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curious here

Posted by jonesy (My Page) on
Sun, Sep 30, 07 at 19:54

I was just curious about the posters here. You all are very serious about saving money. Is it because you have to budget or has it just become a hobby of sorts. My mom hasn't had money problems since 1960, but she brags about having the lowest monthly bills of anyone she knows. The utility companies checks her meters quite often because she uses so little. It's an obsession with her. She was turning off her furnace at night and it gets very cold here in the winter. We warned her she could freeze her pipes and told her about what it would cost to replace the pipes. Warning her that she could freeze didn't faze her.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: curious here

Hi again jonesy,

While I was only partly self-aware during the depression, the Dirty Thirties, I think that it placed a rather searing brand on many who tried to manage a family through those difficult years.

My Mom was sick from when I was about 6 and Grandma, who lived with us, used to complain about us kids putting too much butter on the beans. If we ran out of milk for breakfast and Dad sent me to the barn to get some from last night's milking, with the cream partly risen, I'd give the can about one shake, then pour some out into a jug, so the milk on the porridge was rather creamy. Grandma would make the observation that taking so much cream would hurt the test (that was based largely on butterfat content) and Dad would sort of smile and say that he doubted that a bit of such a loss of cream would hurt the test too much.

One day in the late '30s, approaching age 40, Dad was complaining to the banker that it seemed as though he'd done a lot of hard work during the previous 10 years and hadn't achieved much. The banker said that, on the contrary, Dad had upgraded his car, and bought a better tractor, plus had drilled a well, and run a water line to three barns. And that during those ten years, many local people had not been able to better themselves at all.

When I was a kid, I don't remember being without electricity and we had water pumped by hand from a cistern in the basement collecting water from the roof for washing, etc., and pumped water for cooking and drinking from a well in the yard, till I was 7, then had a cold water tap from the newly-drilled well in the kitchen sink. We moved to the Prairies ten years later, but at that time didn't have hot water except from a reservoir at the back of the kitchen stove, or from a large tub heated on the main stove area on wash day ... nor a flush toilet. For a few years on the prairies we didn't have power on our share-cropped farm, until Dad bought one. I first had hot water on tap/shower, and a flush toilet, when I went to Univ. at 18.

My Dad moved from this area over 60 years ago because he had breathing problems ... which must have been partly due to pollution, as well as humidity ... and he had 40 years of excellent health in Saskatchewan.

No refrigerator till the family bought the farm out west, when I was about 20. Quite a few town folks had ice boxes in the '30s, but farmers didn't.

Cars didn't have heaters til the late '30s.

While quite a number of us here go into detail about our savings projects, I think that for a number (perhaps most?) of us, it has become something of a game, as we have enough spare assets that we have the (rather precious) freedom to indulge ourselves if and when we choose.

It does give one a comfortable feeling to know that there is a cushion there, so that one is not worrying about whether, if one buys the meds that one needs, the rent or heat may have to go unpaid.

Some of us here do face such an extremely difficult lifestyle, but not many, I think.

For me, having lived for several years among refugees, trying to help them get on their feet, when there was neither farmland to be had for love nor money, nor work in town - many of the few factories and businesses that there were had shut down, due to war having swept over much of the country about four times.

That gives one a different outlook on life.

Part of my feeling also is that I am quite troubled about our wasteful habits in North America and Europe - 70 years ago there were no refrigerators, and 50 years ago they built fridges that often lasted for 40 years ... but today they seldom last beyond 10 - 15 years.

It takes a lot of resources to dig the ore, smelt it to obtain metal, flatten and shape it, build a fridge, paint it ... and there's the energy used not only to do that, but to haul the parts from place to place ... that adds not only to global warming, but pollution.

Same for cars.

And there'll be millions more of them built, as people in various parts of the world become more affluent. With major increases in pollution and warming to build and operate them.

It seems to me that it is important for me to walk with a small and tender footprint on this precious earth.

Many say that man is in charge, and we've pretty well done as we pleased ... including pretty well vacuuming the oceans out of most of the fish, as well as polluting them.

Old time farmers can tell you that we partner with nature and with God ... and that when we get too big for our britches, and figure that we can boss Mother Nature around ...

... we may get away with it for a while ...

... but ...

... after while, Mother Nature will rise up and kick us smart-asses in the ass.

Many disagree ... we'll find out, after while, who was more right, won't we ?

And I won't be around to see it.

I don't have grandkids, and am not expecting any, my offspring being well past 40. I think that it may be quite probable that people of that generation in the Western world may be in for a tough time of it.

