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Drew Dowdell

How have you cut back?

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If you've cut back due to this economy, what have you done?

Me?

Went from a 3 vehicle household to a 1 vehicle household.

Became a massive coupon clipper.

Began regularly baking my own bread. Doesn't save me a lot of dough (har har) but it's enjoyable, relaxing, and my bread is way better than what you can buy at most stores.

If I don't need it in the next 7 days, I don't buy it.

Funny thing is, I don't even need to cut back. My income has actually increased over the past 12-18 months. I just enjoy the challenge and my savings is looking great because of it.

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Eating breakfast at home, taking a break and coming home to eat during lunch, preparing my own dinner.

Reducing the speed while driving. Making a list of things and having pros and cons of the things I Really, Really, REALLY want before I buy. Using alternatives and non brands.

And going late to work to avoid traffic and save time and gas.

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I've never been a huge spender, but I've put off CD/game purchases, and I've really reduced the times I have eaten out. Plus, I've been walking more, and longer distances.

Edited by Captainbooyah
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Haven't. My wife has a solid job, and my biz has been growing.

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I've done the opposite of cut back. :P

Me too. Savings has always stayed pretty level, work/pay unchanged and I stopped myself for months now except for the car itself, but now again just keep going with things. Suspension mods for a $33k car with 3k miles? Sure...

Times are tough, but at the same time, I'm doing well enough and having fun at the same time, even if I'm not saving every penny. I can cut myself off for so long, then have a burst. Hopefully before too long I'll make some bigger changes finally with the work/pay and increase both the saving and spending, equally. We'll see.

Edited by caddycruiser
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I was in a fistfight with my finances long before the crash - nothing left to cut at this point.

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I cut back by getting the Acadia after the accident that totalled the Avalanche, turns out they get the same mileage. My home is very "green" in that we have geothermal heat, wind power, and solar running various parts of the house at various times, so the power company hates us because our bill is never more than $50 for a 3500 square foot home. The house being built down in CenTex is being built to LEED gold/platinum standards. It will also be smaller than the current home.

At the business, I have changed all the light bulbs to those high efficiency ones. I have also had more extensive door and window seals to reduce the drafts in the building. This is all in an effort to save on the power bill. I am also requiring employees to bring their own coffee cups and plates. I have also required them to bring cloth napkins or their own paper towels for their lunches. It has saved me about $200/year.

At home we have the high efficiency bulbs, but we also clip coupons from the Sunday paper. We only eat out once a month now, more for our health than to save money, but the first month we saved $300 by only eating out once that month. In the summer, we grille out anytime we can to keep the house cooler. Everyone is required to turn off the lights as they leave the room. For small appliances in the kitchen and bathroom (toaster, shaving cream warmer, blender, hair straightner etc.) are to be unplugged. Even when they are off they still use up a small amount of electricity. We dont run the water constantly when we brush our teeth, and we have one of those tankless water heaters. I have also begun taking a 7 minute shower rather than a 20 minute shower. J and my daughter are also taking shorter showers.

Outside the house we are not running the fountains in the landscaping unless the house is being shown or there is company here. The exterior lighting on the house has been change. The lighting along the pathways, sidewalks, and driveway are solar so those stay on.

For driving, we are making one trip of errands during the day instead of 20. We have also consolidated supermarket trips to once a week only. This has saved us $40 in gas/month as well as some wear and tear on the cars.

For buying clothes, we have joined every rewards program imaginable. It has helped when buying new clothes. Men's Warehouse has an awesome rewards program.

I have stopped buying CD's and started downloading songs from iTunes. I figure its cheaper for me to just buy the songs I want rather thant he whole album for $14 each. J has been doing the same thing. iTunes is awesome like that. I used to spend $500 a year on CD's. Now I spent $200/year at iTunes, plus the $250 for the iPod touch. I've saved $50 so far. Now that I am strictly digital, I will continue to save money.

So thats how we save money here.

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Well I had a 10% salary reduction last summer (although with bonuses I made more money in '08), and with the price of gas, monthly payments, plus 2 accidents, I traded my truck on an economical yet livable Cobalt. I bought a bread machine and pay $1.89 for a box of bread mix, which usually turns out great, except for this week (I think the water was too warm for the yeast, sigh). I pack my lunch most days. I eat out less, and only on the weekends.

However... I just spent $1000 on wheels, tires and installation for the car, and I will spend about $400 between meals and lodging to go to Ocean City, MD the middle of this month for the car gathering. I also need to buy a tent to replace the truck tent I sold so I can go camping a few times this season.

