Becoming frugal

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
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tludwig23
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Re: Becoming frugal

Post by tludwig23 » Mon Oct 29, 2018 9:58 pm

The things people consider wants and needs are very personal. For me, having a craft cocktail or decent glass of wine when eating out greatly adds to the experience, and independent international travel is one of the greatest joys in life. On the other hand, I think the coffee I make with my aeropress in better than anything I can get at Starbucks or similar, and much cheaper.

My plan is simple (at least in my opinion)...

Automatically set aside all needed savings, all required payments (rent, mortgage, etc.), and specific categorical savings (travel, etc.) with each paycheck. Spend the rest however I see fit.
That's what I do: I drink, and I know things. --Tyrion Lannister

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Jazztonight
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Re: Becoming frugal

Post by Jazztonight » Mon Oct 29, 2018 9:59 pm

sport wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 5:07 pm
I am surprised no one mentioned this, it might be the most important of all:
Choose your spouse carefully.
Do me a favor and tell me that 50 years ago.
"What does not destroy me, makes me stronger." Nietzsche

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dm200
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Re: Becoming frugal

Post by dm200 » Wed Oct 31, 2018 4:23 pm

Hogan773 wrote:
Mon Oct 29, 2018 5:15 pm
Don't have kids, live outside in a tent, take a shower in the local stream, make your own shampoo out of dirt, eat whatever berries you can find and supplement with more dirt or roadkill if it presents itself.
This strategy will also reduce the financial risk of getting married or a significant other.. :oops:

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fortfun
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Re: Becoming frugal

Post by fortfun » Wed Oct 31, 2018 8:53 pm

These steps have served us well. We have small incomes but save a LOT!

Get rid of Amazon prime. Too easy to spend money on crap you don't need.
Get rid of cable.
Use only a work mobile phone (if provided).
Get rid of land line phone.
Stop eating out. Learn to cook. If you eat out, find a reasonable place to eat out (usually lunch). Drinking out is expensive.
Stop the runs to Target, Walmart, Costco, sam's club. Get rid of their memberships. You just buy crap you don't need.
Use your library for movies, books, entertainment.
Use bonus points on credit cards for travel. Open cards for bonus, spend minimum for bonus, cancel card. Repeat.
Minimize spending on clothing.
Pack lunch. Make your own coffee.
Shop around for car and home insurance (every time you need to renew).
Drive reliable/inexpensive vehicles (Toyota).
Rent out part of your house (if possible).
Buy store brands. Try to keep grocery spending as low as possible. Lots of information showing organic, etc. is not worth the money (get the same crap but pay more for it).
Stay healthy (if possible). Diet, exercise, take care of teeth.
If you have kids, don't over spend on them. Really not necessary.
Do online banking/cds, etc for emergency fund. Don't bank with banks that rip you off (i.e Wells Fargo).
Learn how to fix your own house, cars, etc. Do your own lawn mowing, house cleaning, etc.
Don't try to keep up with the Jones's.
Do the other stuff that you mentioned: Auto max 401ks, 403bs, 457etc. Max Roth IRAs.
Only borrow money for home. <4% interest.

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Cycle
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Re: Becoming frugal

Post by Cycle » Wed Oct 31, 2018 9:46 pm

I'm a 65-70% net saver. I see many postings that scream penny wise pound foolish. Cutting your own hair will accelerate retirement days (which I do by the way), but there are much bigger levers that can be pulled. Here are some massive frugal levers I pulled:

I had work pay for grad school.

I live in a duplex and rent out the other half. I paid 6 months savings for my half, and don't bother with a mortgage. Our unit is not too big, so it's cheap to heat and cool. The space is small enough where hoarding isn't possible.

We have 1 reliable car, worth .4% of our net worth. I buy my express bus fair pre-tax. So many BHs are underaccumulators due to effective car advertising.

We have jobs with good healthcare. Out of pocket max is pretty low.

For daycare, in home spanish immersion 3 blocks away that is far cheaper than the chain daycares.

Lots of paid time off, 6 weeks a year. 7 months combined maternity/paternity. So we can take a lot of time off without it affecting our accumulation. Often we'll tack vacation onto business trips, or hop on a $250 rt flight to Europe. Also we used to credit card churn, but are currently locked out of chase.

