Which would/could you do?

Avatar for rollmops2009
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-24-2009
Which would/could you do?
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Sun, 08-08-2010 - 10:18am

We have talked about saving money many times, as well as "couponing." This article covers several recurring themes on this board.

So which of these would, could or have you done?

6 Extreme Ways to Go Frugal and Save
by Melissa Neiman
Saturday, August 7, 2010

How far would you go to save a buck in today's tumultuous economy? People are finding more ways than ever before to scrimp and save. But some take it to extremes.

Read on as expert penny pinchers detail six bold ways to cut costs -- and in some cases, generate a little revenue -- during tough economic times. Are you extreme enough to give them a try?

Get Rid of Your Car

Trading in your beloved wheels for public transportation is definitely extreme -- especially if you live in the suburbs. However, doing so saves a bundle.

"If you can walk, bike, or take public transit where you need to go, get rid of your car entirely," says Francine Jay, author of "Frugillionaire: 500 Fabulous Ways to Live Richly and Save a Fortune."

Jay says people who go carless save a fortune by eliminating gas, registration, insurance, maintenance, and repair costs, as well as lease or loan payments.

Jeff Yeager, author of "The Cheapskate Next Door," agrees. He cites AAA figures showing that the average cost to keep a car on the road is close to $1 per mile after factoring in all of the associated costs.

"That's probably close to $10,000 a year," he says.

Yeager, who shares a car with his spouse, is a big proponent of renting a car when necessary.

"Think about how much of the time your car is sitting unused. It's just a tremendous waste of resources," Yeager says.

Jay says people who need cars only to run occasional errands can join a car-share program. For such people, "it's more financially savvy to borrow than to own," she says.

Take In a Renter or Boarder

Sharing your living space may seem unappealing at first, but it's a great source of extra income.

"I always encourage people to at least consider getting a home that could allow them to get some rental income, such as a duplex," Yeager says.

Again, Yeager speaks from experience. He and his wife have had renters for the past 20 years. By doing so, they were able to pay off their house in 15 years instead of 30.

"The beauty of it only begins with the monthly rent check you're collecting," he says. "Obviously, there are incredible tax benefits to it, too ... and much to our surprise, my wife and I found that it's actually nice having other people around."

Don't own a duplex? Jay says all you need is an extra room to take in a boarder and "raise some cash and help pay your mortgage, rent and utility bills."

Jay says if you decide to make this money-saving move, be sure to draw up a tenancy agreement to specify payment terms and the sharing of common facilities.

"Check local zoning laws to confirm that such an arrangement is permitted in your neighborhood," she says.

Downsize Your Home

If you feel as though your home is too big, it probably is. Selling it and buying a smaller one may help beef up your bank account.

"The best way to save big money is to cut big expenses -- and housing is the biggest of them all," Jay says.

Jay says trading down to a smaller house or apartment also lowers the mortgage or rent, as well as the utility bills.

"A smaller space will slash your spending, because you can't buy things when you have no place to put them," Jay says.

Yeager also is an advocate of living smaller.

"People don't really stop to think about it, but for every square foot that they add to a house -- square feet they often don't need -- first they have to buy it, then they have to maintain it, they have to pay property taxes on it, they have to insure it, they have to decorate it, they have to heat it and so on," he says.

"One of the upsides of the recession has been that the average home built now is about 300 square feet smaller than those built prerecession," says Yeager.

Change How You Use Credit Card

Taking a pair of sharp scissors to credit cards can help plug a big hole in your wallet or purse.

Jay advocates paying with cash only.

"This strategy saves you a bundle in finance charges and puts the brakes on your shopping habit; because without credit, you can't spend more than the money you have," Jay says.

Jay says paying with plastic "is far too painless," making it easier to spend.

"It almost feels like you're getting something for free," she says. "When you have to hand over cold, hard cash, you'll probably think twice about making the purchase."

Yeager urges consumers to go cash-only for at least a month.

"If you don't have the cash on you, it might give you reason to stop and think (before buying)," he says.

"I always think spending procrastination is a virtue, not a vice. Put off buying until tomorrow what you want today, and maybe you'll change your mind about whether you really want it."

However, Yeager acknowledges there is "much dispute in the cheapskate community" over whether it's better to never use credit cards or to always use them so you can "rack up frequent flier miles and other bonus points."

