« Two Examples of How Using Cash Can Save You Money | Main | It's Still Not What You Make But What You Spend »

November 26, 2007

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

You nailed it on the head. I REFUSE to take my lunch to work!!! No, you can't make me!@!

If not buying a pet is a valid money saver I'm surprised you didn't include having children! They are serious suckers of cold hard cash for a lot of years.

I agree with most of these, but some of them are a little on the edgy side, nothing too crazy though.

Moving to another city is an enormous change for a family. You'll probably have to change jobs, and unless you really can't afford it then it's probably not an option. Everything else just makes sense.

I'm a big fan of cutting the cable, buying a house you can afford, buying used (for certain items), and having no pets.

As for buying used I would buy a car used, but most of my other gadgets (like a digital camera for instance) I would just buy one model behind the 'latest and greatest' and also buy refurbished items, Open Box, Overstocks and sales.

Cutting the cable just makes sense. There are no advantages other than to waste time. Though I do find it hard to fill my day all the time without a couple hours on the TV, if I was really looking I probably should be working on my house anyway.

9 is the only one I would be skeptical of. You'd have to be pretty careful where you go for medical care in Mexico. Could be a good idea but off hand it sounds like it could be dangerous. Heh I have done all of those except for 2 and 9. While I quit smoking I still own some cig stock.

You seem to have left off the #1 (probably) most-hated money saving tip: Don't have kids. If you're going to suggest passing on pets, which can help with things like depression and high blood pressure, you ought to mention the kiddies too. Compared to that little piece of advice, everything above seems like you're playing it safe.

I don't understand anyone getting bent out of shape about your tips. They're practical and they make sense. The problem is, as a rule, people aren't practical nor do they make sense. We're emotional and impulsive and frankly, I think there are a lot of people like me that would rather enjoy their daily life than live like a monk so that we can drive a Jag or take a cruise when we're 60+. None of your suggestions are a big revelation to me. I know I could save money but I tend to live in the now. Do what makes you happy, if you can afford it. If you're broke but spending money on unnecessary expenses, suck it up and change your life or continue to live outside your means and be broke all the time. Your choice. You'll only have yourself to blame.

Quite the post, FMF.

#10 is good advice but I won't deny that it hurts to hear it if you're out of shape.

Very interesting post.

I would have thought that people who didn't like your suggestions would just ignore them rather than actually complain.

I can't say I like the idea of some of the tips (ie moving to a cheaper city) but I still think it's a great suggestion.

Mike

The SNL skit with Steve Martin still tops it all; 'Don't buy stuff you cannot afford'.

What irks me is these "money gurus" never suggest the most obvious solution: make more money.

Gosh, it so frustrating to read about people scrimping and saving the money they already work very hard for when they could also be channeling that energy to earn more cash. Don't just save more of the money you have. Bring in more income as well! Attack the problem from both ends.

ciji - if only it were that easy!

If you want to get some more angry comments, expand #8 or #2 (wherever you think it applies) and say find cheaper alternatives to expensive hobbies. I live in a town where golf and horses are the pastimes of choice. Some people can afford it, others pretend they can.

I'm not foaming at the mouth with rage, but I do have two problems with #9.

First, it assumes that you'll keep the same base salary. If you go on assignment for your employer, chances are they make adjustments to your compensation to account for lower costs of living. If you are localized to a foreign employer, there's no chance in heck that you're going to be paid US rates unless you're a specialist who can name his price (in which case these sort of money-saving tips probably aren't necessary).

Second, with regard to medical care, you should probably make it clear that you're not talking about going to a reputable clinics and not some random dude in an alleyway. There are even some companies which specialize in offering premium services to foreign clients at local rates. Also, I'm assuming that this is targeted towards the uninsured, in which case I would also point out that if you can afford to fly to Ecuador or Thailand for treatment, you can also afford to buy medical insurance

Ack, paragraph 2 should read, you're talking about going to reputable clinics and not some random dude in an alleyway.

