Money Saving Tips

Topics in this category pertain to planning. Discussions include how to prepare yourself, your family and your community for catastrophes and what you plan to do when they hit you.

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Stercutus
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Money Saving Tips

Post by Stercutus » Mon Feb 15, 2010 5:28 pm

I was curious what money saving tips work best for you. I will get the ball rolling with one of my favorites.

We move a lot and whenever you move you can update your snail mail with a little package from the USPS. If you go to the post office instead of doing it on line you get a little package and inside the package there is normally a 10% off coupon for Lowes and/ or Home Depot. This is good on anything in the store even sale and clearance items. Now no one says you actually have to move to go get the coupon package....

I figure I have saved about $1500 in the last ten years just using the coupon every time. While these home improvement stores don't always have the best prices they are convenient for a lot of useful things.
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Re: Money Saving Tips

Post by Merovech » Mon Feb 15, 2010 6:03 pm

I learned to cook, and cook well.

I also only go to a restaurant maybe once a month... or once every 2 months. I have better things to do with my money than pay someone else to cook for me... when I can make a 60$ meal at a restaraunt for $5 a person, why bother?

I know people who spend just as much on 'going out to eat' as they do on rent every month. It is sickening.

----

I also keep track of every penny we spend using a ledger book, and I obey the 'pay yourself first' law.

We have bills, but no 'real' debt... but investments, savings and college accounts get paid before the bills do as a matter of principle.

Nothing is ever late, and I laugh as clerks when they try and offer me a 23% APR credit card (Like at old navy this weekend).

----

The important thing is to make your money work FOR YOU, not for someone else.

Don't rent, buy, and build up equity.
Dont spend money you dont have.
Pay yourself first.
Pay off your credit card every month.

----

I shop at Old Navy from December 29th thru Feb 28th... you can buy jeans for $10, Shirts for $2, ect...
I shop the clearance racks.

It is all about priorities, I buy NICE things, not LOTS of things. For example, the outfit I have one is jeans, a t-shirt, a carhartt leather belt, a pair of leather boots and a collard over shirt... all of which was purchased on sale/clearance and the whole outfit prob cost less than $60, but I have a $500 watch on, and prob the same in jewlery. But the watch will last infinitely longer than the pair of jeans.

Why spend $50 on a t-shirt when I can wait 4 months and buy the exact same shirt for $2 (Yes, literally) and look the exact same stylistically?

It amazes me how people are so wasteful with their money.

----

I grew up in north texas and graduated close to the year that Northern Telecom went from 8 large office buildings, to one small office building. I watched my highschool parking lot go from being once filled with hummers, Porsche, Mercedes, BMWs, Lexus and even a Lotus and ALWAYS full, to being 2/3rds full with hondas and fords in a matter of a year.

I watched friends and acquaintances who lived in 750k to 1.5m houses pack/sell all their stuff and move into 2 or 3 bedroom apartments and go from 4 or 5 car families to 1 or 2...

All of these people were living high on the hog and paycheck to paycheck to try and 'keep up' with what their neighbors and friends were doing. And when times got bad they lost everything...

It was that lesson alone that taught me to always live UNDER my means.

My family income isn't much, but I handle our finances EXCELLENTLY, we put almost half our monthly income in various types of savings and investments.

We dont waste money on crap we dont need, but we do buy what we want. Id rather have 10 nice things than 100 dumb things I bought to make me feel better.
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Re: Money Saving Tips

Post by herbalpagan » Mon Feb 15, 2010 7:26 pm

While we keep a credit card, we always pay of any balance as soon as the next paycheck.
We also keep a large supply of food storage, living with "store what you eat and eat what you store" method of food prepping. By doing this, we have reduced the amount of times we need to go to the store (from once a week to once every three weeks or so). When I go to the store (if it's not the big box store), I ONLY shop sales items and use coupons. This cuts your food costs in half at least. Another bonus is to shop at the store that has a gas discount card...saving 50 cents a gallon is a great bonus! Between shopping less, shopping on sales and using coupons, we save at least several hundred a month.
Cutting back on driving is big...we were able to cut out one car by rearranging things. I go into town only a couple of times a month now. I spend the whole day and pick hubby up from work on the way home. This saves hundreds of dollars a month.

