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Old 03-09-2015, 06:49 PM
 
Location: State of Being
35,885 posts, read 67,199,962 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by in_newengland View Post
As anther person who has always been frugal and actually enjoys it because it can be almost like a game--beat the system--I buy my clothing either on ebay or in thrift stores. In fact, dh is starting to enjoy the thrift stores even more than I do. He likes to find electronic or mechanical "stuff" that he can tinker with. Now, before he heads off to Home Depot, he stops at the town thrift store first and he usually gets what he wants--cheap. I've bought some nice gardening items at the thrift and we even got the bamboo porch shades there--they're like new except they only cost $3.00. Oh--I don't need any, but you can find high quality curtains too.

I have added to my collection of heavy copper clad Revere Ware pans at thrift stores. You can't get the good quality "Made in USA" anymore so you either pay a price online for vintage at ebay or just try the thrift store. dh even enjoys the challenge of polishing the copper so it shines like new.

It's funny but we hardly ever set foot in a "real" store anymore. I've bought beautiful, good quality lamps in thrift stores (dh can rewire them if needed), items for use in our camper, a lovely English porcelain teapot, an ice cream maker, etc. Maybe we're just lucky that around here the items are usually very clean and the clothing, especially, is clean or still has its dry cleaning tags. Dh's winter jacket is worth $2000 but he paid about $6.00 for it. If you know your quality and brands you can do really well.

Travel in the off season. We go to the Cape in spring and fall, never when the crowds and high prices are there in summer. We recently discovered cruises as a money saver that we didn't expect. The expense for us is GETTING to the cruise port but if you live close enough you can just drive there and live in luxury on the cheap. We actually saved money because all the food was free, entertainment, getting to an island, socializing, all of it for free once you paid your initial cheap fee. They even gave us each $50 to spend on the ship. Keep it within the $50 and with two people you can buy $100 worth for free--I bought my sister a pretty bracelet and dh bought liquor to take home with us. What a cheap vacation! Longer and more exotic cruises would be expensive but a shorter cruise was economical. Stay away from the gambling and the drinking and let those who do, pay for your cruise.

To save on landline, use a local long distance service. You dial a local number and from that you dial your long distance number. You don't need to pay the phone company for long distance, which is a great savings. It's perfectly legal. They send you a bill for a few dollars every month and you pay your own phone company a low bill every month.

Credit cards. Some of the younger people, especially, think all cc's are evil. But you need to use a card so you can maintain your good credit and you need one if you have to rent a car or reserve a room. A really good one is PenFed which gives good rewards for groceries and gas. Just pay it in full every month, of course. Another good card is Care Credit. I used it for medical purposes, mostly high dental bills, and the dentist will give you 6 months, maybe a year to pay it off. Pay it off in time and you pay zero interest. I think the new name of it may be GE Money Bank.

There's a site called Nerd wallet Best Credit Cards of 2015: Reviews, Rewards and Offers that provides up to date reviews on the best credit cards. I pick and choose according to my needs. You can google and find a few other reviewing sites too. I want to get a card that I can put a certain amount of money on it within three months and then I get money back. On this type of card I do not want points, I want actual cash. I wouldn't use it until I can pay it in full, of course. If you have more money, you can spend more and get more back. My situation is the lower version where I might plan a trip, apply for the card, buy the tickets with it, get the cash back, and pay the card off right away. Something like pay $1000 for plane tickets within the time limit and get $150 in cash back. Every little bit helps when you were going to pay the $1000 anyway.

On my dream list--a trans Atlantic cruise. If you take a repositioning cruise, it could be possible. Some of the ships change from one side of the world to the other twice a year. You could go to, say, England, be on a cruise ship, and not be paying full price. That's if you are going to England anyway and want to take a cruise anyway, otherwise it's not worth it of course.

Camping. I could write a book. But we get by with a simple popup camper and look forward to a few days in Maine several times during the summer. Check out the campgrounds online and see what you get for the price. I like having a pool and peace and quiet. No noisy kids' activities needed at extra expense. We bought our camper second hand on Craig's List. We keep it small to save money; a big camper will cost a fortune in gas and repairs, plus we'd need a bigger car just to pull it.

If you have a decent camper and IF you are up to it, you can stay for free (or maybe nearly free, can't remember) at many Florida state campgrounds. The deal is you have to be on call part of the time. Maybe you'll have to work at the desk or help the other campers but if you want a real deal, this would be a good one. Not for us though because we learned that with all the tolls (double for a trailer) from New England it's not a deal to take our camper to Florida. Anyway dh didn't want to be on call, don't know if I would. But it's an option. Check out the Florida state campgrounds online. Some of the more beautiful ones fill up with "helpers" a year in advance!

