View Full Version : What are you doing to save $$ in this economy?

Exhaust Port
08-21-2008, 01:53 PM
Ok, it's not officially a recession but it seems most people are a bit more careful with how they spend their money. What are you doing? Any tips?

Honestly my first reaction is to be a bit more careful with daily expenses rather than cut my hobby spending. I don't spend much on my hobby stuff to begin with but I'd rather be more frugal with my water and electricity bills than my "fun" purchases since those bring me enjoyment and help keep me sane.

A family member pointed me to www.mint.com which is a free online money/expense manager. You give it your login and password for your online accounts (checking, savings, retirement, car loan, etc.) and it keeps track of your incoming and outgoing money. It turns out there are a number of online services like this one but Mint was the first one that I new about and used. It's OK. I like being able to see a snapshot of my income/spending but some of the tools aren't customizable enough for me. It's free as they give you offers on how to be more money smart (point you towards savings accounts that offer a higher interest rate than your current one for example). It seems there are others out there so I'll probably try something different. If nothing else it was a bit modivating to spend some time really looking at my finances, I've never been one to have a well defined budget.

After years of watching commericals I'm finally moving my savings to one of the many high interest savings accounts. Until I starting using an online money manager I didn't realize I was earning .5% on my meager savings. That's crazy!

I'm definately driving less on my days off. Most weeks my car will sit in the garage until I have to go back to work. I try to remember to turn the air conditioning off in the house during the day to save on the electricity. I'd rather splurge and sleep in a cool house rather than bother during the day.

We're also looking into putting some rain barrels around the house to catch the downspout water so we can use that for watering the landscaping.

Anyone else feeling a pinch during these times?

El Chuxter
08-21-2008, 02:08 PM
I don't mean to sound snarky, but passing on about 75% of the new Star Wars stuff, cutting most other lines significantly or altogether, and not allowing myself to start any new toylines is helping quite a bit. The only other lines I'm still collecting are Transformers Universe (only the Classics series, and, even then, only figures that are actually updates of G1 characters), and GIJoe (passing on anything not from the original line, unless it's a DVD pack or character/outfit from the comic).

Limiting driving signficantly is helping out, too. And we installed ceiling fans in all the major rooms to give the AC a break. (Still have to run it, as it's been north of 100 degrees every day here for a couple of months.)

08-21-2008, 03:36 PM
We're making larger dinners so that we have leftovers for lunch the following day and not dropping bank on fast food.

08-21-2008, 04:32 PM
i poop in the garbage can so i don't have to flush the toilet. and not showering. and not washing beding or clothes until they smell of the same sweaty musky smell. then it all goes in on one wash and one eggcup of washing detergent does the lot. saves on so much water wastage.

I switched from pre rolled to hand rolling cigarettes. less packaging waste. less chemicals, more nicotine and tar but less addictive harmful chemicals.

only eat one meal a day.

use low energy light bulbs.

quit serial killing.

use every inch of surface on a piece of paper before I either file it or put it out for recycling.

have a diesel car that gives exceptional mileage to the gallon. ridiculously huge amounts of miles. so it's dirt cheap to run.

cut back on toy purchases. became even more selective. permanently have a hawkeye out for bargains and deals. even freebies.

buy my special green or rocky locally. to save on car emissions.

disowned my family so there was no-one I needed to buy anything for. family is such a drain!

mostly live in a state of repose shallow breathing to reduce on carbon dioxide emissions. the less I do the less I spend. it's a nice balance.

08-21-2008, 05:22 PM
Honestly? We aren't doing much to cut back.

We can't really cut back on gas since we live out in the country and I work 35 miles away, plus I'm trying to go to school. Other than when I go to work, we only go into town if we have more than one reason to go, and it isn't a work day that I can go and pick it up after work.

We don't have cable or sattelite (and don't watch TV much anyway), or any extera features on our phone, and we have cheap pre-paied cell phones for emergency use only. We rarely go out to eat, we don't drink, and we go to the movies once or twice a year if that. Both me and my wife enjoy just staying at home, spending time with the kid, and working on our hobbies (most of wich we have enough supplies to last quite some time without buying anything).

I have cut back on star wars figures both because of current price increases, and because of lack of product that I actualy want.

