the most money" :D

I would say most money saved is likely buying index funds over whatever I was buying.
I would also say buying Japanese over german automobile. In same section, buying your own tools, and maintenance parts over paying dealership to do maintenance has saved me a bunch.
Sometimes, I have spent more and saved in the process. This is true for many items in my wardrobe -- buying brooks brothers shirts, pants, outerwear etc. I have some of the clothes that I bought 8-9 years ago that still look good.
Buying insurance through agent every year -- or at least shopping for it, over buying it from a company.
Buying attic insulation (though we paid only a small %, utility company picked up the rest)!

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jazman12
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Re: What purchase saved you the most money?

Post by jazman12 » Fri Oct 05, 2018 8:33 am

Chuck5781 wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 5:17 pm
First, of course, is being married to my only wife for 40 years. Not really a purchase, but far more impactful than any other decision.

Second, my most significant savings moment occurred when I realized what annual fees actually were, both charged by my investment advisor and also the mutual funds he recommended. I had always known them, fully disclosed of course, but actually realizing what I was paying versus what Vanguard index funds cost, and understanding that premium was buying me nothing.

That lightbulb moment, and the courage to move my investments in spite of the arrogance of my investment advisor (and frankly the entire broker/manager industry) has saved us a great deal of money. Over time, a great deal of money.
+++
Act soon... time is running out

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jazman12
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Re: What purchase saved you the most money?

Post by jazman12 » Fri Oct 05, 2018 8:35 am

H-Town wrote:
Fri Oct 05, 2018 1:46 am
David1986 wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 4:00 pm
I usually focus on not spending money to grow my net worth but there are some purchases that save you more than their cost.
My friend and I purchased hair clippers at Costco for $40 2 years ago and have buzzed each other's hair since.
My cost: $20. Has saved me $240 in haircuts so far.
What purchase(s) have you made that saved you the most money?
This book. Saving me thousands in fees and many costly mistakes.
Image
+++
Act soon... time is running out

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Watty
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Re: What purchase saved you the most money?

Post by Watty » Fri Oct 05, 2018 8:47 am

GoldStar wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 5:19 pm
My house.
+1

Once I got it paid off I live rent free except for things like maintenance and property tax. Even before I had it paid off it was costing me less than renting a similar place not long after I bought it.

I don't assume that it will appreciate more than inflation but someday when I sell it I should be able to get my money back.

One advantage of having a paid off house that is often overlooked is that this "imputed rent" is tax free. I have not crunched the numbers recently but as I recall a couple can have about $35K in Social Security and $25K in taxable income and owe no(or very little) federal income tax. With a paid off house $60K a year is enough to live an above average lifestyle here. A similar house might rent for $1,500 to $2,000 a month so if I had to add that that much taxable income to my budget my tax bill would go up a LOT.

A440
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Re: What purchase saved you the most money?

Post by A440 » Fri Oct 05, 2018 9:13 am

When I purchased "Bogle on Mutual Funds" and read it in 1993. I opened a T-IRA soon thereafter. The account now makes more than I earn most years. I stopped contributing to it many years ago when the Roth IRA became available.

pejp
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Re: What purchase saved you the most money?

Post by pejp » Fri Oct 05, 2018 9:33 am

My Moka Express coffee pot! Cost about $20, and now I don’t buy coffee from the expensive coffee shop anymore. Paid for itself in the first week!

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StormShadow
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Re: What purchase saved you the most money?

Post by StormShadow » Fri Oct 05, 2018 9:34 am

Toyota instead of BMW.

forgeblast
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Re: What purchase saved you the most money?

Post by forgeblast » Fri Oct 05, 2018 11:30 am

fujitsu halcyon mini-split with heat pump, saves us a lot of money all year long.
Putting in LEDs.
Renting landscaping equipment vs buying.

mtn biker
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Re: What purchase saved you the most money?

Post by mtn biker » Fri Oct 05, 2018 11:53 am

Here is a weird one...

My wife and I bought tickets to Haiti to visit an orphanage we supported. An hour after we arrived the big earthquake hit. The next few days started a re-evaluation of our entire lives, sort of like a mid life crisis on steroids. We ended up cutting a ton of junk expenses, left the church, sold our huge house, etc. Probably saved us about 25% of our income, which has gone about 50% toward savings and 50% toward helping those in need. (I've put a student in Haiti through medical school and a student in Nepal through University, things like that)

So my answer would be a purchase that put me into a "real life" situation, got me out of my bubble, made me realize what was actually important in life, and brought to my attention the materialism and crap we are sucked into in 1st world countries, especial US.

Don't know how to directly apply that to someone else's life, but it's worth trying.

UpperNwGuy
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Re: What purchase saved you the most money?

Post by UpperNwGuy » Fri Oct 05, 2018 11:55 am

Cheap wine.

EnjoyIt
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Re: What purchase saved you the most money?

