As the budget tightens, what cuts have you made ?

Discussion in 'Homesteading and Retirement' started by ladytoysdream, Apr 16, 2017.

  1. CountryMom22

    CountryMom22 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,350
    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2014
    Location:
    Central NJ
    We are in our mid-50's and both self employed. All though we have no debt and have been saving throughout our marriage, we have not saved as much as we should have due to having a child with special needs that our insurance didn't cover. As well as me being a two time cancer survivor. So we are definitely behind in saving for retirement, and with us both being self employed there is no pension waiting for us. In our case, it wasn't not knowing how to save but unexpected costs that have been our downfall.

    Not sure what else we can do to fix this situation at this point in our lives, so we just continue to live as frugally as possible and save as much as possible. We both know that there will not be any true retirement for us, as we will continue to work in some capacity until we can't.
     
  2. newfieannie

    newfieannie newfieannie Supporter

    Messages:
    6,711
    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2006
    Location:
    nova scotia
    I had an unexpected expense this month with the car. 2000 dollars. better than getting a new one though which I would have to for going back and forth the country or even around the city. many here just use the bus but that wouldn't work for me. car is in good shape now so hopefully will last a few years.

    I do as much of my shopping as I can at no frills. it's sometimes even less than WM. I eat mostly fish and chicken for my meals. can't get it at no frills. more fish than anything and only haddock (I dont buy farmed fish)and it's very expensive. I wait until it goes on sale at the super store. last week I bought 10 lbs. divided and froze it. I make fish cakes from salt fish. was buying the lb pk. for 10 dollars but they have bits for half that so I use that now. it's getting mashed anyway and tastes the same. make most everything from scratch anyway. always have.

    disconnected from satellite a couple years ago. never miss it. still got 3 TV's in the house that I should get rid of. just taking up room. I have internet. that combined with my phone is 150 a month.that's all I need.i can watch the old movies that I prefer anyway on you tube. I try to be frugal with my water. that bill comes every 3 months. I wondered why it was so high but I found the toilet wasn't shutting off so I got that fixed.

    I don't buy magazines anymore. no new books. I wait until the churches have their sales .5o cents each even hard covers or I buy them for a dollar at SA. could never give up my books. life wouldn't be worth living. I do like mr. big bars and cherry blossoms. I would buy 4 a week at least. gave that up a couple months ago. doesn't seem like much but it all adds up in the long run

    my natural gas bill is the big expense for me winter time. I'd like to wait until December like MBw mentioned but it has suddenly turned too cold to wait. i can't afford to get pneumonia. this little room downstairs is the place I spend most of the time in winter so I have turned that on. I plan to only have that thermostat on downstairs this winter and leave the doors open to the rest of downstairs.

    i usually got the kitchen stove going for one thing and another.not a day goes by that i don't so that will take care of upstairs. i plan on switching on the bathroom one only when i need it . my bedroom not at all because i like it cool around the room and i have my electric blanket anyway and plenty quilts i turn off all lights not needed at the time. i don't pull out plugs like the toaster, kettle all that stuff. i thought off was off. i'll check that out.

    i buy my jeans at VV but lately new ones at WM are less expensive although not as soft. i can't stand hard jeans. i was looking over my clothes last night. i got enough for 10 women. i made up my mind not to buy anymore for some time. i was thinking about buying an outfit for a Christmas party I've been invited to but in looking over my stash i found lovely stuff with the tags still attatched. i wear a lot of black with a few accents to set it off and it's always in style. nice boots in the back of the wardrobe i only wore to church once. scarves i don't remember buying. probably got them at some kiosh on my rounds. poked them away and forgot about them.

    this is a really good thread to get people thinking about how we can save. no matter even if we're millionaires we can still be good stewards over our money. ~Georgia
     

  3. Clem

    Clem Realist

    Messages:
    810
    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2016
    I stock up when I can. The past few years, the local grocery chain store really don't have sales any more, but I once notoriously caught a BOGO on store brand cheese, along with a 25 cent store coupon for every store brand item. Between the two, I was paying less than $1.50 a pound. Store coupons were limited to 20 items per trip, so I went in 5 different times. Took that home, and reconsidered and went back. Ended up with over a hundred pounds of cheese, for less than $150(per hundred pounds). All varieties under the store brand were available at the BOGO offer.