We have been using the spiral lightbulbs exclusively for quite some time mostly because we just don't like to change them much. Both of our cars both get good gas mileage, my wife only drives hers to drop off our child at day care (about 16 miles a day, so her car dosen't need to be refilled for weeks at a time: She works at the local bank wich is just about the last viable bisuness left in our little town, and litteraly on the other side of the fence from our back yard). Both cars are in good repair and are paied off, as is our addopted kid. Still working on paying off the house, which costs 50,000 dollars including interest, so our taxes and house payments aren't exactly going to be high (great thing about Kansas and the bad housing market: Fixer upper houses are CHEAP!)

We have been eating out even less but that's mostly because we have finaly gotten our kitchen updated and made necessary repairs as well as organized, more than any active effort to cut back. We only eat out once or twice a month as it is, but may stop doing that since that'd save us 40 bucks (about a full tank of gas for my car).

About the only thing we truly splurge on is high speed internet, and there just is no way in hell I'm going to cut that out.

08-21-2008, 05:42 PM
I've started riding my bike to work, on days when I don't have to head straight to my pizza delivery job. My wife makes me turn off any lights in rooms we aren't in. I've even considered bring out my old push mower, the one that runs without gas or electricity, just spinning blades.

08-21-2008, 05:58 PM
Here's a few things that my wife and I have been doing:

Other than my wife's student loans, we have NO debt, both cars are paid for, we have no credit card debt (paid mine off 3-4 months ago...).

Just last week, I found an independent toy store in Portland that gets stuff early and often and can also get exclusives and doesn't charge over retail, so no more driving all over every Saturday mornings and wasting 1/4 to 1/2 a tank of gas on toy shopping. I just leave them a list of what I want and they call me when it comes in. This will save me lots of money on toys and gas because I'd rather buy from an independent toy store than WM, TRU, or Target. I'll only buy from them if I absolutely HAVE to now.

I've also narrowed my collecting to Clone Army items that I don't have and I won't be Army Building with the animated items. I still plan on getting multiples of vehicles like the AT-TE and the Gunships and ARC-170's, but only after I've gotten 1 of something I haven't seen yet. Plus I have to cool it soon so I can rebuild my war chest for Christmas gifts.

We both get our own spending money each month for discretionary spending and gifts and extras, so my collecting comes out of my own pocket and not from the family account.

My wife and I take cash out every Sunday for groceries and gas and a few extras like movies and dinners out and that's what we spend for the week. We try really really hard not to use the debit card and we've been doing pretty well for the last 2 months.

I have a Ford Ranger 4x4 that I drive to work, but I have a short commute and my wife has a Civic that we drive on the weekends and in the evenings (she takes the bus 3-4 days a week to work), so that helps, too.

Other than all of that, we don't spend lavishly. Our rent is cheap, we both make very good money, and we're both 1st born children, so our expenses are actually very reasonable.

It's been really tough out there for a lot of people and my wife and I have been very very blessed. I feel for people who are losing their houses and cars and jobs.

08-21-2008, 06:38 PM
I've even considered bring out my old push mower, the one that runs without gas or electricity, just spinning blades.I'll trade you.:D

I have a VERY small yard and that's all I use, but the $30 I saved by not buying a gas-powered mower has been payed back three fold by my arms due to the relative hilliness of my backyard.

08-21-2008, 06:45 PM
I cut back on food so I can afford the action figures I must have :ninja:

Bel-Cam Jos
08-21-2008, 09:00 PM
What have I done over the last 7+ years or so?
- bring my own lunch to work (often costs about $6 a week for all ingredients)
- clip coupons (this is much older than 7 years)
- wear sweaters in winter or put a small fan aimed at me during summer (instead of using the heater/AC as much)
- luckily live 5 miles one way from work
- stop going to the movies (not really a choice, as much as work making this uncommon except during vacations)
- limiting fast food or just eating out (I've done the make-more-to-have-leftovers for a long time); drinking more water and less drinks that cost money
- pick up CLEAN recyclable containers while I'm out and about
- keep my clothes in good enough shape to last about 8 years or so

08-21-2008, 10:16 PM
I download everything from music to porn.

And I steal gas from Cappy's car every Saturday night.