Post by EnjoyIt » Fri Oct 05, 2018 11:56 am

I can't think of a single purchase that saved us money. I can think of plenty of purchases that kept us from spending more money and can list those.

Reliable car that can be driven for 10+ years
well researched household items that may cost a bit more now but last longer and over the coarse of years will cost less than such as power tools, dishwasher, fridge, etc.

My point is to be willing to pay a little more now for quality as opposed to buying junk and needing to replace it regularly. That has saved us thousands of the years.

AlD
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Re: What purchase saved you the most money?

Post by AlD » Fri Oct 05, 2018 12:23 pm

  • House: I got lucky and purchased near the bottom of the real estate crisis. Value has more than doubled since then. I'm saving ~$15K+ year vs renting comparable house. Refinancing when rates went lower saved me an extra $1,800/year (also lucky timing).
    Not buying a mcmansion has also helped (smaller house = lower utility bills, lower property taxes, lower maintenance/repair costs).
    *Buying is not always the right decision- YMMV.
  • Hair Clippers: I've been using the same Oster Classic 76 clippers since 1995. They are quality clippers that will last. Spending more for quality is often a good value. I think I paid $80 in '95, but it looks like they are selling for $130 these days. I save ~$350/year (~$8,000 since '95) vs going to a barber.
  • Bike: Purchasing home close to office has allowed me to commute by bicycle. I save ~$200/year on gas. Our state rewards bike commuters with a $50 gift card. Reduced wear & tear on vehicle, the health benefits and reducing carbon emissions are also a big plus.
  • Car: Bought used with excellent reliability score. Paid cash (no lease/no financing).
  • Lawn Mower/yard equipment: Being able to DIY yard maintenance saves me ~$900/year vs paying a landscape guy.
  • Salt Chlorinator for pool: Makes DIY pool maintenance a breeze. Saves me ~$1,800/year vs hiring a pool maintenance guy.
  • Republic Wireless Phone/plan: Saves me ~$600/year.
  • Pots, pans, rice cooker, crock pot, cooking supplies: Preparing your own meals will save you hundreds of thousands and perhaps even millions of dollars over your lifetime; that's not an exaggeration. Here's how the math plays out:
    By packing your own lunch and preparing your own meals you can potentially save $500/month vs eating out at restaurants. If you invested that $500/month savings and were able to get 6% return, after 50 years you'd have ~$1.8M! If you prepare healthy food, you might even still be alive to enjoy all that cash.
  • Tools: Will typically pay for themselves if able to DIY home repairs vs paying someone else to do it.
  • Books: Technically free with a library card. Ignorance is expensive.
"An investment in knowledge pays the best interest." - B. Franklin

Fallible
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Re: What purchase saved you the most money?

Post by Fallible » Fri Oct 05, 2018 12:38 pm

Book buys and magazine and newspaper subscriptions that taught me how to invest and manage money, starting in the '80s. The authors I credit most include Jack Bogle, Jane Bryant Quinn, and Jonathan Clements.
Bogleheads® wiki | Investing Advice Inspired by Jack Bogle

jminv
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Re: What purchase saved you the most money?

Post by jminv » Fri Oct 05, 2018 12:42 pm

Undergrad and, later, grad school both had very high ROIs for me. Post-university I was able to save 70+% of my income which I wouldn’t have been able to do had I not made these purchases.

When I still owned a house, I replaced the existing gas pool heater with a heat pump pool heater which paid for itself in 6 months. Would have been cheaper to have not heated the pool or not bought a house with a pool in the first place, but if you like heated pools, that’s an easy way to save money. Buy a mower and associated gardening tools, I had a big yard and this paid back in a year. Paid for company to fertilizer/insect control/weed control for grass and plants since it was cheaper and they did a better job than doing myself.

I no longer have a car and instead live in a city with excellent public transport which is also inexpensive. My public transport pass has paid off many times over (used to have car and garage space in the city plus of course insurance, repairs, fuel, etc). Now I rent a small car for 10-15/day when I want to go on a road trip.

Bought a hair cutting kit. Paid back after the second cut.

Certain books, magazines, and newspapers have had a large payoff as well.
Last edited by jminv on Fri Oct 05, 2018 12:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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wabbajack
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Re: What purchase saved you the most money?

Post by wabbajack » Fri Oct 05, 2018 12:43 pm

I'm going to be contrarian here.

Things that saved you money but cost your labor seem to come up a lot - i.e. washing your own car, mowing your own lawn, etc. Why do people tend not to value their labor?
Things that saved you money but aren't really comparable - i.e. buying a Honda over a BMW. People who shop for one tend not to shop for the other. Buying a Honda gets you reliability. Buying a BMW gets you thrills. Thrills are much more subjective in value.
Things that saved you money but you haven't considered opportunity cost - i.e. buying a house vs renting. This has been debated many times and I don't want to derail the main topic. Suffice to say that you should be benchmarking your money vs house price inflation to get at an accurate savings number.