I try to clip coupons, but rarely do I find them for things I actually use. I refuse to buy something weird just because I have a coupon. I do take advantage of my grocery store's "club card" as much as possible, use a lot of store brands instead of name brands, and look for specials every week.

EDIT: oh yeah, the house has CF bulbs.

Edited by ocnblu
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Starting growing food that would otherwise be expensive from stores

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Have not traveled further than Montreal in the last 8 months other than for work. The travel itch is really getting to me though.

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Lots of good ideas here....just a few I've done recently:

More CFLs

Less trips....shop only for what we need. (private brands too)

Saved a few bucks upping the deducts on my cars...even the Balt is almost done, and I now have that "just in case" money. Saved quite a bit on insurance..I guess it helps when your cars aren't worth much.

Unless it's a good deal (5 buck meals at TGI friday's, BOGO meals), we do not eat out. Should help me lose weight too.

Less TV, more books

Updated the cars...got a pretty good deal doing a bunch of the work together (and myself)

Just a few on the top of my head...

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I've taken a small salary reduction over last year, but my spending has increased because I've taken advantage of the real estate collapse and bought myself a house to renovate. Home Depot and Lowes is getting lots of my money.

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My income has been crappy for...well...ever. The best I made was a steady $500 a week. Still hunting for some kind of a real job. Then I could supplement that with the $350-$300 I make now and I'd be happy.

As far as cutting back. We never went out to eat much, but did get fast food several times a week. However for the past few months I've switch to Subway twice a week (there's one by work where I meet twice a week) and buy and cook my own foods. More emphasis on salads too ( I've been on a Caesar kick).

However, I have been spending more money on the cars...I just about $25 in wax supplies. Whenever I get a little extra money I like to put it toward them, mainly my car.

I want a set of Caliber SRT4 wheels, I'm shopping around to see if I can get a set of cheap alloys for the Intrepid in the meantime.

So eh, I dunno. I just spend within my means, and that keeps me out of trouble.

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My income has been crappy for...well...ever. The best I made was a steady $500 a week. Still hunting for some kind of a real job. Then I could supplement that with the $350-$300 I make now and I'd be happy.

As far as cutting back. We never went out to eat much, but did get fast food several times a week. However for the past few months I've switch to Subway twice a week (there's one by work where I meet twice a week) and buy and cook my own foods. More emphasis on salads too ( I've been on a Caesar kick).

However, I have been spending more money on the cars...I just about $25 in wax supplies. Whenever I get a little extra money I like to put it toward them, mainly my car.

I want a set of Caliber SRT4 wheels, I'm shopping around to see if I can get a set of cheap alloys for the Intrepid in the meantime.

So eh, I dunno. I just spend within my means, and that keeps me out of trouble.

Sounds like a plan. I figure cleaning my cars hould keep me busy for a while...

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I still live in a dorm with a meal plan so I haven't really changed any of my habits. Come graduation though and I will be quite frugal until I find a job...

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I started a pest control business that specializes in catching those little Geico google-eyed money bundles. ;-)

I was already stocked up on personal and undone project supplies before the employment stopped... so I'm catching up on the cheap. Not really cutting back, just using up the stash of food and parts.

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Starting growing food that would otherwise be expensive from stores

That is a great idea. May do that next year once we're set up in the new house.

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My income has more than doubled in the past year but so has my expesnes through July at least, that's because I leased a new apartment while still carrying the old one for a 4 months, as well as paying off the debt I have piled up from when i was unemployed for several months. When I'm in my new place without carrying the old one and everything settles down by July my monthly expenses will have gone down to

Rent: 1050 for nice 900 Sqft apt with parking spot.

Car payment: $300 (I owe $11000 left on my mustang)

Insurance: $250 (besides being a 22 year old male the only reason this is so high is because the only driving violation I've ever had was a beut)

Phone: $200 I pay for both my phone and my girl friends cause Im a nice guy lol

$120 in cable/internet

$200 in student loans.

Im at $1920 fixed expenses for the month starting in July. Not so bad, defiinetly less then what i was paying, plus my GF buys all the groceries and stuff since I pay the rent and all the big expenses.

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Well I really spent a lot more than i have in the past I made ridiculous amounts of money last year, Well into the last tax bracket. I bought lots of toys but im starting to enjoy life rather than hating it. If I die tomorrow I could care less now. By next summer I will have my pilots license and will start flying around the country with my wife. Although something that has come up again will drag me out of retirement and back to DC for a short time I hope. As long as the Govt. doesn't fail i should be good for life. Lets say I have all my money in bonds...