08-22-2008, 05:41 PM
Well, I was getting in a big hole so it helped me to ween myself off of take out food. We have a REALLY good Chinese place here in town and I was spending on average about $15-$20 a week there and about the same from Pizza Hut.:hurt: Plus it is super fattening. Plus just trying to not spend money on anything, if I can help it. It's the impulse buys that kill me. And then I don't realize they are impulse buys till a little while later. And I'm not even talking about SW toys either. Those I have cut significantly to where you wouldn't even call me a collector anymore.
Instead of buying bottle pop at work, I save what bottles I have and fill them with fountain cooler water and put in Crystal Lite drink mix. Much cheaper and I get tired of pop too.

08-22-2008, 05:46 PM
I download everything from music to porn.

And I steal gas from Cappy's car every Saturday night.
Ditto. Except replace "steal gas from Cappy's car" with "stick it in RB's mom's pooper instead of paying for hookers".

08-23-2008, 03:26 AM
Really though:

I hardly eat out unless it's with a coupon for a rediculous low price.

Eating in is better, so many healthy things to make.

Grow my own tomatoes, and squash

I hardly ever drink soda, would rather have water or milk, with maybe some cheap chocolate flavor squirted in it.

When I do go get vegetables it's at the local Farmers market.

Changed all the light bulbs in my house to flourescent bulbs, it really has lowered my electric bill.

Going to cut some wood for the wood stove to save heating gas this winter, put plastic over every inside window like last year.

Parked the truck, only use the 4 cylinder wagon to drive around in.

When I do go grocery shopping, I use coupons, and buy mostly things on sale. Lots of generic brands unless they are really bad.

I go to dollar movies or rent from the red box, unless it's a real good movie then at least it's the matinee.

Turned off the sprinklers in the front yard, going to xeriscape.

When I do get toys, it's just one of each figure this time around.

Selling off a lot of extra toys on the internets.

Got a boarder to rent a room to pay half the house payment, minus bills though, but it helps.

I don't drink that much so the only vice I need to get under control is smoking.

08-23-2008, 08:24 AM
I go out on deployment during the summer spending months.:thumbsup:

Bel-Cam Jos
08-23-2008, 09:59 AM
I go out on deployment during the summer spending months.:thumbsup::salute: :thumbsup:

I forgot about the restaurant aspect to coupons. There are some places I never go to Fri. or Sat., or have driven home to get the thing, because it does make a difference (well, maybe not the drive home part anymore).

And matinee movies (or student discount when that was the case) have been a staple for many years.

Basically, my family growing up wasn't in the category of "poor," but there wasn't much discretionary income available, so we learned to scrimp, save, do without, or get the bargains. I've maintained that as an adult, and I don't see that ending, even if the economy gets a steroid shot of Spend-ro (or ExpAndro? :D ).

08-23-2008, 11:06 AM
I joined Netflix for my blu-ray/dvd/download viewing pleasure!:D

08-23-2008, 12:13 PM
I joined Netflix for my blu-ray/dvd/download viewing pleasure!:D
Amen brother.

08-23-2008, 04:39 PM
I'm glad to say times haven't been tough on us at all. I don't go around and burn extra money but haven't really cut back at all either.

With that being siad like anything in life it's about proper management of resources. Don't spend money you don't have, and when you do shop wise. It amazes me how much more people are willing to pay for convienance sometimes when a little extra work will save you soem dough.

08-23-2008, 08:09 PM
It amazes me how much more people are willing to pay for convienance sometimes when a little extra work will save you soem dough.

That's the beauty of Netflix, save money and added convenience. In fact I probably went with them for both reasons!:thumbsup:;)

08-24-2008, 05:42 AM
That's the beauty of Netflix, save money and added convenience. In fact I probably went with them for both reasons!:thumbsup:;)
Yea, cuz when I see my friends at work shopping around for a movie and they find one for $9. I tell them, " I can get 9 movies for that price on Netflix." I keep telling them to get it but they never listen.
Plus I am the kind of person that mostly gets the satisfaction of watching a movie just once. Unless I really really like it. Then, I just call on mister burny burn drive to do a job for me.

Another strategy I got going with Netflix is maximizing my queue potential. My new media center PC, I just record the ISO images of the DVDs onto the PC right away and watch them with my VLC player on my new 42" 1080P TV. Then immediately send them back in the mail.

08-24-2008, 09:13 AM
I really haven't done anything different. We still eat out. We still drive our SUVs 15 miles to work. A/C is cranking cold. The only thing I've done differently is stop paying my bil.......

08-24-2008, 09:19 AM
The only thing I've done differently is stop paying my bill.......

Oh teach me oh wise one. LOL:D