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Feeling Nostalgic? The archives > Cutting Back on "Luxury" Spending (Uncle Gus' sites of the day)

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message 1: by Gus (new)

Gus Sanchez (gussanchez) Heard on the radio this morning: what so-called "luxury" items would you give up during these tough economic times?

I'll tell you what I wont give up: porn and cocaine, baby!

Kidding.

I wouldn't give up my high-speed Internet line, although I'm thinking of switching from cable to satellite. Unlike most people, though, we're not having to make these choices as to cut back on "luxury" items. With the exception of our mortgage, we're pretty much debt-free, and we don't make big purchases unless we absolutely need to. With that being said, I've cut back on getting coffee from Starbucks and I ride mass transit to work; gas prices notwithstanding (and gas is pretty inexpensive here), the cost of parking in downtown Charlotte is ridiculous. On average, one can expect to spend $150 a month on parking. To ride mass transit to downtown Charlotte, one can expect to spend $45. Decisions, decisions...

So what are you cutting back on?


message 2: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) It's nothing new -- but I've been spending a lot less on eating out. A couple of years ago I made the break from using credit cards. They're all history! Like you, Gus, the only debt is mortgage. Now it's all strictly "pay as you go." Eating in restaurants these days is a luxury for me (except when I travel for work, haha, and use the Corporate card).


message 3: by RandomAnthony (last edited Feb 03, 2009 07:31AM) (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments This is a good question. I would hate to give up my high-speed internet. We have the package bundled with our cable tv and our phone, so I don't think it's that expensive, even with wireless for the laptop, although sometimes I think all my neighbors use my wireless too. That's ok, the connection is pretty fast.

I don't go out for lunch very much. If I drop five bucks for lunch once a week I'm staring down twenty bucks a month or about 240 a year. I can make my own lunch.

I also try to consolidate trips. For example, I'll hit the stores (e.g. Trader Joe's) near my work after work rather than drive down separately.

We also almost never go out for dinner. We have symphony tickets about once a month and I don't want to cut back on that, although with babysitters, dinner, etc. that can get kind of expensive. But we rarely spend money otherwise on going out, etc., so I can deal with the expense.

Sometimes I buy cheaper products, though, and I'm disappointed in it, and I wish I had bought a slightly better version. I buy a slightly more expensive brand of coffee, for example, rather than the cheap crap.


message 4: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) Since salary increases are not keeping up with inflation these days, and local taxes are increasing at an alarming rate -- I find myself with some possible forced choices ahead. I look at the cable bill and wonder how it could cost that much for what I get. Doing away with the HDDVR might be on the horizon, as might HBO. I have a second phone line, too, that really doesn't get used much since it's only hooked up to a fax machine. So that might go away. Cox keeps harassing me to sign up for digital phone service over the cable -- but I'm hesitant to give them even more dollars every month. Another telecom option is to eliminate the land line altogether and just use the Verizon cell for everything.


message 5: by Sarah (last edited Feb 03, 2009 08:09AM) (new)

Sarah | 13815 comments We just cut our phone service back to the most basic of basic -- saving over $50 a month. I'm using Skype to talk to my family.

I'm going to the library more, and not buying books.

We're cooking more, eating out less. I do have the advantage of living with a professional chef, so I don't see that as much of a scarifice. If I say "Maybe we should go to ___ restaurant", she says "OR, I can just make your favorite thing from that restaurant." So rather than blowing $30-40 on a restaurant, we spend the same on ingredients for a whole week.

Also, I didn't buy Springsteen tickets. THAT was a sacrifice.


message 6: by Sally, la reina (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) | 17335 comments Mod
When I went back to school in 07 Sweeter and I canceled the cable and the internet. We survived for a while picking up our neighbors' wireless, but we soon relented and got our own service back.
We stopped going to restaurants unless we had a coupon.
No new clothes unless his or my mother takes us shopping.

I used to really, really love to shop, too. So that's been hard. All of this has been hard. But it is necessary.


message 7: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) I find it makes me appreciate things a lot more when I have to sacrifice to get them.


message 8: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments I like living with less. I cleaned out my basement last summer, and I was absolutely disgusted with how much useless crap we accumulated over the last decade. Never again.


message 9: by Sally, la reina (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) | 17335 comments Mod
It is a very Zen existance. Just us and our cats and our library books. Then when we went and splurged on a new area rug it really felt meaningful, you know?


