Most Outrageous Money Saving Ideas, again

ruhbehka_re_reformedDecember 19, 2002

Ok, thought it would be good to start this thread up again. It can be something you do, or something you've heard done.

Here's two that I (admittedly) do:

Everything in my house is unplugged except the fridge and stove. Yup. Everything. Every time I use the TV (rarely), toaster, alarm clock... I plug it in, use it, and unplug it when I'm gone. (My electric bill is only $9 a month or so though, and $4 of that is a required charge.) Actually we went without electricity for two months to save money, once. Hehe.

On the very rare occassion when we eat out, we always eat off the dollar menu at a fast food place. Well usually it's Burger King, and I order only a cup of chili ($1). Then I ask for a hot water cup, fill it half way with hot water (the kind they provide for tea), and dump the chili in. It doesn't change the flavor at all, and I get enough broth and chili to make a full meal for me. I guess some people might think it's unethical, but you're allowed to use their cups and water and bring your own tea bags, so I don't think it is. If someone can think of why it would be, I'd like to hear it though :)

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What is the advantage you get from combining the water and chili, rather than having the regular cup of chili and a glass of water to wash it down? I don't see it as unethical, but it seems like more work than it would be worth.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2002 at 4:39PM
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This one's maybe not so ridiculous, but definitely abusive: people taking advantage of certain stores' return policies. Apparently, some large chain retailers will take anything back ... even if they don't sell the item. I saw an old, broken, obviously used-for-a-long-time telephone get returned for a brand-new one of a different, better model. If you yell hard enough, they'll do it just to shut you up.

Was the phone being returned for a warranty issue? Am I being unfair? I dunno. I do know that most manufacturers insist that you mail in a defective product to receive a replacement under warranty. You can't just take it back to the store from which you bought it. Sometimes stores will replace the item as a courtesy, but it's not their obligation to do so. It is the manufacturer's responsibility to ensure you are happy with the product they made. Anyway, I digress.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2002 at 5:16PM
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bbonn, as far as taking advantage of store policies, I once saw a woman bring back to WalMart a piece of costume jewelry and a receipt for $100. The clerk showed her that in the journal they keep, the receipt was for a different, real gold, necklace. She read the woman the description of the necklace which didn't match the one she brought in. I had worked there before, the descriptions were to identify what was returned, making sure it was the same article. Anyway this woman had her little daughter with her, the girl was watching her mother carefully. The woman first cried that it was the real gold necklace being returned, the clerk said it wasn't, the daughter had no emotion to her mother's outburst. Then the woman starting getting loud demanding to see management. The daughter again was not upset at all. Mangement came over and guess what? The woman left the worthless necklace and walked away with a refund. She looked at the daughter with a "that's how you do it" nod. LynnZee

    Bookmark   December 19, 2002 at 6:06PM
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My Mom has friends, retired management, who don't subscribe to garbage service. They have an urban house, recycle, compost, AND, whenever they come visiting, people have stopped being surprised when they bring a sack of garbage with them, asking to put it their hosts can!

    Bookmark   December 19, 2002 at 7:47PM
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LynnZee's example of the woman returning a necklace is beyond "money saving" - it's theft! And this is why stores are making it so hard to return things for the rest of us.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2002 at 9:11PM
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One of my favorites is the fact that I always buy my clothes from the men's department, you'd be surprised at how much you can save. I buy my socks, t-shirts, pajama pants and stadium jackets. They have just as good of quality as the women's but are usually MUCH MUCH cheaper.
Another one is I shop yard sales for any and everything. I don't buy appliances, but things like craft items, books, some furniture, kid's toys and clothes. I did buy a vaccumn cleaner for the basement at a garage sale for $5.00. It has run great for almost three years now. You have to check check and re-check everything you get. Estate sales are great too, but I don't go until the last day of the sale, unless they have something I really want. Estate sales are usually higher than garage/yard sales, until the last day, then they usually reduce things even more to get rid of it.
Another thing I do is grocery shop on Monday for my meats. Most grocery stores reduce the price of meat on Monday if it didn't sale over the weekends. Lots of luck.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2002 at 10:43PM
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The most ridiculous return I saw was at Costco the day after halloween. Two people were in line returning the nice plush animal costumes they sold this year. They both made claims as to how they hadn't used them after all or they didn't fit. And yet the tags were mysteriously missing . . . Costco has such a great return policy that of course they took them back, but I am sure that people like that only help to drive up costs to cover this sort of thing.

As far as outrageous things I do to save money. Well, I don't think any of it is outrageous! Of course I am a dyed-in-wool tightwad, so I probably can't see outrageous when it bites me on the bottom! But if I were a big spender, I would probably view the things I do such as saving all bread bags, making my own wet wipes (finally out of the baby stage now!) buying 99.9% of our families clothing at garage sales and thrift stores, etc. as outrageous! I too shop the grocery store on odd hours after I know they have marked down meats, dairy, etc. I have been occasionally known to dumpster dive (although rarely would admit it!), but only on really brave days when I don't think anyone is looking! Check out big apartment complexes. Full of young kids that throw everything away that isn't cool! Which means anything older than 6 months! Furniture, clothing, you name it! I haven't done this for a year or so. It takes a certain bravery I don't seem to muster up very often.

I love being outrageous! LOL! Saves me a ton!


    Bookmark   December 20, 2002 at 12:07AM
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NebrJewel, that happened in 1990, they got tougher after that. One more example I just have to tell you about is 2 teenage boys came in the jewelry dept., took several pairs of earrings off a rack, brought them up to the counter and asked for a refund saying they lost their receipt. One boy said they were for his mother, the other said for his sister. When our boss tried to get them to fill out a form for a refund to be mailed to them, they pointed to a sign overhead that said "satisfaction guaranteed", and said they wanted the refund now. Yes, they got it. Again, this was years ago, they have changed so much that when my DH returned some sheets with a valid receipt they wanted to give him the clearance price back. LynnZee

    Bookmark   December 20, 2002 at 12:21AM
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MorZ8 -- Why don't their friends tell them to stop it? Dumping garbage on your friends so that you can save money is beyond cheap. It's disgusting.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2002 at 10:54AM
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I used to work with a woman who used a calculator that printed on a roll of tape. She would keep the used tape and re-roll it and hold it together with a paper clip. When the entire roll of tape was used, she would re-roll it around the cardboard core so that the unprinted side would go through the calculator. She got the use of 2 rolls of tape for the price of one. It was not her money she was saving. She worked for an employer that could well afford to buy new tape and it was not a requirement of the employer to be that thrifty.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2002 at 2:49PM
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rubheka -- I'm trying to fugure why anyone would bother unplugging a toaster when it's not in use. Toasters only draw current when you turn them on, you know. The same is true of TVs, washers, dryers, or any appliance that doesn't have an electronic display that's always active, like most newer stoves and ovens, for example. So I'd call this supposed money-saving practice pointless, not "outrageous."

I feel pretty much the same way about your watered-down chili. If you like it that way, fine, but you get the same food value from it whether you eat it full strength or watered down so you're not really saving money.

When you "went without electricity for two months to save money," what did you do when it got dark? Since your electric bill is only $9/mo. I guess that means you saved all of $18.00. Cobgratulations.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2002 at 5:19PM
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Actually instant on tv's do use power even when not on...
I favor the $1 menus myself but hubby tends to order off the man's menu *G* the first thing he sees - the "value" meals.
I wish I could say my electric bill was $18!
When hubby's aunt goes to a place you prepay for your food she orders only water. Later when the waitress/waiter asks if everything is OK she asks for a cup of coffee. I haven't seen her pay for one yet and they can afford to buy all the coffee in Columbia... Kathy_PA

    Bookmark   December 20, 2002 at 8:19PM
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according to my electric company, anywhere from 10% to 75% of your electric bill comes from your appliances when they are turned OFF. Yes, a TV and Stereo both draw electricity when they are turned off. As for the toaster oven, I'm not sure. I've read that any "instant on" appliance does. Our microwave has a clock, but we already have an alarm clock plugged in at all times (my husband drew the line at that one-ha!), so why pay for a second clock's electricity. It's not a big deal to plug it in when you need it. I took a closer look at our electric bill, and only $4.87 was our electric usage fees. The remaining $4 were "service charges" that we pay even if we use no electricity. Why did we go without electricity for two months? Because we were living somewhere and didn't know if we were going to stay there for longer than a few months. It cost $40 to start up the electricity, plus $100 for a meter (the pole was there, but no meter). It seemed silly to spend $140 plus the monthly bill for something we didn't really need, and probably wouldn't use after a few months.

What did we do when it got dark? We read by the light of an oil lamp, slept, or did what married people do when it's dark out and they're still wide awake. We got up much earlier than usual, around 5 or 6am. We actually felt healthier than ever before.

I also remember that in college, we were required to unplug everything before we left for Christmas break. I thought it was because of fire hazards, but when I talked to the director of the dorm, they said it was because most of the appliances still used electricity, and it was silly to leave them plugged up for a month.

