Tightwad : The money tricks that you should know

This guest post by Al and entry in our non-fiction writing contest.

Take a five dollar bill out of your pocket and look at it. OK, if you’re under 50 years old use a twenty, if under 30, use a fifty.

Does that piece of paper work for you or for someone else?

If it’s going to pay down a credit card, it works for the credit card company. It will return to them a yield around twenty percent. If you decide to use it to increase your savings it will earn interest and thus be working for you. Today you will be lucky to make one percent at a bank. Twenty percent yield to them, one percent yield to you. Not fair, but he who has the gold makes the rules.

As consumers we need to spend money for food, education, housing, clothing and transportation. We could spend a dollar for a one pound bag of dried beans today, or continue to save so we could buy a fifty bound bag of beans for thirty five dollars. Those thirty five dollars are working for us if we spend it on the beans. The benefit to us is fifteen pounds of free beans, compared to buying them at the grocery store at a dollar a pound. Here, your money is working for you. Get out your calculator and figure the percent of return on that transaction! But if you must use the thirty five to pay the credit card company, I hope you can see that your money is not working for you, it is working against you. And just to make you feel guilty, it was the past decisions you made that ran up that credit card balance.

I would rather delay lunch by a half hour so I can drive home to avoid paying for a McBurger and soda. (You didn’t put your McBurger on your credit card, did you?)  Instead I wait until I get home (I’m retired) and make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It’s my favorite lunch meal. I am shocked to learn that the home made sandwich and a glass of milk cost 1.70. The McBurger and drink is around 4.45, so the savings for that one meal is 2.75. If you have a job and do this five days a week, you can save 13.75 every week. Not much, but it will buy a box of shells or a roll of FoodSaver bags.  At the end of a year you would have fifty two boxes of shells or two new FoodSavers  or you could buy a nicely equipped bang stick. I worked for a man who was the third generation owner of a business with almost 700 employees. He brought a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to work every day, and ate lunch with us peons whenever he didn’t have a meeting to attend.

Today there is no reason to accumulate very long term savings because of the artificially low interest rate commanded by the Federal Reserve. I’m thinking here of saving for goals like retirement in twenty years. Saving for shorter term goals, like a homestead spread or a car with better mileage than the current jalopy is always a good strategy, regardless of how much interest you can get on your savings.

For the short term, like 3-4 years, we are spending every extra dime we can on long life products like appliances. My belief is that we will be hit with very high inflation when the money printed by the Federal Reserve in the last three years finally gets to Main Street where we live. We all know that prices are rising for food and fuel but I think even higher inflation is in our short term future. When that happens, we may not be able to afford those appliances. The big money boys are advising all of us to buy land and gold, both out of our reach. Our appliances are twenty years old, and we have the option of replacing them now, or wish we did when they break down a few months from now and replacements are fifty percent higher. Whatever it is, a drill or a roof or a furnace, prices are going up.

So, how do you become a tightwad? Can you identify areas in your daily life where a little self-denial can slow the drain on your cash? If you have old equipment that needs replacing why wait until it breaks and inflation has already hit it? Can you find the motivation to identify opportunities to cut expenses and increase savings?

Will you share your savings tips and ideas with the rest of us?

This contest will end on February 16 2013  – prizes include:

Well what are you waiting for – email your entries today. But please read the rulesthat are listed below first… thumbs up Tightwad : The money tricks that you should know

Comments

  1. I have found many ways to cut my costs since I “retired”. But I still would rather put my savings into goods than an account. Food is going to go up, but my income is not, so whatever I can put up in the way of food is good.

    Same with other consumables. I have more time to shop for better deals by watching ads (I don’t drive around on $3.00 gas to save $2 on a pair of pants). We both eat at home as my wife driving the 2 miles home is cheaper than eating out.

    Our biggest savings has been eating out of our pantry. By buying items on sale, and resupplying that way, I think we have saves 35%+ on our food bill. Leaving more month for other preps!