All the above also cut back on eating out. We might eat out twice a month if that. We do have a bigger package on satalite, but that also eliminates things like renting movies and going out to the movies.
We also shopped around for better insurance. We were surprised to save about $100 a month!
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Re: Money Saving Tips

Post by Hannibal » Mon Feb 15, 2010 8:01 pm

Pay cash as often as possible. It makes you plan your purchase because getting cash out from a non fee atm is a PITA. Plus physically handing over the money makes you evaluate the worth of the purchase.

Cooking. Plan your meals, and do not buy snacks or even bottled water out of convienence. You will save a ton of money per week just by packing a meal you would normally buy when out. Healthier too.

Come back to buy things. Whatever you want to buy something that isn't part of your normal monthly purchases, write it down and come back for it. Or better yet, search it out on the internet. It's a simple risk vs reward assessment at that point if you still want it.

Pick up change. I do this all the time. A penny here, a nickle there, a quarter one time, a dime another. Put the change in a jar when you get home, and when the jar fills up go cash it in. I easily get $50 bucks a month in found change on my walks.

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Re: Money Saving Tips

Post by mbaz73 » Mon Feb 15, 2010 8:57 pm

Agree with just about everything...the big one for our family is eating out. It is amazing how much can be spent on eating out. For me especially, bringing my lunch to work everyday and having my nalgene at my desk. I don't by soda or bottled water and the 4-5 bucks I was spending on lunch now stays in my account. I save myself between 80-100 a month just by taking lunch to work...
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Re: Money Saving Tips

Post by PathofPain » Mon Feb 15, 2010 9:51 pm

Dang man, so much....so much you can do! Here is what has worked for my wife and I:

1. Get on a budget. This is more of the wife's thing, but lays out what we have and what we don't. Helps you to keep things in order.

2. Buy second hand. We just got a '98 4runner for $4k (CO is usually WAY expensive when it comes to these types of vehicles)...sticker price on it was $27k. There are so many things you can get second hand. The key is wait for the right one at the right price, whether its a car, a chainsaw, a bicycle, or anything else. You will find that there are lots of people, especially in this economy, who are getting rid of stuff they didn't plan to and its a 'must sell!' which usually means a smokin deal. Check Craigslist, but know how to use it and be careful.

3. Get in on some kind of awesome checking/saving account. Right now, my wife and I have a 'rewards' checking account, which, if you make at least 12-15 payments, receive e-statements, and have a direct deposit (some reqs may be different), you will earn up to X% of interest. We are getting back a 4% interest rate, which is awesome, considering I was getting like .015% interest on my old account, which absolutely sucked.

4. Look at your insurance. I don't know if this applies to you, but my health insurance was wasting a load of $$ every month, and I nearly never used it. Got a supplemental accident policy, then got an HSA - saving money (tax-free deposits and interest) and tax-deductible. Bills went from about $300 a month to $60 plus whatever I invest in the HSA. Its great.

5. Definitely cut back on eating out. Man this sucks so much money. However, we've learned a little trick. My wife has a small tummy, so she usually can only eat about a 1/3 to 1/2 or most orders. So we just get 1 thing and split it. Has cut our 'eating out' bill almost in HALF. See if it works for you.

6. More of a personal choice - get a car that is awesome on gas. We have the 4runner, but for most non-4wd applications, we use our Honda Civic HX. The car is amazing, and a real sleeper of a gas saver. My top MPG this past summer was 55mpg. Yes, I am a hypermiler...but even if you drive normal, that's 40-45mpg, which saves a TON of gas money every month. I also have a motorcycle that gets 60+ mpg.

7. Another personal one, ride a bike whenever you can, and to work. This saves gas, gets you in shape, and helps keep your senses and awareness high. My bicycle commute is about 23 miles round trip. VERY doable. Try it out!