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Cycle
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Re: Becoming frugal

Post by Cycle » Wed Oct 31, 2018 10:00 pm

Jazztonight wrote:
Mon Oct 29, 2018 9:59 pm
sport wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 5:07 pm
I am surprised no one mentioned this, it might be the most important of all:
Choose your spouse carefully.
Do me a favor and tell me that 50 years ago.
I always advise our undergraduate interns at work that their first vehicle should be a minivan. It will scare away any spendthrift suitors and as an added bonus has tons of utility.

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catalina355
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Re: Becoming frugal

Post by catalina355 » Wed Oct 31, 2018 10:04 pm

Jwymer167 wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 12:57 pm
Good evening from the UK ☺️
I thought i would try to start a small thread on frugality. Being able to save big lumps of your paycheck, to use as capital to invest is obviously very important

I was wondering, what ways have you practised frugality in order to save nice amount of money? For me personally:
£5 phone bill
No financing fancy cars
Share lifts occasionally
Im able to cut my own hair
Dont buy stuff i dont need etc etc.

Im always looking for other ways to save, so im interested to see what some of you guys do ☺️
lifts == rides over here :)

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Cycle
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Re: Becoming frugal

Post by Cycle » Wed Oct 31, 2018 10:07 pm

fortfun wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 8:53 pm
These steps have served us well. We have small incomes but save a LOT!

Get rid of Amazon prime. Too easy to spend money on crap you don't need.
Get rid of cable.
Use only a work mobile phone (if provided).
Get rid of land line phone.
Stop eating out. Learn to cook. If you eat out, find a reasonable place to eat out (usually lunch). Drinking out is expensive.
Stop the runs to Target, Walmart, Costco, sam's club. Get rid of their memberships. You just buy crap you don't need.
Use your library for movies, books, entertainment.
Use bonus points on credit cards for travel. Open cards for bonus, spend minimum for bonus, cancel card. Repeat.
Minimize spending on clothing.
Pack lunch. Make your own coffee.
Shop around for car and home insurance (every time you need to renew).
Drive reliable/inexpensive vehicles (Toyota).
Rent out part of your house (if possible).
Buy store brands. Try to keep grocery spending as low as possible. Lots of information showing organic, etc. is not worth the money (get the same crap but pay more for it).
Stay healthy (if possible). Diet, exercise, take care of teeth.
If you have kids, don't over spend on them. Really not necessary.
Do online banking/cds, etc for emergency fund. Don't bank with banks that rip you off (i.e Wells Fargo).
Learn how to fix your own house, cars, etc. Do your own lawn mowing, house cleaning, etc.
Don't try to keep up with the Jones's.
Do the other stuff that you mentioned: Auto max 401ks, 403bs, 457etc. Max Roth IRAs.
Only borrow money for home. <4% interest.
This is a great list.

I do or have done all of these things, including roommates in my condo when I was single. I wish I had this list when I was 22. It took a decade of experience to get there. We just dropped Amazon a few months ago.

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dm200
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Re: Becoming frugal

Post by dm200 » Thu Nov 01, 2018 10:43 am

Yes - back when I was single - I rented a single family house several times - and shared the rent with 2 or 3 others.

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jharkin
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Re: Becoming frugal

Post by jharkin » Thu Nov 01, 2018 11:04 am

Cycle wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 9:46 pm
I see many postings that scream penny wise pound foolish.
Exactly. I try and save money to live better, not be miserable.

For us the biggest thing is the house. We own a home that is enough space, but not tooo much. All my peers who live in the 3k-4k sqft Mansions can skip all the lattes and resole their shoes all they want but they will never skrimp enough to queal hte massive savings I got by not overspend on housings.

So of us its the big things: Modest house. Buy reliable cars Honda/Toyota) and keep them at least 10 years. Spend for quality appliance and furnishings that will last rather than buying a new fad every year. DIY as much as possible (yard work, home repair, auto maintenance).

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dm200
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Re: Becoming frugal

Post by dm200 » Thu Nov 01, 2018 2:53 pm

If at all possible and safe, if you need certain types of surgery - outpatient can cost you a lot less than being admitted.