Nearing 80, and having not taken a pill in about 30 years at least, I'm extremely thankful for my good health.

Good wishes to you and yours.

ole joyful


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RE: curious here

I understand where you are coming from Joyful. I came along in 1937, so don't remember any of that, but I do remember being poor. I am lucky in a way because it didn't affect my childhood. Being poor didn't bother me. The only thing I realized after I grew up was it was mom that fed us. I also understand the problems with our world, but it won't do me any good to worry about what I can't change. I must have misunderstood what the forum was about, I didn't know it was an environmental forum. I don't understand how pinching pennies can help our environment.


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RE: curious here

jonesy,

I recently repaired an older vehicle, and that really wasn't saving, as it cost quite a bit, and people said that the best dollar value by quite a bit was to scrap it.

But I thought that it'd cost much precious energy, including the warming and pollution that go along with it, to build a new one.

Sorry if I wandered off-topic.

Old folks do tend to wander, some. Or so I'm told.

ole joyful


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RE: curious here

Hi Jonesy ! I'm new here ,too. My DH is a railroad engineer . ( I don't work ) The pay is okay ... but every year their contract is up for negotations . The last time - they went for 5 years before it was settled. No one is ahead -- they just re-arranged the numbers. We are barely keeping up with the cost of living. I'm frugal ... I pinch pennies . Any BIG purchase will be tacked on our 2nd mortgage. DH can't retire till our bills are paid off . Think he can work till he's 116 ? ROFL ...


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RE: curious here

I'm serious about saving money for several reasons: I don't particularly like being chin-deep in debt (I haven't been for a couple of decades now, but being in debt takes a lot of options out of life); I want to save for my retirement because I'm convinced the Social Security gravy train will stop before I can get on it; and I think a large asset like a lifetime of earnings should be used carefully.


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RE: curious here

Hi Jonesy,

I have to budget and it's also a challenge for me.

The challenge for me is being a SAHM of 6, living on one income (and not a large one), in a society that says it can't be done. Or it can't be done well, or that I can't have everything I need, or that I can't do it without the government's help, or that I must live like I'm poor, or that well..... it just can't be done. That it is IMPOSSIBLE to live on one income and buy a house (we own 3 (well us and the banks)), have health insurance (got it, and life insurance too), and save for retirement (about 12% of gross).

My opinion is that the impossibility of living on one income is a bunch of bunk. A myth, if you must. But someone said once that a myth repeated enough and loud enough starts sounding like the truth. I'm trumpeting the other side. I'm not saying that everyone should live on one income, there are folks out there who like to work, and would have a tough time staying at home. But only about 25% of the folks who tell me that they "could never do what I do", tell me it's because they like what they do at work.... most say it's because they can't afford it. There are single folks out there doing it every day.

I have been at the helplessness stage. The part of life where you feel like you are making it day to day, not even paycheck to paycheck.... and not very well. I bought the myth, until I stopped one day and did the math. Turns out I was working from 6am to 6pm for about $100 a month (after daycare/working expenses). From there came the budget...... about 10 times.... I was sure that I was doing something wrong, because there was no way that that could be right. But it was. So I stopped working outside the home, and my new "job" was to make this work for my family. We actually had more money at the end of the month, than we had when I was working. Eating real food instead of fast food, savings in gasoline, medical costs from daycare, insurance savings, etc... all things that changed and things that I did not consider when figuring it out originally. It was all frugal, I took the old saying about "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without" to heart. It's taken 12 years, so far.... and I'm still making the one income thing work.... It CAN be done. I'm not totally debt free yet, that will take some time but that time is coming.... 8 years on two houses (and I'm working on getting those done sooner), a little longer on the other.

But I had to have a budget. Can't go spending willy nilly on "stuff", when you have other priorities. I'm not sure that anyone could make it without some kind of budget, at least not with peace of mind.

I have to budget because I want all the things I want. My two rental houses will provide some income when I am older, the retirement accounts will help the pensions, the rental income, and SS (if it's still around). Before I retire they will provide extra income when I have children in college.... still not paying for college for my children, but the extra will help make their lives easier while they pay for it.