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

I hear ya RA, I hate throwing some of it out, maybe I should figure out how to use Craig's list so at least someone is using it. (I hate garage sales - so it would have to be Craig's list, Ebay or the trash.


message 11: by Sally, la reina (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) | 17335 comments Mod
sometimes our friends have a neighborhood one and they let us bring our crap over and have our own section.
it is really fun - like at home tailgating. We just hang around all summer Saturday morning and chat in lawn chairs. I love it. Then we go home with about 20 bucks, and go rent a movie and get some chicken and wine, or something.


message 12: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) When I moved to Omaha, into a 1200 sq ft condo, the moving boxes were stacked to the ceiling in the living room for a couple of months, with nowhere to go with any of it. Countless trips to the Salvation Army were necessary before it was even manageable.

Living with less "stuff" is definitely better.


message 13: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 13815 comments Jim -- you can try the freecycling lists too, if there's one in your area. Just google "freecycle".

I've had good luck with Craigslist, although you have to wade through the people who never plan on actually showing up, even after committing to buying or hauling something off. And the ones who like to try to lowball you. "You said $250 or best offer...I'll give you $10 for it?"




message 14: by Sally, la reina (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) | 17335 comments Mod
I used to move a lot. It helped me to not accumulate.


message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

Thanks Sarah Pi, I'll try that. We do go to Goodwill with a lot of things, mostly clothes.


message 16: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 13815 comments Sally - Moving a lot never stopped me from accumulating, alas. Just from cleaning. "I could clean under the bed, but we'll just move the bed in six months, and I'll get the dustballs then..."



message 17: by Sally, la reina (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) | 17335 comments Mod
Ah, you see I've inherited a serious pack rat gene.


message 18: by Gus (new)

Gus Sanchez (gussanchez) A good resource for quality dining at cheap prices is Restaurant.com. You can get a $25 gift card for $10, and print the gift card from the comfort of your own home. Then take the gift card and enjoy your meal. My wife and I have enjoy eating at a 4-Star restaurant lately (which would cost us about $85) for about $50.


message 19: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 13815 comments I have the pack rat gene too. And a long memory, so every time I try to throw stuff out, I start remembering why I kept the thing in the first place, and then I get too sentimental to throw it out. That applies to everything from key chains to cookie fortunes.



message 20: by Sally, la reina (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) | 17335 comments Mod
Gus! That is awesome! You know the best sites. We need to start a thread: "Uncle Gus's Site of the Day"


message 21: by [deleted user] (new)

Yes, thanks Gus - I just found a place that has Cajun Hash Benedict that I didn't even know existed before. Now my mouth is watering.




message 22: by Gus (new)

Gus Sanchez (gussanchez) Also handy: RefurbDepot.com, a good site for refurbished goods, and PromotionalCodes.com, where you can discounts from major retailers everywhere.

You may not want to an "Uncle Gus's Site of the Day". I may lead you to sites that'll make your CPU melt.


message 23: by [deleted user] (new)

Lead on Gus lead on.




message 24: by Heidi (new)

Heidi (heidihooo) | 10825 comments I'm gonna go back to recommending etsy.com . It's a great site for gals, and guys... you can find great stuff, too. Handmade, one-of-a-kind gifts never get old. I swear, run a search for something specific... it's probably there. And the prices are usually absolutely right on.


message 25: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24265 comments Mod
You know what? Etsy is really expensive. I shopped for a camp stool on Etsy and although they were really cute, I didn't want to pay $45 plus shipping. Yes, I did go to Amazon even though I hate Amazon and bought a $16 stool from China.

I'm curious if people have increased their spending now that we are out of the recession. Or did you keep it at a lower level? I kept my spending at a lower level. My health insurance got really expensive so it's not like I'm actually saving any extra money....just sending it to insurers and doctors.


message 26: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) China.


message 27: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 3434 comments About a month ago, I stopped my subscription to the local paper in an effort to save money. At the time, I intended to read the papers at the library, but something always comes up. I'm a month behind on local goings-on.


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