    Maybe that's why they don't have sales any more.

    I have a lifetime supply of lightbulbs, too. A spare vehicle. When I'm dead, they can just compost me, and somebody just keep on keeping on. Sadly, nobody seems to want to know how to live within your means.

    When I dropped below my last $100k in savings, I could see hard times coming. Sickness and death of family members, 3 times in total ate up tons of cash, and was still ongoing when I saw the writing on the wall. Still, I've not only managed to survive, but actually an building my savings back up. I owe nothing. I have some put away. All with a social security check of $600ish per month.
     
  4. newfieannie

    newfieannie newfieannie Supporter

    Messages:
    6,711
    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2006
    Location:
    nova scotia
    that's really good clem that you could do that., if i had to live on my CPP and OAS i just could not do it in this city. though as you say i have no debts,no mortgage etc. i could do it no problem out at the country place. which is what i was striving for but slowly changing my mind. even with the high cost of living there are so many advantages. one being 5 min from several major hospitals. not that i have anything wrong at this point but it could happen quickly. it's something I'm weighing carefully. although the ambulances are stationed just a few min from my country place. we'll see.

    talk about money sifting through your fingers. my husband give his daughter 500 000 and in no time it was gone. she was an alcoholic (he didn't know it)i did because she would hide it in her bottles of pepsi and what not but you try to keep the peace. she also met a guy from PA. took him on cruises. bought clothes and god knows what for him .she was getting a big pension besides that because her husband had been an admiral or some such. when she passed there was nothing left and the guy didn't even come to see her . ~Georgia
     
  5. Oxankle

    Oxankle Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,360
    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2003
    Location:
    Arkansas
    Went to a meeting before I retired. Fellow there told us that it would take us about five years to realize that we did not need to spend in retirement what we had spent working. Of course we had known some of that---No need for suits, ties, fancy shoes. No need for lunches downtown, no commute. What we did not know was that we would get to the point that we had everything we wanted and just saw no reason to spend. How many shirts does a man need? How many pairs of shoes can a man wear? (I have a good pair of shoes older than some of my children, but they don't make those any more.) When did they pas a law that said one must drive a new or almost new automobile? I complimented a friend on his beautiful candy-apple red truck a couple of days ago and learned that he was driving a 2002 F-150.

    Of course being married to the world's thriftiest woman who just happens to be a world-class cook helps a lot in my case.
     
  6. emdeengee

    emdeengee Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,050
    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2010
     
  7. geo in mi

    geo in mi Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    6,253
    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2008
    Just got a new antenna from Amazon yesterday. Spent some time this AM putting it together before my weekly trip to town. Ate the big Swiss Steak on special at the diner I go to, now I'll scrimp for supper. The antenna will give me the local CBS and PBS station free, maybe some Grand Rapids stations. I'm going to buy the Sling package for CNN and some sports channels, oh, and Discovery. That in time should save me about $80 per month on my phone, internet, and TV bill running $180 a month. I will use Tracfone and cut off the land line--if I can remember to put it in the docking station by my bed each night....

    Last week I finished up my due diligence --in advance--for downsizing my home. One came up for sale, sort of(long story) and I could have cashed in my 401K, which is my house on a lake...It was sort of taken off the market until a later time, so maybe I'll start all over again, maybe not.

    Got a new furnace last year, but the winter was so warm I couldn't really tell if my costs went down or not.

    geo
     
    pixiedoodle and MoBookworm1957 like this.
  8. MoBookworm1957

    MoBookworm1957 Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    2,433
    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2015
    Location:
    Missouri
    Don't eat out very often.
    Usually cook something I can get several meals out of :
    Roast= roast, stew,pot pie, by time it gets to pot pie.
    Pot pies get made up for future freezer meals.
    Has to be very special reason to eat out.
    Do I get tired of not being able to eat out.
    Yes, but money saved for single meal goes into savings.
    Meals usually cost $6 to $10 per meal if not more.
    Make my own bread,noodles,pastas,broths.
    Can up broths, dry pastas, freeze homemade baked bread for future use.
    My largest expense is my new to me car.
    Don't have brand name cell phone plan.
    Have prepaid set amount.
    Electricity is on even pay. Makes easier to budget.
    Have no cable, just internet. Looking for other options for internet.
    Rent is income based.
    This month is my stock up month.
    So instead of $25 for produce will spend about $100.
    But that includes toilet paper, cleaning supplies, dog food etc.
     
    pixiedoodle likes this.
  9. newfieannie

    newfieannie newfieannie Supporter

    Messages:
    6,711
    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2006
    Location:
    nova scotia
    I do more or less the same as MBw. make most everything from scratch and freeze. not as much as she does though. my son is very good at that also. he gave me some soup today when I was out at the camp that he had bottled . it was really good.