Any environmental impact, or lack thereof is simply a happy unexpected circumstance. Yes, fixing my washing machine 3 times in the last 12-13 years saved it from going to the landfill or being recycled at the metal place. That's great, that's fine, and that's wonderful..... BUT that was not the reason I fixed my washing machine. Total cost of those three repairs was 3 hours and $25. The cost to have someone come out and LOOK at it was $75.... to start. The cost to replace it is somewhere around $100 for a used one, and up to $600 for a new one. At a minimum I saved $200 ($75 x 3 - $25 for parts), and in reality more than that, because the cost of the actual repair is not counted, just having someone come out and look. That $200 had another place to go. Something else I wanted to do with it. Then there's the annoyance of going without my washing machine for however long it took to get the part, get someone out to fix it, etc... Instead I went down to the parts store, got the part and put it in... Much less stress than going without a washing machine in a house that has 8 people and all their laundry. =0) It's great that my way of life walks gentle on the earth, but not the reason that I live the way I do.

How does pinching pennies help the environment? Probably more ways than I can imagine, because it's not my focus, but I'll take a stab at it......

Let's take a cotton top, like a t-shirt. You wear it until it's worn out (gets a stain, a tear, whatever), you then have to go buy a new one. You have two options at that point, throw it in the garbage, or see what else you can do with it.

To recycle it, you can turn it to the rag bag, then when it gets too many holes to be effective, throw it out or..... turn it into strips and make a rug out of it.

On the other hand, you had a shirt threw it in the landfill and bought a new one, probably also bought rags, and a rug for the floor. All of these things took energy to make and get to you. Resources were also used from the farm equipment (and wear and tear on it), to the equipment used to turn that cotton into a shirt (and rags, and rugs), the vehicles used to get it to you.... The rags probably aren't 100% cotton, neither is the rug, so those have chemicals used in the processing, perhaps even the 100% cotton stuff does... All of which has some kind of environmental impact....

So it's simply saving pennies... turning it into a rag did not even take extra energy from you, a rug will.... but not many will go that far with a t-shirt. =0) But like I said, I'm not in it for the environmental impact, it just makes sense to me to use what I already have.... If I use the t-shirt for rags, I have rags and don't have to purchase any.... If I later turn it into a rug, I have a rug and don't have to purchase one. That $10-$20 is not much.... but I've gotten where I am on those $10 savings... they all add up. =0)

I don't think this is an environmental forum, I think it's just a happy circumstance of the non-consumer or limited consumer way of life. Just a thought here.... but in today's society of consumerism, being a non-consumer tends to make outcasts of folks, it's easier for some to be thought of as "green" and give that as the reason for their non-consumerism.... it's more PC, more acceptable than being frugal or being thought of as cheap. If you are doing it for "the goodness of the earth" it's great, if you are doing it for you and your family, you are "hurting the economy" (or some such drivel).

Mil


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RE: curious here

I do it because we have worked hard for the money we have. I was raised in a semi-frugal household and it is just second nature to us.


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RE: curious here

Thanks guys for being so understanding. I was half afraid to come back in here, but you know the thing with curiosity. LOL The difference between myself and most of you is that I am 70, and my saving and saving for years has paid off I have not seen a hearse pulling a U-Haul yet so I am enjoying what I have saved.. When we married I had no debts except for my home because I didn't make debts except for home and car which was 3 years old and paid for. I was a stay at home mom and he told me I could remain that if we could manage on his pay and his debts. I am good with money and I went the route you all took, budgeting, coupons, sales, anything to save a dime. I made more money staying at home than I could have working. As for recycling I take things to the Lutheran Gently Used Store. They help abused and handicapped women and children with the proceeds and it's run by volunteers. I also talk my neighbor's into going through their closets and give their cast offs to me to take to the LS. I rarely throw anything away. I have a few movies that I bought at the LS, Goodwill, etc., I watched them and don't care to watch again, I let my neighbor's go through them and take what's left to the LS. So I am frugal in my way, I never trash anything someone else can use.


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RE: curious here

Sometimes I've talked to two-income families about the costs involved with earning the second income.

To start, there's income tax on the income increase.

Then there's often child care.

An extra car, plus gas, insurance, loss of alternative income on the investable money if it weren't sitting in the driveway, some cost to put aside to pay for a replacement when this one gives up the ghost, plus better clothing, cosmetics, then there's the take-out food on a Friday when everyone's dead tired, more frequent use of prepared food, missing out on bargains, etc.

When all of the expenses are taken into account, then deducted from the second income, and someone finds that they're going through all of that rigamarole ...

... for maybe $100.00 per month ... or possibly $200.00 ...

... there's unbelief, anger, frustration, and some other emotions expressed.

As for the unbelief ... I go over the figures once again, and say that if the people can show me errors, I'm glad to amend the calculation. They can do that for themselves.