Here are some interesting blurbs:
"Any appliance that draws power even when turned off. Includes the TVs and VCRs with remotes mentioned above, anything that has a clock (microwave, clock radio), and anything where you touch a button to turn on the power instead of just flipping an old-fashioned switch, even such innoccous items as washing machines."

"Remote Controlled appliances--TVs, VCRs, stereos and such that turn on when you push a button on the remote. We've measured some TVs that use 6 watts (half an amp out of a 12-volt battery) just sitting there waiting for you to push "ON" on the remote!"

"U.S. households waste $3.5 billion of electricity a year to power products that consumers think are turned "off." One billion of that is spent just to support "instant-on" in TVs and VCRs."

"Energy waste comes primarily from inefficient "stand-by" and excessive "no-load" power consumption. Stand-by power is the electricity drawn by a device when it is plugged into an outlet, standing by, ready to attain full power when needed. A printer, for instance, wastes energy while it waits in "sleep" mode until activated for printing again. A cable TV set-top box, which draws 22 watts of power when in use, continues to draw 21 watts even when it is supposedly off. No-load power loss refers to the power drawn by an electronic product that is still plugged in and not performing any useful function. For example, a cellular phone charger that is plugged in draws electricity even when it is not charging the phone. A desktop PC, turned off but plugged in, is still drawing power."

""We were away for a whole month and our utility bill barely dropped." This comment (or some variant) is heard at the end of the summer in millions of American households. For reasons which often remain mysterious, utility bills scarcely change even when the house is empty for most of the billing period. "

"Many electronic devices draw a small, constant amount of power. One device alone is almost undetectable; however, when multiplied by ten or more, the load becomes noticeable and even a little annoying. There is no single villain that stands out; instead there are little things scattered around the house. For some, it's definitely worth pulling the plug while gone; others are a nuisance to reprogram. One nearly invisible draw is the instant-on feature on the television (5-40 W). If the TV is unplugged, it's really off. Cable TV converter boxes shouldn't be left plugged in either; some draw as much as 30 W."

"Most houses are now littered with little black transformer cubes attached to the outlets that convert 115 V alternating current to direct current for various electronic equipment, from cordless phones and "dustbusters" to battery chargers. Modern middle-class homes can easily have ten of these transformers. Each of these draws 1-5 W, even when the appliance is switched off."

I realize that such drastic measures may not be reasonable to YOU, but please don't treat me like an idiot because I'm willing to take a split second to plug and unplug things as I use them. As for the Great Toaster Debate, we have one plug in the kitchen wall, for both the coffee maker and the toaster. So I'd have to unplug one of them every time I want to use the other one, anyhow. The coffee maker DOES draw electricity when it's off, so it's good to be in the habit of unplugging anyhow. The toaster is more by habit.

Now you can say what you like about whether or not it saves any or much money to do that, but the fact of the matter is that last month, our electric usage was under $5. It would be lower if our fridge were not old (apartment, not much choice there) and the stove electric. Now, until you can show me that your bill is the same as mine, or lower, why should I feel foolish for being vigilant about my electric usage?

    Bookmark   December 21, 2002 at 11:22AM
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My mother was a notorious tightwad, and thankfully so. She raised 4 kids on a janitor's salary. Her best tip though was to buy a jar of Ragu on sale, cut it 50/50 with water and thicken it up with corn starch.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2002 at 11:53AM
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I don't think it's outrageous, but I never let my kids print out the coloring things they do on the computer. What a waste of ink (=$$$). What I do that might seem a little silly to others, is thatwhen I need to print something from my comp. I always choose quick print (unless I'm printing a card or something nice) I also always choose black only. Since I've started doing this, my ink usage has gone WAY down.

Thank you ruhbehka for your in depth response, I'm hoping lights are really off, when turned off. But you've inspired me to put a power bar on my computer, printer, and moniter, so that it's really off. And also a power bar for my TV's.

I ALWAYS unplug my toaster, and put it away. I have little kids and it poses a real safety hazarard to them when left out & plugged in.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2002 at 3:53PM
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eiagaaf - Funny you should mention the ink in your computer. For the longest time I didn't use color ink, thinking I could 'save it' for special things. After a while, it dried up. So it was a waste either way. Might as well use it.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2002 at 5:48PM
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Thank you so much for your info on electricty usage. I did a search for 'leaking electricity'and found several sites on the subject. I immediately went looking in my home and found FIVE transformers plugged in, powering up things I hadn't used in ages. Then I found an extra power strip for my computer and printer.


I once read that if you don't use your printer much, print out the test page once a week to keep cartridges from drying up. It uses black and color.


    Bookmark   December 21, 2002 at 7:02PM
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I would like to have appliances on the power strip but most of our sockets only have two prongs whereas the power strip (that can be shut off) has 3 prongs. I don't like to plug in and unplug appliances every day because a woman I used to work with had one of the prongs from the plug come off in her socket. I do this with the hair dryer/curling iron every day but that's the only one. I wish I knew a way around this.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2002 at 7:43PM
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I cannot confess to being a true tightwad...but I am pretty tight anyway. My parents are real tightwads and here are a few things that they have done. They planned pregnancies of there three children to be near the end of the year. You get the same tax deduction for a child whether it was born in January or December....might as well have the kid in December and get the full tax deduction even though you only supported the kid for month. This is true. My brother was born January 4 (they miss timed him). My sister was born November 1st (better timing) and I was born December 3 (getting better). My parent also do not pay for garbage collection....however, they don't take there garbage to friends for disposal. Whenever they go anywhere, they take a small bag of garbage to dispose of where they are going in a trash can. They are retired and have little trash.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2002 at 8:53PM
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I admit to dumpster diving. I watched a deliever truck driver THROWING loaves of bread, buns, rolls, bagels, etc into the store's dumpster. I was aghast. I waited in my car, and when he left, I drove over, and loaded up. It wasn't even going to expire for a few more days. Since then, I have seen more things in that same dumpster that have found theri way home. A case of Pepperidge farm stuffing, bags of Doritos, full and of good freshness date, boxes of Triscuits, and my favorite, FLOWERS!!! I have about 20 potted mums that will be planted in my yard, and about once a month I get 100.00 worth (store price) of cut flowers that are perfectly fresh. My house often is filled with vases of fresh flowers. (I also give some away)
Maybe this is outrageous, I don't know. I can tell you that the things I get, and I've only named a few, really help stretch our food budget.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2002 at 1:05PM
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Before showering, or turning on the dishwasher, I run the cold water from the hot water faucet in to a bucket, till it is hot. Then, I use that water to water plants or flush the toilet. Seems very logical to me, and no waste!

    Bookmark   December 23, 2002 at 12:27AM
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I am aware, of course, that some appliances draw power when they're not in use. In fact, I said so in my post. I naturally assumed that you don't own very many of this type. For example, I can't imagine that you pay for Cable TV. You also may not be aware that some appliances, like older TVs, actually shouldn't have the power disconnected, or at least not for short periods of time, because the power surge when they're turned on wears out their circuitry and shortens their life. So the pennies you may save by unplugging them could well cost you more money in the long run.

I assume that you post the details of your lifestyle because you want them publically known. If you didn't, why would you reveal them to strangers? I also assume that you're proud of the way you live. Why should you be surprised that it draws comments, and why would you let them bother you?

    Bookmark   December 23, 2002 at 10:35AM
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My wife's friend's father had his wife dice up chocolate morsels when she made toll house cookies 'so they'd go farther'. I thought that one was funny then, and I still do.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2002 at 10:03PM
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As to what the purpose is of diluting the chili...

suppose for a minute that you prefer the taste of juice to water. if you could dilute the juice with water, and create a second glass of juice for 'free', and you thought it tasted just as good as one glass of full strength juice... you'd probably dilute it and get two glasses for the price of one, right?

apply this to the chili idea :)

maxwell, sorry if i got a little defensive. i don't usually let it get to me, though it does irk me when someone acts as if we're stupid for wanting to save money. interesting about the TV, that's actually one of the few newer appliances we have (thanks to a friend).

Ken, I can't imagine blowing $200 in a casino. Honestly. I could see spending it on some crazy piece of junk before that. The way that we use so little light is because we both wake up at 7, when it is light out. We leave for work at 8:00ish. I work until past 5, and use the lights from about 5:00 to 9:00, to make dinner, read, etc. My husband gets home at 11:00, uses the lights for a minute or so to eat, and goes to bed. After about 9:00, i'm pretty tired from a long day's work, and mostly just want some sleep. Yeah, sorry, we're pretty boring I guess.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2002 at 11:01AM
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Thanks Phyllis-I'll remember that about the ink. I do use the colored for making cards, and I print them at high quality, so it seems I can just about watch the ink drain out (OK, I'll admit it kids b-day cards are printed out at the middle level, not high quality-they don't mind)

Hope everyone had a happy Christmas

    Bookmark   December 26, 2002 at 2:49PM
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ruhbehka_re_reformed : you've just blown all fragments of credibility.