Those are just general, but there are a lot more - shop at thift stores, don't use a ton of credit cards, cut out any money sucking habits like smoking or gambling, do comparison shopping and buy online, use coupons, special deals, promotions, etc. Prioritize your spending - 'needs' and 'wants'...its funny how the latter creeps into the former quite often. For me, I had to curb some of my spending habits (I'm more of a spender) and a part of it is a psychological thing. Honestly, sometimes its more fun researching stuff to buy than actually buying it. I've learned to be more content about what I have and spend more time doing stuff that doesn't require me buying stuff. I've had to work on this :lol:

If any more come to mind I'll post them up.
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Re: Money Saving Tips

Post by MrsSmith » Mon Feb 15, 2010 10:33 pm

I find shopping at places like Fields, Liquidation World, Salvation Army (thrift stores in general) are awesome for cutting clothing prices in at least half.
Liquidation World and Fields sell food (best for stocking up on for emergency kits). My husband and I have even bought a few much loved Christmas presents there.

I used to fritter my 3000$ paycheck (monthly) on useless, little, and meaningless crap, until I met my husband who kind knocked my into reality. "Why are you buying that?" "why are we going out for supper when you have perfectly good *** in the freezer?" Things like that.

I guess for me all I had to do was be more conscious about what I spent my money on, and where. I think I kind of grew up in that lifestyle though, and if a lot more people wrote down everything they spent money on, they would realize it gets frittered away rather quickly.
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Re: Money Saving Tips

Post by 72commando » Mon Feb 15, 2010 11:01 pm

Contrary to the cash tips....I USE my credit card to my advantage. If you know what you are doing, you can take advantage of the credit card incentives that are used to entice others to spend more on things they don't need. I get 1-2% cash back on all purchases and I take full advantage of it. I buy everything with my credit card. The key is to ONLY SPEND MONEY YOU HAVE, and IMMEDIATELY pay it back. (I pay my balance down to zero at least once per week, online).

As an example, I use it to pay my rent ($420 per month), which earns me back $4.20 every time I pay my bill. Multiply that by the 12 months I pay rent and....$50 cash back! I also use it to pay for my other bills (cell, cable, etc.) and nearly everything else. Do your research beforehand though and read the fine print on your 'cash back' credit card policy. Also, keep in mind that some utilities charge you a fee for using your credit card to make payments that may be more than what you will net in cash back.

Again, I don't ever spend money that I don't have. I've been doing this for 5 years, have made between $100-$250 each year, and I haven't paid a single cent in interest, ever. I'm what the credit card companies refer to as a "deadbeat" :mrgreen:
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Re: Money Saving Tips

Post by cjm3fl » Mon Feb 15, 2010 11:34 pm

Shop smartly. That's what I do every week. The stuff I buy all the time is on sale at one place or the other.
I check the weekly ads, then figure out what I need to purchase.
I know so many neighbors that will spend Saturday and Sunday driving to one place, then heading home to unload, then head out again.

I start my shopping at the store the farthest from my home, then shop my way home.
This saves me a lot of gas, reduces the mileage I put on my vehicle, and I get the best prices on what I buy.


I only cook one day a week, Sundays (I live alone). But I cook enough for the week. This saves me on my electric bill.
Like I'll cook a 6 pound beef roast as pot roast. Have left overs for two day, then roast beef sandwiches for two days, then bar-b-q beef to finish out my week.
By changing it up through out the week, it doesn't get boring.


And I shop for the specials!
I plan my meals around what's on sale.

(What I really need to do is to start using coupons.
I don't do this and I'm not saving as much as I could.)
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Re: Money Saving Tips

Post by SouthPAW » Tue Feb 16, 2010 12:30 am

One of my favorites, is to find a hobby you can actually profit from. I like to thrift store shop. I find tons of cool stuff, that I can either wear (I find vintage, and current stuff) or sell/trade. For instance, at my old job, I used to find cool stuff for people at the office, and they would buy it from me plus a few bucks profit. The girls all said I was the only straight guy they knew with style, who knew how to shop! :lol:

Also, you can find some real gems from time to time. I found a vintage Omega Seamaster watch for $10!!! It is real, it runs, and it's sweet. The people at the store didn't know what it was, and just thought it was an "old watch". I got a 70's Ludwig Supraphonic snare drum for $25! Awesome leather jackets for $5-$10 that I sold on consignment on Melrose for a few hundred. I've also found various appliances and furniture that I just resold on craigslist for double, triple, or more what I paid. The list goes on and on.