Jwymer167
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Re: Becoming frugal

Post by Jwymer167 » Thu Nov 01, 2018 4:53 pm

Cycle wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 10:07 pm
fortfun wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 8:53 pm
These steps have served us well. We have small incomes but save a LOT!

Get rid of Amazon prime. Too easy to spend money on crap you don't need.
Get rid of cable.
Use only a work mobile phone (if provided).
Get rid of land line phone.
Stop eating out. Learn to cook. If you eat out, find a reasonable place to eat out (usually lunch). Drinking out is expensive.
Stop the runs to Target, Walmart, Costco, sam's club. Get rid of their memberships. You just buy crap you don't need.
Use your library for movies, books, entertainment.
Use bonus points on credit cards for travel. Open cards for bonus, spend minimum for bonus, cancel card. Repeat.
Minimize spending on clothing.
Pack lunch. Make your own coffee.
Shop around for car and home insurance (every time you need to renew).
Drive reliable/inexpensive vehicles (Toyota).
Rent out part of your house (if possible).
Buy store brands. Try to keep grocery spending as low as possible. Lots of information showing organic, etc. is not worth the money (get the same crap but pay more for it).
Stay healthy (if possible). Diet, exercise, take care of teeth.
If you have kids, don't over spend on them. Really not necessary.
Do online banking/cds, etc for emergency fund. Don't bank with banks that rip you off (i.e Wells Fargo).
Learn how to fix your own house, cars, etc. Do your own lawn mowing, house cleaning, etc.
Don't try to keep up with the Jones's.
Do the other stuff that you mentioned: Auto max 401ks, 403bs, 457etc. Max Roth IRAs.
Only borrow money for home. <4% interest.
This is a great list.

I do or have done all of these things, including roommates in my condo when I was single. I wish I had this list when I was 22. It took a decade of experience to get there. We just dropped Amazon a few months ago.
Its a good list isnt it, i’m the OP and 22 myself ☺️ Still go on holiday to ibiza or somewhere like that once a year, and live my life happily. Just make some “better” decisions than most lads my age, in my opinion. Hoping these decisions will pay me in the long run.

Jwymer167
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Re: Becoming frugal

Post by Jwymer167 » Thu Nov 01, 2018 4:57 pm

Cycle wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 9:46 pm
I'm a 65-70% net saver. I see many postings that scream penny wise pound foolish. Cutting your own hair will accelerate retirement days (which I do by the way), but there are much bigger levers that can be pulled. Here are some massive frugal levers I pulled:

I had work pay for grad school.

I live in a duplex and rent out the other half. I paid 6 months savings for my half, and don't bother with a mortgage. Our unit is not too big, so it's cheap to heat and cool. The space is small enough where hoarding isn't possible.

We have 1 reliable car, worth .4% of our net worth. I buy my express bus fair pre-tax. So many BHs are underaccumulators due to effective car advertising.

We have jobs with good healthcare. Out of pocket max is pretty low.

For daycare, in home spanish immersion 3 blocks away that is far cheaper than the chain daycares.

Lots of paid time off, 6 weeks a year. 7 months combined maternity/paternity. So we can take a lot of time off without it affecting our accumulation. Often we'll tack vacation onto business trips, or hop on a $250 rt flight to Europe. Also we used to credit card churn, but are currently locked out of chase.
Great reply mate, thank you. Im aiming to save £75% of my monthly income 👍🏼 I automate around 50% to my vanguard account. Im slowly easing into putting the other 25% into my savings too.

Jwymer167
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Re: Becoming frugal

Post by Jwymer167 » Thu Nov 01, 2018 4:58 pm

RobLyons wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 3:06 pm
Been living that frugal lifestyle ever since moving out of the parents house. Years ago, stretching $40 - $50k for a family of 4 took a lot of frugality on our part. Now it's just part of our lifestyle even though the income has ballooned.