George --

I'm glad you're not foaming at the mouth. ;-)

"I'm glad you're not foaming at the mouth. ;-)"

If I were, I could probably save money flying to Mexico for treatment :)

It's all about priorities. Is saving money your priority? Is owning a house your priority? Is location stability or living in or near city X your priority? Do you place some things higher priority than others, or do you place all of these things and more into a single indivisible priority? If you do the latter, you make a high hurdle to leap. If you do the former, you get more of what you want sooner and easier.

WOW...
Some people are obsessed with money
But the thing is that moving to a new city is sometimes nicer but then again remember people who moved before or if you are one of them, that you cant go and walk up to some stranger on the street of a new city you just moved in, dont know anybody, and have somewhat to no clue where you are, and say be my friend. same with jobs, you cant go and say "I want the maximum wage you can get here" as it takes time to get a reputation, make friends, and adjust to a new city. Also I doubt that some of these suggestions actualy save you "Millions OF MONEHS!!OMG!!" I mean as ironic as it is the person just needs to 'be rational' about psycologial effects. Yes though about many of these I agree with, I mean smokings not cool. Also what if you live by yourself, will a pet seem like a good idea for these 'Mr. or Ms. Stingys' or 'Crustacious Cheapscapes'

Great post! I really enjoyed it.

I can understand #1 being the most-hated. We met with a lot of skepticism when we did just that.

But, we researched and found a town (in the same country) that met our criteria and had a very low cost of living but most importantly, had ridiculously cheap real estate. For us, it was the low cost of entry into the real estate market that sold us on our location. I mean, less than the price of a decked out minivan low.

We purchased one house three years before we were ready to actually move out there and rented it out. A couple of years later, a second one. After we moved out here (5 months ago) we've bought 3 more and are currently closing on #6 and #7. The rental income from these places alone is enough to live modestly, so very soon, we'll have no need for a job. So much for the "not being able to find work in a small town" objection, eh?

Finding a place with inexpensive houses allows us to easily diversify, and our 7 houses combined still costs less (maybe even 1/2) of a home in Toronto. The risk to our portfolio is considerably lower than putting all our eggs in one house. We describe our thinking and our process in our blog WeLiveHereNow.net

Strategy #1 has worked very well for us, and everyone we talk to says they think it's great, but *they* could never do it. I guess that's just more houses for us, then! :)

If people don't like the suggestions here, it is pretty obvious that they haven't read The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko.

I still can't figure out why people object to taking their lunch to work. Healthy food? Calorie control? No allergic reactions? No trans-fats? It is possible to take your lunch to a restaurant with colleagues and eat with them. Just order a beverage. And if you are working at your desk over lunch, who cares what you eat?

Lots of good suggestions - such as cutting cable (which I don't have) and taking lunch to work (which I do daily). However, as a pet owner, specifically, an owner of a dog (which needs to be WALKED twice a day), walking the dog, jogging at times with a dog (unfortunately, a beagle can't walk in a straight line because he dashes off when he picks up an interesting scent), CONTRIBUTES to #10 - be healthy.

Ok, after reading this article and several of your other pet expense posts, I had to respond. I have to agree that pets are expensive. I am a college student currently living on financial aid and I have to do some extreme penny pinching to stay afloat but I have to say that it's totally worth it. I suffer from depression, and it was really bad just before I got my dog. I was taking medication and going to therapy, but something was still missing. Getting Layla honestly saved my life, so yeah any expense that I can afford for her health, safety and well-being I'm going to shell out. I mean you really can't put an amount on that. After saying that, I do want to add that I do like to see that you draw attention to the costs of pets because people get pets and don't realize that they need proper care. If Layla's sick I take care of her. I wouldn't have ever gotten her if I couldn't do it. It's just really sad that dogs are put to sleep everyday because people just don't realize what they're getting theirselves into. So hopefully your articles get people thinking about our responsibility as pet owners. When I got Layla, I told her that I will always take care of her for the rest of her life, and I hope to live up to that promise no matter the cost.

Really no matter what the cost?? Congrats on Layla, and I'm really happy to know that she has added so much to your life. I love my Lucy, but I must say there are limits to how much I will spend on her. I hope I don't offend every pet-lover out there, but pets aren't kids!! Really they aren't, no matter how many people try to make it seem like they are....I love my animals (and I appreciate other people's love for their animals) but I would never for a second ever consider taking out loans of any kind on their well-being. I hope this doesn't make me a bad animal lover. I wish you and Layla the best of health!