1. Basic Maine power rates start @ 7.50
2. Your husband takes less than a minute to find dinner and eat?
3. You leave for work @8 and get home @5,,,, 9 hours including travel time .. works for me. He leaves @8 and gets home @11? 15 hour day? is he travelling to Boston to go to work? Wouldn't it be cheaper and easier to move closer to his workplace?

4. No way in hell you'd be able to do without electric for two months unless you were not there.


    Bookmark   December 27, 2002 at 2:16AM
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I don't mean to jump on you, but I don't get it either. You're power bill seems extremely unbelievable. If your husband works so much, when do you ever see him? And you got to bed at 9 and get up at 7? That's 10 hours of sleep. Seems a bit excessivfe for most people.
But what I really don't get is how you're able to use the public library computer at all hours of the work day? Or are you using the company computer to post here?
You've posted a lot of info and it doesn't seem to add up, so I am curious too.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2002 at 2:49AM
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Ok, time to clarify some confusing statements I guess...

Not sure what you mean by point #1, explain please?

My husband takes "a minute" to eat... Ok, I am perhaps exaggerating there. What I mean is that dinner's already in the fridge when he gets home, he pops it in the microwave, eats it, and crawls into bed sleepily. This does usually take him less than 5 minutes. The other "hours" are usually less than an hour, so I didn't count his evening light usage in my calculations.

he leaves at 8:00 for work, with me, because I have to drop him off before me. He gets there about 1 hour earlier than he has to, but since he's a delivery driver, he can often get an earlier start (8:15 or so). He works until at least 10:00 at night, on a good night he gets off at 9. (Ask anyone who works for Schwans, they work ALOT of hours, but only 5 days a week typically. His routes are about 1 to 1 and a half hours from our home, (and the main depot), so his last stops are about 9pm. Moving 'closer' to his stops would defeat the purpose, sine he'd still have to pick up his truck every morning. The depot is 2.1 miles from our apartment.

We did without electricity when we moved into a camper to save money (one of our more extreme ideas). We weren't sure we wanted to build our house on that spot, and weren't sure if we could make it through a cold winter in the camper. We couldn't. So we didn't pay the connection fees for the electricity, knowing we might be moving in a few months. Our fridge and stove were propane, and we used oil lamps for light. Everything else we did by hand.

When do I see my husband? hehe good question. We both have weekends off. Our electric usage jumps a little then, though we are usually out running errands. We do see eachother for an hour each morning on the weekdays. I don't actually get 10 hours of sleep every night, though my body wouldn't complain. (Actually, i get ill if I have less than 8. Very annoying.) I "go to bed" at nine, for about two hours, then pick my husband up at work at 11 (we only have one car). He gets off work around 10 or so, but has to "cash out" and do orders for 30 to 40 minutes afterwards. So I leave for about 20 to 30 minutes, at 11ish, pick him up, and then go back to bed. While 11 to 7 might be enough sleep for some people, I've found my body and health respond better to a little more.

As for the library, you'll notice most of my posts come after 4:30 eastern time. Those that come earlier, I've either run over on a lunch break, because the library closes early that day, or I had the day off, for some reason or another. I also just started this job (and schedule) at the beginning of december.

While some might question working so many hours, we are working hard to pay off many college debts before we have kids. We do get good "quality time" with eachother on weekends, and for now (with no kids) can work quite a few hours without much strain our our marriage.

I think that clears it up?

    Bookmark   December 27, 2002 at 4:55PM
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ruhbeka...if it works for you, GO FOR IT!!!! I think it's great!


    Bookmark   December 27, 2002 at 11:10PM
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Well, Ruhbeka, thanks for answering my questions. I have to admit that it all seems a bit odd, but to each there own. My husband and I are weird in our own ways. :)

Take care.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2002 at 2:13AM
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According to our bill, our "rate" is .05689 or something close to that. I assume that means 5.7 cents? I have a heck of a time figuring out what most of the stuff on an electric bill means--I swear they do that on purpose. :)

    Bookmark   December 28, 2002 at 9:55AM
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Wow Ruhbehka,

I'm sorry you are being attacked so much! How awful. I think it's admirable that you are making so many sacrifices to pay off your debts before you have children.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2002 at 1:14PM
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Ruhbehka, That was some interesting info on what appliances leak power. Did you get that from an insert in your power bill, from a website, or what? If it's a website, could you please post it? As far as your lifestyle choices, if it works for you, then great! I know lots of peoples who's husbands work long hours. In fact, my DH is gone for 13 hours/day, 5 days/week (and very little of that is commute time.) It's just the nature of the business. (Not everyone works in an office.)

As for the chili debate, here's my 2 cents on the subject. I drink juice for the water content (our bodies require water to function.) And you're right, I prefer juice to water for the taste, and can understand watering it down to save money and still get the taste AND the water content. I do it all the time for the kids, for the money savings, as well as the calorie savings. (While there is some nutrition in juice, it's mostly empty calories.) BUT, I eat chili, and other foods for the nutritional content (calories, vitamins/minerals, fiber, etc.) I don't really see a benefit of watering down food, since I'm eating it for the nutritional content. Now, if you're eating the chili as a snack or treat, and not for nutrition, and you find that you can savor it longer, or find some other benefit from watering it down, then by all means, do what works for you. My personal feeling on saving money is that I may deprive myself some things that I don't really value, like a new car, a sound system in my old car, etc. But, there are some things that I enjoy, and would resent depriving myself; and eating what I want, whenever I want, is one of them. Everyone must choose for themselves what they value, and make choices accordingly.

Maxwell, that comment on old TVs is interesting. What is the criteria for "old?" Is it the age, or the way they function, or what. Most of what I would call "old" TVs are turned on by switches anyway, and wouldn't be considered energy wasters. Are some of the old TVs your referring to controlled by remote? And if so, how can you tell which ones would be damaged by connecting them to a power strip which would be turned off after use?

    Bookmark   December 28, 2002 at 9:42PM
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RuhBehKa....I admire your putting out the information you do. I admire your ideas and restraints you have placed yourself on. When you pay off your loans you will be rich not only in the freedom from debt but have a wealth of ideas and experiences that are worth much more. In years to come as your build your nest egg - you will remember these as the best of times. My hat is off to you and your DH.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2002 at 12:05AM
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Ruhbehka, I always enjoy your posts! Before DH and I left for the holidays, we unplugged everything. I think I'm going to go around and unplug everything during the day, too. I'm hoping to start knocking the electric bill down.

For the printer cartridges, the Tightwad Gazette mentioned keeping it in a ziplock bag until you are ready to use it. This will keep it from drying out.

As far as how "extreme" everyone's tightwadding is, well it seems to depend on what goal you are trying to acheive. For instance, last semester I had a professor who wore about a handful of different outfits, sometimes things she sewed herself. All were not of the latest style. She also drove a very old car and saved money in other ways as well, such as gardening. However, she always had the most interesting things to say about different countries she'd been to and one day made a comment about rather spending money on a trip than whatever we were discussing. Tightwadding for her may mean a trip to Chile. For some, the motivation to tightwad may be to save money for a house, or to get out of debt. If tightwadding helps me obtain my goals sooner, than maybe "extreme" tightwadding may not seem so bad!!

    Bookmark   December 29, 2002 at 12:16AM
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"Vampire" electricity users are quite common. Every AC to DC converter, instant-on TV, etc. is using power the whole time it's plugged in. Newer ones are far more energy efficient than the old ones, with the most recently developed converters having only a few milliwatts (1/1000 of a watt) of current flowing when they are not in use but plugged in. The big, heavy boxy converters that are warm the whole time they are plugged in are far less efficient.

The wattage used by the digital clock on a microwave is tiny ... those are LEDs and they can run weeks on a battery.

However, the biggest watt-sucker is the computer you are using or the TV you watch.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2002 at 1:31PM
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I mean old TVs, the kind that had actual wired circuits and tubes. It was generally better to leave them on all the time because it took so much energy to warm them up to the point of operation. Switching them on and off frequently was very hard on the circuitry. A real tighwad might still be using one if it was passed on to them for free.

Rubheka -- I'm sorry that your debts are such a big concern that you need to deprive yourself of things you like to do -- such as day trips to Boston. While thriftyness is a very good habit, it sometimes gets out of control for people and they let the compulsion to save money run their lives. I'm sure you won't let that happen to you.

Happy New Year to all!

    Bookmark   December 30, 2002 at 2:10PM
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On one hand, our debts aren't a huge concern to us (ie we don't lie awake at night in cold sweats). But on the other, i hate the feeling that something has such a large control over my life. That if I wanted to move to another country and live very cheaply, I couldn't ever return home because of creditors. That if I build a house, and catastrophe strikes, it could be taken away again.