Finally, survivorship bias. All of the listed examples are successful examples of an action that resulted in people saving money. What is the success rate of any one particular action? We don't (and likely can't) know because imperfect data.

Things I consider true savings of money? Buying an OTA antenna and Netflix to replace cable. Something like this seems more like a perfect substitute and has zero compromises. Unless you want live sports.

Not meant to attack anyone, just wanted to offer a different look.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: What purchase saved you the most money?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Fri Oct 05, 2018 12:47 pm

My Husqvarna 51 chain saw. I've probably cut 100 cords of wood with it saving me some number of gallons of oil by burning in my wood furnace. It's also a good way for me to get exercise.

I'd say #2 is my Kubota BX1860 tractor. Not having to shovel things out, and being able to move stuff has saved my back and probably other stuff. Prior to the purchase, I wrecked my back shoveling out a plow truck and ended up out of work for 6 weeks.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid

mptfan
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Re: What purchase saved you the most money?

Post by mptfan » Fri Oct 05, 2018 12:52 pm

The book "Your Money or Your Life"

bo105954027
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Re: What purchase saved you the most money?

Post by bo105954027 » Fri Oct 05, 2018 1:32 pm

H-Town wrote:
Fri Oct 05, 2018 1:46 am
David1986 wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 4:00 pm
I usually focus on not spending money to grow my net worth but there are some purchases that save you more than their cost.
My friend and I purchased hair clippers at Costco for $40 2 years ago and have buzzed each other's hair since.
My cost: $20. Has saved me $240 in haircuts so far.
What purchase(s) have you made that saved you the most money?
This book. Saving me thousands in fees and many costly mistakes.
Image
This, with no doubt.
But another important one is "The Total Money Makeover", which saved me when I felt hopeless with my debt, laid a solid PF foundation in my mind, and led me to Bogle's book and this community finally.
Time in market beats timing the market.

dadu007
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Re: What purchase saved you the most money?

Post by dadu007 » Fri Oct 05, 2018 1:35 pm

YNAB (classic, not the current subscription model). It never dawned on me to have the monthly budget funds in place BEFORE the beginning of the month...Best $60 I ever spent. My wife would agree that I'm a slow learner.

bo105954027
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Re: What purchase saved you the most money?

Post by bo105954027 » Fri Oct 05, 2018 1:45 pm

Pizza_and_Beer wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 6:17 pm
My bicycle to get around town/commute to work. Paid for itself in six months and saves me from having to buy a $121/month transit pass. Not to mention, the 1.5 hours of exercise each day has kept the doctor away.
How do you handle burning/freezing/rainy/windy/snowy days?
I thought about bicycle commute when I started working but it looks not pragmatic.
Time in market beats timing the market.

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BeerMoney
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Re: What purchase saved you the most money?

Post by BeerMoney » Fri Oct 05, 2018 1:57 pm

Cookware, ingredients to cook home made meals. ALDI helped even more.

Wife and I cooking at home instead of eating at restaurants adds up to a huge amount of saved money, even more if you consider the saved healthcare costs from eating healthier than restaurants.

Freefun
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Re: What purchase saved you the most money?

Post by Freefun » Fri Oct 05, 2018 2:55 pm

I can’t think of anything. Wow is this depressing.
Remember when you wanted what you currently have?

coffeehubcap
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Re: What purchase saved you the most money?

Post by coffeehubcap » Fri Oct 05, 2018 3:43 pm

My certified pre-owned 1999 Acura TL in 2001 with 9,000 miles. I still have it today and I spent hardly anything on it for repairs. I still have the original hoses and belts, front brakes. I've routinley replaced oil, coolant etc. but that's it. It's been my most perfect car. I love it and it's saved me $$$ over the years. It's going on 20 years and it still looks brand new and runs like a top.

When the '99 came out I drove it and had it overnight. It was the car for me but I waited for the certified pre-owned and two years later when I was looking for a car, it showed up. The previous owner wanted the bigger RL and the car was also hit in the rear by hail which was repaired.

WildBill
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Re: What purchase saved you the most money?

Post by WildBill » Fri Oct 05, 2018 4:11 pm

Howdy

“The Only Investment Guide You Will Ever Need” by Andy Tobias.

Got it at the library :D

W B
"Through chances various, through all vicissitudes, we make our way." Virgil, The Aeneid

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triceratop
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Re: What purchase saved you the most money?

Post by triceratop » Fri Oct 05, 2018 5:10 pm

I'm shocked that this has made it to 50 replies without the item which has saved me enormous amounts of money being mentioned. No, I won't be sharing what the purchase was.

I am proud too of how much my clippers have saved me in haircut expenses, but the resulting haircuts have probably saved me from date expenses too. Double financial benefit!
"To play the stock market is to play musical chairs under the chord progression of a bid-ask spread."

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