  2. HomeINsteader says:

    You can be a tightwad if you want. Me? I’m just “good with money”! ; )

    • Hunker-Down says:

      A good friend and neighbor and I have an ongoing contest to see who is the cheapest ‘old goat’ in the neighborhood.
      He straightens out old bent nails and saves them; I save old bread wrappers. He puts out 5 gallon paint cans for the weekly garbage pickup and trains the pickup guy to not toss his cans; I use coat hanger wire to tie garden fencing to the posts.

      I could go on and on, but there are a few pack members that could leave us in the dust, they have posted in the past.

      • rev. dave says:

        Hunker-Down, you’ve got me LOL here. But a competition among friends is a great way to save money and share ideas about how. That box of nails or staples you don’t buy when you use old coat hangers is worth a few bucks at least.

        I’m a guy who saves everything I can find that ‘might have a use someday’, and I’ve got a dozen kitty litter buckets of stuff of that kind. But, I seldom need to go to a hardware store any more as I can usually figure out how to do what I need with some of the things I already have. I even ‘part out’ appliances and such when my neighbors toss them.

  3. One of my favorite things is to hang out clothes. Sure it’s cold—wear rubber gloves, the cold air will help keep you well. If it’s rainy or damp, I’m blessed to have a screened in porch. They may still be damp but every bit of moisture that evaporates is that much less I have to pay in electric charges. Also get use to a house that is a little chilly in winter and a little warm in summer–keep in mind that when the SHTF we will probably have to be uncomfortable. It won’t kill you but it may make you stronger;>)

  4. Great tips. Little changes really do add up.

    A couple of months ago I bought some plastic cups with lids & straws. We fill those up with ice & filtered water when we are on the go so we don’t reach for expensive bottled water. They’ve already paid for themselves and then some.

    Right now we are doing all minor car repairs that need to be done. I figure that its cheaper now than when inflation hits. Might be worth stocking up on oil & filters for future oil changes.

    We always combine trips – even short ones. Last night my husband needed to go to Lowe’s so I had him drop me at the grocery store on his way and then come back & get me when he was done. Probably saved $3 in gas!

    My generation has grown up in the land of growth & plenty. The last major recession (Under Carter) occurred when I was a child so I don’t remember much about it. We are probably struggling the most with this situation. But I fear it’s not going away anytime soon and will continue to get worse. I am prepared for it – physically and mentally.

  5. Petticoat Prepper says:

    Al,
    Timely article and well written. We have replaced almost all our 20+ yr appliances when they’ve been on sale. Hopefully they will save a small amount of $ by being more efficent.

    Inflation is a real concern. I did a bit of shopping this week at a tiny local ethnic market. They still use the paper sticky price tag on the tops of cans. I was replacing coconut milk in the small cans as I only had one left. Sticky tag on one year old can, $.55… sticky on new cans…$1.29. TDL wants to say we have no inflation…yeah, none of us fell off the turnip truck this morning!

    Again, good reminder on watching those pennies.

  6. Thomas T. Tinker says:

    Good one Al ! I made up my mind to cut out my coffee stop on the way to work. 24 X $1.49 = $35.76 a month. You have it right on the mark Al ! A lil bit of this, a lil bit of that.

  7. riverrider says:

    building materials. osb has gone up by 150% this year. 2×4’s are up 60%. if you think you’ll ever need them nows the time. i was going to build a shed this winter. not anymore. the material estimate went up almost 100%. hoping it’ll come back down after the hurricane houses get fixed. with union only contractors that’ll be like 10 years.

    • not to change the subject here,but when i owned my trucking company for 20 years,for 19 of those i refused all loads that either started or ended at a union shop. non union would load me in 20 minutes and i would be on my way, union would take 10 or more hours,and i dont get payed till my tires turn.when i would broker my loads,first question was are they union. if they didnt know,i would call and find out.it took me my entire first year of owner operating to figure out much of a dent unions put on my income.