Road trips. We like to drive and we stop on the interstate and pick up the coupon book so we can see what the cheap deals are in the area. We don't require the Sheraton! On a recent trip we found the Red Roof Inn and another one we had never heard of, America's Best Value Inn, to be perfectly adequate. Clean, good beds, tv, wifi. We did stay in a Sheraton a few nights but it wasn't worth 2-3 times the price.

Of course, pack your own food in a cooler for your road trips or even for day trips. It's cheaper and healthier.

This is fun. Thanks for starting the thread. I'll be looking forward to more frugal ideas for retirees.
A treasure trove of great ideas! Love hearing the travel tips and ideas. I have been begging hubby for years to think about scouting around and finding a pop up camper. I have friends who have had many wonderful adventures in their camper.

I am hoping to talk hubby into an inside room for a 3 nite/4 day cruise. He thinks it would be too claustrophobic but we can always stay on the Lido deck or hang out at the pool or in the library. We love the food and nothing is as satisfying as a long stretch of white sand and turquoise blue water. I know it is hard for folks to realize that cruising can be a real bargain, but it can be!

I need to find out more about the long distance arrangement you mentioned. That is exactly what I would like to do. We don't have LD on the mountain house landline b/c it was just so expensive by the time we added that on to our monthly bill to our carrier. We have to have a landline, b/c we dont get reliable cell signals and if hubby had a health emergency, we have to know we can get a 911 call out. And I would like to do the same thing in our primary residence - a landline with no "frills" and a cheap long distance plan. Thank you so much for this suggestion.
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Old 03-09-2015, 06:54 PM
 
Location: State of Being
35,885 posts, read 67,199,962 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lyndarn View Post
Some great idea's I've read! I can only suggest some things I haven't read..as I just retired last year..and did start preparing about 3 years in advance..Watching my investments and which market's they were in..transferred them to less risky..and made sure I maximized their returns .

Now onto easy things..De-clutter..Down-size where possible...Take advantage of sales/promotions..for sure purchases made should be spread out..Try to keep all credit cards paid in full each month (use their money for 30 days ) not only does it maintain your credit rating..you will not ever have to pay that pesky interest...BTW~~ I started this CC payment in full over 10 years ago..IF I couldn't..I wouldn't use Credit unless emergency..which luckily never happened..but always had a stash put away to pay...@ 18% interest on CC..and income from stash investment gained 6%..No brainer...

Finally..Congratulations on your Retirement..and researching options/ideas indicates to me you will do very well!!
You were very smart to be planning ahead with an eye towards your retirement date.

Good advice with credit cards, too. A credit card can be a very good money management tool. I have two credit cards that have "rewards" attached. That can be a nice little bonus, too! The "points" on one I save for Christmas gifts every year. I am able to usually buy two nice gifts using those points.

Thank you for your good wishes - and I appreciate your adding to the thread.
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Old 03-09-2015, 07:00 PM
 
Location: State of Being
35,885 posts, read 67,199,962 times
Reputation: 22375
Quote:
Originally Posted by newenglandgirl View Post
We have a marvelous Goodwill here that keeps the tags on new clothing. There is 1/2 off senior day, and color tag day for 15% discount. Recently I bought new Dockers pants, two new and one nearly new cardigan sweaters, and two beautiful blouses, $17 total on senior day. That is where my savings are found. I buy new shoes, they are quality and I often buy two pair of same when found on sale.

I will not ever scrimp on food quality though. I am not a "Costco" type buying large quantities of this and that food (we do save a lot by buying huge qty of toilet tissue) . We are mostly vegetarian and so when not gardening we buy organic veg's. I try to support the local farmers markets, which unfortunately are not inexpensive. I actually find that our Whole Foods Market is less expensive than the regular supermarkets on many items. I easily skip the aisles with the designer processed foods.

Where I cannot seem to save is on nutritional supplements and herbs, I spend a lot on those, and on high quality ingredients to make our dog food.

The biggest tip is to never do any shopping of any kind on an empty stomach, lol. You know what "hunger" will lead to. I have a good meal before venturing out.

We have a pharmacy chain that allows you to sign up online and get regular pretty big discounts. I sent a 30% discount to my card and instead of $30 paid $20 for a bunch of makeup. I can be a sucker for expensive moisturizers. Those expensive luxuries are what I sometimes, but not always, resist.

The biggest costs when living on a budget, besides the sometime alarming cost of food, are things that cannot be controlled such as insurances, property tax and utilities. Though we did get rid of all our lightbulbs and replaced them with LED bulbs; pricey up front but they last 20 years and use a tiny fraction of electricity that others do. We are super careful controlling the winter heat and summer cooling. Fortunately we live in the kind of house that doesn't need a.c. except maybe once a summer. If you use a furnace in winter, turn it down to 58 and use snuggly down comforters (having a dog in your bed helps, and it helps them earn their keep).

LOL - yes - so true about shopping for food on an empty stomach!!!!