Only Use Coupons or Go Generic

Some extreme savers take coupon clipping to a new level, purchasing items only when they have coupons and stockpiling goods for future use.

Jay says the secret to saving on groceries and other items is to "ditch the brand loyalty, and be open to alternative products or generics."

"Be adventurous and try out that bargain-priced shampoo, cereal or detergent," says Jay. "If you're shopping online, search Google for coupons before making your purchase; you'll be surprised how often you'll find vouchers for free shipping and other discounts."

As with credit cards, coupons divide the cheapskate community.

"As many cheapskates swear about them as swear by them," Yeager says.

According to Yeager, many naysayers believe coupons cause people to buy things unnecessarily.

Yeager says coupons are most popular among penny pinchers who eat more processed foods and have plenty of storage space.

By contrast, Yeager prides himself on being able to "go into any grocery store at any time and come up with a delicious healthful meal that's really cheap without ever having to use a coupon."

He simply takes advantage of "the loss leaders that the grocery store has on sale that day" and buys generic.

Dump High-Tech Toys

Many extreme savers embrace the simple life, which means either forgoing the latest toys and services or waiting until they're no longer "hot ticket" items.

In addition to saving cash, Jay says "you may find happiness in being less connected to the virtual world and more engaged in the real one."

Erin Schneider, who writes the Cheap Chick blog, also recommends cutting out unnecessary services -- "cut down on cell minutes, cancel your home phone, cancel your gym membership" -- and opting for the least expensive options that present themselves.

"Cut out Netflix and get your movies from the library," she says. "Cancel your lawn service and either mow your own, or hire that kid from across the street for less."

If you can't give up high-tech toys, at least wait to purchase them, Yeager says. The price will drop over time, and kinks in the original product likely will be worked out in subsequent generations.

"It's like the old Elvis song, 'Only fools rush in' when it comes to buying tech gadgets the day they're released," says Yeager, who has never owned a cell phone and refers to them as "electronic tethers."
http://finance.yahoo.com/family-home/article/110238/extreme-ways-to-go-frugal


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Men can only be happy when they do not assume that the object of life is happiness.
– George Orwell

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-13-2009
Sun, 08-08-2010 - 8:54pm

Get Rid of Your Car - When I lived in cities like Manhattan or Chicago I did not own a car. Living in the exurbs, with 3 teenage or preteen children in 3 different schools, its not possible, We pay cash for used cars to keep down the expenses.

Take In a Renter or Boarder - I do own rental property, but our home fits the needs of our family with no space for a boarder, assuming it was legal.

Downsize Your Home - We bought before the housing bubble, and it fits our family of 5. We will downsize when children are grown, and hopefully add the difference into our retirement funds.

Only Use Coupons or Go Generic - I rarely use item coupons, I will use store discounts and buy generic for all but a few products.

Change How You Use Credit Card - We don't have debt and pay it off every month, so no savings there. We got a $500 cash back reward for using our credit card, free money in our case. If the bank starts charging annual fees for ccs, we'll reevaluate.

Dump High-Tech Toys - My company pays, or subsidizes my high tech toys, and it since it's the way I earn my living, I think I'll keep them.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-24-2008
Mon, 08-09-2010 - 12:13am
Get Rid of Your Car



No way could we do this one. There is no public transportation in my town. The other downside to it is that the jobs you can take are limited by the public transportation as well. I just decided not to hire a nanny candidate because she relies on public transportation, and she'd need a cab to get her to my house from the train station. I can't tell you of any time in 4 years of living here I've even seen a cab in this area, and if I am running late one night, or the cab is not on time, she'd totally miss the last train home.



Take In a Renter or Boarder



No room for this.



Downsize Your Home



We just expanded our house to accommodate the twins when they were born, and we are about to finish the basement and add another bedroom, so we'll have 5 bedrooms for 8 people. We could change our plans and not do it, but we'll be really glad we did it once it's done. Maybe one day in the future we can rent the basement room out. One of the things that worries me is if dh lost his job and we eventually had to downsize, I'm not sure we could sell our house in this market. That'd be really tough. I would hate to lose so much in selling because we had to at a time that was not advantageous to do so.