      • riverrider says:

        roger that bc! they once served a good purpose, but like all power, power corrupts.

      • rev. dave says:

        Interesting. I worked the docks in several union shops ‘back in the day’. No truck sat longer than it took to bring his BL into the office and get cleared to unload, unless the bays were already full. And if there was a truck in the bay, we were working on it. I’ve unloaded trailers full of barrels of oil myself, tipping them, rolling them out and standing them back up on the dock, one by one. And those were UAW shops. I don’t know who you had to deal with, but they must be sold out or near bust by now. I guess it doesn’t matter either – I’m an old fart and those days were long ago and far away. Things change with time.

        • Backwoods Prepper says:

          Well I know from experience union grocers don’t get in no hurry.

        • FreeRangePagan says:

          I think is a matter of attitude really. I have to load/unload for work frequently, and I personally always try to get it done and move on. But the other guys working out of the same dock I’ve seen take their time and have three or more just standing around at a time. So why is the less paid carpenter better at this then the union guys who get hand picked to be there? Attitude.

  8. Recently I suffered lost rent due to the moving out of a roommate, lost wages due to the holidays (no holiday pay), and my band having no gigs due to a band member’s surgery. In one month that would be $550 less income. Meanwhile my tires wore out, my furnace just died (cold night last night!), and it’s winter so it’s costing twice as much for energy right now. I’m looking at tightening too. If I don’t buy food or any doodads and live on what I’ve got then I can afford bills, but it’s looking like I’ll have to eat some savings to fix the furnace. In a few months I’ll be back on stage and it’ll be warm again, and I might also find a roomie but in the meantime I want to stop the bleeding.

    So what I am doing besides looking for income replacements, since I keep being tempted to buy “preps” but can’t afford it right now?

    I started writing down what I wanted to get as I got the impulse. Then I try to think of ways I can make do. I wanted a bookbag to put my EDC tool-belt in (see idea under the last “What did you do to prep this week”). Well, I have bookbags at home, just not the color I want. But I do have fabric that color, so all I need is an hour to whip one up. Or I can just use a different color bag and not worry about it.

    I wanted shrimp to make gumbo. Instead I made spicy vegetable soup and forgot the shrimp. I think I have a can of whitefish somewhere, but I decided the soup was good without fish.

    I wanted coffee out. There was no reason – I have coffee. So I made a pot.

    And so on. In the space of an hour I had 5 separate impulses to go buy something, and they all became notations on a piece of paper. Most of them I can do without, or substitute something.

    After that, the trick is to figure out WHY so many impulses. On the talk radio this morning there was a lady who took a one year vacation from makeup and fashion. She talked about not going in stores anymore as well and discovering she had a pervasive sense of lack that was unwarranted, and she had been filling it by shopping. I suspect that my impulses to buy something, even though it’s food or preps, may have a stimulus like that, so I am paying attention. (I’m a makeupless thrift store maven for life, so no worries there, except when I want tactical pants)

    One thing you can do even if you have money is pretend you don’t have any money and then come up with creative ways to achieve what you want without spending anything. That doesn’t work on everything but it does work on a lot of things.

    Lastly, I would caution against buying brand new appliances. Get refurbed used ones, or get your existing ones overhauled with new gaskets, hoses, lube job, etc. The new EPA mandated “greener” white goods have a lot of computer parts and don’t do their job as well as the old ones, which sometimes means you have to use them twice in order to get the job done right (like those low-water toilets) and the smarter ones might even have ways to report your energy use to the power company, or worse could be used somehow to spy on you in your home.

    Also by buying new appliances you are employing the Chinese, but by refurbishing your existing ones you are employing American appliance repairmen. And you will save a lot of money.

    • HomeINsteader says:

      You make some outstanding observations, PP.

      May I offer one? Perhaps you have “impulses” because you have, like all of us, been “conditioned” into the American way of life – conspicuous consumption.

    • Hunker-Down says:

      “Google” ‘made in USA appliances’.