Some choose to change their way of doing things, quite a number don't ... but they look at various aspects of their lifestyle somewhat differently, on occasion.

Quite a change in perspective.

I don't feel that it's up to me to tell folks what to do, but when many of us look at various aspects of our lives from a different viewpoint often it is quite helpful.

Good wishes for looking at life from different perspectives, from time to time. Actually, we often do that here, learning together from one another's viewpoint ...without feeling belittled, or threatened.

ole joyful


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RE: curious here

You forgot to mention the temptation to get involved with a co-worker. I don't have any statistics on that, but I do not know one stay at home wife who left their husband for someone else. I know a lot of working women that have.


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RE: curious here

Sorry jonesy that's a very biased statement against working women, and not even based on any statistical evidence.


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RE: curious here

I work part time in a testing lab with one other person...my sister. I wear jeans and a t-shirt. I never cared much for make-up. I cook most nights and manage to make extra to save for when I'm too tired to cook. I also do work from home for another company when they need me. I love my husband very much and would never do anything to hurt him...and I own a reliable, safe, fuel-efficient car that I wouldn't give up even if I stopped working.

I've worked full-time, part-time and been a stay at home mom. I can't speak for anyone else, but our quality of life did suffer when I worked full-time. But my husband had been laid off and was training to be a tractor-trailer driver and we did what we had to do. Being a sahm was great, but my kids are both in school and retirement is looming ahead. I feel I should be contributing to it so my DH doesn't have to bear the burden alone.


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RE: curious here

Valtog, it may have been a biased statement many opinions are and I told you I had no statistics to prove it. My opinions are usually based on experience and observing others. In m y first marriage, it got to the point I didn't love my husband, but I cared about what happened to him and I didn't/wouldn't cheat on him or on my deceased husband. I think the worst possible thing you can do to a person who loves you is to cheat on him. I am a peaceful person, I don't like fights, angry confrontations and all the things cheating brings on. Well, I am off to breakfast. Have a nice day everyone............


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RE: curious here

Who you going to breakfast with ? just kidding

Worked with a guy who's stay at home wife married the next door neighbors work at home husband.


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RE: curious here

We used to kid my old uncle, who'd survived two wives and never had kids, saying that it looked as though he was figuring ways to take his assets with him, but ...

... telling him that we'd never seen a Brinks truck in a funeral procession.

But ...

... as one entertainer, I think a famous singer, replied when someone was asking about her wealth,

"I've been rich. I've been poor. Rich is better".

ole joyful


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RE: curious here

Mikie, just me and my newspaper. Everyone was busy and I showered so I know that wasn't the problem. LOL

Joyful, I agree about rich.....if I had been, my husband would have had round the clock nurses at home, instead of being in a care home. There are only two things I envy the rich. One is the location they can buy for their homes. The home itself is not important, but would love to live in a piney woods on a mountain some where. Number 2 is for my husband's care.


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RE: curious here

I'm a married woman and I wish I had stayed home with my kids. My youngest daughter (18) recently crashed her car because she was drunk. The court costs and alcohol rehab are SOOO expensive. If I'd stayed home when she was little, I am conviced she would not be in this trouble. When I was working, I drove myself to be a supermom. I got up at four am so I could clean house, and after working from 7am to 6 pm, I came home, made dinner, tucked the kids in and read them storybooks, and I was still doing laundry at ten pm. My salary went mostly to paying for a second car and day care. I paid $250 a week for daycare for two kids for years. My salary barely covered those bills, and maybe I had $100 a week that went for groceries. If I had it to do over, it would be different. . .


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RE: curious here

Jannie, when I was mom with little children, we all stayed at home. I for one never even thought of working except part time after both of my sons were in grade school and I needed something to fill my day. Then I got a job that were the same hours they were in school. I loved my home, even cleaning and all it takes to take care of a home. When I married my second husband in 1973, I told him I was not a working woman. He needed to know that before we married. I couldn't earn enough to pay expenses a job would cause.


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RE: curious here

I'm impressed with the wisdom on these pages!

I, too, am well past 70 and was a SAHM until my divorce in 1970, when I went to work. My youngest was then in high school, and unbeknownst to me was soon pregnant, and arranged for an abortion on her own. I never knew until she had a family. You gals were right to figure out the figures and stay home. As for the car, if you're raising kids in the suburbs, whether you're a SAHM or a working one, you have to be able to transport them -- not to mention loads of groceries, supplies, etc. There are too many variables in life to make a blanket statement about staying home, but I was anxious to leave the home base and fraternize with adults, so enjoyed having work outside the home.