    I rarely eat out except for a couple of church teas once in awhile. I like my own food. this is stock up month for me also. Wednesday I think. I have guys coming to fix the door tomorrow(that's another expense but has to be done for the winter) I have to get tp also. the one thing I use too much of. I don't get 2 days out of a roll. ~Georgia
     
  10. MoBookworm1957

    MoBookworm1957 Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    2,433
    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2015
    Location:
    Missouri
    My stock up includes can goods.
    My garden didn't produce as much as I would have liked.
    Worked outside in garden area for awhile today.
    Need to find some old cut straw.
    This is first year, I haven't planted cover crop.
    Don't know if good or bad as yet.
    Making up Strawberry's Christmas Gifts this year.
    Denim chew toys.
    Already rereading my garden log book.
    Placing stars by plants I will grow next year.
    Reworking raised beds design on paper before I start moving dirt.
    Selling some appliances online I don't use anymore.
    Counter top dishwasher rolling cart it sits on,that will give me more room in dinky pantry.
     
    CountryMom22 and pixiedoodle like this.
  11. Jlynnp

    Jlynnp Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,190
    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2014
    Location:
    Upper Cumberland/TN
    NewfieAnn, do you have a Kindle or other e-reader?? I get tons of free books that I downloaded to my e-reader. I have 100's of them.
     
  12. newfieannie

    newfieannie newfieannie Supporter

    Messages:
    6,711
    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2006
    Location:
    nova scotia
    no I don't Jlynnp. I have thought about it. but it wouldn't work for me. I have to have the book. ~Georgia
     
  13. gilberte

    gilberte Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,610
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2004
    Location:
    Maine
    You really should rethink that and give the e-reader a chance. I was like you, didn't think a device could take the place of a real book. Now I wouldn't go back. Love my Kindle!
     
    MoBookworm1957 and pixiedoodle like this.
  14. geo in mi

    geo in mi Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    6,253
    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2008
    As the snow starts to fly, I'll be getting back on track with my visits to the library.

    geo
     
    kalmara, CountryMom22 and pixiedoodle like this.
  15. anniew

    anniew keep it simple and honest Supporter

    Messages:
    2,717
    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2002
    Location:
    NE PA
    I've also been making trips to the library when I am in town. I already have hundreds of books, with maybe 75 percent of them reference types...gardening, first aid/medical, cooking, outdoor stuff. I don't buy books any longer unless it is a topic that I want to have as reference to use more than once. Even then, I sometimes asks the library to get a book through interlibrary loan, so that I can evaluate to see if it is worth buying.
    I just bought two books on cooking. They have the science behind cooking...the books were recommended by the instructor of the Kitchen Chemistry class that I am auditing. Knowing why things happen, can make for more tasty food or give a better finish to them. They are also "brain" food...keeping the remaining two brain cells working!!!
     
  16. newfieannie

    newfieannie newfieannie Supporter

    Messages:
    6,711
    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2006
    Location:
    nova scotia
    it's difficult for me to explain Gilbert why it could never work. probably the length of time I've been at it. dad use to say I could read when I was 3. we had a little room under the stairs and that's where they would find me with one of dads books from his library. I grew up with hundreds of books. when dad was home he had 3 or 4 going the same time same as I do. books are ingrained in me.

    I love to feel the pages and sometimes I buy a book for it's beautiful jacket not even knowing what it's about. love to rummage around in old book stores. there are books in my car for waiting at the dealers while most everyone else is in front of tv. waiting in traffic at construction sites (which has been going on here for a year.) etc.etc

    at night I curl up in my chair with a book and lose myself in whatever is going on in that book. I find them physically pleasurable. my bro. is the same way . he doesn't have one either . he visited last year and between his books and mine there wasn't much room when we would sit and read at night. and not only that we both read out loud. but we both get lost in a book like our father and it didn't bother either of us. we just didn't hear each other. we had a bell on the table between our chairs when we wanted to discuss something in our books.