      • HomeINsteader says:

        Try this: http://www.stillmadeinusa.com/appliances.html

        but ask questions; I’ve been flat-out lied to on furniture. Ashley is not MADE in the USA, it’s made in China and assembled in the USA; if you don’t know to ask…but there’s a huge difference.

        Viking is still made in Mississippi, but, you’d best hurry; they’ve just been bought out, and I’ll be shocked if they don’t start making them out of China.

    • …just a thought–if you haven’t already replaced your furnace, ask your local furnace guy/gal if they have any “scratch & dent” furnaces.

      we saved hundreds of USD $$$ by getting one with a slight ding that no one sees since it’s up against the basement wall.

      if you don’t ask, you loose the chance you might have had.

      ASK!

      Cheers!

    • Penny Pincher,

      I can relate to the one year vacation from makeup and fashion. LOL I don’t feel the need to wear makeup and when I went shopping with my sister-in-law over the holidays I cracked up at what’s “in fashion”.

    • Repair Mama says:

      Hey, Can I try to help you trouble shoot the furnace so maybe you will not have to replace or maybe I can walk you through a repair that will be cheaper than the repair man?
      MD, give her my e-mail address if she wants a little help on this and I can e-mail her my phone number.

      Thanks
      repair mama

  9. Thank you for your great ideas! Here’s what I do:

    I pay myself first by putting a portion of any income into savings.
    I pay off my credit debts monthly if I can – if I can’t, I save the money ahead for the item.
    I strive to increase my available emergency cash – the goal is a year of living expenses. I pick up coins on the street, turn in bottles for cash and scrap metal to the junk yard.
    I invest conservatively by laddering CDs, FDIC insured bonds, and make sure my stock and mutual funds are way less than 1/3 of my total funds.
    I use local banks for cash. If I can drive or walk to it, I don’t want it. I use money market accounts that pay interest, offer free checking or pay dividends such as credit unions.
    I use 2 different banks – 1 for buying locally, and 1 for online purchases for security reasons.
    I buy bulk whenever I can – food, medicines, supplies, etc. and grow food and collect seeds for next year
    I also have returned to doing things manually to save money. I don’t have a dishwasher. I line dry when I can in the summer.
    I buy appliances in January and February for summer items; July and August for winter items.

    • My bad… wrote the sentence wrong – it should read:

      “I use local banks for cash – if I CANNOT drive or walk to it, I don’t want it.”

    • Some of these are great ideas! I especially like the fact you use your credit card and make them pay you. The way I figure is this, while they are owning your debt, you are making interest on that money (not much probably, but every cent counts). I pay mine off each month and so I get 1-5% cash back to use at Amazon. A recent purchase banked me over $100 in rewards that I used to buy some BOB stuff.

      On another note, you said you wash dishes manually (or so I assumed) but newer dishwashers tend to use less energy and water than hand washing. Google this and see for yourself.

      Thanks for your suggestions!

    • Hunker-Down says:

      Nancy V.,

      Have you thought about the effect of the coming inflation and what it will do to your buying power in a few months? Consider adding a reasonable percentage to gold or silver. We like junk silver because the small units may buy a loaf of bread down the road. It would be hard to find someone to make change for an ounce of gold.

      • HomeINsteader says:

        Store unground grain – 30 years, if done correctly, and something (more than one) to grind them with without electricity. I believe the Bible is very clear that there is coming a day when “a piece of bread will buy a bag of gold”.

        • Home’r,

          Do you have a reference for this claim? This is one of my areas of interest–what scripture says about prepping. I have read articles where people think this is a quote directly from scripture–“a piece of bread will buy a bag of gold”. (You are clearly not making that attribution, so please don’t think I am criticizing you.) I am interested in this subject, that’s all.

          • HomeINsteader says:

            I’m glad you asked, Bam Bam.

            Those words do not appear in the Bible at all. The message appears, but the words were made popular during the 1970’s in a Christian song titled, “I Wish We’d All Been Ready” by dcTalk; it was on a collection titled, “People Get Ready”, from the “Left Behind” series. Thus, I put them in quotes. Good catch, you little sharpie, you!

