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Random Queries > (Almost) painless ways to cut expenses

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message 1: by Scout (last edited Oct 29, 2011 01:30AM) (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 3389 comments How are you cutting expenses almost painlessly?


message 2: by Sally, la reina (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) | 17320 comments Mod
Cash for all other grocery trips besides our once-monthly budgeted for trip. Keeps us within a set amount and we learn to do without for other items.
No new clothes other than what Leah absolutely needs. I haven't bought makeup in nearly a year.


message 3: by Janice (new)

Janice (jamasc) I'm no help. My expenses just went painfully up.


message 4: by Helena (new)

Helena | 1058 comments I installed a smart meter on my house, I only do laundry, dishes etc. at night or on weekends. During peak hours, I try to keep as many appliances as possible off.

For cleaning products, I use mainly vinegar mixed with water, baking soda, lemon juice.

I make a lot of soup. I buy a few turkey wings for dirt cheap and make a pile of stock, then I use whatever vegetables are in season for the rest of it. I don’t buy boneless skinless anything- I bone and skin everything myself, the leftovers I use for making stock. I never throw my vegetable peelings and trimmings away, I use those for stock too. I only ever buy fresh fruit and vegetables that are in season, anything else I buy frozen or do without. I also use a lot of dried beans/lentils in my soups to beef them up a bit. There’s a butcher near me that has a good beef tenderloin sale once or twice a year and cut them up.

I buy clothes, but I wait until I get the 25% off coupon that’s good for anything in the store and I buy clearance or sale items with the additional 25% off.

Sorry, Janice. Mine went up recently too... thus the cost saving measures :)


message 5: by Tom (last edited Oct 29, 2011 12:52PM) (new)

Tom Foolery (tomfoolery) | 107 comments Packing a lunch for work can save you $5-10 per day, depending on what you normally do for lunch and what kind of lunch you pack.

Also, budget and stick to the budget. I find that paying cash for everything (except gas) helps with this. Allow $X per week for groceries, dining out, entertainment, anything you spend money on that's not a monthly bill. Take $X out of your check on payday, and when it's gone it's gone. Having the cash in hand helps me keep track of how i'm doing (it's only Monday and i'm down to $20!) and makes me think about every single purchase i make.

Also, try looking at websites like Consumerist.


message 6: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24107 comments Mod
Janice wrote: "I'm no help. My expenses just went painfully up."

Sometimes that can't be helped. E.g. health insurance premiums or similar.


message 7: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24107 comments Mod
Discipline. Keep track of your expenses (I mean every nickel) and see if you are overspending in some areas.

Ignore what other people spend on things: if your friend just got a $75 haircut, who cares? You can get a $30 haircut, or a $15 haircut. Maybe there's a salon in your city that is training stylists, and they will practice on you for free. One of my cousins got free haircuts this way for years.

Use coupons - unless they're for stuff you wouldn't ordinarily buy, which a lot of them are. Look at sale circulars for the grocery stores and drugstores and buy your necessities when they go on sale. I just bought a shitload of couscous today because it went on sale, which it never does. I was at the right place at the right time.

Never pay full price for salad dressing, cereal, clothes, Christmas cards, wrapping paper. Some things may never go on sale, but some things go on sale like clockwork, so pay attention.

Don't buy wrapping paper: re-use old paper, or use newspaper.

Just because something is a bargain doesn't mean you have to buy it. Remember, spending no money saves you more money than spending small amounts of money.

Don't buy too much stuff in bulk unless you are guaranteed to use it. Are you going to use 10 boxes of margarine before they expire? Probably not.

Freeze candles for 24 hours before you use them: it makes them last 2x as long.

Don't have champagne tastes on a beer budget.

Don't be embarrassed about being a cheapskate. Ever! It's okay! There are lots of people like you. When you have accumulated a nice nest egg because you were so frugal, you'll be able to laugh at those people who didn't.


message 8: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) Grasshopper v. Ant.


message 9: by Phil (new)

Phil | 11617 comments Grasshopper vs. Ant




vs.




message 10: by Janice (new)

Janice (jamasc) With my office move, my rent is higher and I had to get a land phone with fax & internet. My cell phone bill should drop as a result. I had to buy tenant insurance to meet my lease agreement. I'm saving $50/month by not taking a parking stall. Instead I park less than a block away for free.