Love your Goodwill purchases. I always feel so uplifted when I know I have gotten quality items at a great price.

I believe in supporting our local farmer's markets, as well. Not so much here in Charlotte, but in the mountains - wonderful farmer's markets, where I also buy bulbs and herbs every Spring. Also, local honey!

We use the customer cards from the pharmacies and get coupons for 20% off or maybe $4. off a certain item we have purchased in the past. LOVE those discounts!!!!

Studies show it is healthier to sleep in a cold room at night. I like snuggling under covers, too. And it does help with those utility costs!

Thank you for adding some interesting items to the discussion, NEGirl!
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Old 03-09-2015, 07:07 PM
 
Location: State of Being
35,885 posts, read 67,199,962 times
Reputation: 22375
Quote:
Originally Posted by newenglandgirl View Post
Be careful of some "bargains"! I found white all-cotton gloves on Amazon, thinking these the perfect thing to wear to the gym to protect myself from gym germs. It was advertised at 24 pair for $25, so only $1 a pair! (that's where they got me). I figured I'd have gym gloves for the rest of my life and children's and grandchildren's lives. I waffled between size med and size large, and thinking they're probably made in China and Chinese women's hands are smaller, I ordered large. The box came and I was so excited! 24 pair of nice quality gloves at $1 pair! Well the gloves are ENORMOUS and even after washing in hot water and drying did not shrink. In them I look like a surgeon from a sci-fi movie. I wouldn't be caught dead in public in them, even at the gym. I should send them back but I keep telling myself what a bargain. I did the same thing last year with a large package of toe separators, which my granddaughters and I are now incorporating into collages.
LOLOLOL. Okay, guess I shouldn't laugh. But the collages . . . it just did me in!!!!

Yes, be careful about the bargains!!!
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Old 03-09-2015, 07:22 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,754,097 times
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Default Housing

I think the area of housing may be a source of real savings, at least for some people. Moving to a lower cost area may allow one to have the same size housing for a lot less money or even staying in the same general area one may be able to downsize to much cheaper housing.

The thing about changing housing situations is that moving is A LOT of work, and so the inertia wins out in some cases.

But real, substantial savings are possible with housing costs, and the gift keeps on giving month after month and year after year. It's one of the tougher nuts to crack, but the potential financial advantage is also great.
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Old 03-09-2015, 07:26 PM
 
Location: Sierra Nevada Land, CA
8,402 posts, read 9,154,456 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrkliny View Post
Good quality clothing can be purchased dirt cheap. Walmart has a loaf of plain white bread for $1. Life is too short to spend lots of time and energy trying to save nearly nothing. If you really need to stretch every dollar and penny, can you find a part time job or other source of income instead? BTW, there is a forum on frugal living in the Economics section of City Data
Walmart clothing. Gosh, to quote BB King; if it weren't for low quality, Walmart would have no quality at all.

I have shirts from Macy's that I bought 10 years ago and they still look and drape well. Walmart clothes are cheap and might last a year. False economy. At least with men's clothes.

Dollar white bread is a health issue. Three dollar is a healthy choice. Some aspects of life are important enough to not go cheap.
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Old 03-09-2015, 08:08 PM
 
Location: State of Being
35,885 posts, read 67,199,962 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Escort Rider View Post
I think the area of housing may be a source of real savings, at least for some people. Moving to a lower cost area may allow one to have the same size housing for a lot less money or even staying in the same general area one may be able to downsize to much cheaper housing.

The thing about changing housing situations is that moving is A LOT of work, and so the inertia wins out in some cases.

But real, substantial savings are possible with housing costs, and the gift keeps on giving month after month and year after year. It's one of the tougher nuts to crack, but the potential financial advantage is also great.
I agree with you.

Going into retirement without a mortgage is (for me) one of the biggest worries off my mind.

And being stuck in a high COL area can mean a struggle, especially if taxes are high.

Having a title to a home gives a feeling of security that nothing else can provide -- at least, for me.

Inertia can set in. I am dreading having to pack up and move. It is a daunting task after all these years of "collecting."
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Old 03-09-2015, 08:12 PM
 
Location: State of Being
35,885 posts, read 67,199,962 times
Reputation: 22375
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr5150 View Post
Walmart clothing. Gosh, to quote BB King; if it weren't for low quality, Walmart would have no quality at all.

I have shirts from Macy's that I bought 10 years ago and they still look and drape well. Walmart clothes are cheap and might last a year. False economy. At least with men's clothes.

Dollar white bread is a health issue. Three dollar is a healthy choice. Some aspects of life are important enough to not go cheap.
I so agree.

And nothing makes me feel more downtrodden than cheap clothes, cheap fabric . . . and they never hang or drape correctly, either.