            The Bible very clearly speaks of a widespread famine such as the world has never seen before during the “Great Tribulation” period (the second half, or last 3 1/2 years, of the Tribulation period).

            Famine is not new in this world. Amos records a great famine coming, as do Luke, Matthew, Ezekiel, Joel, Job, and many others. It is because of a 7-year famine that Joseph was able to catapult to the 2nd in command in Egypt and save the Hebrew people, including his own family.

            This famine will be very different from all the others. It will encompass the whole globe, no exceptions, and it will be Holy G-d’s wrath poured out.

            (New King James Version)

            In Revelation 6, we see the opening of the 3rd judgment seal upon the earth:

            (vs. 5-8)

            5 When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come and see.” So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. 6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart[a] of wheat for a denarius,[b] and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine.”

            In verse 5, the “scales” represent “lack” – there will be a lack of food; we know this because of what comes in verse 6: a denarius represented a day’s wages for the average man at that time; those who have work will be working to pay for food for ONE PERSON, for one day, if they are lucky., because a quarts of wheat was considered the minimum necessary to feed one person for one day. This is the picture painted here – the lucky ones will earn enough to buy bare minimum food for one day, and that’s it; many won’t even have that, because it won’t be available at any price.

            Barley was generally fed to animals because of its low nutritional content; it was cheaper than wheat, which is why you see “3 quarts of barley” mentioned here. People will be barely getting by on food that isn’t all that nutritious; they’ll eat whatever they can get, is the message.

            …and harm not the oil and wine…is generally accepted as a statement that these items will become absolute luxuries; oil is needed for making bread; people won’t be making bread, because few of them will have oil to make it with.

            There will nothing over that. What will you do when you have a family to feed? That is a picture of extreme famine, as a result of economic collapse due to war, and it will go on, increasing in severity, throughout this period of Holy G-d’s judgment, and yet many will not repent.

            The black horse signifies famine, as well (Lamentations 5:8-10. Worldwide war will destroy food supply, spawning global starvation. Note this is “global”.

            Fourth Seal: Widespread Death on Earth

            7 When He opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come and see.” 8 So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth.

            In verse 7, we see that the people on earth are being killed by “sword” (warfare) and by HUNGER….they are literally starving to death….and being eaten by the beasts of the earth, as they, too, are starving….as an animal rescuer, that one is really tough for me!

            The children died, the days grew cold..
            a piece of bread would buy a bag of gold..
            I wish we’d all been ready……
            there’s no time to change your mind,
            the Son has come, and you’ve been left behind…

            And now, you know! You are so schmart!

            BTW, there are a number of times recorded in the Bible during which Holy G-d tells His people to “prepare”, which is to “prep”, beginning with Noah, then Joseph…and many more.

  10. Here’s some frugal things I do already:
    Hand wash my laundry and hang it dry
    Cook 99% of my meals from scratch
    Only bake things when it’s cold out
    Keep the heat down in winter and wear 2 sweaters and sometimes a hat, also in bed
    Only air condition my bedroom in summer (I’m upstairs so there’s no getting around the a/c unless I slept outside)
    Use curtains to block out light when it’s hot
    Combine trips so fewer trips for errands
    Only buy food when it’s on sale or wholesale price
    Price compare 3 or 4 grocery stores for stuff I buy and keep a list of the prices in each store
    Camp or couch surf instead of use hotels when I have to travel
    No cable TV.

