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View Full Version : We've done the grocery tips, how about general money saving tips....


minnie1928
08-23-2004, 01:48 PM
I loved the thread on money saving tips for the grocery store and I thought why not take it one step further (or maybe a few steps!). What's been your best money saving tip? I like to think that I'm smart with my money, but I also admit that I don't know everything. The boards have been such a help to me to in the past and I thought this might be a good thread to get going to help others as well as myself.

Here's some of mine:
1. Cancel your line maintenance on your phone bill, odds are that you will never need it and the phone company knows this!

2. Sign up to have your bills automatically paid from your checking account. Not only does this save postage it also cuts down on the number of checks you write. This will save you from having to order checks as often and more importantly it saves you TIME!

I look forward to seeing what else people do to save some money...

Thanks!
kelly

mrsbornkuntry
08-23-2004, 02:28 PM
I can't wait to hear what everyone else has to add to this! I'm always looking for tips to save money. I tried to check Miserly Moms out of the library, but it was out. Anyway here's my 2 cents:

- my husband is in the Army and has to have his uniforms pressed so I iron them myself instead of taking them to a drycleaner, he also packs his lunch (usually leftovers) instead of buying

-make my own baby food

-check books out of the library instead of buying them and return them (and videos, dvds, etc) on time so no late fees

-reuse plastic kids' hangers from the store for my kids' clothes

:wave:

kimbac3
08-23-2004, 03:06 PM
#1 Stay out of Walmart!!!! Seriously it's amazing how I can go in for dog food (which of course I need a cart for:rolleyes: ) and come out $50 poorer! I try to go shopping only when it's absolutely necessary.

#2 Make a budget and read it often. I like having a map, so to speak of where and how I'll spend my money. Make sure you include Christmas and Vacations in your budget. I like including them because if I find a great Christmas present for someone in July, I know I have money in the budget.

#3 I try to pay all my bills online or over the phone. This saves with postage and late fees. I seem to always wait to the last min to mail a bill even though I have the money:crazy: . This way I can just hop on the web site while I'm thinking about it and pay the bill. I pay my home loan via the telephone. They don't charge me for that but beware because some companies charge for phone payments.

#4 I hang my clothes out to dry on warm/hot days. And I always do a whole load.

#5 When making my vacation budget I tried to look for the least expensive most enjoyable option. For example we chose a rental home for our upcoming trip. We are a family of 5 and this was an enjoyable(DH and I will have our own bedroom;) , a private pool,home has everything including play station for the kids) and budget($79 per night) smart decision. The cost for a hotel room for 5 would be too much $$$ for the amount of space we'd get.

That's all I can think of for now. I can't wait to read other people's tips.

Kimba

Belle0101
08-23-2004, 04:08 PM
*Shop around at different banks and the services they offer*

We just found a bank in town that has service free checking accounts if you have your mortgage through them, which we do. You could also have a service free account if you had direct deposit of your payroll check.

The free checking also has free overdraft protection. Our last bank offered OD protection but it came with a service fee. Not that we OD our accounts but if you have a DH like mine and uses the ATM / Debit card without letting you know :mad: it's nice to have just in case.

And that same account has free online bill pay.

I found out last week that they pay you 10 cents for each debit card transaction you make instead of writing a check!

It can really pay to shop around before you settle on a financial institution to do your banking with.

Carrie772
08-23-2004, 04:30 PM
Coupons for everything! Even out to eat nights at restaurants. We rarely eat out but if we do, we always use a coupon. Also, we do a babysitting swap club with our church friends.

powellrj
08-23-2004, 05:19 PM
2nd run movies save us a fortune. We went to the 2nd run theater last night and saw The Village for $2.00 each. Even the kids and their friends now plan movie nights around the $2.00 theater.

Use loyalty cards. My DH makes fun of my keychain because of all the little cards I have hanging from it, but hey I got $10 back from CVS last month and $4.00 back from Hallmark.

enchantedpixiedust
08-23-2004, 05:26 PM
*My biggest thing is fighting the urge to eat out! I've been trying to do that at lunch & brining food, it saves a TON of money. I just put my $5 in the Disney pig everyday that I'd spend on fast food.

*I agree with Kimbac3 about Walmart - same thing for Costco, Sams, Target, etc for me. It's a big money pit for me.

*I'd easily spend over $20 a month in rentals/DVD purchases so Netflix works great for us.

*As much I hate it, use the store loyalty cards - it's ridiculous prices otherwise.

*I'd say coupons - but I'm notorious for clipping them and forgetting. :(

*Half Price Books if you're a reader - I save a ton if I do this instead of spending $7 for a paperback. I did the library a while but am horrible on getting them back in time. Better yet garage sales if you can find what you like.


-Maryann

nuts4wdw
08-23-2004, 05:51 PM
Two things that as a child I used to despise were thrift stores and yard sales, but these two things save a ton of money and satisfy the urge to shop!!:bounce: :tongue:

imsayin
08-23-2004, 06:29 PM
I've been married 13 years, and we have never paid interest on a credit card - don't charge if you can't pay it off every month.

Buy used cars, you save a ton of money.

Don't loan the government money. By this I mean, reduce the amount of taxes withheld from your check so that you don't get a big refund. Instead, save the difference each month (try an automatic investment plan) - invest it and earn money. This is actually a pet peeve of mine - people who think their tax refund is a savings account. It isn't. It is an interest free loan to Uncle Sam.