Only Use Coupons or Go Generic



I could do this, but I won't. I'm just not good at couponing. I am buying more natural foods, some are cheaper natural foods, some are expensive like my raw food snacks. Also my YDD is gluten free and a lot of her snacks and foods are very expensive compared to gluten containing foods.



Change How You Use Credit Card



We use it, but pay it off every month.



Dump High-Tech Toys



Could, but just not interested in doing this one at all. I love my laptop, our apple tv, iphones and itouches.

Say not, 'I have found the truth,' but rather, 'I have found a truth.' -Kahlil Gibran



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"The key to good decision making is not knowledge. It is understanding."
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Avatar for rollmops2009
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-24-2009
Mon, 08-09-2010 - 1:46am

"I can't help myself....the debate about illegal renters comes to mind! Bwahahaha."

My thought exactly. It seems like each of those items has been up for some kind of discussion here, often one bordering on the ridiculous.


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Men can only be happy when they do not assume that the object of life is happiness.
– George Orwell
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-10-2009
Mon, 08-09-2010 - 8:19am

Get Rid of Your Car -- This isn't feasible. Our public transportation isn't comprehensive enough. Also, with two kids that have to be various places, we need our own transportation.


Take In a Renter or Boarder -- We have, I suppose, the room to do this. But it's totally unappealing (unless it was family).


Downsize Your Home -- Our home *isn't* too big.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-10-2009
Mon, 08-09-2010 - 8:20am

<>


I often employ a simiar thought process.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-05-2000
Mon, 08-09-2010 - 10:56am

I do have a few exceptions--I sew Dylan's boxers. But then I can't put a monetary value on his appreciation. It's priceless that a 12 yo boy still wants his mom to sew his underwear. I have also discovered the joys of crocheting dishcloths. It gives my hands something to do during Dr. Who and on Sundays when I'm supposed to be having a day off from work.

Chris

The truth may be out there but lies are in your head. Terry Pratchett

Avatar for turtleemom
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-25-2007
Mon, 08-09-2010 - 11:22am

Get Rid of Your Car


I live in suburbia.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2000
Mon, 08-09-2010 - 12:18pm

Get Rid of Your Car - Not feasible for us. My kids go to school about 5 miles away and do not have bus service. We are more than 2 miles from the nearest local public bus stop and the road is not conducive to pedestrians (windy, narrow road with no shoulders or sidewalks). Dh has on occasion ridden his bike to work, however, once a week he needs to drive to VA for work so needs a car that day. And lastly, we have to divide/conquer with kids' activities, usually going in opposite directions evenings/weekends. Not having two cars would be impossible for this unfortunately.

Take In a Renter or Boarder - We don't have any extra space. As it is, the kids share bedrooms and a very small bathroom.

Downsize Your Home - We have six people in 2200 sq foot house, so already we are living in reasonably small space. Plus, we bought our home so long ago that moving now would actually cost us more - our mortgage payment would go up even if we tried to buy a smaller house.

Only Use Coupons or Go Generic - As has already been debated here, using coupons exclusively would not save us money b/c we rarely use products for which coupons can be found.

Change How You Use Credit Card - We don't really use a credit card - we use a charge card (American Express) which has to be paid in full monthly. We do this to earn points for airfare which makes it much more reasonable for us when trying to buy six tickets to San Francisco to visit MIL.

Dump High-Tech Toys - We don't have many high-tech toys. We have one computer that is at least five years old and a MAC laptop that BIL gave us for free. We do have cable and a Wii. My kids don't have cellphones, any kind of handheld video games, nor ipods or ipads or any of that stuff. I have a very old iPod shuffle and a cellphone that doesn't have internet access. Dh's cellphone is provided through work. We have a video camera and a digital camera but both were gifts. Honestly, while we do have some high tech things, most are "old" by today's standards. We aren't into having all the latest and greatest gadgets.

All that being said, I do realize that we could cut back on several things to save money. I'm not naive enough to think that I'm living as frugally as possible though I am frugal in a variety of ways.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-22-2009
Mon, 08-09-2010 - 1:10pm

"I'm not naive enough to think that I'm living as frugally as possible though I am frugal in a variety of ways."

I think that describes me also.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-2010
Mon, 08-09-2010 - 1:10pm

Get Rid of Your Car -

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