In a couple of months, once I've gotten people used to my new email address, I'm going to cancel the internet on my home phone. I pay $29/month for dial up!

There are some great suggestions here to help cut in other areas.


message 11: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24107 comments Mod
Gabby wrote: " Cut down the spending on luxuries and one can do this by asking himself/herself ; "Do I really need this thing". "

This is my philosophy too. I've never been on a budget. I.e., I've never made rules such as "I'm going to save X% of my salary, and spend X per month on groceries and Y on entertainment." I've always just saved and invested and not been a big spender.

It helps to have a strict definition of luxuries. A $5 latte is a luxury. When you think about what the ingredients cost Starbucks, what their profit margins are, and how much you spend per year if you are buying one per day, it's a luxury. That you don't need.


message 12: by janine (new)

janine | 7715 comments I cut expenses by not buying books and clothes and not eating out. I have a short list of recipes that allow me to cook for €1 or less per meal. I always keep the leftovers. When I visit my parents I raid their freezer for bread and steal their apples (with permission).


message 13: by Karen K. (last edited Oct 30, 2011 07:14PM) (new)

Karen K. Miller (karenkm) | 140 comments I have a set amount of money deposited directly into my savings account and my husband does the same. I never see the money so I never spend it.
We also don't have cell phones or cable. We will be getting wireless internet, but we ask our adult children to pay 1/4 of the bill each (there are four of us in the house).
My husband and I each have an "allowance." I try to put aside $10 a week in an effort to save money to buy a tablet or new lap top. However, it seems that it is more of an emergency fund, which helps to not touch money in the savings or debit account.
We also only have 1 credit card. We rarely use it and when we do, we pay it off right away.


message 14: by Denise (new)

Denise All of the above are wnderful suggestions. If you do'not have a budget then start keeping track of your expenses. I started tracking where my money was going. Because I am a book addict (never guess) I was spending close to $200/month on books. Now I hit the library, library book sales and thrift shops.

For clothes you can check out consignment shops and/or take your things/kids clothes/toys to consignment.

Plan meals at the beginning of the week (or whatever day works for You). Plan it based on predicted energy levels, what you have and possible leftovers. I usually pick about 4 meals for the week. For example,
spaghetti and meatballs one night. leftover meatballs became meatball sandwiches while the tomato/spaghetti sauce can be adapted to make tomato soup. Or cook in big amounts and freeze it for another time. I get alot of mileage from homemade soups (nutritional and filling).
Finally, remeber to pay yourself. Lay aside whatever amount you feel is reasonable on a daily or weekly amount. Put it in a savings/vacation/christmas account. If you do not use the christmas or vacation account money you can use it for your IRA account (tax deduction)


message 15: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24107 comments Mod
Walgreens has in-store coupons: when an item has a yellow tag that says "in-store coupon," it means the cash register will spit out a coupon for your next shopping trip. What's really nice are the coupons that you can spend on anything - they take $1,2,3 off your next purchase. I saved $3 this way yesterday.


message 16: by Youndyc (new)

Youndyc | 1255 comments Don't order a soft drink when you go out for lunch. Just get water. You can save $8-10 per week, assuming you eat out every day for lunch.

I have two credit cards that I use for most everything. I get cash back on one card (3% on gas purchases, 2% on travel or eating out, 1% on everything else) and hotel points on the other. Then, when I am planning a vacation, I can usually get a free hotel room for one or two or three nights, depending. The trick to credit card use for everything is to track it carefully - I generally pay the credit card off each week. It's an electronic payment through the bank, so painless.


message 17: by Heidi (new)

Heidi (heidihooo) | 10825 comments I have a weekly budget for spending money on gas, groceries, laundry, and any other spending I want or need to do. I figured the weekly budget based on what needs to be paid and allowing for some money to be saved each month for emergencies or just for extras or whatev.