1. Barter and trade. free plumbing, electrical work, farm fresh eggs, random food, occasional child care, home made wine, etc from in laws, cousins, uncles, friends in exchange for us helping them with finances, medical appointments, IT and home security assistance, support, etc.
2. Food. Home made is cheapest and make enough for extra lunches/meals.
3. Vacations. Opt for local, staycations, day trips.
4. Entertainment. Usually a bigger expense than people are willing to admit. Limit pricey events, enjoy the presence of others without spending lavishly
5. Cash Back credit cards. Could be a double edged sword but if disciplined, savings can be had. 6% cash back groceries, 5% at the pump, 1.5% elsewhere
6. Price shop for every necessary expense. Insurance for example, we pay about 50% less than most others for auto, home, and life. Local mechanic vs dealership. (stealership)
7. Evaluate spending. Cut/reduce anything you do not need or really enjoy.
8. Clothes. Buy on sale, wear until permanently stained or develops holes. I have 10+ year old clothes I still wear!
9. Kids. Most pregnancies are not planned, however the big difference is what people buy for their kids. We take hand-me-downs, shop for deals, and teach them about the value of money. No designer, no pricey electronics, no big expensive birthday parties.
Thanks for your great reply, you’re doing a great job ☺️ Take care.

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dm200
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Re: Becoming frugal

Post by dm200 » Sun Nov 04, 2018 1:20 pm

My wife and I are fortunate to have (being over 55) low cost ($90 per year for both) membership in local jurisdiction's fitness centers. Some are open weekdays from 6 am to 10 pm and shorter hours on Saturdays and Sundays. The centers are only closed for about 10 days a year (holidays and sometimes an added day).

We often use the shower facilities - hot water, soap, fresh towel each time - compliments of the local taxpayers.

Traveler
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Re: Becoming frugal

Post by Traveler » Sun Nov 04, 2018 3:31 pm

Don't buy needless stuff and live in a house/condo/apartment that is not oversized

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dm200
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Re: Becoming frugal

Post by dm200 » Sun Nov 04, 2018 3:35 pm

Traveler wrote:
Sun Nov 04, 2018 3:31 pm
Don't buy needless stuff and live in a house/condo/apartment that is not oversized
Yes - BUT do your best to have one that is "right sized" over as long a period as possible to avoid selling and buying unnecessarily.

michaeljc70
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Re: Becoming frugal

Post by michaeljc70 » Mon Nov 05, 2018 10:36 am

I think most people are frugal or not and it is difficult to become frugal unless forced into a situation that requires it. That being said, the biggest thing I think is when you start making more and more money, keep your lifestyle/expenses the same. Or increase them at a much lower pace than your salary increases.

Dottie57
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Re: Becoming frugal

Post by Dottie57 » Mon Nov 05, 2018 11:27 am

I hate the word frugal. I think of penny pincher, miserly etc. i do know that is not what is meant in this group.

I want to spend my money intentionally - not mindless. Buy what I truly desire.

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VictoriaF
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Re: Becoming frugal

Post by VictoriaF » Mon Nov 05, 2018 12:50 pm

The easiest way to be frugal is to have frugal friends. Or to have no friends.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

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dm200
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Re: Becoming frugal

Post by dm200 » Mon Nov 12, 2018 12:07 pm

WhiteMaxima wrote:
Mon Oct 29, 2018 5:32 pm
Be frugal but not a miser.
yes

wjhunter
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Re: Becoming frugal

Post by wjhunter » Mon Nov 12, 2018 3:14 pm

The biggest factors for me, by far are (1) spouse who shares values\approach to money and (2) buying smaller house that is closer to jobs versus McMansion in the burbs - this has many positive affects - lower transportation costs, lower heating/cooling/maintenance costs, less need to fill up a big house with crap.

I have to disagree about Costco though - if you are *disciplined* (no impulse purchases), and buy key items in bulk, especially when on sale, your Costco membership can save you money - but it probably depends on the size of your family.

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dm200
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Re: Becoming frugal

Post by dm200 » Mon Nov 12, 2018 4:24 pm

wjhunter wrote:
Mon Nov 12, 2018 3:14 pm
The biggest factors for me, by far are (1) spouse who shares values\approach to money and (2) buying smaller house that is closer to jobs versus McMansion in the burbs - this has many positive affects - lower transportation costs, lower heating/cooling/maintenance costs, less need to fill up a big house with crap.