Contribute the maximum allowed to your 401k plan, Simple plan, etc. If your company matches, you get free money from work and the tax savings is also "free" money.

grlpwrd
08-23-2004, 10:01 PM
* Yes, pay your bills on time. I use my bank's online payment service, too. It's fast, secure, and has saved me lots of heartache and late fees.

* Barter or swap. Find someone who can trade services or products with you.

* Make appliances your friend....Use your crockpot and pressure cooker regularly for cheaper, more nutritious meals. Also, try to do batch or freezer cooking (freeze extra food). I tried OAMC (once a month cooking), but it was too much for me so I take it on a smaller scale....Get a thermostat timer for more energy savings. ... If you like espresso and gourmet coffee make it yourself... Get a big freezer to freeze and stockpile food.

Yes, they are $$$ on the onset, but in the long run they are a good investment.

* Invest in some good reference books, like cookbooks, financial books, and repair books. Again, an investment in the long run.

* Lower your energy costs. Use a drying rack or hangers for drying clothes (or line-dry outdoors, of course), use reflective film on your windows, grow shade/deciduous trees around your home, use meat styrofoam trays to insulate around your outlets, use a thermostat timer, lower your thermostat, use ceiling fans, etc.

:)

mrsbornkuntry
08-23-2004, 10:57 PM
I think most people do this, but maybe not so I thought I'd share...

I reuse/recycle plastic grocery store bags. They come in handy for tons of things, a couple of examples would be small trash can liners (I use them in the bathrooms and bedrooms, and to dispose of stinky diapers right away). I've used them for trash in my van, to carry library books, gifts, as packing material...

There's probably a million uses for them.

revrob
08-23-2004, 11:11 PM
I so TOTALLY agree with the "no interest free loan to uncle Sam" post. This is such a pet peave of mine. I just hate it when people think they've done such a great financial thing when they get their tax return. Don't be silly.

travelbug
08-23-2004, 11:40 PM
Great thread! I love reading everyone's ideas. Here are a few more:

1. If you don't have your homeowner's insurance and car insurance with the same company, look into it. Most companies give a good discount for having both kinds of insurance with them.

2. I cancelled my long distance service about 2 years ago, so I don't spend a monthly fee on that anymore. I use calling cards for all my long distance calling. I only buy calling cards when I find them on sale for .03 per minute (usually at Target). I always have more than enough cards stashed away so I won't run out while waiting for the next sale to roll around. :D I know that lots of people have free long distance minutes with their cell phone plans, but I have a bare bones cell phone plan (12.99 per month) since I only use it for emergencies.

3. If you attend professional sports events regularly, ask if they have a designated driver program. I attend about 20-25 Detroit Tigers games each year. Whenever I go, I stop by guest relations and sign up as a designated driver which means I promise not to drink alcohol at the game. In return, I get a free medium soda. Saves me about $60-75 over the course of the season.

4. "Cash in" on your birthday! Lots of businesses offer free meals, free carwashes, etc. on your birthday. Recently I'm finding that a few offer a free meal anytime during the month of your birthday. Some businesses advertise their birthday perks quite a bit, while others don't say much unless you ask what specials they have for a customer's birthday.

Looking forward to reading more ideas from others. :D

mom2alix
08-24-2004, 12:26 AM
Raise the deductible on your car insurance.

It is amazing how much this will save you. Let's face it, if you have an accident and have $600 worth of damage and a $500 deductible, are you really going to file a claim and face having your rates potentially go up? Raise your deductible to $1000 and keep that amount in your savings (where it can earn you interest) just in case you need it. We saved about $100 a year this way.

ceecee
08-24-2004, 03:52 AM
If you buy a morning coffee, make it at home and save the $.
Staying out of stores definately saves me $.
Have a garage sale and make some money on things you no longer need.
Packing lunch instead of buying (usually healthier and cheaper) if I could only convince DH to do this occassionally.

Lyn-CA
08-24-2004, 01:22 PM
Going from grlpwrd's suggestion of investing in good financial books, I highly suggest reading, "Your Money or Your Life: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence" by Joe Dominguez.

What an eye-opener. One of the basic premises is how to control our money, instead of thinking that money controls/dominates us.

Missy1961
08-24-2004, 01:55 PM
My biggest money saver is bringing my breakfast & lunch to work. I easily save $10 a day. (I work in NYC)

I try not to buy dry clean only clothes. I'm lucky, the dress code in my office is office casual, so all my work clothes can be washed & dried by me! Again, big savings.

I do my nails myself. Again, saving a bit of money. Also color my own hair. If there was a way of cutting my own hair, I'd do that!

disneysteve
08-24-2004, 02:13 PM
I'll throw in one of those little tips that people don't think about.

Ignore all the products that tell you how much of the item you need to use. I'm referring to things like laundry detergent, dishwashing detergent, etc. Just because the Tide comes with a scoop with a little line on it doesn't mean you need that much to get your clothes clean. That's just what they want you to think. We use half or less most of the time and the clothes come out just fine. So the box that says it gets you 50 loads, gets us over 100!

We buy dryer sheets and cut them in thirds. They work just fine.

Same theory works when baking from scratch. You can often use less sugar or flour or whatever without a noticeable difference in the final product.

All those little cut backs can gradually add up to some real savings over time.

EeyoreJMH
08-24-2004, 04:29 PM
DH and I, if we go out, always spilt an entree and have salads, rather than ordering two entrees. With the portion sizes at many restaurants these days, we always have more than enough.

I also sometimes order off the kid's menu (usually take out only). The portion size is much more managable and the cost is certainly lower.

I'll also ask restaurants for recipies of favorite dishes and recreate them at home for less $$$. Sometimes they won't offer them, so I just sort of work it out.