Keeping healthy is good in many ways: fewer medical expenses, less time off your job, whether at home or outside. If people investigated what they are putting in their mouths they would be quite surprised. Reading the labels is little help, as some of those ingredients are mysteries unless you go on line and read everything you can find. Our current problem is high fructose corn syrup, now a substitute for sugar in the majority of prepackaged foods. Check it out. Makes you fat like you wouldn't believe. You see obese people with shopping carts full of "sugar-free" soft drinks that are made with it. Cereals too, breads, crackers, soups, and many other canned foods. To compound the mass movement toward illness, we are bombarded constantly, in magazines, television, radio, all media, with the bogus news that "if you don't have [whatever ailment] now, you have a good chance of getting it." "50 % of the population has cancer." [This or that] disease is the No. 1 killer..." and the like. It's scary that people fall in line like lemmings on the rush to the sea, without checking into any aspect of their own choices.


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RE: curious here

I don't post here much, but I lurk like crazy. ;)

We're in our mid-twenties, living one one income while I complete grad school, and thinking very seriously about how we will structure our lives in the future -- especially once we have a family to care for.

We're carrying a chunk of debt right now in school loans, but have not amassed any additional debt since getting married 3 years ago. Even while I have been in school, we have been steadily paying down the debt we already had.

For us, being frugal has become a moral issue, tied closely with the responsibility of being good stewards. That stewardship encompasses finances, but also to many other aspects of our life. We try to manage our money wisely, making good choices about when to save and to spend, and how we will do so. But we also try to take good care of the possessions we already have -- to maintain them well while they are in our hands, and to pass them on responsibly when we no longer need them. We find that maintaining what we have and lessening our consumption also helps us to be better stewards of the environment. I also believe that we can be better stewards of our relationships with those around us when we are set free from comparing our stuff with their stuff, and buying more stuff to out-do their stuff.

Sometimes our families look at us askance for driving older cars, wearing used clothes, or splitting a meal in a restaurant. I think they wonder what terrible financial mess put us in such dire straits!!! But we know that these are our choices, and that nobody is forcing us into them. From time to time we'll see an expensive car or a fancy designer suit and we'll say to one another, "We COULD afford that, but we choose not to." It's a good feeling.

Jonesy, I don't understand why a working woman would be any more "tempted" to run off with her co-worker than a working man might be. It seems like the best defense against unfaithfulness is a strong marriage, not a stay-at-home wife (or husband).


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RE: curious here

Sarah, I don't think a working woman would be any more tempted than a man, I didn't say that.... we were talking about women. I have trouble composing my thoughts and it gets me in trouble and causes misunderstandings. What you said was very clear, no chance of anyone mis understanding what you said. And I like the way you handle your finances What I meant was the odds of a person working a job with people all around them, are better for a man or woman to meet and bond with someone. A farmer for instance has a less chance of meeting a woman and having an affair than he would if he worked at a factory or office. It's a more solitaire life, a woman staying at home usually on associates with other moms. Good morning everyone, have a nice day.


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RE: curious here

Back to the original question. I was raised to be frugal. Both of my parents came from families of 14 kids. They worked hard to get what they had. They didn't live on welfare. Welfare was for eople who 'needed' it. They shared what they did have with others who didn't have as much.

I was raised to be frugal (not cheap). I'm always disappointed by those who equate it with being poor. I think being frugal encompasses a lot of things. As mentioned, there's the environmental aspect and having money when you need it. There is also a resourcefulness and creativity aspect to it. If you throw a shirt away and go out and buy a new shirt because a button fell off or you pulled a thread from a seam, you don't learn to how to sew or cut that fabric up to use it for something else. People seem to be losing basic skills and creativity.

For me, being frugal has always been sort of a game. I enjoy finding new ways to save money and the thrill of finding a bargain.


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RE: curious here

Adella, I know about the thrill of finding a bargain. I enjoyed looking at the paper, making a list, clipping coupons and hitting the stores near my home on payday. It was my way of helping out since I didn't work. I bought plenty when I found a good buy. I bought a large store of paper products when they were on sale and still do. If we were short of money I didn't buy paper towels and napkins at all. I used washable things. The reason I asked the question I did was to know why people were so frugal, to know if they had to or were just being frugal. I stopped working at being frugal when we retired. Our children borrowed so much money from us I got very angry. I told my husband we worked hard to save this money and now we are giving it away. I said I'm going to some of this. So I went out and replace most of our furniture. I was glad he understood. I put a stop to the loans when we stopped getting paid back.


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