So we have to ask ourselves what is more important to us. A day trip to a nearby city (fun) or freedom from debt. And every time we choose to spend money on something other than our debt, in essence, we are forced to admit that pleasure is worth more to us than our very freedom. And to be honest, very few things are, to us. We would just like to be able to be FREE to do whatever we want, even if that's just travel around the country in a van and be street performers.

:) (That's not one of our dreams, though!!)

    Bookmark   December 30, 2002 at 4:40PM
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The irony of what you're saying is that you're not free to do what you want because you feel you have to sacrifice everything to get yourself out of debt. The debt has a very large control over your life, indeed, if it stops you from enjoying even inexpensive pleasures that you can actually afford.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2002 at 4:57PM
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I am just wondering.....although I make some choices you might or might not agree with thriftwise, I never felt I was sacrificing anything I could do without. I am just curious as I feel I have hit the appropriate level of "sacrifice" for others I'm extreme and have been held up as the cheapest thing this side of the rockies....I don't care...I just wonder are you feeling it is "sacrifice" or not.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2002 at 10:22PM
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It doesn't sound like a "sacrifice" to me, merely a choice to live a certain way.

I don't use my dryer, won't use the dishwasher & don't believe in television.
All of those save $$ & I'm not sacrificing, I'm making a CHOICE to live a certain way. To hear other people's versions of my life range from "weird" to "what a miser!"

Whatever, it's a CHOICE, not a sacrifice & you are always free to do what you's a matter of different people "want" different things.

Azarae D.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2002 at 11:19PM
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I once knew this gal who painted her car seats white because her black seats were absorbing too much heat in the summer. She thought that if her seats were white, she wouldn't have to use the AC as much. Now that is going a little too far to save money. Not to mention she used a can of paint and a brush and the seats were very stiff and bristly.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2003 at 3:58PM
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I wish I could adequately describe the fun thrill that we get when we pass up one "fun" but expensive activity, and pocket the cash instead. (Well, leave it in the bank anyhow). I wouldn't really call it a sacrifice. I enjoy eating at four star restaurants, but I don't feel i'm "sacrificing" by not eating there once a week. Or not eating there at all, for that matter. I'm just making a different choice.

If I had.... I don't know, given up vegetables or something, that would feel like a sacrifice to me. But making the decision to switch from expensive "fun" to more productive, money saving, or money making "fun"? I'm still having fun, right? *grins* i'm kind of wondering what happened to the phrase "money doesn't buy happiness"... because we always say that and yet when we hear of someone who won't spend a dime on 'entertainment', we seem to think they can't be very happy.

Just a thought. :)

    Bookmark   January 4, 2003 at 10:11AM
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Well, I think it all comes down to balance - sometimes you don't need to "splurge" on fun (taking a Sunday drive), but quite frankly, always having to deny yourselves the things you enjoy is wrong. No one knows how long they have left on this planet and we'd all miss out on some pretty wonderful things by always sacrificing and never enjoying.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2003 at 11:55AM
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I shuld mention the most outrageous thing we do to save money. The DH and I cut each other's hair. Many people have complimented both of us on our nice haircuts, so I guess we don't butcher the job too badly. The neighbors have even asked me to cut their hair.

Professional haircuts are quite expensive these days, and since we both have short hair, we need to have it done pretty often. I'd guesstimate we save close to 500 bucks a year being our own barbers. It's also very convenient to do it at home because we can do it at the spur of the moment whenever we have a little extra time.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2003 at 9:38AM
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rubhekha -- Thougth I'd pass on a comment from another poster on a different thread just in case you missed it --"Being frugal used to be a game, then an obsession, and I'm trying desperately to get out of that scenario now, but it's hard!"

I think the comment is maybe a bit tongue in cheek, but still, it's something to keep in mind. There's more to life, you know, than saving money! ;^>

    Bookmark   January 6, 2003 at 9:59AM
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Speaking of cutting your own hair.....has anyone tried the Flowbee?

    Bookmark   January 6, 2003 at 6:26PM
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Flowbee: There was a thread on the topic a while ago:

    Bookmark   January 6, 2003 at 6:38PM
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I find you very annoying. read the topic of this forum and then go somewhere else. this forum is about money saving ideas. Not "PUT SOMEONE DOWN FOR THEIR ENERGY SAVING IDEAS". I applaud ruhbehka for their efforts of saving on electricity. I'm perplexed at you trying to talk them out of doing so. Your views work to reinforce the obnoxious consumerist attitudes found prevelant in the U.S. I think we could all use a little conservation in our homes. I also plan on trying to disable unneeded appliances in hopes on saving on my electric bill AND helping the environment. I've heard you can do this and am happy to hear how much ruhbehka is saving. and NO, I don't think it's OBSESSIVE. In case you haven't looked around, the economy is in the pits. Besides people should feel like they can share their "MONEY SAVING IDEAS" without nitpickers like you trying to "MAKE SENSE" of it because you have nothing better to do. You're in the wrong forum, you need to go to the "I'M ANNOYING SO LET'S DEBATE HOW ANNOYING I AM" forum.

hey ruhbehka, love the chili idea, you can also purchase a can of your favorite chili and add cooked black beans to it to stretch the recipe. My dh loves when I do this, he actually thinks it tastes better. I also add a bit of tomato sauce to it. Make sure you cook the beans well before adding. Also, I like to put extra water in my juice, it tastes better to me. Keep the great tips coming.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2003 at 8:59PM
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Hey xoxoniki,
I happen to enjoy Maxwell's posts and who the heck are you to tell someone to go to a different forum. You are pretty bossy for just registering yesterday. Hang out awhile and figure what is going on first.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2003 at 9:44PM
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I love the flowbee and can cut my own hair with it. I have always done my kid's hair, but found it hard to do my own (especially in the back) and keep it even. This works great! Check the malls for the "As seen on TV" stores. Or ebay. I have heard Walmart gets them sometimes, though I have never seen them at ours. I had to pay $69.00 for mine, but it doesn't take very many haircuts to realize this savings!

As to all the negative and attacking posts . . . can't everyone just get along!?


    Bookmark   January 7, 2003 at 11:46PM
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If you find my posts annoying, don't read them. That's how I plan to handle yours.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2003 at 10:17AM
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Bouncingpig.....thank you for your reply. Now I know a "real" person that has used this product. I keep hoping I will find it "deeply discounted". The $70.00 price tag for a "maybe" it works product kept me from purchasing. I also wanted to find it at a brick and mortar store so it could be returned easily if I did not like the way it worked.

I agree with weebus and bouncingpig, maxwell has the right to post her thoughts and opinions. No one is required to agree with anything said by anyone else, but they should respect that persons opinion. I would miss Maxwells posts, they are well thought out

It also seems to me that ruhbehka_re_reformed has been more that capable of defending her position on her own, not that she had to defend, she just did respond to everyone. Some of ruhbehka's posts gave rise to questions to clarify what she was saying, which she did, in good humor and with apparently no anger with anyone that disagreed with her. Ruhbehka attacked no one, no matter what they said, she just explained, though she did not have to defend her position

I may disagree with someone but I respect their opinion and right to express that opinion.

Maxwell...this is the second time I have written to say I agree with your right to post what you feel. You sure do raise the blood pressure of some people LOL Keep posting!

xoxoniki, I don't agree with your post, but you have the right to express your opinion just as the rest of us have.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2003 at 10:17AM
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Maxwell....good reply. you put it in a nutshell. Right to the point.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2003 at 10:22AM
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Everyone has a right to their own opinion. Freedom of speech , remember? You can agree or disagree...but let's please get back to more money-saving ideas. Scrooge Budster

    Bookmark   January 8, 2003 at 10:42AM
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Amen Budster! If I want to fight I live in a house with three sons and a hubby! This is supposed to be a money saving forum, not a boxing match!


    Bookmark   January 8, 2003 at 11:59AM
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*laughs* well thank you to all of my vigilant defenders. I personally enjoy it when things get a little heated in here, but that's just me. Free entertainment, you know.... :-P

(mostly kidding)

Anyhow, speaking of outrageous money saving ideas...

A guy here in Maine made the news when he read all the fine print on a $200 off coupon in the paper. It was $200 off any new vehicle at a local dealership. There was nothing on the coupon that prohibited the use of more than one. He purchased 200 papers, and cut out the coupon from each of them. He walked into the dealership, picked out a $40,000 car, and attempted to pay with his coupons. The dealer of course got quite angry and refused. He called a lawyer and some of the consumer protection numbers. It hasn't been resolved yet...

I think something like that would have occured to me, and I might have even taken the coupons to the store if I'd gotten them for free... for fun... but can't imagine calling a lawyer... hehe. Then again, maybe that's why I don't own a $40,000 car.

heheheh. Wonder what will happen...

    Bookmark   January 11, 2003 at 12:29PM
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Please keep us updated on this Ruhbehka. This should be a hoot!

    Bookmark   January 11, 2003 at 1:54PM
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yes PLEASE keep us posted on that 40K car scam!