I find many store brands are as good as (sometimes better) than the "name brands," especially for household cleaners, paper products, and basics. We've also switched from Tide detergent to Arm & Hammer: the cost is about 50% less than Tide here and our local grocery store often has buy 1 get 1 sales. The clothes feel/smell just as clean if not a little fresher.

Pink Flamingo
08-24-2004, 04:33 PM
Great thread! Keep the ideas coming. Here are a few more to add.

Keep your freezer full - it will run more efficiently. If you don't have food to fill it, just fill some plastic bottles with water & stick them in.

If you use the individual onion soup mix packets when cooking, make your own. It's a lot cheaper. Here's the recipe:
3/4 cup dried minced onion
1/3 cup beef bouillon granules
1/4 cup onion powder
1/4 teaspoon sugar
Combine ingredients & store in an air tight container.
5 tablespoons = 1 onion soup mix packet; makes 4 batches

No cabel TV :earseek:
Dial up internet :earseek:

Mickey & Minnie Mom
08-24-2004, 07:09 PM
I buy clothes one season ahead. I prefer Carters, OshKosh & other name brands, so when the end of the season rolls around & those are the ones on clearance, I buy the sizes my kids will wear the following year. And when they are 50% off the clearance price, you can get a lot more for your money. Shop a lot at Kohls...their discounts are the best.

I also buy gym shoes/dress shoes ahead. Today, I picked up size 9T mary janes for my DD even though she's only in a 6T now. But for $4 I had to. She'll probably only where them with her Christmas dress once anyway.:rolleyes:

Melissa M
08-24-2004, 08:34 PM
Clean your bathroom and kitchen with baking soda and vinegar. It costs a lot less and it is better for the environment.

Switch to a low cost internet service provider. My current service is $10.00 per month. The service is just as good as my previous provider that charged $21.95 per month.

Packing my lunch rather than eating out is what is paying for our trip. Soooo simple, with such a huge payoff!

disneysteve
08-24-2004, 08:40 PM
Originally posted by Mickey & Minnie Mom
I also buy gym shoes/dress shoes ahead. Today, I picked up size 9T mary janes for my DD even though she's only in a 6T now. But for $4 I had to. She'll probably only where them with her Christmas dress once anyway.:rolleyes:

But how do you know that she will be a size 9T at the right time of year to wear them? Our DD keeps growing like a weed and there is no possible way we could predict a season or more in advance what will fit. We have enough trouble with her constantly outgrowing the clothes she already has. We're looking forward to the point in the not too distant future when she can wear her mother's clothes which will save some money for a while until she outgrows those as we fully expect her to be taller than Mom.

Mickey & Minnie Mom
08-25-2004, 06:31 PM
Originally posted by disneysteve
But how do you know that she will be a size 9T at the right time of year to wear them? Our DD keeps growing like a weed and there is no possible way we could predict a season or more in advance what will fit. We have enough trouble with her constantly outgrowing the clothes she already has.

So far, I haven't had a problem with my kids wearing the next size larger each season. While sometimes, some clothes get smaller sooner (various brands), they'll wear those more at the beginning of the season until they are just too small.

There are certain brands that run smaller/larger so I have just learned which ones to buy. Sometimes the shirt & pant sizes will be different as well since the pants seem to run larger on my kids -- guess they won't be the tallest in class!

I am pretty sure she'll be able to wear them, and if not, it was only $4. I can always give them to a friend or resell them at a garage sale. It is easier with gym shoes of course. Those are year round & the styles seem to be close to the same year after year.

Like I said, luckily it works for our family. Wish it could for you too since it does save a lot of money for us!

adriannabannana
08-26-2004, 12:08 AM
In regards to the fabric softener tip, I'd like to add that you can make your bath towels (in fact, all towels and wash cloths) last longer if you don't use fabric softener on them at all, and you line dry or hang dry them. I got this tip from a West Point Stevens factory outlet manager here in town. It will also make them far more absorbant.

Another little trick of mine is to write the purpose of each of my sponges on them with laundry marker, then put them through the dishwasher when they start to get scrungy. It really helps to keep them from getting gross too quickly.

I use the waste from our document shredder as kindling for the wood burning stove in the winter, and as packing material for things I have to ship.

Coupon Bug, sometimes it's great, sometimes it stinks...

I always check price against volume. For example, you have to check the total square footage that you'll get with each brand of paper towel to determine if you're really getting a bargan.

I sew, so long sleeve shirts that are grown-out of become short sleeve play shirts, jeans into shorts, ect.

Wash your clothes with the lowest heat setting possible. I never use hot water to wash clothes anymore, even with whites I use warm/cold. It's saved us about $20 a month right there. We're also going to replace our tank electric water heater with a tankless gas unit. The best ones have a battery powered ignition, so you don't waste any energy at all.

mrsbornkuntry
08-26-2004, 08:16 AM
Everyone has such great ideas, and alot of them I hadn't heard before!

I just wanted to point out that washing clothes in cold water does not kill germs, only hot water and bleach will. My son had a stem cell transplant for leukemia and didn't have an immune system for a year so we were instructed by the hospital to wash absolutely everything with hot water. So if someone in your house has been sick or gets sick frequently you may not want to wash with cold or warm.

Ozymoe
08-26-2004, 09:00 AM
Originally posted by grlpwrd
...use meat styrofoam trays to insulate around your outlets

OK...how do I do this?

Which outlets?

adriannabannana
08-26-2004, 12:38 PM
Originally posted by mrsbornkuntry
Everyone has such great ideas, and alot of them I hadn't heard before!