Really no matter what the cost?? Congrats on Layla, and I'm really happy to know that she has added so much to your life. I love my Lucy, but I must say there are limits to how much I will spend on her. I hope I don't offend every pet-lover out there, but pets aren't kids!! Really they aren't, no matter how many people try to make it seem like they are....I love my animals (and I appreciate other people's love for their animals) but I would never for a second ever consider taking out loans of any kind on their well-being. I hope this doesn't make me a bad animal lover. I wish you and Layla the best of health!

Pets don't have to cost much at all if you're even remotley willing to think outside the box. I love my dogs, but I've also had a wide range of other pets that were a blast and very cheap. Take my rabbit for instance. He lives inside, potties in his litter box, never needs a bath or a trip to the groomer, no expensive food, heartworm preventative, or vaccinations. His idea of a fantastic treat is a dandelion from my yard. He can amuse himself for free with T.P tube or an old phone book. He's never destroyed my favorite shoes or had the runs on the carpet. He never makes the house smell like cat pee or wet dog. He snuggles and cuddles and plays tug-of-war just like my Pomeranian. Unlike my Pom though, he costs less than $0.50/day. SUPER Cheap. And lots of fun.

I recently retired from the military with a pension. I have 2 sons still at home and my husband is still active duty. I follow a great many of these suggestions so that I don't need to go get a "real" job again. I enjoy staying home and taking care of my boys. Thrift stores are a great place to pick up many items at a fraction of the cost of new. I also agree with the cost of pets. When we lived in the States, we had 2 dogs and 2 cats which we couldn't take overseas, so we found good homes for them. Although I miss them at times, I really feel liberated. We don't need to kennel them to travel, the house is free of hair, and everything smells better, in addition to saving money. We have a small fish tank instead. Got it used! I'd like to 2 more ideas - stop buying so much highly processed and over packaged foods. Spending a couple hours on the weekend preparing food in advance saves a lot of money and reduces the amount of additives your family is exposed to. Lastly, stop buying so many different cleaning products. You really only need a few basic things. The people who moved out of the house we are now in (we are overseas so you can't pack the liquid stuff) left an absolute glut of cleaners. We've been here 5+ months and I still haven't had to buy any. Most are really specialized - one for a glass stove top, one for stainless steal sinks, etc. Your suggestions are easy to follow. Not sure why people get so rabid about being practical.

I loved all these tips and plan on reading the other 700 plus that are posted.

People, after reading these, try not to take it so personnally. They are tips to try abd help you, not attacks against your beliefs and opinions. If you like the tip, follow it. If you don't like the tip, don't follow. See! Wasn't that easy?

Interesting tips.....very good read

Ciji, while I agree with you in spirit, the solution is often not that easy. "Hey, boss, I'd like to buy a Maserati, so would you mind if i clocked 90 hours of overtime each week?"

Making more money usually involves getting a better paying job. This usually requires an improvement in skills and certifications--which cost what? Money!

I bought a suit the other day. Yves St. Laurent. Fits me like i sat for the tailor. I figure it retails for WELL over $200.00. I paid fitty cents! So, factoring sales tax, I saved at least 200 samoleans. In 15 minutes. What's my hourly rate here? Wish I could make that every 15 minutes! Ben Franklin got it right in "Poor Richard's Almanac" when he quoted the old saying "A penny saved is a penny earned". (Keep in mind what a penny bought in those days!)

I will say, though, one of the most lucrative periods in my life was when I was single and had two jobs. I was TOO BUSY to spend money! (Read: go clubbing!) Really, boredom is sometimes the biggest expense we have!