  11. PGCPrepper says:

    This is a big issue with me. I am a tightwad. I grew up so poor it was ridiculous. Even today, I don’t have what most folks on welfare have as far as possessions. I don’t even have a smart phone or many things others have. It’s weird. I have no mortgage, no auto payments or other bills at all. I also have well over 100K in the bank but I still do without. I do not know what to do with it for the first time in my life. I have several K’s in physical silver and whatever but the cash worries me. I wanted to invest in land but the lord has punished me or is testing me it seems. I do not believe I will be alive two months from now but my 40 year old wife should be OK. I teach her best I can every day. I do not waste money to this day however I’ll give my panhandler friend a dollar or more every time I see him LOL

    I’m weird I guess but I know there is a passage in Saint something that says a rich man will have a hard time getting into Heaven. I had a GF once who asked me why I give the “bum” a dollar when we know he’s going to buy cigarettes or alcohol with it. Easy answer. I have to answer to God for what I do and he has to answer to God for what he does with the dollar. When my father was going to beat me with a belt, once again, for spilling milk on the table while trying to eat some sugar pops at fifteen years of age, I ran away from home and hitch hiked to Myrtle Beach and bummed nickels for two week before getting tossed into jail. I spent those nickels on a pack of marlboros first and a corn dog second. I knew priorities then better than I do now.

    Sometimes I think it’s easier to just go down whether in a fight or not than do all this prep BS. I think I’m done here. Moat of this BS seems less worthwhile every day. Could be worse. I could have followed Lee’s orders up the hill when I knew Longstreet was right. So long, pack.

    • rev. dave says:

      PGCPrepper – you sound like a guy I wish I’d known for a long time already. You also sound tired and ready for a change, so I suppose all I can say is ‘have an easy passing and a pleasant journey, and may the light shine on you every day after’.

      Personally, I think you’re tough enough to fight past this situation, but only if you can still find that ‘fight’ inside of you. Look for it please – I think you have a lot to tell and pass on.

      • PGCPrepper says:

        Thank you Rev. That’s good enough for me. I do fight to stay alive due to you and others paying for my military retirement that my wife can continue to enjoy. :-)

    • PGC, I have to say I’m a little concerned. Why do you say you don’t think you’ll be alive two months from now?

      If its health issues, I’m sorry to hear it and I’ll say a prayer for whatever-its-worth coming from a man of pretty weak faith.

      If you think “the times” are going to get you, or that keeping-on keeping-on isn’t worth it, let me try to convince you otherwise.

      “Going down in a fight” is at best a fourth rate option. Living on and changing you enemies or your times has got to be close to tops, ask George Washington, Ghandi, etc. Destroying the opposition has got to be better than going down in the fight, ask Meade. As a third option, I’ll quote a bit from Catcher in the Rye where one character writes down on a piece of paper some advice for the main character to keep with him “The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one.”

      For you and all the pack. Please:

      Keep on Keepin’ on

    • PGC Prepper, Is there anything we can do for you? I’m sure we will all be praying for you. It’s all in God’s hands, you may out live many of us. However, if we can help in any way give us a heads-up!

      • PGCPrepper says:

        Not sure. Some folks are meant to suffer. I’ve seen my dad who whipped me with a belt constantly as a child and abused alcohol die at 41. My older brother was in prison three times even though he was scouted by the NY Yankees at 19 in high school. He was blown away at 33 by a shotgun blast to the face after he lost three fingers in prison in a fight and could no longer play ball. My second oldest brother was killed in his garage by his own wife. I’m sure it was his fault though. My mom has suffered thru all this and had a stroke last year. I tried to do better but the Lord has inflicted me with a terrible debilitating disease that I’ve spent a year on and can’t resolve. I’ve been in the emergency room eight times in the last six months. No help. I pray for death and for other’s well-being. We all die and that’s one reason I’m torn with the whole prepper thing. I know this sounds weird. I’m not an idiot. I have an undergrad in business and minor in econ. and have never made a letter grade less than “A”. Four point oh IOW.

        I grew up with my friend Randy Travis (real name Traywick) and rode horses with him when we were young. I even smoked weed with him. We had dreams. Even after all his success he has trouble coping if you’ve stayed on top of things. His father beat him with a horsewhip once. I saw it. You just never know if someone has it made or troubled. My wife’s friend believes that I have to suffer to set my eyes on the Lord. She knows that I go out of may way to give a bum a dollar. Seems weird but maybe. But what of the rest of the decent folks that suffer less. Why do they get an earthy pass? I’ve no idea.