I just wanted to point out that washing clothes in cold water does not kill germs, only hot water and bleach will. My son had a stem cell transplant for leukemia and didn't have an immune system for a year so we were instructed by the hospital to wash absolutely everything with hot water. So if someone in your house has been sick or gets sick frequently you may not want to wash with cold or warm.

Excellent point. I still use bleach, but you're right about the temp.

Ozymoe, you can use the free meat styrofoam, or they sell the same pretty cheaply for a roll. You remove the switch plate covers, and outlet covers, and cut the foam to fit. Then you just replace the covers, and wala--no more cold air coming in from the outlets. (also, no heat coming in during the summer)

There's a product called "Great Stuff" that can patch up spaces around pipes and such, and is naturally insulative. It's fairly cheap, but be prepared to use the whole can at once, or it hardens up. Just scout out your spaces first, then have at it.
Edited to add:
I've never used it around electrical outlets/wiring, and I don't know if it's safe for that. I wouldn't try it unless you check with an electrician first. It's excellent for around windows and drafty areas, and can be cut or sanded down flush with any surface. I've even painted it with latex paint to disguise it.

PrincessDadx2
08-26-2004, 12:47 PM
1. Set up automatic deductions - Spending always rises to available cash. If you don't go to Starbucks you hit the vending machine or buy a newspaper or a lottery ticket or a.... You can't spend money you never have.

2. Library - I am selling all of my books on Amazon.com and just using the library. Every reference book is now free on the internet. So far I have cleared $1,500 selling books.

3. Costco - My executive membership pays for my annual fees and I get cheap gas + everything else. Some items are more expensive, but overall I save a bunch and only have one stop to make.

Lynn CC
08-26-2004, 05:28 PM
This is my all time favorite $ saving tip for everyone who is paying a mortgage on a house. It was given to DH and I years ago, by a friend of the families,when we were just married.
He told us to....
Pay Double the Principle each month. It takes a month off the end of the mortgage. We really couldn't afford to do this but we saved whereever else possible and paid off our 30 year mortgage in 16 years by just doing that each and every month.
You have to be consistant. We started off paying less than $50 extra each month and then it was more and more as the years went on.
It's such a great feeling to be in our very early 40's with no mortgage!
I hope someone else can do it to

Make sure that you monitor your mortgage (I printed out mine each month online) and that the extra money is being put toward the principle each month.
Oh, and our interest was 91/4% I never lowered it over the 16 years because by the time mortgage rates started coming down I only had a few years left to pay, so I just never bothered.

disneysteve
08-26-2004, 07:23 PM
Originally posted by Lynn CC
Pay Double the Principle each month.

our interest was 9-1/4%.

While prepaying your mortgage may have been a good idea with a 9.25% loan, it probably isn't such a great idea at current rates. For example, our rate is 5.875%. After taxes, that drops to a real rate of less than 4.5%. So prepaying the loan is equivalent to earning less than a 4.5% return on our money. Even in today's economic environment, I'm pretty confident that I can do quite a bit better than that by investing that money elsewhere. Just putting the money in an S&P 500 index fund would far outpace that return, even after taxes and fees are counted in.

Also, by prepaying the loan, you lose the time value of compounding on your investments. So prepaying your mortgage will save you money on one hand, but it may cost you in the form of lost opportunity to earn more on the other hand.

MELSMICE
08-26-2004, 10:56 PM
Some great tips here.

--I hate it - but I started ironing my DH's shirts instead of taking them to the dry cleaners! UGH - it's a struggle for me, but I do it.

--Eat at home more often.

--Buy things in bulk or stock up when they're on sale. You need to spend a chunk of money, but in the long run it saves because you don't have to pay full price for the items you need or enjoy.

--Found a great deli in our area that has very inexpensive deli meats that are outstanding.

--Shop at discount grocery stores (Save-A-Lot & Aldi's) Only go to the major grocery stores for buy 1-get 1 items or meat sales, or specific items that we enjoy.

--Only shop sale racks & especially look for things on clearance racks.

--When my DD's were smaller I would also buy clothes that were on clearance for the following season. I never had a problem getting the right size for them. It always seemed like they were a size bigger than their age (example - if they were 3 then I would buy them a 4T for the following year). This saved a lot of money & I was able to buy designer clothing for them. It's harder now that they are older, however, over the summer we bought short sleeve shirts that were darker colors for the beginning of the school year. I know it will technically be "fall" but it's always warm enough for short sleeve shirts. When the sweaters go on sale in a month or so, I'll get them at that time for the winter months.

--We are also paying our mortgage off early. For us, this is the best money saver. Could we invest it somewhere else - probably - but when my DD's go to college we hope to have our home paid for & be able to use that money for college expenses. When they are done, we are planning on using that "mortgage" money to invest in real estate in Florida! (near Disney, of course).

jann1033
08-27-2004, 01:09 AM
Originally posted by minnie1928
[B]I

Here's some of mine:
1. Cancel your line maintenance on your phone bill, odds are that you will never need it and the phone company knows this!

/B] this is especially true if your repair man is my alltel repair man who refuses to fix anything he did not install...hello i pay for that service and hello you are not the only repair man alive...we have had lousy phone service since we moved here( 2 yrs of static and hearing other peoples conversations and getting thrown off the net) and he refuses to fix it ( it was wired by the same licensed electrican who wired the rest of the house btw) unfortuantly we always get him ( evidently they have an area and he is our assigned guy) and they will not "force" him to come in and fix it" which sure isn't in the "fine Print' when you sign up for the service...what a joke!!! and a waste of money for sure

vent over... breath deep... relax... think of a happy place:)

disneysteve
08-27-2004, 08:09 AM
3 other tips came to mind.