I can see people hating some of them.
#10. This implies that all of our illness is due to our bad habits; it is also pretty hurtful advice to someone who is already sick (and may actually be thin and active). Sure eating well and exercising reduces risk of some chronic illnesses, but unless one is morbidly obese, not nearly to the extent that you think. Additionally, when you give this advice you usually don't know much about the person. For example, maybe someone you talk to has some auto-immune condition and is taking steroids like prednisone that cause weight gain. Some women have real difficulty in maintaining weight after the menopause. Also, there are other habits that people don't think about that are bad for your health or may increase cost - like working too hard, not getting enough sleep, having a stressful job. Runners have higher risk of injuries.
#9 Maybe a good advice for retirees - I am considering it. If you are employed though, it is not that easy. This often depends on your age, job, family status. Not applicable to everyone. Not sure why one would really hate it - one can always say, "it's an idea, but it is not for me".
#2 I think people should be aware that pets cost money before getting them. But if they feel it is worth it for them - why not?
#1. Look at the most expensive places in the US. These are - Northern California, NYC and the surrounding area, Boston. These are also the places where the best jobs are for technology professionals. Sure a software engineer can get a job in mid-West, and even with a smaller salary it may still cost less to live there, but will the job be as interesting? A software engineer working in R&D is not keen on working for a bank doing application programming. So, there are reason people live in more expensive areas. Sure, in some cases you could move to the neighboring county (e.g. to Dutchess if you work in Westchester or NY City) but then you'll have a longer commute, possibly worse schools. Very few people move to an expensive area just because they want to live close to all the rich people. There usually are reasons.

I don't see why people would hate other advice. I like my cable TV, but if I couldn't afford it, I wouldn't have it. Sure, some people may really hate to buy used, but it is not like everyone should take every advice. Not being willing to do one thing is no reason to "hate" it. As to the bringing lunch from home, in my company we always have a line to microwaves around lunch time. A bit better now that we have 5 powerful microwaves in the cafeteria, when we had 3, you had to wait for a while. And we have mostly highly paid scientists and engineers in the building. Is it because we are cheap nerds or because we have too many foreigners? Our cafeteria is OK, but why not save money and have a homemade meal too.

Buying a house you can afford is obvious. Don't see why would anybody hate it.

Hey while you are at it, why dont you include not having children as well?

And heres another great saving tip, in the fall time, collect all your leaves that has fallen from the ground then take it and use it as toilet paper to wipe your ass, SAVES ALOT OF MONEY, like you said every penny counts you cheapskate.

I can see why people might be emotional about some of these suggestions. People like to think they live the way they have to because they have no choice. It's hard to accept that reducing costs might come with sacrifice (e.g., exercise, food choices, giving up cable).

The twisted thing about earning more money as Ciji suggested is that it would probably lead to spending more money. Though I'm sure a lot of your readers out there know that.

I can only assume people take offense at medical tourism because (1) they think it's dangerous or (2) they don't like the inconvenience of it. It's actually an interesting idea. Get comparable medical care from names like Harvard, Mayo, Johns Hopkins overseas at what might amount to one-tenth of the price in the United States. How many people can afford a procedure that might run into the 6 figures? Here's an interesting piece from NPR: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=16077448

Anyone serious about saving money shouldn't take offense to your suggestions. But just like everything, take it all with a grain of salt.

Yep, I definitely hate #1. "Lower your cost of living, your quality of life, and your cultural awareness all at the same time!" Sounds great.

As long as you are coming up with ideas people will hate, how about:

1. Don't have kids.
2. Don't give to charity or the church.
3. Sell your car.
4. Don't buy gifts for Christmas/birthdays/weddings/etc.

Sure, all of these are unreasonable, but so are moving solely for money, or not getting a pet just for money.

I love buying used! The thrift store I buy at sells clothing for .35! I buy North Face, Levi's, Liz Claiborne, Lands End, Eddie Bauer, etc etc dirt cheap!

Alexie, Bob - you are both hilarious and have good, yet not well thought out, tips of your own...thanks for the laughs though - seriously!

I can't resist the temptation to reiterate kids ARE NOT pets. Love can be a bit confusing, but pets just aren't people. Before I get blasted, please know I love pets! But, I must admit it really creeped me out when my vet's assistant kept referring to me as Lucy's mommy. I have two children and neither one of them are covered in fur or claw-bearing, so please repeat after me for the love of all that is decent, "Kids are not pets and pets are not kids, but it is okay for me to love them both."

Alexie, Bob - you are both hilarious and have good, yet not well thought out, tips of your own...thanks for the laughs though - seriously!

