Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thursday Thoughts

Dave and I are really trying to trim the fat. And I'm not talking about on our bodies. We're trying to reduce our expenditures.

What are some cost savings ideas you have?


Michelle said...

Live with your in-laws! Haha! seriously, that's a great question, and I'd love to hear other people's ideas, too. we are in an unusual situation right now (with in-laws), but some of these we've done, or at least attempted, in the past. Some I've just heard suggested, but sound like great ideas, and I know some aren't feasible for everyone's situations:

1. We only own one car that is paid off, and will probably hang on to it as long as possible/feasible. (fortunately, Brian can borrow his dad's right now, but when we were in Atlanta, it was just the one!) If we have any more kids, though, we'll HAVE to get something bigger.
2. Shop at Aldi's. as my cousin's husband jokes, they pay you to shop there!!
3. Either have cell phones or a land line, not both.
4. Cut out cable, or at least only get basic.
5. Learn how to cut your own (or each other's) hair.
6. Borrow DVD's from the library, don't rent from Blockbuster, etc. Borrow books first, then if you really like them, buy them.
7. Don't bother with coupons unless it's something you normally buy anyway.
8. Make your own laundry detergent. it's pretty easy and works really well, and I think it's more environmentally friendly.
9. Invest in some (good) home gym equipment. (we had a gym membership, but once David was born, it was really hard to get there, so we got a Bowflex. It was kind of expensive, and we're not always consistent in using it, but more so than we were going to the gym.)
10. Eat at home as often as possible.
11. buy the best quality (of whatever) you can afford, instead of the cheapest thing that will do the trick, b/c you'll probably end up having to get a new one (and another . . .) and end up spending more money anyway.
12. make a budget and stick to it! (that's so hard!) make sure to plan for emergencies, occasional expenditures (i.e. car insurance, etc.).
13. Probably our biggest thing--buying a house we can afford on one income.
14. Tithe on your gross income. It might sound kind of backward, but it helps keep things in perspective, and we've never run out of money because of that.
15. Wait 24 (or more) hours before making an "impulse" purchase.
16. if you can't pay cash, you can't afford it. (obviously, there are exceptions, such as most people can't pay cash for their house.)
17. use the flexible saving account option if offered by your employer.

We haven't gotten this all figured out by any means. I've just done a lot of thinking and read a lot of other people's ideas on frugality.

Meredith said...

Holy long comment, Batman! I might have to respond to that in a whole other post.

We went out to Granville for church last Sunday and looked for you there. Somebody there said you had bought a house in New Albany. Not true?

Anonymous said...

yeah, that was too long. sorry. no, we haven't been to church in a couple of weeks because we've all been in various stages of a cold. and no, we haven't bought a house in New Albany, or anywhere, yet. ugh!

Jason said...

Michelle, I have to tell you that your post is probably the best thing I've read on the Internet since Stephen King published his novel "The Plant" six or seven years ago! Those are all excellent tips, and I can only add a few others.

* If you own a house, look into refinancing it. You have a good chance of getting a better rate today since this is most definitely not a seller's market right now.

* Buy--don't lease--your car. Then pay it off early and keep it for a long time. That way you're not making a car payment every month ad infinitum. Of course, take care of your car, too, so you're not always having to get it fixed.

* To continue the previous point, learn to become handy, so that you can do most repair/maintenance jobs to your house, car, etc., yourself. Not only is it much cheaper to do it yourself, other people will think you're cool that you work on your car yourself!

* Cut out expensive trips to Starbucks, et. al., for coffee and whatnot. In fact, cut out coffee from your diet entirely, since one cup of caffeinated coffee raises your cortisol level for six to eight hours, which inhibits muscle growth and promotes fat retention. While you're at it, cut soda, bottled water, and alcohol from your diet, too. Although you might actually lose money because you'll live longer and have more time to spend it! Ha!!

* If you have unwanted clothes, or anything, really, donate it to charity, and get a tax write-off. It's not much of a write-off, but it's better than nothing.

* Or, conversely, sell that stuff on eBay. You'd be surprised what people will buy.

* An alternative to buying your own gym equipment is to go to a cheaper gym. I used to go to the Sawmill Athletic Club and was spending over $70 a month, and I wasn't even using a lot of stuff I was paying for, like the racquetball courts, the nursery, the landscaped walking trail, bistro, etc. I go to World Gym now, and save about $50 a month. I do miss the spinning classes and the indoor pool though!!

* I have also invested a lot of money in the stock market. True, you can't touch that money for a long time (you shouldn't, anyway), but in the LONG TERM, you will make a LOT of money. I intend to live very comfortably when I retire. That's the plan anyway. I would also suggest putting AT LEAST 6% of every paycheck into a 401(k). And if you have a lot of money in a checking or savings account and not touching it (i.e., a rainy day reserve or whatnot), consider upgrading your account to a money market account (if your balance is high enough) or something better than the basic account.

And finally, DON'T ever get sick and don't ever have kids!! Ha ha ha.

Dave said...

I know I'm late to the party but on the mention of a money market account got me to thinking...Steph and I use Emmigrant direct for our rainy day savings and get about 5% for it. For our active account (things you can set up auto pay for) we use ING's electric orange and get about 4%.