Phone - If you are paying for your home phone to do anything other than ring when someone calls, cancel all the extra stuff. You don't really need caller ID, call waiting, call forwarding, voice messaging, 3-way calling or any other nonsense. Just get basic phone service and pick up a $19.99 answering machine at Target and you're all set.

Long Distance - If you are paying more than 5-cents per minute, change companies. There are plenty of choices out there and it is not tough to find a 3-cent/minute rate.

Cable TV - If you live in an area where there is broadcast TV (near any major city pretty much), ask your cable company about "antenna service." This is the most basic service they offer but they don't generally tell anyone it exists. Around us, Comcast charges $10/month for this service which delivers just the channels you can get with an antenna but the picture is cable-quality. There is no need to be paying $40 or more per month to watch TV. (Personally, we don't have cable at all but I just learned about the $10/month deal and plan to sign up).

Lynn CC
08-27-2004, 08:20 AM
DisneySteve.... I have to ponder a bit when you say that paying off your mortgage isn't the best route to take, I believe it is at any rate of interest that you are paying.

By Paying off our mortgage in 16 years we saved $97,000+.
We did save in our IRA's as well, I didn't mean this to be in place of that, it's just in addition to normal savings.

Afterall, Everyones main goal should be to be debt free, in all aspects, ie credit card bills, car loans, mortgage or any other type of loan.
It's tough in today's market, I wouldn't want to be just starting out.

MELSMICE
08-27-2004, 08:27 AM
Originally posted by Lynn CC
DisneySteve.... I have to ponder a bit when you say that paying off your mortgage isn't the best route to take, I believe it is at any rate of interest that you are paying.

By Paying off our mortgage in 16 years we saved $97,000+.
We did save in our IRA's as well, I didn't mean this to be in place of that, it's just in addition to normal savings.

Afterall, Everyones main goal should be to be debt free, in all aspects, ie credit card bills, car loans, mortgage or any other type of loan.
It's tough in today's market, I wouldn't want to be just starting out.

When I posted last night I was tired & couldn't think of a "tactful" way to say that I disagreed with DisneySteve about the mortgage thing - thanks for saying it for me.

We are also still saving in SEP's, children's college accounts, IRA's, & purchasing stocks, along with paying our mortgage off early. We will also save thousands & thousands of $'s by paying the mortgage off early.

PrincessDadx2
08-27-2004, 08:45 AM
Originally posted by Lynn CC
DisneySteve.... I have to ponder a bit when you say that paying off your mortgage isn't the best route to take, I believe it is at any rate of interest that you are paying.

By Paying off our mortgage in 16 years we saved $97,000+.
We did save in our IRA's as well, I didn't mean this to be in place of that, it's just in addition to normal savings.

Afterall, Everyones main goal should be to be debt free, in all aspects, ie credit card bills, car loans, mortgage or any other type of loan.
It's tough in today's market, I wouldn't want to be just starting out.

Totally depends on the situation. Don't miss the forest for the trees. Many people paid off their 6% mortgage in 1982 when the 30 year T bond was like 14%. They "saved" $97,000, but lost the $200,000 they could have made in the T bond.

In todays low rate environment if you are not a saavy investor I think prepaying is a good idea. I am willing to take the investment risk and I think that I can easily earn 2% more than my current mortgage rate on a tax adjusted basis. 2% compounded for 30 years will make a huge difference in my net worth at the end of the time.

disneysteve
08-27-2004, 12:32 PM
The "prepay your mortgage" topic is always a hot one. So let me add a few comments.

1. I respect and commend everyone who is doing something to save for the future. Far too many people in this country are living beyond their means and doing little to nothing to prepare for the future. So if you are funding your 401K, 403B, IRA, 529, etc., that's great.

2. Everyone's risk tolerance is different. Some of us are willing to keep a significant percentage of our assets in the stock market in order to get a higher return on our money. Others would never be able to sleep at night if their money wasn't somewhere where it was all but guaranteed.

3. There are a lot of emotional and psychological issues associated with how we handle our money and that has a big impact on our investment decisions.

From a strictly financial standpoint, it doesn't make sense to prepay a 6% mortgage if there are other investments available that would earn you 10 or 12% on your money. Since 1976, Vanguard 500 Index fund has had an average annual return of 12.17%. That's a pretty good track record over nearly 30 years. No guarantee that will continue in the future but I'm willing to risk it. Others may not be and that's fine, too.

The emotional issue is not to be ignored. Since 1993, I have been prepaying my student loans. I absolutely could have earned more on my money elsewhere but I hated having the loans. Had I not prepayed, I would still be paying them when my own child is in college and I just couldn't see doing that. So I knowingly sacrificed the higher earnings to get out of that debt.

Prepaying your mortgage might make sense in certain situations, but in general I think you can do better by investing elsewhere if you are so inclined.

And I'm not sure I agree that everyone's goal should be to be debt free. That is only true IF you have built a large enough nest egg to live comfortably. It would do you no good to have zero savings but a paid off mortgage when you retire. I'd rather have a big investment portfolio and have to write a check each month.

I hope no one took offense at my comments - they certainly weren't meant to criticize. Prepaying your mortgage WILL save you thousands of dollars. I just wanted to point out that other investments may make your gains even higher.

imsayin
08-27-2004, 12:43 PM
I hope no one took offense at my comments - they certainly weren't meant to criticize. Prepaying your mortgage WILL save you thousands of dollars. I just wanted to point out that other investments may make your gains even higher.