I can't resist the temptation to reiterate kids ARE NOT pets. Love can be a bit confusing, but pets just aren't people. Before I get blasted, please know I love pets! But, I must admit it really creeped me out when my vet's assistant kept referring to me as Lucy's mommy. I have two children and neither one of them are covered in fur or claw-bearing, so please repeat after me for the love of all that is decent, "Kids are not pets and pets are not kids, but it is okay for me to love them both."

I think the "Ick! Used clothes!" response is a generational thing: most of us who were young in the 80's or earlier grew up combing through thrift stores for fabulous, unique pieces -- 40's suits, 30's rayon dresses, bias-cut silk slips, fur-trimmed cashmere coats, terrific vintage stuff that was a quality that you couldn't buy new. Old clothes used to be *better* than new -- and if you found an amazing find (like the WWII leather flying jacket that I dug out of a bin in 1983 and wore until it literally fell apart), you were automatically a fashion maven. People used to chase me down the street and beg to buy that coat (sigh...). So I find it hard to fathom why people in their twenties don't just love the hunt: thrift shopping is *fun*, people. You never know what you'll find, especially in a major urban center.

A couple of things happened, I think: first, the quality of the material for sale has declined. Old clothes are always the clothes from the previous 20 to 30 years: when I was hunting in the 80's, we bought high quality stuff from the 50's and 60's. When people started thrift and vintage stores in earnest, in the 60's, they were selling old flapper dresses and 1890's shirtwaists as well as 50's poodle skirts. Now, what's available used is mostly 80's crap: I see some stuff out there that's fun, but by and large, the quality of goods made in the 80's and 90's isn't very high. And the high-end designer stuff is often picked out, unless you live somewhere like Manhattan.

Two, the price and quality of new clothing has plummeted: all clothes, except the most expensive, is made by underpaid slaves in China and falls apart in three months. If I can buy a pair of new jeans for 19 bucks at Joe Fresh in the local supermarket, why pay 6 bucks for old ones in Goodwill? I used to buy my teaching suits in consignment stores, in the 90s: I could get used Armani for the same price as Club Monaco. Now the quality is no longer visible across the room, so why bother paying for used?

And three -- people in their 20's have never experienced an economic slowdown. Seriously -- anyone who is currently 25 would have been in high school on 9/11 and certainly wouldn't have remembered the early 90's, which was really the last major downturn. So the idea that you'd not just charge it and worry about it later is utterly alien.

I think the "Ick! Used clothes!" response is a generational thing: most of us who were young in the 80's or earlier grew up combing through thrift stores for fabulous, unique pieces -- 40's suits, 30's rayon dresses, bias-cut silk slips, fur-trimmed cashmere coats, terrific vintage stuff that was a quality that you couldn't buy new. Old clothes used to be *better* than new -- and if you found an amazing find (like the WWII leather flying jacket that I dug out of a bin in 1983 and wore until it literally fell apart), you were automatically a fashion maven. People used to chase me down the street and beg to buy that coat (sigh...). So I find it hard to fathom why people in their twenties don't just love the hunt: thrift shopping is *fun*, people. You never know what you'll find, especially in a major urban center.

A couple of things happened, I think: first, the quality of the material for sale has declined. Old clothes are always the clothes from the previous 20 to 30 years: when I was hunting in the 80's, we bought high quality stuff from the 50's and 60's. When people started thrift and vintage stores in earnest, in the 60's, they were selling old flapper dresses and 1890's shirtwaists as well as 50's poodle skirts. Now, what's available used is mostly 80's crap: I see some stuff out there that's fun, but by and large, the quality of goods made in the 80's and 90's isn't very high. And the high-end designer stuff is often picked out, unless you live somewhere like Manhattan.

Two, the price and quality of new clothing has plummeted: all clothes, except the most expensive, is made by underpaid slaves in China and falls apart in three months. If I can buy a pair of new jeans for 19 bucks at Joe Fresh in the local supermarket, why pay 6 bucks for old ones in Goodwill? I used to buy my teaching suits in consignment stores, in the 90s: I could get used Armani for the same price as Club Monaco. Now the quality is no longer visible across the room, so why bother paying for used?