        • PGCPrepper says:

          earthly pass.

        • HomeINsteader says:

          PGCP, you have suffered much for the sins of others, and for that, my heart breaks. I am so sorry. These things should never happen to children (or adults). We all have our sorrows, and isn’t it amazing the suffering we humans inflict on one another?

          I am concerned, however, regarding your view of our Heavenly Father. My prayer for you is that you come to know Him as He truly is – loving, kind, generous, merciful, full of grace toward His children.

          We all suffer, not because our Heavenly Father delights in our sufferings, but because we live in a fallen world – a sinful world. We can not escape that in this world. Perhaps that is what you mean?

          G-d is capable of sending suffering, and there are times recorded in the Word wherein He has done just that; in every case, He tells us why, and it is nearly always to discipline His beloved child (that word means “teach”; it does not mean “punish”). But G-d is not USUALLY responsible for our suffering. Sin is the usual culprit. To think that all of our sufferings come from Holy G-d is a bit, well, worrisome.

          You seem to have experienced more than your share of sorrows. I am truly sorry. I’d like to suggest that if you examine each and every one of these situations, you’ll find sin at the core of every one.

          I hope you find the necessary balance in your relationship with Him. I hope you are able to forgive those who have inflicted so much hurt.

          I pray that you come to know the simplicity of who you are called to be in Him, that it is measured in love that overflows toward you, just simply because He loves you and there is nothing you can or should or could do to influence the measure of His love for you; you can’t earn it, and you can’t get an “A” or an “F” in it – I pray that you just feel the warmth of His protective love and embrace covering you. In the name of Y’eshua/Jesus Christ,

          • Tactical G-Ma says:

            HI
            I am always spiritually uplifted by your remarks. You just know how to say it. I feel His love all around me and you remind me to acknowledge it.

            • HomeINsteader says:

              Sometimes I’m frustrated because I can’t just reach through this dadgum computer and give you a big ol’ hug, TGMA!

          • PGCPrepper says:

            You wrote…..”I hope you find the necessary balance in your relationship with Him. I hope you are able to forgive those who have inflicted so much hurt.”

            I forgive all. It is necessary for my mental health and any hope for salvation. Incidentally, I just read the article about salvation and survival after I posted. Very timely. I’ve just had a very bad, bed-ridden five days and I’m not even sure if what I posted makes sense. I cannot sleep but an hour at a time so there is some obvious incoherent ramblings in my writings. Thanks for your prayers and your very well articulated and obvious well intentioned guidance.

            • HomeINsteader says:

              And now I will add prayers that you be given much needed rest for your physical body.

      • Tactical G-Ma says:

        PGCP
        We are blessed by your companionship and knowledge as long as you are able. When the time comes you will be missed.

        • Millie in KY says:

          PCPrepper, I can’t add anything to what has been said. I hope everything goes all right for you and I will add my prayers to the throng who have promised to do so. I also hope that you will stay here as long as you can and please, let someone let us know if you have gone on to Glory. I hope that isn’t for a long time and that healing does occur. I love what you write and you are so practical about things. Please take care of yourself…..

          • rev. dave says:

            Sister Millie – Your local Goodwill probably also has a rack where they have blankets and material left-overs. You should be able to find them there. These days most of that will be fleece rather than flannel, but that will do for the same purpose, and may last longer.

            I have small dogs who use fleece ‘throw blankets’ for part of their bedding. They tend to bite holes in them after while, and then they get stuck in the holes. Its cute, but not a good thing if you’re away working all day. So I cut those blankets up in small squares and use them for rags. But I could use those for a ‘tail wiper’ bucket as well.

            The point being, however, that if you have animals or friends who do you may be able to get some free ‘holey’ blankets that way for the same reason and same purpose. All ya’ need do is to wash them and then cut them up. You may simply have to ask around and wait, rather than go out tomorrow and buy. Maybe your local vet or animal shelter has some with holes that you could get.