Not that we are picking sides, but I totally agree with Steve's theory.

Muushka
08-27-2004, 01:06 PM
Instead of using the conventional 'incandescent' lightbulbs, switch to the flourescent ones that fit into your lamps. There are 3 advantages:

1. Saves quite a bit in electricity (not sure how much, but in the 75% range I think)

2. The bulbs last several years (something like 10X longer than incandescent)

3. In the summertime, you will appreciate the 'coolness' of your lighting fixtures!

They can be purchased in bulk at Sams Club and Home Depot. They come in a package of 5 or 6 for $10 to $12. Yes, they are much more expensive than the conventional bulb, but I think the benefits outweigh the extra cost.

They seem to come in 2 wattages. 13 and 26, but they are much brighter in reality. Isn't this fun!!!! Dontcha love to save money!!!

CheapMom
08-27-2004, 01:33 PM
YES- We use an no fee equity-accelerator for our mortgage and our monthly payment is split in half and paid on the 1st and 15th (it is due on the 21st) Our 30 year mortgage will be paid in full in 21 years!!! I understand DisneySteve's theory and it makes sense but I have a knack for making crappy investments (ie: Disney stock) and I love watching my mortgage balance go down, down, down each year.

10. Matinees or the second run movie theatre
9. the library
8. INGDIRECT
7. Make your own baby food
6. When shopping online ALWAYS look for a code before you checkout (flamingoworld.com...)
5. Buy a house in a neighborhood where the the public schools are good. This protects property values and saves huge $$$ vs. private or parochial schools.
4. Drink water (at restaurants and at home, I take a water bottle with me everywhere)
3. STAY OUT OF CREDIT CARD DEBT and pay your bills on time to avoid finance charges and late fees.
2. Ebay (clear clutter and earn a little $$)
and number one... drumroll please...
1. BREASTFEEDING

CheapMom
08-27-2004, 01:59 PM
Just a quick clarification- we are not paying more principal- we are just paying early and therefore reducing the amount of interest that is accrued.

barbeml
08-27-2004, 02:31 PM
Lot's of great tips here!! No wonder we can all afford to go to WDW!

DH and I have the same money style, and one of the best things we do is maintain our cars and keep them long after they are paid off. Benefits:

1. DH happens to enjoy washing & waxing (he says it relaxes him) and he does some of the basic maintenance himself (saves $$ right there).

2. Well-maintained cars get better mileage and run longer.

3. When a car is paid off, we keep making the monthly payment into our savings account.

4. When my 7-year-old car (still looked new and ran great) needed a costly repair in June (and was going to need brakes & tires soon), we were in a great position to take advantage of a huge GM rebate (plus my GM credit card rewards), and were able to get a brand new loaded car for less than $12,000 out of our pockets (with tax & misc charges) and pay cash.

5. We are now "paying ourselves back" with a monthly payment into savings.

Also, we drive fuel-efficient cars. Our friends with SUVs have been moaning about gas prices for months.

Barbe

Lynn CC
08-27-2004, 03:52 PM
No offense taken at all!
I'm 41 and mortgage free, we have quite a nest egg and to tell you the truth our 401K's, SEP IRA etc...haven't made a whole lot of money. Hopefully, ours will do better than some of the people that we know, that have retired in recent years. Those people didn't quite get back what they expected, and some are working part-time to suppliment.
I just think that for the next (how ever many years we choose to work before retirement) we will spread the mortgage savings around some to be sure we don't end up disappointed.
Diversification is key. I wish I could expect high returns on our investments over the years and hope that we will be pleasantly surprised, but I won't count on it. We won't be worrying about it either, because with all the $ that we make from now until retirement we can save because we live debt free and quite comfy! Nothing was handed to us, just a lot of hard work and started off paying ourselves first at a very young age, which included paying double the principle.

EeyoreJMH
08-27-2004, 06:13 PM
Oh, I thought of one other idea. If you have a AAA membership, some local offices may sell discounted movie pass books. Around here I can buy a 4-pack of passes for about $24. You can use these for evening shows after a movie has been out about two weeks in the theaters. Since DH works off hours, we can never get to a matinee, so we just wait until passes are permitted for the movies we want to see.

Of course,if we're being really good, we wait until the movie is out in DVD and rent it for free from the library.

And speaking of the library, ours lends passes to local museums and zoos at no cost, so we plan ahead for day trips and use these when possible.

Lisa loves Pooh
08-27-2004, 09:23 PM
We have a Sprint Cell phone and we also have Sprint Long Distance.

They had a promo for new customers to get free long distance on their home phone. We were existing customers, but we asked for it and they gave it to us--so we have 50 free long distance minutes on our home phone. Though we still mostly use our cell for the long distance--sometimes it is nice to speak on a land line for free :)

mom2alix
08-27-2004, 10:59 PM
I LOVE my Entertainment Book. It has more than paid for itself and saved us tons of money too. In our area, the book has monthly coupons for $5 off a $50 grocery bill at HyVee which made the book worthwhile right there. With the restaurant and attractions coupons added in, it's really been a good deal for us.

We also purchsed one of those refillable cell phones from Sam's and now my monthly cell phone cost is down to $10. I don't use the cell phone for much (just good to have for safety reasons) and this was a big savings for us vs. what we were paying through Sprint PCS.

mrspaha
08-28-2004, 12:25 AM
These tips have been great. A few of my moneysavers:

Use the public library. I look at the bestseller list each week in the Sunday paper, and for any book that looks interesting, I reserve it online; then the library calls me when it's available. Nice timesaver, and I get to read the current books.