Then I get that weekly budget/allowance in cash - I request some smaller bills ($5s and $1s instead of $20s) so I have to be more mindful about what I'm handing over to pay for something.

It's a challenge each week to spend each week within that cash allowance - laundry, groceries, and gas. My $$'s usually spent before the weekend ends. BUT, by Sunday night, I have clean clothes, clean linens, food prepared for the week, lunch is packed, and ready to go... and enough gas in the car so that I don't have to think about it again until the next day I get allowance $$.

I make a grocery list and try to stick to it when I grocery shop - that helps with grocery budgeting, but occasionally I realize I'm about to spend more on groceries than I'd planned to spend, which makes me think about do I really need it? I'm not above voiding an item on the grocery list or asking them to put it back or even returning it if it's going to mean I can't do laundry for the week because I'm $3.75 short on what I need for that.

I have a portable DVD player. I watch movies on it. I get my movies from the library, not from netflix or blockbuster... and since I don't watch television, I don't pay for cable, either.

I limit myself to going out/doing social activities once a week, if even that much. Grocery shopping on a budget? Healthy grocery shopping on a budget - I've figured that out, too. :)


message 18: by Cyril (new)

Cyril My wife gives me an allowance. I don't know what the code is for my ATM card.


message 19: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments Barb wrote: "Brew your own coffee, instead of picking up on the way to work."

I spend too much on lattes, no doubt. Not every day. But maybe twice, three times a week, twelve bucks total. I don't want to do the annual math. Don't do it for me. I'll cry.


message 20: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24107 comments Mod
$624.


message 21: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 3389 comments I don't want to think about RA crying.

Call the cable company and ask if they have a special deal on a pay channel you currently have. They usually do. They're not going to call you. Although it may only save $5 a month, that's $60 a year. That's the way I look at lots of things - by the year. Save $5 a month by turning off the power to your computer and tv at night or by flushing the toilet every other time you use it (just don't look). And take the time to compare car insurance rates.


message 22: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 3389 comments The only way I can save money on food is by looking at the weekly specials in the newspaper. I do make a list, which takes a few minutes, and I try only to buy the specials. I use a coupon here and there, but for the life of me, I can't figure out how the couponers buy $200 worth of groceries for $35.

Tip for saving gas: You always hear about keeping your tires inflated to get better mileage. You'd be surprised at how much pressure your tires lose when the weather turns cool. I checked mine, and each one needed ten pounds of pressure added. Properly inflated tires roll with less resistance.


message 23: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24107 comments Mod
December is Customer Appreciation Month at Subway. The Meatball Marinara and Cold Cut Combo (only those) will be $2.




message 24: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 3389 comments I saw the ad on TV today, and I was thinking that eating a meatball sandwich must be kind of like bobbing for apples. Isn't it hard to get a grip on meatballs? I'll take the Cold Cut Combo. $2 is a deal.


message 25: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24107 comments Mod
I like meatballs, I just don't want them surrounded by bread.


message 26: by Rachel (new)

Rachel | 1107 comments Oh, I've tried the Meatball Marinara! Don't do it. It gets soggy, and drips, and everything becomes mushy and turns the paper bag thingy into, well, soggy mush. The meatballs aren't even that great, really.


message 27: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24107 comments Mod
My grocery deli sells a tasty spicy chicken salsa (homemade) that I use as a sandwich spread. I've been putting it on Rubschlager sunflower multi-grain, which also makes a delicious toast.


message 28: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 3389 comments Arnold's Health Nut bread is the closest we have to Rubschlager. I like the crunch of the sunflower seeds. I love a grilled cheese sandwich made with this bread - an inexpensive lunch. Here's a tip: after you put olive oil in the pan, sprinkle a little salt on it before putting in the sandwich. It adds crunch and brings out the flavor of the cheese.


message 29: by Andrea (new)

Andrea | 74 comments No cable, no TV, no internet..... replaced TV with gas heater, so also cut my heating costs as well. Which means........... MORE BOOKS!!!! yay


message 30: by Phil (new)

Phil | 11617 comments I can't imagine sitting around in the evening staring at a gas heater.


message 31: by Andrea (new)

Andrea | 74 comments Phil wrote: "I can't imagine sitting around in the evening staring at a gas heater."

that's because I'm too busy reading....


message 32: by Phil (new)

Phil | 11617 comments I used to save all the small scraps from used bars of soap. I would collect them in a nylon stocking and, when there were enough, use that as a self-soaping washcloth.