And three -- people in their 20's have never experienced an economic slowdown. Seriously -- anyone who is currently 25 would have been in high school on 9/11 and certainly wouldn't have remembered the early 90's, which was really the last major downturn. So the idea that you'd not just charge it and worry about it later is utterly alien.

Talking about ideas that people are sure to hate - these came from almost-third world country experience:
1. Why use disposable dipers? Do what Russian and Chinese used to do (not sure about now). Take linens, fold them, then wash them.
2. Use your grandmother for babysitting. She is bored anyway.
3. Reduce water temperature and use lukewarm water for washing/cleaning.
4. If you belong to a health club, take your showers there - you are paying for the club anyway. (Actually this one seems reasonable)
5. As to toilet paper, in the old Soviet Unions there were shortages. So old newspapers did the trick. Now, I wouldn't do it myself, but then we are on the subject of unreasonable ideas...

About thrift store clothes. When I just started working, I did get some clothes there. There were pretty nice: I once got exactly the same sweater that I saw in Macy's a month before for a fraction of a price. Don't do it any more, but among the clothes that I myself donated were really nice, even new ones with tags: I gained weight at one time, at another I lost it. I had new things bought at the end of the season sales that at one time were too small for me; at another time too large. After I lost weight I regretted giving some of the smaller sizes to charity.
A friend of mine one went to an estate sale in Bedford, NY. She lives in Katonah which is right next to it, but not as expensive (though not cheap). There are some seriously rich estates there; Trump has one, for example. This particular estate belonged to a rich excentric lady who had died. The lady had an obsession with clothes - she bought them, then just hanged them. My friend said there were lots of new size 6 and 8 designer clothes, most still with tags for under $20. My friend did managed to buy a few nice things for herself and her daughter. I hadn't known about it, so I really regretted missing it. When I just bought my townhouse, I found a few nice things on estate sales, though - a really nice wall mirror, a couple of paintings. Don't have much time for it anymore.

"the price and quality of new clothing has plummeted: all clothes"
I noticed it too. I pretty much spend the same amount on a skirt or blouse as I used to 15 years ago; and I earn considerably more. It's funny how the inflations hasn't affected clothes prices at all.

"can't resist the temptation to reiterate kids ARE NOT pets"
If you don't have kids, it's difficult to resist thinking about a pet as of a child. Yes, I know it is not the same, but for childless people pets are often the closest living thing they have after parents.

don't spend what you don't have...........that simple

Kitty --

That's a great list.

I was actually on a train in Russia about 10 years ago and they ran out of toilet paper -- so someone left a magazine in the toilet for everyone to use. That's bad enough, but the fact that it was a slick, glossy magazine just put it over the top!

I have had major surgery done in Bangkok, Thailand. The surgeons were great but the nursing care was so bad that had my husband not been there I would have died from lack of professional care and an embolus. I then needed to see a Cardiologist and researched out their so called 'best cardiologist' the head of Cardiology unit. I found out through research that this doctor was wanted in the USA for homicide...he killed a patient by accidentally using a larger than necessary stent and caused a pericardial haemorrhage!...oops. No the USA may not be the best but at least one can do decent research, ask questions, and know what recourse to take if necessary. In a foreign country all you get is phony smiles....and an empty wallet.

One of the keys to saving money is that you need to prioritize what you do spend it on. Few people can take advantage of all of these tips at any one time. For example, many people simply don't have any expensive medical procedures that they need to save money on. I'm not going out of the country for cosmetic surgery, but I'm not having it done here either.

So, I'm living in a city that has actually been ranked as having a low cost of living. Our housing market never went through the roof. Our commutes are short. That goes hand in hand with buying a house I can afford. I've been on the sidelines through the entire subprime mortgage mess because I have a 15 year fixed mortgage. I actually expect to be living in my current home when I pay off the mortgage.

On the other hand, I've chosen to have pets and I enjoy my cable subscription. I also spend a fair amount on good food and wine ... at home. I'd rather have nice dinners with my family night after night. I spend more on the food than I have to, but a lot less than eating out.

Get your money's worth. Don't spend money just because you can. Spend it where it will make your life better.