I have to disagree about Costco though - if you are *disciplined* (no impulse purchases), and buy key items in bulk, especially when on sale, your Costco membership can save you money - but it probably depends on the size of your family.
Yes -

ponyboy
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Re: Becoming frugal

Post by ponyboy » Mon Nov 12, 2018 4:31 pm

I didnt become frugal, frugal became me.

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dm200
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Re: Becoming frugal

Post by dm200 » Mon Nov 12, 2018 5:48 pm

VERY difficult - but try to avoid seeing Physicians when not necessary. On the other hand, see Physicians when doing so can or will reduce future visits.

BenBritt
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Re: Becoming frugal

Post by BenBritt » Mon Nov 12, 2018 6:30 pm

There is a fine line between being frugal and being cheap !

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BogleFanGal
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Re: Becoming frugal

Post by BogleFanGal » Mon Nov 12, 2018 6:42 pm

rgs92 wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 10:15 pm
Stop vacations. If you live in a nice house, why pay for time away from it? You are paying double when you stay away from home.
Umm...I'm a Boglehead. I bought a starter home that somehow became my forever home. I like my house, but we're not exactly talking poolside, oceanside, mountainside or any "side" vacation paradise here. It's your basic 3/2 starter house suburban clone :D
Last edited by BogleFanGal on Mon Nov 12, 2018 6:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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BogleFanGal
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Re: Becoming frugal

Post by BogleFanGal » Mon Nov 12, 2018 6:45 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
Mon Nov 05, 2018 12:50 pm
The easiest way to be frugal is to have frugal friends. Or to have no friends.

Victoria
So true...for many people, their only concept of getting together is a triple digit dinner or some other pricey event. Once in a while is fine, but seems like no one is ever willing to just hang out: play board games, have a few drinks, watch a movie, enjoy someone's company without being someplace expensive.

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BogleFanGal
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Re: Becoming frugal

Post by BogleFanGal » Mon Nov 12, 2018 6:49 pm

Skiffy wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 3:14 pm
No alcohol consumption.
Nah...you lost me there. A life without a glass or two of red wine is a life half lived. :D (Luckily I like the cheap stuff.)

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VictoriaF
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Re: Becoming frugal

Post by VictoriaF » Mon Nov 12, 2018 6:51 pm

BogleFanGal wrote:
Mon Nov 12, 2018 6:45 pm
VictoriaF wrote:
Mon Nov 05, 2018 12:50 pm
The easiest way to be frugal is to have frugal friends. Or to have no friends.

Victoria
So true...for many people, their only concept of getting together is a triple digit dinner or some other pricey event. Once in a while is fine, but seems like no one is ever willing to just hang out: play board games, have a few drinks, watch a movie, enjoy someone's company without being someplace expensive.
One of the best ways to spend time with friends is to play board games. Or charades. Unfortunately, nobody does it anymore.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

staythecourse
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Re: Becoming frugal

Post by staythecourse » Mon Nov 12, 2018 7:21 pm

averagedude wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 2:05 pm
When it comes to expenses, controlling the big ticket items has the biggest impact.
1. Kids. Make sure that all pregnancies are planned.
2. Housing. Buy or rent a place that is below your means.
3. Vehicles. Keep them till the wheels come off.
4. College. Make decisions on return on investment instead of the experience.

These 4 items will save you a million dollars easily if you are young.
Didn't bother reading the rest of the thread. Here is the winner. All this, "I saved $5 per day not buying coffee at Starbucks" is nice, but the above EASILY is where the big saving come from. Throw in be careful who you marry and don't get divorced and that basically finishes it off.

Good luck.
"The stock market [fluctuation], therefore, is noise. A giant distraction from the business of investing.” | -Jack Bogle

JimMolony
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Re: Becoming frugal

Post by JimMolony » Tue Nov 13, 2018 3:02 pm

The biggest costs are:

Housing: many suggest 25-30% of gross pay. Mine is at 9% for my wife and I. Lower housing costs is the best strategy.
Auto: Do you really need a new car? Do you really need the performance/comfort/truck? We buy 3-4 year old cars with 20-35k miles. 1/2 cost of new
Food: dining out can be expensive. A good treat occasionally, but not all the time. Also not good for your waistline

Be smart in picking out an equally frugal spouse.

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