I've never used a "body wash" and never plan to.


Stacia (the 2010 club) (stacia_r) Scout wrote: "I saw the ad on TV today, and I was thinking that eating a meatball sandwich must be kind of like bobbing for apples. Isn't it hard to get a grip on meatballs? I'll take the Cold Cut Combo. $2 i..."

It is very hard to get a grip on the meatballs. If you take too dainty of a bite, the meatball is in danger of getting squeezed out somewhere. The sandwich isn't that great either, but my teen loves them.


message 34: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24107 comments Mod
Phil wrote: "I used to save all the small scraps from used bars of soap. I would collect them in a nylon stocking and, when there were enough, use that as a self-soaping washcloth.

I've never used a "body was..."


Wow, that is very Hints from Heloise. I'm impressed.


message 35: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24107 comments Mod
I just let the soap scrap become as small and thin as possible, then I weld it (with water) to the new bar of soap. I haven't had to throw out a soap scrap in years.


message 36: by Sally, la reina (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) | 17320 comments Mod
I imagine Philerino has used about 4 in his lifetime.


message 37: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24107 comments Mod
New haircut and color, Sally? What's the occasion?


message 38: by Sally, la reina (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) | 17320 comments Mod
Just time for a change. I'd become Floppy Moppy McDoodle.


message 39: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) I like it.


message 40: by Phil (new)

Phil | 11617 comments I don't own any to check the ingredients of, but my guess would be that body wash products have a very high water content.


message 41: by janine (new)

janine | 7715 comments Water is usually the first ingredient, so yes.


message 42: by ~Geektastic~ (new)

 ~Geektastic~ (atroskity) | 3207 comments janine wrote: "Water is usually the first ingredient, so yes."

But they probably have more chemicals than most soaps, to create all the fancy smells and colors.


message 43: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 3389 comments This may seem extreme, but it works for me and saves money on electricity. I switch on the circuit breaker for my water heater when I get up in the morning, heat up my water, then switch it off and have enough hot water for the day. This wouldn't work for a large household that uses a lot of hot water or probably for people in really cold climates.


message 44: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 13815 comments Are you in a climate where you don't have to worry about your pipes freezing?


message 45: by ~Geektastic~ (new)

 ~Geektastic~ (atroskity) | 3207 comments Scout wrote: "This may seem extreme, but it works for me and saves money on electricity. I switch on the circuit breaker for my water heater when I get up in the morning, heat up my water, then switch it off an..."

Yeah, that definitely wouldn't work in our house. Too cold and too many people using hot water at different times in the day.


message 46: by Sarah (last edited Dec 14, 2011 12:48PM) (new)

Sarah | 13815 comments A thermostat that regulates temperature according to the activity in the house is way cheaper than turning the heat on and off when you leave and return every day. I wasn't sure if that would be the same with a water heater. Turning the temperature down on the water heater can help.


message 47: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 3389 comments I don't have to worry about pipes freezing. I gave this some thought, and I noticed that every time I used a little hot water, the water heater kicked on to heat up more. I don't need all of the water to be at a constant, preset temperature. I only need enough hot water to take a shower and wash dishes. Why not heat the water in the morning, flip off the breaker, and use that one tank of heated water for the rest of the day? It works for me.


message 48: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 3389 comments I also use my credit card to make money. Cash back on 1% of all purchases, 2% on groceries, 3% on gas. I get a gift card that I can use for anything I want. I pay the credit card balance in full each month, so no interest. They're paying me to use the card.


message 49: by Phil (new)

Phil | 11617 comments Costco is paying me nearly $500 for using their AMEX this year. Well, the membership cost $100, so my profit is only $400.


message 50: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 3389 comments Free money. Can't beat that.


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