About the Flowbee, it works :) I paid 70 dollars from the infomercial over a year ago. I always hated going to get my hair cut, having to wait.. then pay a tip. hehehe. If you have kids its a definite must. It cuts evenly and theres no hairy mess afterwards on the floor or on your clothes.


    Bookmark   January 12, 2003 at 3:15AM
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That sounds similar to the people who took a trip to Europe on Healthy Choice. Can't remember exactly how it worked but Healthy Choice was redeeming labels for airline points. Some guy bought 500 little puddings and took his family to Europe.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2003 at 2:49PM
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I have an aunt who just got new false teeth a few months ago. Her medical coverage was going to drop dental so she got "new" teeth. Only problem is she only wears the new ones when she goes out....and wears the old set around home...she doesn't want to wear the new ones out! I might add she is in her early 80's and the old ones are practically worn to the gum line. To each his own!

    Bookmark   January 13, 2003 at 12:16PM
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My Great-Grandpa used to go through a whole box of Kleenex and separate the two plys on each tissue and then put them all back in the box individually folded so no one would use more than they needed.

That's pretty cheap I think!

    Bookmark   January 13, 2003 at 3:48PM
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Here's an article about the coupon-clipping car buyer.

Here is a link that might be useful: Man Uses Coupons To Try To Buy Car

    Bookmark   January 14, 2003 at 2:46PM
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Ok, I have to admit that I'd probably do the same thing your aunt does, with the teeth, if I lived alone. (well, and if I didn't still have my own teeth, of course!... erm... biological teeth? real teeth? is there a politically correct term for that one?) hehe.

but i think i'd run and change them quick before anyone came over!!!

    Bookmark   January 14, 2003 at 4:47PM
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I think that since the old dear's into her 80s now, she probably doesn't need to worry wbout wearing out her new set.

Just a guess, but I wonder if her old set isn't a whole lot more comforatable? You know, like a comfy old pair of shoes versus those stiff new ones you only wear to church. I remember that when my own dear mother got new dentures, getting used to them was really difficult. She had to go back for refittings and adjustments.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2003 at 5:47PM
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I just Flowbeed my hair last Saturday. Wouldn't be without it.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2003 at 8:52PM
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I just heard this one from my co-worker. She and her boyfriend didn't want to pay the money to have a wall removed in their house, so they knocked it out themselves.

Now, this in itself wouldn't be so wacky except that every contractor they talked to told them it was supporting wall. The estimated cost had to do with the fact that various things would have to be done to compensate for taking out a supporting wall.

They "didn't think it was", so they went ahead and knocked it out. Mind you, they have no special expertise or background that would lead them to this conclusion, they just "didn't think it was".

I managed to keep a straight face, but I wonder how long it is before they have problems with the house?

    Bookmark   February 21, 2003 at 8:52AM
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The guy trying to get the SUV for free does not have it yet. Still fighting. I saw him on the John Walsh show yesterday. That dealership is getting plenty of free publicity though. Kathy_PA

    Bookmark   February 21, 2003 at 11:42AM
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trilobite: that should be included under STUPID things people do to save money. That's gonna cost them more in the long run!

    Bookmark   February 21, 2003 at 1:47PM
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While I wouldn't want to see maxwell leave, when I read through the posts the first time, I thought when I read the the (later? last?) post from maxwell, that s/he was pursuing ruhbehka re retreaded rather more than a bit - being somewhat intrusive into another person's lifestyle, I thought.

This time, as I read through, I sort of thought, "Maxwell, don't you think it's time to leave the girl alone?"

As many have said - "to each his/her own".

joyful guy

    Bookmark   February 21, 2003 at 2:37PM
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Absolutely fabulous everyone!!!
(She applauds!!!)
I have insomnia tonight and have thoroughly enjoyed, top to bottom, this thread. Thanks to all.
I have to go check out this flowbee and hunt around for those power converters (another thing to do when you can't sleep).

My money saving tips - nothing new - I cook ahead my meals on weekends in bulk, freeze in dinner sizes, have low watt florescent lights for general evening 'wind down' time and use elbow grease to do a lot of things. I use rechargeable batteries whenever possible and love to see anything/anyone/anyway of helping to investing in our children's future environment. Afterall, aren't we the caretakers of this planet for the next generation!
NOw, what the heck is a flowbee (she says with the back half of her head chopped funny.... ;o)


    Bookmark   February 25, 2003 at 12:57AM
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I know I am a few months behind, but have to tell you all the "funniest outrageous money saving idea" I had heard (know) about. Many, many years ago, my mom and I went shopping to the larger town near ours with the neighbor and his wife. He was known as frugal to some and cheap to others! After he and his wife and my mom and I did our shopping we all got in his car and instead of driving away, he just sat there and lit up a cigar and smoked it. After a few minutes, my mom asked what we were waiting for. "Well", said the neighbor man, "we still have 10 minutes still left on the parking meter so I'll just sit here and relax. It is a waste of money to drive away leaving ten minutes on the meter". In those days, I think the meters took all of five or ten cents for an hour's time! Anyway, my family has enjoyed a laugh over that for many years!!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2003 at 12:38PM
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Cleo 1443,

Here's a better idea than merely hearing a testimonial from a warm body who's used a Flowbee ...

how about inviting bouncing pig to visit your locality on her next holiday?

She could show you how it works, even demonstrate - and I'm sure that you'd get a free haircut.

We had a cold and snowy winter, so I pretty well let my hair grow (needed to wear a cap, though, as the hair is almost non-existent on top).

Wouldn't want to do that in summer, though.

Have her let you know a month or so ahead, so you'll have lots to cut when she arrives.


    Bookmark   April 13, 2003 at 3:55AM
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Even better - have hubby let his hair grow.

Then you can get a training session from an expert.

Even better - have bouncing pig's hub let his hair grow, too - then she can cut his hair at your place, while you observe and she explains. Then critiques you as you do your hub's hair.

Who knows - your kids might even let you cut their hair - if you did a good enough job on Dad.

Think of the savings that amount of increased skill might generate!!

ole joyful

P.S. Is your neighbourhood heavily populated?

Think of the possibilities!


    Bookmark   April 17, 2003 at 7:24PM
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I love ruhbehka's ideas. Anyone who does not use of our Earth's resourses just for the fun of it, is someone that I know I like.
My big outrageous money saving idea is: get ready to groan: subsidized housing. After being widowed with 3 children ages 2, 5 & 8, I worked hard to raise them and get them into professional, good people, lives. When my health decided I needed to retire, it looked like I would end up living with a child - uggggg. I love them, BUT. I spent hours search the net for information. What I found was the Lutheran religion has the neatest senior housing, based on income only. I have a one bedroom duplex apartment, new tile & carpet in a lovely park with lots of trees. NO crime. The complex bus takes us to the grocery store & walmart. I have my flower garden in the front and a veggie garden in the back. My dog loves the place. If I go away for a month to visit a child, no problems or worries when I return. I am happy as a clam and can live quite well on a small income.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2003 at 9:22PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

This thread came up in a search I did and I thought it might be interesting to resurrect it. :-)


    Bookmark   November 25, 2007 at 7:48AM
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I guess the most outrageous thing I've ever done is to empty a vacuum bag (took some doing, and involved a coat hanger) and reused it. I reused it about 4 times, then it tore.

The most outrageous thing I ever heard was on t.v., and it was a man who made his family wash paper towels and hang them out to dry.

The most outrageous thing I could NEVER DO is the "If it's yellow, let it mellow. If it's brown, flush it down" thing. Eck!

    Bookmark   November 25, 2007 at 10:06PM
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This is still good reading - even though I responded in 2003 - it has reminded me to turn off the light beside me because I really don't need it?

    Bookmark   November 26, 2007 at 7:03PM
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How about two more:

1) Cut open a nearly empty (cant squeeze any more out) tube of toothpaste - good for another half dozen brushings
Keep open tube in airtight box (eg. food saving container) to prevent drying out
Use finger to swipe the very last bit of toothpaste for another 1 or 2 brushings
DonÂt really save much but why waste? DoesnÂt take much more time.

2) When cooking oil jug is "empty" (thereÂs at least 50 to 75 ml. left in there!)
Drill a hole in the recessed rim of the jug - chose the lowest part when bottle is upside down
Stand jug upside down, mouth in a glass, bowl, whatever
Use 3 POP bottles (full) as support so jug wonÂt fall over
Let ALL the oil drain out - no wastage.

Those bottles are designed to drain oil back in if you use the cap as a measure.
You canÂt pour the residual oil out, even if you stand it bottoms up
No drill, or worried about plastic fragments (easily seen & picked out)
Use a heated awl, or even a nail, to poke the hole through


    Bookmark   November 27, 2007 at 8:38AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

It might not sound so outrageous, but just ask my kids, and I am sure they would think Instead of hiring someone to remove a 120ft of overgrown shrubs and saplings, the grown children all pitched in and dug them out by hand. It took them a lot of their free time over a period of about 3 months.

When our daughter was in high school she redid the very small front lawn, preparing the soil and reseeding and keeping it watered.