There is a fine line between giving your dog love and handing out love freely. You want to show your dog that you care about them, but make them earn your affection.The pet should have a freindly relationship with his master.what i can advice on dog problem is it should not face any problem with his master.

Lots of great tips here, I'm already doing several of them. Lunch at work is a big one. A comment pointed out making meals ahead of time, another good idea (invest in some food storage containers, make a big meal, and freeze/refridge).

Re: #6 - When you buy a house, start paying extra on the mortgage *the first month*...I run alot of PF calculations on youngmoney.com/calculators and when you see how much of the first 3-5 years of payment is interest you'll feel sick.

I found out this way that paying $500+ extra per month 5 years into a mortgage won't save you as much as ~$100 per month in the first couple of years.

Here's a few more:

1: Be sure to analyze the cost per unit of anything you buy. Sometimes bulk purchases will save you *alot*. Sometimes not. Sometimes they cost, if you buy that 3 gallon vat of pickles only to throw them out months later ;)

2: Dollar Stores now often stock *name-brand* items such as cleaning supplies. For items that are disposable (and I don't mean convenience disposable, just something that naturally gets used up like a scrub sponge) often times cheap is just fine.

3: High-quality seconds stores. Not to plug, but TJM*xx usually has top-notch items with a defect...a little more money that Wal*Crap but much better quality that will last.

4: Cut the cell phone. I was on a $60 (cheap - it's $70 now) 2-phone plan from V***zon, that's $720 per year just to talk. Now, I wouldn't pay $720 to hear what I have to say, and I'm saying it. But, safety is an issue (w/wife and baby) so we *do* still need phones to call AAA, etc. But T-M**ile has a GREAT pre-pay plan: $100 for 1000 minutes that last a year. I paid $50 for my phone and $30 for the wifes (hey I still gotta have the cooler phone!)

So, $80 worth of phones (we lost/broke both phones this summer, and would have had to pay $100 to replace even if we signed the 2 year contracts), and let's assume she uses 3000 minutes and I use 1000, so $400 worth of minutes = $340 savings this year (due to phone purchases). If we talk less (<2000 min) we could save up to $520/year. Not bad. Plus, we can ask for minute cards as holiday gifts! Get that cost down to $0!

5: INSULATE!!! I had a $650 heating bill (Pgh PA) one month and went ballistic...I did have to put in ~$850 in insulation, but my budget bill has gone down over $100/month...the investment keeps on paying (and will pay more as energy prices go up). Oh, also, keep an eye out for compact flourescent sales...don't pay $4-6 per bulb...HD had a sale at ~$2 per bulb.

6: VHS over DVD: Am*zon has many VHS movies for $.01 + $3.50 to ship. I got a bunch of great kiddie-brainy videos that his grubby little hands can't scratch.

Oh, and while we're on the subject, when you do buy premium kiddie DVD's, copy them right away and don't let the kids use the archive copy (my Bro-in-law was griping that his kids were trashing several $20 DVD's per month).

7: Rain Water Barrel: Haven't done this yet (and the barrels do cost ~$150) but I'd like to after we got some high water bills this summer ($40-50 over norm)...with the droughts going on this may get smarter still.

Other notes: Craigslist and Freecycle: Lots of cheap and free stuff on these forums (freecycle is a Yahoo list)...also a great way to unclutter those functional yet unwanted items you keep vacuuming around.

I do my own auto work, and that saves much $$$, admittedly at the cost of much time. Not for everyone, but unless handicapped or making 100K per year you should be able to change oil and stuff and maybe even do brake jobs (they have made this very easy...it takes longer to get the parts,jack up the wife's saturn, and take the tire off than it does to actually change the brake pads).

I've also learned to grow my own veggies, and while it is a satisfying hobby, it is not yet cost effective (high water bill + opp costs of time sunk) However, if costs keep growing it will be soon. Quality is second to none though...tomatoes that actually have flavor and all that.

Feel free to contact me with any thoughts, and good luck!
davep_at_pitt.edu

I loved them all! So much so that I plan to include a link to this article in my Friday Carnival review.