    I do go to one of the libraries (which is only 5 min. and 10 min from my home ) and sit and read a bit. I'm into old English history and I do get that on the computer once in awhile. but nah a device wouldn't do it for me. but hey I never said I wasn't weird.

    I do know I'm not alone though . I have a couple professor friends over at the university who are the same way. i had one of them visiting when my bro was here and he was down in the den with his books. (he couldn't take our reading out loud) not everyone has a kindle ~Georgia
     
  17. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    14,838
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Kansas
    I find the paper smell of a library to be exciting, and I preferred physical books until I got older and my hands started complaining. Then, and ONLY then, the switch to an e-reader became easy, because my hands got tired and they were a distraction when I was reading.

    I still have books, but when I am tired and wish to zone out, I now turn to the kindle, as it is lighter. I get kindle unlimited, which means that for $10 a month there is a long string of books that I can read for no additional charge. At the moment I am reading other nation's accounts of the old "Bluebeard" story, and I got it on Kindle unlimited.
     
  18. In The Woods

    In The Woods Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    242
    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2017
    Location:
    NW Penna
    I am the same. Been an avid reader all my life. As other have said the feel and smell of a book is part of the experience.

    It came down to economics for me. The nearest library is a 70 mile round trip - only go to that town twice a month for grocery runs. Buying books is out as the shipping kills it.

    So I jumped off the cliff and bought a Kindle Paperwhite when I first had to stop working and was stuck home. It took me no time at all to get used to it. I am on a free email list that lists 6-8 free and $.99 books daily. I would say that 50% of the free ones I pick are very good. I have found some great new authors this way and it has allowed me to expand from my normal reading genre.

    Being able to change the font size and backlight are very important as my eyes are getting weaker. I struggled with the text size in paperbacks and can also now read in a dark room without any extra light.

    The convienence factor is unsurpassed. Once I click on a book to buy (free) it is ready to read within seconds. I add a little to my Amazon gift card account occassionally so I have a couple bucks in there to pay $.99 for a book now and then.

    And it’s so portable. Any time I go to our many doctor appointments I have it along to read in the waiting rooms - makes time pass much quicker.

    Now for reference type books I still buy used hard cover - I have an obbsession with reference books.
     
    pixiedoodle and MoBookworm1957 like this.
  19. CountryMom22

    CountryMom22 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,350
    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2014
    Location:
    Central NJ
    I'm also an avid reader. Some weeks I actually read and finish 10 books. I just prefer a paper copy. When my son's school switched from text books to ipads, it drove me crazy. He would have to read chapters on the ipad and then do his homework, but if you need to flip back and forth from page to page it was easy to lose your place. Much preferred the days when you could stick a book mark between pages to hold your spot while you were flipping around looking for the answers in the text. Thankfully the switch to the ipad occurred during his junior year so we didn't have to suffer for too long.

    Also, what if the power was out? I can also read by flashlight or lantern light, but if my Kindle battery ran down I would lose my mind! (What little is left).
     
  20. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    8,378
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    I looked at kindles, wasnt that impressed what you got for the money. Instead I got a little light weight laptop with 11 inch screen and win10. Battery lasts very well on it. Cost me $30 used and its main function is run Kindle app. Had to clean up and straightjacket win10, but after that worked fine. Thats cheaper than cheapest Kindle.

    Then read free books that some place emails me links every day. Maybe quarter to third of ones I download that I find worth reading completely. Hey they are free, start reading and get bored, move to something else. There are few gems, but most are bubblegum for the brain.

    Paperbacks tend to be crazy priced anymore. For one time read, not worth it, plus if I dont like it, am out the money. Kindle app even has tool to do text to speech. Though this is blocked on some of the free books. I probably could do a work around but not really worth it. Really works pretty well (works best if you set font smallest possible for text to speech) and I dont get blurry eyed, though more apt to fall asleep.

    I should mention that I like paper books fine, but you either pay money to mail order them or you pay gas money to library, first to get them, then to return them. And due dates are yet something else to remember.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017 at 7:22 PM