It was very labor intensive but now they all feel it is 'our' yard/garden. Plus it saved us a ton of money!


    Bookmark   November 27, 2007 at 4:26PM
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WOW - this post was originally from 2002 ?????? A blast from the past ! I Enjoyed reading it. I can't add anything to it , but thanks for the information !

    Bookmark   November 30, 2007 at 1:42PM
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Yes, it started in 2002 ... but it was in December, so getting close to 2003.

Several years ago I worked as a security guard in a trucking company where many trucks passed through.

As you know, moderately heavy oil flows slowly, especially in winter, and many truckers when changing their engine oil were too impatient to let much of the residual oil drain out before they threw the jug away.

I used to collect them, then stand one up near a corner of a room and prop another jug on top of it, held in place by the corner of the room, to let the last of the oil drain out.

I collected two or three jugs full of engine oil, over a period.

In case of some dirt or other contaminant having got into the collector jug, I used to use some absorbent paper, e.g. paper towel or toilet paper and put several layers into a funnel, then pour the collected oil through it into another jug, labelling that jug as containing filtered oil. I got two or three oil changes out of that project ...

... and, by the way, I change my own auto engine oil.

In fact, I explained to a lady here who was interested in doing it how to do it. Including some problems that she might run into, e.g. the filter being turned on so tightly that she couldn't remove it. One being to be careful when removing the drain plug or filter ... or one might get the impatient oil running down one's sleeve, making a stain on our clothing that it would be hard to get out, and leaving a mess on her arm that would require quite a bit of clean-up.

I find that a number of the things that I do that many would consider outrageous are things that I may well bypass if I'm busy ... the frugal stuff is pretty well for spare time.

And frugal operations should be mostly a challenge, a game, a project - not some onerous burden that one approaches with some trepidation or distaste .. if they do, it probably won't last long.

As for it being distasteful to, " ... let it mellow if it's yellow ...", it seems to me that with the heavy and increasing shortage of not only available groundwater but of rain, as well, in substantial portions of the U.S., before long some of the residents may be so short of water that they'll be glad to flush only a few times a day, before many more years have passed.

And, wouldn't you know, the major places of inmigration by U.S. people at present are exactly the places where they are short of useable water now.

The liquid that was sought out (at a cost of not only money but also political intrigue and blood in the last century was [and is]) ... oil.

The scarce liquid of the upcoming century will be ...

... water.

We in North America are, as more or less usual, fortunate, as we have the Great Lakes, which contain 20% of the world's fresh water ... and they are shrinking.

Exposing toxic sludge along the shorelines, that blows on land to contaminate our lungs, or back into the lake, where it gets even more concentrated. And requiring that major ships travel only 90% loaded ... which requires more trips, using more oil and more scarce resources. And, as the ships pass a number of shallow areas, they stir up the crap on the bottom.

By the way, would you call it an outrageous money-saving idea to turn off your car's engine when running downhill, if there isn't another vehicle following to be interfered with, or approaching a traffic light that just turned yellow? When I do the latter, I often see cars go charging by at speed, then travel a couple of hundred feet, and have the brakes light go on. Wouldn't it be wiser to at least take the foot off of the throttle when ones sees that yellow light appear and one's vehicle is still a few hundred feet away? Those hundeds of feet disappear under the wheels rather quickly, remember?

I hope that you all have an enjoyable (late fall?) weekend.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   December 1, 2007 at 3:32AM
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I've enjoyed this thread so much and learned a few things too!

I have to agree with Ruhbehka, I'd rather "deny" myself a few things and not be in debt.

My good friend's MIL washes and dries her used paper towels too.

I remember visiting a doctor's home years ago. They had recently moved from big city to the country. They had a sign in their bathroom that said "In this country land of fun, we never flush for Number One".

The Flobee, another friend used it or something like it that used a vacuum cleaner for years to cut her husband's and her 6 sons' hair. I think the husband cut her hair with it too. They always looked great.


    Bookmark   December 7, 2007 at 9:36AM
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I bought a Robocut. Its similar to the Flowbie but a little less expensive. It doesnt make me look as good as does a barber but its acceptable to me and paid for itself in just two uses.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2007 at 4:59PM
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Hi from the UK where the weather is chilly (40F) but windy - so like most of my friends/neighbours I just dryed a load of washing - FOR FREE - using mother nature's dryer - an OUTSIDE (rotary) washing line. I know - quite outrageous for (a few) sensitive souls who cannot cope with knowing that their neighbours use towels (when fresh from the shower - shock) , sleep in sheets (the very thought) and even wear underclothes (O no - shield the children from these sights)!!
P.S - even more shocking - I do not even have the excuse of being very poor and/or not knowing any better, in fact am lucky to live in what has been voted in a recent TV poll, one of the most desirable areas of our lovely country.

Whatever next!!???

    Bookmark   December 8, 2007 at 5:24PM
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Is it true that the English have a predilection for "dry humour"?

I like to use my wash line, as well, though it gets a bit uncomfortable when there's snow on the ground.

Not so bad when hanging, for one can put cold hands down among the washed clothes for a few seconds.

But removal is less interesting.

For one thing, the winter underwear combination is so stiff, and takes up so much space, that one needs almost tuck the thing under one's arm and head for the house! Stand it up in the living room, next to an easy chair ... it'll soon wilt!

But ... removing the clothes takes much less time than hanging them! So you're soon back into the comfortable home.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   December 9, 2007 at 1:32AM
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Dear joyfulguy - yes very DRY humour - Ho, Ho, Ho - seriously you ARE a dedicated washing line fan if you really hang out in the snow - or are you kidding me. My dryer does come into use when its v cold & not windy or when its raining ofcourse. Moderation in all things!

    Bookmark   December 9, 2007 at 4:08PM
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I'm stripping the 21-year-old wallpaper in my bathroom, and painting the walls. It's a lot more work than I thought, but I'll be darned if I pay someone else to do it. I also wanted to prove to myself that I could do this.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2007 at 7:58AM
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Nothing that saves money is outrageous.....

When I grew up we got new jeans in the fall at the start of school. When we wore out the knees on a pair of jeans they were patched. When we wore out the patch my mother cut the legs off and turned them around and sewed them back on. When we wore out the knees on the back they were patched. When we wore out the patch, it was time for them be become cut-offs and the cut-off piece went into the rag bag that eventually was braided into a denim rug.

If we grew out of our jeans anytime during this process, they were handed down. I was third in line and had one more behind me.

Despite a successful career and net worth probably in the upper 10%, I still pinch pennies.... I guess the next generation will benefit as they sure seem to be able to spend it faster than they can make it....

    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 2:21PM
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I have been reading alot of your notes back and forth and some of them I agree with others are just a little far out there for me (like the idea of unplugging the small appliances just cant see having my family yell at me about their things though)..... but here is a new question

For all of your "cheapness" I have not seen any comments about the reasons that you save. I personally have done this all of my "adult knowledge years" (I am 48yrs old) because my parent were/are VERY poor money managers. They are so far in debt my heart breaks just thinking about them. I decided early on that I would not be in debt for all of my life. And so with that, I did and do many of the things that you folks are doing. I am my husband are out of debt, we owe no one other than those monthly utilites and taxes that are required of us. We are able to tithe as God instructs us to. BUT ARE ALL OF YOU TAKING ALL OF THAT SAVINGS AND PAYING OFF THE CARS AND THE HOUSE AND DUMPING THOSE SAVINGS THEN INTO ACCOUNTS THAT WILL KEEP YOU FINANCIALLY SAFE???? thanks for responding, pam

    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 10:09PM
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When I was a kid, Mom bought us two pairs of shoes each year-one pair of dood shoes for school and a pair of $2 Keds sneakers for summer. She's worth about $350,000 right now and lives on her Social Security of $700 a month. It can be done.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2007 at 7:41AM
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My supervisor used to take whole sheets of discarded computer paper out of the wastebasket, flip it over to blank side, then use a paper cutter to cut into pieces about four by five, then staple at the top, then distributed the "scratch pads" to employees to use for phone messages,etc. Very thrifty and smart!

    Bookmark   December 15, 2007 at 11:27AM
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I stopped cutting my hair, got so tired of shellng out for bad cuts and perms that never looked right. I get a lot of compliments on it and all I do is wash and condition it.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2007 at 4:11AM
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pamcrafter posed an interesting question- why do we save? I think for a lot of people these days, it's a matter of necessity, Many people on the lower end of the wage scale can't live any other way. For us, we went through some tough times financially, not entirely our fault, but we did our share to make it difficult. I was guilty of running up large credit card balances, and we bought new cars every few years. Since we got past our problems, we have become very thrifty- and it's fun! Kind of a game for us. The only money we owe is a modest mortgage, which we will be paying off in a few years. We all drive serviceable used cars that we paid cash for, and I maintain/repair them. Credit card balances get paid EVERY month- no exceptions! It's so nice to have money in the bank, and not have to worry when the phone rings. For us it started out of necessity, we learned how to manage money and possessions, and now it's both for fun, and for our future.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2007 at 5:02PM
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This thread has been enough to really get me thinking of saving electricity. So much of our things are on 24/7, just in this room alone are 3 computers. 1 is used daily while the others are used intermittedly. I just got up and turned them off. There are 2 printers on plus the modem and wireless. I must remember to flick them off at night to see how much power saving there is.