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Personally, I haven't cut back much at all... I try to not spend too much on eating out since I can eat the (sometimes crappy) food here at my fraternity house. I saved enough in the summer that I've been able to support myself in terms of food and entertainment this school year.

My parents haven't cut back either. They didn't get raises this year but already made good money so they're doing fine. Typically they go out to eat every day for lunch during the weekdays and a couple nights per week besides that for dinner. My dad has been thinking about a G8 GXP but I can't get over trading the GOAT in for one...

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I havent changed a huge amount but I have done a few things

1. CFLs where they make sense.

2. Its at the point of the year where I dont use the furnace unless I have to.

3. Go out to eat less.

One thing here is that the cost of living isnt really bad. My house payment and taxes are less than $1000 and this is form a brand new house built in 2007. 1442 Sq.Feet which is more than enough for my living arraingment. Insurance is cheap on the house and the cars.

Cars are doing well so I havent had a repair on any of them in a long time.

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My wife is the queen of saving and has been for years.

Ways my wife saves us $$ while helping the environment and the economy.

1. We eat Organic Vegetables for little money & a few hours of work by working on a farm for the food ($12 to $24 for 6 months worth of fruits & vegis).

2. We get Organic shirts that are made in the USA with organic materials from SOS for about $3 a shirt. (www.sosfromtexas.com)

3. My wife makes her underwear from old shirts. Best way to reuse and save $$.

http://proverbs31living.blogspot.com/2008/...d-t-shirts.html

4. We onlly have 1 light bulb per overhead light fixture. Our house is very bright, so there is no need for more.

5. We use fuel made from “waste” that was produced in Oregon. SeQuential BioFuels offers alternative fuels throughout the state of Oregon. We get a $0.50 per gallon tax credit for purchasing fuel, up to 400 gallons per vehicle.

6. We get some organic stuff from Costco:

Organic Sugar - $7.99 for a 10 lb bag

Organic Tortilla Chips - $4.49 for a 40 oz bag

Organic Salsa - $5.89 for a 64 oz jar

Odwalla Orange Juice - $6 for 1 gallon

7. We use cloth wipes & the females in the home also use cloth for their "needs". Wipes can be easily made at home though my wife got the idea from a Portland based company www.fresh-moon.com.

8. Sellers of organic soap will have broken or odd shaped ones available for little cost. Check with your local soap maker or retailer to see if they have any available. If you are in Eugene, check out Down to Earth, Oregon.

9. We have switched to one half filled small trash can a month for waste. If we happen to buy something at a store that over packs items, we unpack it at the store and let them pay for the waste (assuming we can't recycle it). If everyone did this, the companies would figure out how to reduce their packaging so we can reduce our landfill needs.

10. Instead of spending money on trash bags, we have switched to a smaller Rubbermaid (made in America) trash basket that we put inside our pull-out trash holder. Beth (my wife) cleans it frequently in the dishwasher when needed. This removes the cost of trash bags and reduces what we send to the dumpsites.

11. Beth makes really cool shopping bags out of old couch covers, curtains, etc. This was started because we couldn't find American made grocery bags that didn't cost $10 or more.

12. During the winter we keep our house temp at 65 degrees, though at times will turn it up to 68 degrees when we are “hanging out” and watching a movie. During the summer we keep the house at 78 to 80 degrees. Due to Beth’s work hours we need to run the A/C to help her sleep.

13. Instead of paying for cable we watch Hulu. All the great new and “old” shows on your time line for $0 (besides the internet ofcourse).

14. Our vehicles are kept in the garage as this reduces the need for warming them up. A $100 storage unit in the backyard with “stuff” might save you hundreds of dollars in gas costs.

15. The girls can earn $5 a week doing chores. Instead of handing them cash we keep a running total in a spreadsheet. This gets the girls to save up and allows us to track the money we loan them. They are not allowed to loan more than $20 at a time and are required to pay off debt before acquiring more. This teaches them the importance of paying your bills off before buying more stuff, and ensures we are not over extending credit to our children.

16. We schedule our nightly meals and make our shopping list as a family. Making the nightly dinner meal list together ensures that what is made will allow everyone in the family to have one night of something they like, and ensure that what is made is eaten by all. By making the list together and going shopping together, the food that is bought will be food that it eaten during the week.

17. Our kids are given $5 a week for school lunches. When we go shopping they buy what they need, usually going under the budgeted amount. We do require a healthy base for the meal, but allow them to make the choice of what it is and what the “snack” will be. We do not include the price of milk and allow for extra money when organic fruit is bought.

18. Have a family slogan. This creates cohesiveness and team spirit in a family just like a company. Our family motto:

We’re all about solutions!

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