Best Wishes,
D4L

DaveP: I used to assume that everyone should do their own car maintenance - and then I had a car that needed lots of maintenance, but nowhere to work on it (not even a driveway).

My husband changes his own oil, but it's worth the money for me to have someone else do it, especially in the winter months.

Well there are some interesting points in here that, yes we could give up those things in life but what about the those things in life that help us to continue living a healthy and plentiful life. You know having a pet might actually help a person get through the day and be able to accomplish more things because of the support from the pet.

Is life really all about money and how much we have of it. Should we always look at who has the most amount. There was a saying that a poor man is the rich one in spirit.

I can attest to the last point about living in a low-cost city. I live in Houston and when I talk to my colleagues in other cities they are always amazed how cheap the real estate is here. However, there are always trade-offs. For Houston, the disadvantages are:

1. It's in Texas
2. Houston is a seemingly endless expanse of strip malls and tack billboards.
3. For a big city, there is amazingly nothing to do.
4. Did I mention it's in Texas?

Overall though, it is better than living out in California and being in mortgage debt ot our eyeballs.

There is a very good reason people hate #1 "moving to a lower cost city" -- it is because that is a HUGE tradeoff. Ever heard of something called the BRAIN-DRAIN? The fact that a few major metro-areas attract the top talent from the entire country? The opportunities in a place like New York (where I live now) are endless. There is a reason so many people live here, there is a reason things are so expensive here, and there is a reason that people make so much money here. I'm 27 and earn well into the 6-figures and so does everyone I know. Its not only that we wouldn't earn anywhere near that in a place like Akron or even Austin but also that our types of job aren't even available there. There are a few places that are financial hotspots or tech hotspots. There is a reason so many of the best techies move to the Bay Area or Boston or New York.

Outside of the huge career advantages, there is a lifestyle advantage. I grew up outside of Chicago and there was NOTHING to do. And that is outside Chicago which is still a halfway decent city. Imagine a place like Kansas?!? I went to Cornell University for college, it is in Ithaca, NY (way upstate). The town was so dead. If it wasn't for the college parties you would go insane in that town unless your idea of fun was hanging out in the parking lot of a Walmart. Now I live in NYC, there are literally a million things I can do any night. Just tonight we had a blast, great restaurant and a great club afterwards packed with tons of hot models. We called it an early night because tomorrow morning we have a big game of freeze football in the park. We'll be playing against all different types of people, some guys might be bartenders or artists, others are Wall Street hotshots who make $10 million per year. The people you meet here make all the difference.

One important thing to also point out is that the costs of living here aren't as expensive as the media plays it out to be. One of the only costs that is much higher is housing, which is big no doubt but when you buy a place in NYC you are pretty safe. Even in this market where house prices are dropping like rocks, Manhattan is still going up. People here actually DO have money and there is constant demand. And if you can't afford to live in Manhattan you can live in one of the outerboroughs or NJ for a fraction of the cost. Those places are also filled with young people and have great atmospheres and they are a quick subway ride away from Manhattan. So while I pay more for housing than someone in Austin might pay, I pay the same for most of my living expenses. Are my entertainment expenses higher? Of course, but that is largely to do with me being able to entertain myself much more living here.

Life is for LIVING. We don't have a long time on this world. Enjoy it as much as you can! Sure you need to make yourself secure for retirement and what not, but don't sacrifice living life to its fullest in your 20s, 30s, and 40s for your 70s and 80s!!

To get back to the original point. The thought of giving up the lifestyle in these so-called "high cost" cities to move to a "low cost" place just to save money (but sacrifice career, social circles, entertainment, experiences, opportunities, and being in the center of the world) is a mind-numbing thought to people who actually DO live in these high-cost cities.

Good job. I mean, the most hated money saving tips that you have posted can now be seen as maybe the most liked ones.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Disclaimer


  • Any information shared on Free Money Finance does not constitute financial advice. The Website is intended to provide general information only and does not attempt to give you advice that relates to your specific circumstances. You are advised to discuss your specific requirements with an independent financial adviser. Per FTC guidelines, this website may be compensated by companies mentioned through advertising, affiliate programs or otherwise. All posts are © 2005-2012, Free Money Finance.

Stats