The washing machine and drier are plugged in and on all the time too, in future I'll just plug them in when needed. The stove too. We can do without the clock in it. Microwave will be a bit more of a pain, have to get on my hands and knees as the powerpoint is in the back of a cupboard. But do we really need 3 clocks in the kitchen?

We have 3 tvs each includes a dvd, video - 1 has playstation and xbox. 2 lots will be easy to flick off but the third has the powerpoint behind the entertainment unit, we did cut a hole through the back of it but it means emptying a book filled cupboard to reach.

This room has gotten much quieter, I can only hear the hum of 1 computer now, instead of the drone of 3. Both printers are off, reminds me I need to tell the others that they are turned off so I don't hear whinging later when the printers don't work.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2008 at 9:57PM
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We live in a small house and most appliences are plugged into walls with furniture against it.If a television is plugged into a power strip which is then plugged into the wall,will it draw electricityif the power strip is turned off but plugged in?

    Bookmark   January 6, 2008 at 4:52PM
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im all for reusing paper for scrap, no name brands, used cars that you pay cash for and dont have to put hefty insurance on, turning lights off, etc, but im sorry, taking a bowl of chili and adding hot water to it! COME ON if your going to be that "thrifty" stay home and eat! recycling your toilet paper, UGH!! there is being thrifty, and trust me i have 4 kids we know about handme downs, and leftovers for lunch. but if i treat myself or my kids to eating out, its that a treat there is no way that im going to water the food down to stretch it out.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2008 at 11:44AM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

If a television is plugged into a power strip which is then plugged into the wall,will it draw electricityif the power strip is turned off but plugged in?

No it will not use/draw any electricity. It will be just the same as if it was unplugged.


    Bookmark   January 8, 2008 at 2:57PM
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Great thread. In the East of the UK in 2006 we had a serious water shortage after several very dry years. We had hose pipe bans and stand pipes in some areas. We were advised to "let it mellow if yellow" etc but do find doing this stains the toilet & found I was using bleach more often (am very fussy about my loo) which defeated the object of helping the environment. Since then husband & me have got into the habit of shouting "do you want to go too" after using the little room & before flushing. At least this saves water sometimes!!

I agree with all the recommendations about not leaving appliances on stand by when practical, also

*think about washing at lower temperature - with new detergents I now usually wash at 30C (94F ?) & my whites are sparkling clean - saves a lot of money

*am very fussy about clean clothes but think my 92 year old mum is right - with washers we automatically wash too often - no one will die if we wear clothes a few days running without washing them (underwear and obviously grubby items excepted of course)
*hang washing outside of course where you can

*compost waste to make free garden fertilizer

However - rubecka - you are very admirable to avoid debt, consumerism etc but just be a little careful that it does not become too much of an addiction and you miss out on some the fun things in life as a result. We have very dear friends who have always been very careful with money - now they are comfortably off but still deprive themselves & seem to get a kick out of it. Not that I am advocating wasting your money & am careful myself & have never been in debt or thrown money on stupid things - but on the other hand there are no pockets in shrouds!!

    Bookmark   January 9, 2008 at 10:13AM
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I just checked this forum out after someone on selling houses mentioned it to a poster who was having severe financial issues. What a great forum!

I like the watering down fruit juice idea. Sometimes grape juice seems too strong/sweet to me. Watering down with water or red zinger tea makes it taste almost as good, saves money, plus reduces calories. I can drink more for my buck.

I should follow more of these frugal ideas as I tend to be wasteful. Will continue looking at this forum,

    Bookmark   January 10, 2008 at 3:48PM
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Good for you Rachel... that was a contentious thread.

I was just reading back on here about the line drying vs dryer use which got me thinking about line-drying indoors. Drying some or all of your wash indoors during the cold winter months is going to add much needed moisture into the air. Especially for houses/people that don't have a free standing or built in humidifier on their furnace.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2008 at 11:07AM
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WoW ! !! !!!!!
Great Ideas....
and gee ain't it great to type.... talk.... listen...
and it's free...
well, mostly !!!
Saving Money $$$ is hard...
I wish I had done... more of it !!!!!
I still believe God gives us commandments and guideline and
when we follow them.... WE ARE BETTER OFF !!!! things go smoother for us and we are HAPPIER !!!!
I think teaching our children and them teaching their children.... our grandchildren is just about the
G R E A T E S T Investment and the GREATEST BLESSING !!!
I enjoyed reading this POST!
I enjoy being able to still use my mind to make a
DECISION..... To make a C H O I C E !!!!!!
Thank God!!!!
God Bless!!!!!!!

    Bookmark   January 11, 2008 at 9:38PM
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Hi pkguy - although I am a great advocate for drying laundry outside where possible - tumble dryers use a lot of expensive electricity (I know some people have the misfortune to live in dusty/polluted areas so just not possible for them)

HOWEVER I DO AGREE WITH YOU about drying clothes indoors when the heat is on. My basic knowlege of science tells me that you then reduce the air temperature in the room & therefore must make your heating system work harder. Also you risk a build up of mould due to the dampness.

Admit I do occasionally throw things on the radiator if nearly dry, however would not dry a lot of things indoors & do use my dryer in inclement weather.

However, it is surprising how dry things can outside get even on a chilly day if there is a bit of a wind.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2008 at 9:27AM
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I also unplug my appliances & miscellaneous things when not in use. I save about $11.00/mo just by doing this.

Though not originally intended as $$ savings, I really enjoy quilting. I don't make quilts for $$'s just pure enjoyment. I sew the top with a machine, and do the quilting by hand. I always surprise myself at how cheap this hobby is. Depending on cost of fabrics, I will spend $20-$35 for supplies and end up being thoroughly entertained for about 6 months...and end up with a nice product at the end to change out the look of a bedroom...or a wonderful heirloom gift for someone else.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2008 at 8:47AM
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Re drying clothes indoors.
There are in my mind a few variables about when/where it makes sense and when it doesn't. It doesn't make sense to do this in a humid climate, summer etc when your a/c is struggling already. In the northern states etc it does make sense in winter when the furnace is running if you don't have a whole house humidifier on the furnace etc. You want to add some humidity to the air. Humidified air feels warmer than dry air at the same temperature therefore you may be able to lower the thermostat slightly. Wouldn't hurt to do it in the arid and prairie states either where the air is always so dry summer and winter. Plus the clothes will probably dry inside very quickly.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2008 at 12:00PM
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IMHO, I think there's a difference between saving money and being just downright tight. I have an uncle who falls into the "tight" category. He is basically an embarrassment as his tight borders on downright selfishness.

We went to a restaurant when he was visiting and he created a scene as the buffet was low on a certain item and he refused to pay. We wanted to crawl in a hole as we were regulars at this establishment. This uncle lives in a brand new home, no dime spared on that of course.

When Christmas dinner is at his home, he stands at the front door issuing you a paper cup and plate and a sharpie pen as you better put your name on it, that's the only one you're getting. He is repulsive. He is tight towards others, but has plenty of money for himself. That's selfishness, not being miserly. Many times they go hand in hand.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2008 at 11:51AM
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Sounds like an arse LOL
Personally if it was me I wouldn't stand for it especially in a restaurant. I would tell him point blank in no uncertain terms to STFU on his principals because he's ruining it for everyone else. Sometimes it takes a hammer.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2008 at 1:29PM
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Ugh my condolences - sounds like my inlaws - they used to only allow us to eat one serving of dinner at their house. I remembered on serval occasions where they rationed apple pie and cookies - one per person. They too lived in a brand new house and drove new vehicles - very selfish people to others but definately lavished on themselves. Funny thing is, when one of them died a couple of years ago, the surviving spouse had to beg relatives for a donated cemetery plot and for help securing the insurance money to pay for the funeral because their lifestyle left them broke.

I guess you reap what you sow.

Regarding most outrageous Money Saving ideas:

In my town, we have two salvage yards - every month or so I take all the metal (by way of tin cans or broken fans, busted up frying pans - etc) and cart them them down to be recycled. My son also likes to collect aluminum cans with me when we go for our walks. I always tell him it's like picking up other people's money. Plus you help, in a small way, to keep the neighborhood a little cleaner.

The yard is only about a 1/2 mile away so not much gas is wasted. The metal gets recycled and my kids get some pocket money.