I shop at Aldi's for most of my staples. I have had absolutely no problems with their brands, and my family can't tell the difference. Things like peanut butter for 1.29, bread for .39. buns for .49, spaghetti, rice, baking stuff (choc chips, brown sugar, etc. is cheaper even than the best sale prices at Jewel or Dominicks. I buy my fresh meat only on sale at Jewel or Dominicks or Cub.

Hotwire savings club has saved me a bunch. I've been getting Target and K-Mart gift certificates and using them to purchase paper products, hair shampoo/cond, laundry products, soda pop and snacks that are on sale; then use the gc's which save another 20%. It's helped also these past few weeks with school supplies and badly needed new socks and underwear for everyone.

My thanks go to these boards, by the way, for turning me on to Hotwire. It's also saved me lots with the theatre tickets. I have 2 teenagers that go just about every week.

minnie1928
08-28-2004, 06:52 AM
I started this thread and had no idea how well it would take off, thanks for all the responses!

Earlier this year my DH wanted a new monitor, I whined that the old one was just fine. Granted it was a 21" monitor that was the size of a television (tube and all, it was HUGE!). But I finally caved and said go ahead and get one. We went to ciruit ciy, found a slightly smaller flat panel monitor for less than $400. I made him use my Disney Visa (extra reward$) and since circuit city is a Upromise supporter I got some $ that way too. But here's the kicker! The first month after buying the new monitor my electric bill shrank over $30! I figured it was a fluke, until I got the next several bills and they followed suit! Who knew the old monitor would be such an electric hog?

I'm enjoying my new monitor and lower electric bill, but I'm not going to tell DH. Who knows what he would buy next if I told him he was right!:tongue:

Keep the ideas coming!

Muushka
08-28-2004, 07:20 AM
Originally posted by minnie1928
I started this thread and had no idea how well it would take off, thanks for all the responses!

Earlier this year my DH wanted a new monitor, I whined that the old one was just fine. Granted it was a 21" monitor that was the size of a television (tube and all, it was HUGE!). But I finally caved and said go ahead and get one. We went to ciruit ciy, found a slightly smaller flat panel monitor for less than $400. I made him use my Disney Visa (extra reward$) and since circuit city is a Upromise supporter I got some $ that way too. But here's the kicker! The first month after buying the new monitor my electric bill shrank over $30! I figured it was a fluke, until I got the next several bills and they followed suit! Who knew the old monitor would be such an electric hog?

I'm enjoying my new monitor and lower electric bill, but I'm not going to tell DH. Who knows what he would buy next if I told him he was right!:tongue:

Keep the ideas coming!

Interesting monitor story. Just wondering how old was the old one? My husband has been wanting tp get a new one also (he has a 21" now) and I have been reluctant to spend the $$ Maybe this is the boost he needed!

MELSMICE
08-28-2004, 08:34 AM
Originally posted by mrspaha
Hotwire savings club has saved me a bunch. I've been getting Target and K-Mart gift certificates and using them to purchase paper products, hair shampoo/cond, laundry products, soda pop and snacks that are on sale; then use the gc's which save another 20%. It's helped also these past few weeks with school supplies and badly needed new socks and underwear for everyone.

My thanks go to these boards, by the way, for turning me on to Hotwire. It's also saved me lots with the theatre tickets. I have 2 teenagers that go just about every week.

I've heard of Hotwire so many times, but am not sure what it is or how it actually works. Could you explain please? :D

disneysteve
08-28-2004, 09:15 AM
Originally posted by minnie1928
I'm enjoying my new monitor and lower electric bill, but I'm not going to tell DH. Who knows what he would buy next if I told him he was right!:tongue:

This is also very true for refrigerators. If your refrigerator is more than about 10 years old, chances are good that it would be cheaper for you to replace it than to keep it. The cost of the new one could be quickly recovered in the form of lower electric bills. Fridges have gotten far more efficient in the last decade and electricity has gotten more expensive.

Of course, this assumes that you don't go replace your basic fridge with one twice the size with more bells and whistles :p .

Muushka
08-28-2004, 10:56 AM
Originally posted by disneysteve
This is also very true for refrigerators. If your refrigerator is more than about 10 years old, chances are good that it would be cheaper for you to replace it than to keep it. The cost of the new one could be quickly recovered in the form of lower electric bills. Fridges have gotten far more efficient in the last decade and electricity has gotten more expensive.

Of course, this assumes that you don't go replace your basic fridge with one twice the size with more bells and whistles :p .

Funny you should mention this. We had a 13 CF freezer that was so full it was scary. It was 12 years old. We went shopping to replace it and get a larger (and I had a friend who could really use a freezer, so it was a no-brainer) 21 CF and it ends up less expensive to run even at that very large size! It didn't have any electricity using bells and whistles though.

minnie1928
08-28-2004, 02:13 PM
Originally posted by Muushka
Interesting monitor story. Just wondering how old was the old one? My husband has been wanting tp get a new one also (he has a 21" now) and I have been reluctant to spend the $$ Maybe this is the boost he needed!

I think we bought the monitor in early 2000 or late 1999, and it was refurbished at that time. We ended up donating it to our child's daycare (non-profit, church sponsored) and they were thrilled with it!