The only problem with this hobby, is you need to know what you're looking at. But, if you have an eye for stuff, you can have fun, find cool stuff you can use, and make some money on the side.

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Re: Money Saving Tips

Post by Space Jockey » Tue Feb 16, 2010 1:58 am

1. I have never owned a credit card. If I don't have enough money to buy something I don't buy it.

2. I pack my lunch everyday I work. Saves me so much money throughout the work week. I can't tell you how many times I've refused someone offering to pick me up something when they go to the local fast food restaurant. So I'm eating cheaper and healthier.

3. I exercise five days a week. This helps save money by keeping me out of the hospital, shrinks my stomach so I eat less and keeps me from buying new sized clothes if I were to gain weight.

4. I pick up extra hours at work when I can. True I may want an extra day off but that extra money sure comes in handy for emergencies or vacation needs.

5. I do all my food shopping just once every two weeks, armed with coupons. Then I head to Wal-Mart where they price match everything so I only have to make one stop. Plus I don't worry about extra gas or markups on food if I run out of bread because I generally don't run out of it.
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Re: Money Saving Tips

Post by colinz » Tue Feb 16, 2010 4:01 am

This tip may or may not be applicable, depends on the policies of your local supermarkets/greengrocers.

Don't be afraid of the bags of spoiling/over-ripe fruit. Often these are marked down below the shops cost, and most fruit is edible until it rots. Even if you don't eat the fruit directly from these bags, it can work quite well in baking, or for making jam from.

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Re: Money Saving Tips

Post by Stercutus » Tue Feb 16, 2010 7:38 am

This is great. I was just looking for some ways to save money acquiring preps and get lots of sound advice. Times are tough to be sure but they are not the toughest of times.
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Re: Money Saving Tips

Post by curphy » Tue Feb 16, 2010 7:52 am

There is an entire philosophy based on the idea that home ownership is a sham. The argument is that all the money we spend on taxes, repairs, maintenance, appliances, utilities, you name it, is nothing more than a hollow dream that has been marketed to the masses for centuries to encourage "good citizenship". Many of the people that shun becoming rooted to one place, live in RVs, pickups or conversion vans. They shower at the Y, eat at soup kitchens, visit Free Medical Centers for their health care, dumpster dive, root through peoples trash on neighborhood clean up days. Many of them wear a suit and tie and go to work each day just like the rest of us, their coworkers clueless. Whether you agree with this lifestyle or not (I don't, not fully), one has to appreciate the thrift (some may call it stealing, loafing, perhaps even looting) of "living off the fat of society". I know one such gentleman, who works an honest living, pays income taxes like the rest of us, votes, goes to City Council meetings, church... and yet he moves his home every evening to a new street, engaging in what is called "stealth parking". Now if you believe whole heartedly in PAW preparation, this lifestyle seems woefully unprepared. Regardless, I find his existence utterly fascinating.... I can only imagine how much money he has stashed away as a result of refusing to live like the rest of us.

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Re: Money Saving Tips

Post by Lucretius » Tue Feb 16, 2010 7:54 am

First, let me admit that I'm terrible at this. For example, I tend to go shopping at the grocery store while hungry :shock: .

Therefore, I take great pride in the few things I actually DO right.

1. I do not buy soil improvement products for my garden. I've a compost. This saves some money in reduced garbage disposal fees, too.
Moreover, I get A LOT of free coffee grounds from a café I frequent. They even pack it up in neat little plastic packages for me.
As soil improvement goes, you can't beat coffee grounds (re: pH, texture, etc.).