Also, in the case of bread . . . I would rather make my own or buy artisan bread with no preservatives which I can buy from the Day Old Bread store and pay more for it than the "white bread" from the grocery store. Quality DOES MATTER!

I am not interested in living like a skinflint. I am interested in living WELL - and where possible - doing it for pennies on the dollar.

It is false economy to buy cheap items that don't last.
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Old 03-09-2015, 08:43 PM
 
6,305 posts, read 4,752,208 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr5150 View Post
Walmart clothing. Gosh, to quote BB King; if it weren't for low quality, Walmart would have no quality at all.

I have shirts from Macy's that I bought 10 years ago and they still look and drape well. Walmart clothes are cheap and might last a year. False economy. At least with men's clothes.

Dollar white bread is a health issue. Three dollar is a healthy choice. Some aspects of life are important enough to not go cheap.
I buy very little of my clothing at Walmart. I do buy Fruit of the Loom underwear at Walmart. The fit, quality AND the prices are the same as I paid 30 years ago. Walmart carries a lot of name brand clothing. I also buy a lot of clothing at Kohls. Sale prices are ridiculously low. I have no idea how long you keep your clothing but if a pair of jeans or dockers lasts me a year I am happy.

Perhaps we are talking about different types of clothing. My last suit is wadded up in the bottom of a drawer. I don't plan on wearing it ever. I did wear a tie and sport coat to a wedding 3 years ago. I spent 35 years wearing coats and ties every working day. I never understood why any man would want to hang a ribbon around their neck. Nor could I understand why business attire meant wearing a wool suit in the 112 degree Arizona summer weather.

I don't buy dollar bread. In fact I don't eat "white" bread at all. If I did I would rather buy Walmart bread than shop around for stale bread to put in the freezer. My point is simple. Life is too short to spend a lot of time and energy saving a few pennies to shop for stale bread or to take apart old clothing in order to reuse the fabric.
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Old 03-09-2015, 08:44 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
18,130 posts, read 23,010,120 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by City__Datarer View Post
I know one can grow some herbs indoors, but does anyone know if there are any vegetables one could grow in an indoor container?)
I was so excited last year when I learned that I could actually even grow tomatoes indoors in winter! All you need is a decent light. No need for a window at all. And cheap daylight bulbs work just fine. No need for expensive grow lights.

I bought a shop light on Home Depot for about $18. And a set of 2 GE daylight bulbs for around $10. I was able to grow a ton of cherry tomatoes on my dresser in a micro apartment. Tomatoes do not need to pollinate, as they have both male and female parts inside the bloom. It helps if you "tickle" them, by just jiggling the branch with the blooms, so the pollen shakes around and gets where it needs to go. Plus, doing that makes the room smell great - like tomato plants!

Here's a photo of my indoor tomato garden that I grew on my dresser with my grow light.



If you look closely, you will see a ton of green tomatoes, and they all ripened. These are a hybrid patio tomato I bought and grew from seed from Burpee. I also threw in a few marigold seeds, and you can see a couple marigold blooms in there, too.



Quote:
Originally Posted by BellaDL View Post
Our homemade organic whole wheat french bread cost less than 25 cents a loaf (including electricity). We buy bulk wheat berries from a local farm, grind small batch into flour at a time. We have been making homemade bread for the last 20 years or so with the bread maker.
You could make a killing at your local farmer's market! I don't know where you are, but in CA the restrictions have been really minimized for people who want to sell baked goods as a home cottage business.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brokensky View Post

I scour the markdowns for wine everywhere I go. Although I certainly know "good wine" -- I have found I enjoy a cheap bottle of chardonnay about as much as a very expensive bottle.
Yes!! Of course, living in CA, I can get great wine really cheap. And I have discovered that I am just as happy with a CA box version of wine as I am buying it by the bottle here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Escort Rider View Post
I think the area of housing may be a source of real savings, at least for some people.
Great advice. I now have the option of paying a little more, which I could afford, for a 1-bedroom, as opposed to continuing to living in a micro studio apartment. But, with a lot of kicking and screaming initially, I have discovered that I don't really need much "stuff" or space - now that I live somewhere with weather that allows me to go outside almost every day.

Even today, I downsized even more. I admit I can be bad about "recycling" stuff when I get ready to purge. Sometimes it's therapeutic to just make a quick decision and run out and toss it in the dumpster LOL! I've decided to stay in my micro space, and save the extra rent, now that I'm used to living with less.

I'm loving the idea of taking cheap cruises, now that you all have turned me onto that idea. I'll spend the extra "rent" money on taking a cruise every year! I love that idea.

I had another idea: matinees. You can save so much money going to the movies if you go to an earlier show.

Oh, and to the poster who said a person might just want to get a part time job instead of cut back. I love the saying that the easiest way to make more money is to spend less. If someone is capable and wants to work rather than cut back, good on them. If a person would rather not, or can't work, then spending less is the ticket.
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