Today, we took some old rusted barbell weights and some cans and walked away with almost $6 bucks.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2008 at 5:37PM
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biking to work saves us on gas, we get exercise, and feel better in the long run....most people probably can't do this, but we bought our house with the idea that it was close enough to bike or walk to work.we grew up in granola-ville, so we wet our toothbrush and then turn the water off, recycle everything, turn off lights, reuse bags, etc as a matter of course. i don't remember even being taught that it was for the environment, it was just how you learned to do things because everyone around you did it that way.

i really enjoyed reading about all of the different ways people live. i think it's great that people think outside the box, and don't feel like they have to spend x to buy y so they can fit in with their neighbors. the economy sucks right now, so it can't hurt to be a little careful.

i learned a lot about money management by watching how my grandparents saved. turns out they had plenty of money, but never forgot the depression. they never bought anything they couldn't pay cash for.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 9:48PM
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Posted by peterbog (My Page) on Thu, Dec 13, 07 at 14:21

Nothing that saves money is outrageous.....
When I grew up we got new jeans in the fall at the start of school. When we wore out the knees on a pair of jeans they were patched. When we wore out the patch my mother cut the legs off and turned them around and sewed them back on. When we wore out the knees on the back they were patched. When we wore out the patch, it was time for them be become cut-offs and the cut-off piece went into the rag bag that eventually was braided into a denim rug.

With all respect to the poster, was this during the Depression? A pair of new jeans from Walmart costs about $6. Wearing patched, turned around, patched again must have been dreadfully poor.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 11:26AM
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To pkguy: what is STFU? I'm new; just wondering.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2008 at 11:56AM
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workingwoman wrote: "To pkguy: what is STFU? I'm new; just wondering.Thanks!"

Shut the 'fart' up?


    Bookmark   March 22, 2008 at 8:35PM
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naw, that F is not for 'fart'

    Bookmark   March 24, 2008 at 2:01PM
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Hi again folks,

When I worked as a personal financial advisor, I talked to clients about "financial freedom" adding to one's peace of mind (in addition to providing the worthwhile liquidity that some envy in others but lack it themselves).

The person who is deep in debt, owes on credit cards, and worries when the phone rings as to which creditor is calling, this time ... does not know the peace of mind that comes with financial freedom.

The homeless person doesn't, either.

When a person has come beyond the age of retirement and lacks enough money to pay for all of needed medications, food, housing and the fuel to keep it comfortable in winter ... which is getting more difficult as some of the basics of life have recent substantial increases in price ... that person lacks the luxury of financial freedom, also.

But I also said that I wanted people to boss their money, not having their money bossing them.

The people who have adequate resources but squeeze the buffalo on a nickel till it bellers ... aren't making best use of their financial freedom, either.

To my mind the rich old guy in the restaurant who made a fuss about refusing to pay because one item on the buffet was lacking was, to my mind, just being boorish.

Though I lived on pretty thin income for a number of years during my career, now that I'm near age 80 and don't have to worry about paying for some (of the rather few) things that I want, or about leaving my executors so strapped with regard to my estate that they have to go fishing for extra money to pay for my burial ... that level of financial freedom pleases me. Plus I have some to help pay for my extra care before death, if necessary.

If I'm at a party where it's to go on for several hours and they're using styrofoam cups ... for juice now, possibly for water later (and I eschew bottled water, at home) and perhaps for coffee, eventually ...

... I've been known to use my own pen, or hunt up one of theirs, to put my name on my cup in order to use it throughout the period. Not so much for frugal/tight reasons, as for reusing things - reducing our wasteful use of scarce resources, plus making less garbage (and that was true long before I lived within a couple of miles of what used to be a local garbage dump [pardon me - "landfill"] but recently had their licence heavily expanded - then were sold to a major city over a hundred miles away). A city that now trucks their garbage something like 250 miles ... and over an international border.

It took millions of years to make the petroleum ... and we've been using it, often wastefully, for the past hundred years - did you hear that: "hundred years" - like it's going out of style. It's not going out of style, in fact, the demand is increasing. Unfortunately - it's availability is decreasing.

In addition ... have you heard U.S. folks recently whining about the increase in cost of gas (Canadians, too, but we've been paying some more for some time)?

In those threads, we had some Europeans telling how they've been paying $5.00 or so for gas for some time.

Have you ever heard the saying that, "Necessity is the mother of invention"?

Guess who have been studying, working on, building, evaluating and revamping, various means of production of electricity from renewable resources in recent years.

It was the Europeans ... not us North Americans, continuing to walk (no, "drive") along our paths of cheap energy availability. Much less, until recently, concerned to find alternative sources of energy.

Additionally - cheap food, which has been our policy for years, is finished. Not only was our food cheaper than in many areas, the fact that our incomes were larger meant also that it consumed a much lower percentage of our total incomes.

By the way ... some time ago, on a similar thread, I reported another frugal situation, which someone said that she'd never thought of, but was impressed by. I took some hamburger and peas out of the freezer a while ago ... to let them warm up in the expensively heated air put out by the furnace. I'm cooking a pot of rice ... so took the lid off of the rice cooker and put an aluminum pie plate on there, then put the peas on it, then another aluminum plate with the hamburg on that, with another plate or the pot lid set down on top. Two/three birds - one stone.

Good wishes for making good use of a lovely spring weekend - it's snowing, here ... again!

ole joyful

    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 12:59AM
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1. I've timed the wash cycle on my dishwasher. When running a load of dishes, I set my own timer. When my alarm goes off, the wash cycle is done. I turn the dishwasher off and let the dishes dry themselves. My dishwasher does have an energy saving "no heat" drying cycle...but it's still running/drying when it's in the drying mode. Huh...the dishes were never actually dry after the drying cycle anyway.

2. My 2 year old is old enough now to start playing with my digital alarm clock on my nightstand. Every night I was re-setting my clock and checking whether she changed the alarm. I realized I didn't even NEED THE CLOCK AT ALL!!!! I charge my cell phone every night, so I figured I could charge my phone in my bedroom instead, and use the alarm clock feature on my phone. Yay! 1 appliance I used to rely on...not necessary anymore!!!!!

    Bookmark   March 29, 2008 at 5:21PM
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Well I only made it thru 50%-60% of the posts here but it struck me that people get so weird and defensive over such stupid things. The water in the chilli for of hands...who tried it before they went all crazy and argumentative? It was a long standing piece of advice from MD's that drinking plenty of water, specfically before a meal helps you "feel full". Having thinner chilli does make perfect sense in that you are more likely to feel sated on 12oz in your tum then 7.5...

As far as the crappy stuff people do to save cash? My fiancee is a manager/trainer for starbucks and people are so tight. I make coffee at home, I don't bother getting coffee from her at work because it is pricey and bein' a big guy I don't need the sugar calories. But the stories she tells of people doing stuff like ordering a large coffee in two small cups to save 35c or asking for a "12pump chai Latte" (3x the syrup) and then coming back and asking for 3 cups of hot water, dumping a half of each of them in the garbage and dividing. Get a grip. I am pretty tight but at least I am not a thief! (no it isn't creative ordering, it's theft)

Also I don't know the cost difference but is using a candle or oil lamp really cheaper then a 4w compact flourescent bulb? Maybe it is, and they do smell good. Honest question no barb intended!

I don't know if what we do is considered extreme but here goes...

1 - I walk/bike everywhere and my fiancee takes the bus to work...
2 - I gave my sister our TV so we watch DVD's on the computer, when we watch movies. A 19"LCD+tower seem to use less Kwh then a 26" flat tube TV.
3 - We are vegitarian (mostly) so we go through a lot of Veg. I try and go to the market 2-3x a week (or more) and look for "Dollar bags" of bruised, wilt etc fruit and veg. If you are gonna cook it hard to make a curry or pasta sauce it doesn't matter if you had to trim a spot or if the peppers had "corking"
4 - My fiancee loves to she makes all of my clothes, and most of hers. The stuff she makes is nicer then the stuff from the store and is less the 1/4 the cost.
5 - In 3 years we haven't had the heat or AC on in our Apt...
6 - I have a balcony garden that supplies us with all of our salad needs and fresh herbs in the summer.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2008 at 10:06PM
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Does anyone know how 1st time home buyers can receive the Lowe's 10% coupon? I read about it here years ago but can't seem to locate it on their website. It requires registration.

Any ideas?

    Bookmark   May 10, 2008 at 11:16AM
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Maybe not outrageouse but lots of fun and brings our family together.

EVERY Sunday afternoon we all meet at a different house, everyone brings a dish for supper. We visit, have a great meal, play cards, ride the horses, play a game of catch, swim, sledding, horse shoes, garden, what ever we feel like. One rule-no TV or computer!

I cook my dish on Sat. night with our supper and I have no cooking to do for Sun. afternoon. Bring home leftovers for Mon. night. Works great.


    Bookmark   May 15, 2008 at 1:27PM
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10% off coupon for Lowe's - go to your post office and get a moving package. You'll find either Lowe's or HD in that packet.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2008 at 6:02AM
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Ole Joyful, I have been doing the stack method cooking for years. We purchased Salad Master many years ago because of the stack method demonstration and the clean cooking sales pitch. The stack method saves lots of electricity.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2008 at 1:42PM
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