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October 10, 2008


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1 and 2 (and occasionally I throw in a touch of #3) are really powerful ways to save money if used in conjunction with a budget.

If I need to cut back because of other expenses that are sort of unplanned (such as the 7 weddings I had to go to this summer), I institute a no-spend month, where I don't buy ANYTHING I don't need immediately. It would drive me crazy to do this long term but for staying in budget in the short term, it makes it really easy to make decisions. No debating on whether I should buy that sweater on sale because I'll probably need it, or if I should go out to eat with my friends when I have food in my freezer. During no-spend months, the answer is always no, maybe next month.

"Really watch small spending." - a good thing to do is annualize your small regular spending and gasp in horror at the annual cost! Should shock you out of some habits... did for me!

Pink panther,

You aren't kidding. I took a look at my monthly and yearly spending on little things like lunch, coffee, DVDs, subscriptions, alcohol and snacks. Yich! After reattaching my jaw a budget was imposed and some serious spending changes were made.

Funny thing is, I haven't really noticed any significant drop in my quality of life after doing this.

a: I'll give up just about every conceivable small expense before I give up my beer.

LOL @ 'rwh'.... heck yeah


I didn't give up booze so much as moderate it a bit. Giving it up would be impossible and probably downright unhealthy.

I should also note that I haven't tried budgeting through a winter yet where there really is nothing else to do but sit at home, drink and watch TV.

What my wife and I can do easily to cut expenses:

1) change from "the occasional meal out, and lots of meat when home" to "mostly rice and veggies, with a little meat"... cuts meal spending by maybe $150/month, and is actually quite a bit healthier and more fulfilling.

2) cut out my "fun" spending. We each spend $50/month on stuff like games, books, or hobby/craft supplies. We'll occasionally cut this when we're close to a saving goal, just to speed it up a little.

3) Make a point to limit my driving. My wife and I work across the street from each other, less than 3 miles from home. If we carpooled and cut unnecessary trips, we could get down to about 180 miles TOTAL per month, which would put us at under 6 gallons of gas used.

4) I actually already cut my cable and dropped to the minimum cell phone plan, with no land line. I can get some streaming content (sports) online for much cheaper than I was paying for TV, and I don't use my phone much anyway. (High-speed internet is a necessity; I wouldn't dare cut it.)

Pirate everything on your 'entertainment' budget. Saves me a bundle!

God, what did college freshmen do before High-Speed Internet?! And to cut back on booze costs, I go to keggers!

Switched my phone plan from some $90 a month plan to a family share plan and pay my parents $40 per month. Sold my Mazda 6 to cut back $270 a month in car payments and $180 a month in insurance (insurance now is just $65 per month through my independent agent who gets me the best rates) and saved by buying a 95 Accord (got a great deal at $3750 and its just broken in at 119000 miles with new tires, timing belt, brakes, plugs, etc.).

Got a Pell Grant, College Opportunity Fund Grant, and another grant I can't remember to pay for school & books.

Bought most of my furniture from Craigslist (Futon $75, new Table with a broken leg that I fixed for $10 from Ace Hardware for $20), TV stand, desk, desk lamp, dishes (who cares if dishes and furniture are used as long as they look good?), etc. from Goodwill for around $50 and salvaged the Microwave, toaster and other small appliances from my old place.

It really took me a while to get where I am at today (now 23), but I am proud to be a full-time starving college freshmen!

Oh, and since I live in Fort Collins which has 75 miles of bike routes I will be purchasing a Scooter next year to cut back my fuel prices in-town to almost zero. I will save my car for my frequent trips to Denver to see my girlfriend and other friends/family.

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