2. I buy Layer 3 clothes at second hand stores. While I spend a lot of money on underwear and socks, I've gotten some crazy great deals at clueless second hand stores for the shell layer. Jackets, pants, etc. can be found for about 5 % of retail price.
You know, they have a "pants" section, where they put the old jeans (15$ retail), and the great Fjallraven pants (250$ retail), on this same rack, stick a sign on it saying "PANTS 2,50 $" - and then I wait until they put another sign up saying "NOW 50 % OFF". :twisted: So now I'm rockin' yuppie outdoor clothing on a white trash budget....
Of course, they're USED, so you'd have to wash them, and maybe repair some damage. On the other hand, these are clothes that should do well in the PAW, so they should be pretty much indestructible to begin with.
Besides, it's a good exercise in clothes repair, that ought to come in handy in the ZPAW...

Oh, better make that another point;

3. I mend my clothes.
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Re: Money Saving Tips

Post by MyDogMike » Tue Feb 16, 2010 10:40 am

I know a lot of guys that refuse to become a coupon clipper, but you really can save quite a bit. I consistantly save around $20 on $100 or so worth of food every time I shop.

Every little bit helps.

The wife and I have been slowly replacing appliances with energy smart stuff. Just replaced the washer with an energy star Kenmore. The dehumidifer in the basement is now an energy efficient model, and we don't leave any small appliances like toaster ovens or coffee pots plugged in all the time. I have no proof that this is worth it, but it sure as hell can't hurt.

No doubt that the 3 areas that offer the most savings potential are your vehicle, home efficiency, and groceries.

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Re: Money Saving Tips

Post by Lucretius » Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:45 am

PathofPain wrote:
5. Definitely cut back on eating out. Man this sucks so much money. However, we've learned a little trick. My wife has a small tummy, so she usually can only eat about a 1/3 to 1/2 or most orders. So we just get 1 thing and split it. Has cut our 'eating out' bill almost in HALF. See if it works for you.
Though I totally agree - eating out costs a LOT - I see a small flaw in your particular scheme. Unless you, too, has a small tummy, and you only get half a meal, don't you leave the restaurant hungry? (And, BTW, if you always do this, you've split your eating out bill EXACTLY in half... :| )
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Re: Money Saving Tips

Post by PathofPain » Tue Feb 16, 2010 9:20 pm

Lucretius wrote:
PathofPain wrote:
5. Definitely cut back on eating out. Man this sucks so much money. However, we've learned a little trick. My wife has a small tummy, so she usually can only eat about a 1/3 to 1/2 or most orders. So we just get 1 thing and split it. Has cut our 'eating out' bill almost in HALF. See if it works for you.
Though I totally agree - eating out costs a LOT - I see a small flaw in your particular scheme. Unless you, too, has a small tummy, and you only get half a meal, don't you leave the restaurant hungry? (And, BTW, if you always do this, you've split your eating out bill EXACTLY in half... :| )
Well, I probably don't have a huge stomach, and most restaurants these days give out huge portions...most of the time, if I stop when I very first start to feel full, there will still be a decent amount left over. And my wife just eats just enough so that its a perfect balance between us, at least at the restaurants we frequent. Also, the reason why I said it cuts our bill nearly in half, is that even though we order 1 meal, there still may be drinks, tip etc, that would push it a little bit past the middle price even though we are cutting out half of the main meal cost.

There is no flaw in it for us, but again, works for us. May not work for everyone. We are still able to go out, have a great time, eat more reasonable portion sizes, and come away with more in our pockets. Its a win-win situation (although maybe not as much for the restaurant).
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Re: Money Saving Tips

Post by Bubba Enfield » Tue Feb 16, 2010 10:45 pm

We don't eat out all that often, but we've discovered a cost-cutting measure for the restuarant. Sometimes, we'll order two appetizers and two deserts. We still get a reasonable amount of food, don't leave feeling like stuffed sausage, and don't spend $75 on dinner. We don't do it every time, sometimes I just really want a 12-ounce striploin. But every second date, it's a good idea.
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Re: Money Saving Tips