:wave2:

MrsPete
08-28-2004, 02:56 PM
Y'all have taken most of the good ones already, but I'll throw out one more money-saving idea: Several people said skip meals out. We all know that can save big bucks in a hurry, still sometimes we need a break from cooking! Here are a couple ways to eat out for much less:

Take home something from the grocery store deli. Chicken Marsala at my favorite Italian place is about $13/person. At the grocery store deli it's $3.50/serving. Granted, the quantity and the quality aren't the same, but neither is the price! You can "deli out" your family of four for $10-15, depending upon what you choose -- it's hard to eat out anywhere except McDonald's for that price.

Don't overlook specials and coupons. A burger place near us has kids-eat-free every Tuesday night. Pizza delivery coupons are easily available.

Chinese take-out is cheap, and two meals are more than enough for my family of four.

If you do the real sit-down-and-eat-out thing, order water instead of drinks. A family of four can shave $6-8 off the bill just by doing this!

MELSMICE
08-28-2004, 03:05 PM
Originally posted by MrsPete
Y'all have taken most of the good ones already, but I'll throw out one more money-saving idea: Several people said skip meals out. We all know that can save big bucks in a hurry, still sometimes we need a break from cooking! Here are a couple ways to eat out for much less:

Take home something from the grocery store deli. Chicken Marsala at my favorite Italian place is about $13/person. At the grocery store deli it's $3.50/serving. Granted, the quantity and the quality aren't the same, but neither is the price! You can "deli out" your family of four for $10-15, depending upon what you choose -- it's hard to eat out anywhere except McDonald's for that price.

I was just thinking that same way this morning. We ordered the "everyday special" from our favorite pizza place last night. Of course, I thought "I could be saving $21 if I just made dinner", however, I just needed a break from cooking, didn't feel like going out or spending the money it would cost for all 5 of us to eat out so I took the money I had left over from my weekly allowance & bought the family dinner.

While I could have put the money towards a Disney trip or something else, we all had a taste for a pizza & I was just too tired to cook anything, so sometimes you just have to "splurge a little" & just spend the money! :crazy:

disneysteve
08-28-2004, 03:29 PM
Originally posted by MrsPete
Several people said skip meals out. We all know that can save big bucks in a hurry, still sometimes we need a break from cooking! Here are a couple ways to eat out for much less:

My biggest tip for dining out on a budget - SHARE. As we all know, as Americans have gotten more and more obese, restaurant serving sizes have gotten obscenely large. An average platter now easily serves at least 2 people.

For example, DW and I went to Bertucci's recently (it's an Italian chain). I noticed chicken picatta on the specials for $13.00. It included salad and bread. DW just ordered a house salad for $5.00. I ordered the special. The platter came with 3 whole pieces of chicken and a side of pasta. We also got a basket with 5 large dinner rolls (keep in mind there were only 2 of us at the table). So we each had a salad, one piece of chicken and shared some of the pasta. We also each had a dinner roll. The 3rd piece of chicken and remainder of the pasta came home and I had it for lunch at work a couple of days later. So for under $25 (with tax and tip included), we had 2 full dinners and 1 lunch.

Unless you want to take home a lot of food, it is rarely necessary anymore to order a full platter for each person. That lowers the cost quite a bit.

j's m
08-28-2004, 05:09 PM
disneysteve,

We just did the same thing at Bertucci's with the eggplant parmesan and spagetti, except we ordered an extra soup and meatballs. It was way cheaper than 2 full dinners and there was more than enough for us.

Another favorite saver of mine is our coupon exchange at the library. One wonderful woman is a coupon maniac and keeps the coupon box straight and organized. She's there several days a week, clipping away and sorting. Everyone just drops off extra coupons and takes what you need.

Since I'm there to pick up my library books and coupons, I also read the current newspapers instead of buying them.

momtofour
08-29-2004, 03:40 PM
Great thread!!! Thanks to the OP and all who have contributed with their wonderful ideas. Let's keep this one going!! I have decided to skip my usual three to four Costco trips per week. I absolutely love the store and all that it offers! However, last month I spent over $1000 there and I really cannot figure out where it all went! (Other than gas, which is alot!!) I typically spend at least $500 per month there without even thinking about it. Well now I am thinking about it!! While there is no doubt they have some great buys, I just really got caught up in it all! I am going to shop at the local grocery stores, watch the sale ads, and see how it all goes! I have a sneaking suspicion this membership is really costing me!

Pink Flamingo
08-29-2004, 04:30 PM
I've heard of Hotwire so many times, but am not sure what it is or how it actually works. Could you explain please?
MELSMICE - I was wondering the same thing. I found a little info. on their web site, but it doesn't give too many details. Here's the link: http://www.hotwire.com/customer-care/hsc-faq/index.jsp
You can get a free 30 day trial membership, but after that it's 7.95 a month. Not sure whether I would benefit from this or not. Maybe someone here who has a membership could give a few more details.

disneysteve
08-29-2004, 05:24 PM
Originally posted by momtofour
I have decided to skip my usual three to four Costco trips per week. I have a sneaking suspicion this membership is really costing me!

I know that Costco, BJ's, Sam's Club can have some good buys, but I think a savvy shopper can get just as good (or better) deals at their local supermarkets by watching for sales, using coupons and being less brand loyal.

A few times over the years, we've gotten free memberships to one of the warehouse stores. We've gone and made a list of the items we buy regularly and compared prices with the supermarket. Sometimes the warehouse place was cheaper, but not when the supermarket had a sale or we had a coupon. Also, at the supermarket we can pick the store brand which is a lot cheaper than the brand name no matter where you buy it. So you really need to do your homework before paying a fee to join the warehouse place. You may discover that it really isn't worth it.