Post by dynomike » Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:18 pm

1. Start a pantry. Most of you clearly have, but for those that don't, you don't shop as much in the long term, saving on grocery trips.
2. Buy in bulk. Cosco and Sam's Club come to mind, but check out the Internet for deals. Go in on bulk items with a few friends to really reap the savings.
3. Ditto on the gas efficient car. We just got one and getting 30+ beats 14mpg any time. Carpooling = savings.
4. Go in on a cow with a friend. Buying half a cow from a butcher can get you high quality meat that lasts over a year (frozen) for .99 cents a pound or better (at least round my neck of the woods).
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Re: Money Saving Tips

Post by yale » Wed Feb 17, 2010 1:57 am

1-I recently shoped around for car insurance. I'm saving about $200 a year now just on that.
2-Find a job closer to home. I quit a job that had me commuting 100 miles a day. I now work at a job with a 20 mile or less commute. Saves me a ton on gas as well as wear and tear on my car.
3-Stopped eating out. I used to go through a fast food drivethru nearly everyday I worked my old job. Now I brown bag my lunch everyday. The savings have been astounding.
4-Combine trips. I work nights and do almost all of my errands, such as shopping, in the mornings on my way home. If I plan my trips out I spend less gas running around.
5-Pay bills online. I was sending out checks or money orders, which cost $, every month. Plus the cost of postage stamps, which keep going up. In the last year I've switched to paying most of my bills online. I regularly check my online bank site to make sure I'm staying on buget.
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Re: Money Saving Tips

Post by Lucretius » Wed Feb 17, 2010 2:08 am

If you have a special person in your life - share a shower. Lowers the hot water bill, and can be really fun.

Since you're into prepping, you'll never have enough wool blankets. Buy a few and you'll be able to reduce the amount of heating your home needs. (Wool socks are great for this too, cold floors are bad juju. No need for any expensive ninja socks though, for indoor use most flimsy cheap wool socks works great!).

Buy vegetables in the right season. When tomatoes have to be imported from faaar away, they cost too much. Besides, we don't NEED to eat everything every week. Eating according to season is kinda nice, gives a rythm to the year. For example, where I live, the first cucumbers have just been sold - for a silly amount of $$$. But in a few weeks, they'll be available for cheap, and I really look forward to that. When you get excited about cucumbers, you've found a way to save money and raise life quality at the same time... :P
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cjm3fl
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Re: Money Saving Tips

Post by cjm3fl » Wed Feb 17, 2010 11:35 am

Lucretius wrote:If you have a special person in your life - share a shower. Lowers the hot water bill, and can be really fun.
Not always true.
I have found out this method of "saving" can actually take WAY longer time and MORE water then the "one person shower" method.
This activity in the shower usually ends when the hot water runs out causing the activity to be relocated.

Next thing your know, your running the dryer because the bedding and pillows suddenly got all wet :mrgreen:


While extremely fun and promotes a better relationship, "sharing a shower" is not ALWAYS cost efficient.
But this extra cost will not stop me from using it. :wink:
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Re: Money Saving Tips

Post by koolaidND » Wed Feb 17, 2010 2:36 pm

I pack a lunch every day for work. I am up saving $5 a week by purchasing small glad wear containers and making my own pudding and jello. I also quit buying serving size bas of chips. I buy a standard size bad now and put a servings worth in a ziplock bag. The ziplock bag gets reused 3 or 4 times then thrown away.

-I quit drinking Mountian Dew and Pepsi. This is saving me at least $50 a month. I am down to buying a can of Diet Pepsi at work to save money and the waistline. I lost 10 pounds since I laid off the sugar laiden beverages.

-I now hit the gym at least 5 days a week again. I figure the time I spend there is preventing me from buying other stuff.


I am also an avid fisherman. I started fishing the red river which is seriously 2 miles from my apartment instead of hauling my boat 350 miles round trip to my favorite lake. The river is more challenging to fish and I can go every day I want to. I would rather fish for Walleyes on Devils Lake, but I can only afford to run up there once a month. Fishing closer to home is not only cheaper, but I can go more.

I traded several guns for a fishing Kayak and a canoe. I don't have to buy gas for the motorboat and more for the pickup if when I fish in the paddle powered rigs.
There are people who are pissed off every day I wake up alive...that also makes me happy. - Raptor.

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