  12. rev. dave says:

    The biggest thing I did to save money was to cancel my credit cards one at a time until I have only a debit card. Then it was easier to pay down on the card balances until they were all gone. It wasn’t bad enough I was paying 12% interest, but the card companies kept raising the rates even while I was paying more than minimums on the balances. So I started cancelling them. The last one tried to raise my rate from 14% to 31.99% in a year. Then when I called to cancel they tried to tell me I wasn’t honoring my user agreement.

    Did I take a hit on my credit? Yeah, a small one. But I have FAR more money now than I had when they got 1/4 of my monthly take-home pay in interest, so I can pay a 2% higher interest rate to buy a car – and I can pay it off early making the interest rate fairly unimportant. I paid them all off, but you can get a prepaid card now if you must have one, and cancel the others. Whether you pay them off or not is your decision – but by all means get OUT of the credit card trap.

    • HomeINsteader says:

      We chose the route of a debt consolidation, and it worked out very well for us. IN 2008-9, when credit first started tightening, we had four (4) credit cards with balances that all went from single digit to double digit interest rates. We had held these cards for as long as 25 years on some. We contacted the credit card companies and told them we would not be able to pay the account with that kind of interest. Here’s their response, “we are not negotiating interest rates at this time”.

      So we did our homework and found a debt consolidation company we thought we could live with – and have been pleased, though I will not reveal which one here (too much info!). We were able to pay off ALL of our debt within 3 years.

      Contrary to what some think, this will NOT ruin your credit. It will, in fact, get you new offers from companies wanting you to go further in debt…so be careful that you don’t take that bait.

      Debt consolidation was ABSOLUTELY a good move for us. We paid off debt in 3 years thought would have taken closer to 30, otherwise – no joke.

      If you’re struggling with credit cards/revolving credit, look into this as a possibility. One payment to one place is also much easier and less stressful than payments all over the place.

      Be advised you will probably be asked why you took this action if you apply for a loan during the life of the debt consolidation agreement. Tell the truth, “it’s the only way we could pay it off in a reasonable period of time”. And you also need to know that if you miss ONE payment to your debt consolidation company, the creditor(s) has/have the right to cancel the agreement.

      Debt consolidation companies DO NOT have any real “bargaining power” in rates to creditors; they basically all have the same rates available to them for their customers – don’t buy any nonsense that one can get you a better rate over another.

      Hope this helps someone.

      • Hunker-Down says:

        Thanks for sharing. I always wondered about those ‘interest rate reduction” claims.

        • HomeINsteader says:

          Well, HD, just doing the debt consolidation reduced our interest rates from 29.99% to less than 8% on all of them! But, if you mean, can a company get a better rate than others, the answer is no. Companies have standard rates for debt consolidation. If you’re thinking of doing this, though, folks – don’t wait too long – as more people start doing this, expect the “negotiated interest rates” to increase.

      • rottengirl says:

        Homeinsteader, thanks for the info I would like to find a debt consolidation firm Im tired of fighting with the credit cards co over interest rates and want to be free of them everyone states if you use a consolidation co it hurts your credit the only reason why I have a cc is I help shelter dogs have a chance and opportunity to have a life, and with the economy the way it is there are more and more pets being taking to the shelter to be PTS, any advise?

      • check with your back re debt consolidation. My ex left me with $18000 of credit card debt as he had taken some of my credit cards & maxed them all out. I got a debt consolidation loan & wasn’t making much progress. I called my credit union & they gave me a loan through them & I was able to pay everything off making the same payments but without the giant interest that was preventing me from paying the balance down. Plus, I was able to automatically deduct the payments from my account so there was no excuse for them being late or whatever.

      • The credit card companies fund those debt counseling companies. Even getting part of what they would make is better than the alternative, bankruptcy. They are technically a non profit debt counselor.

        Now watch out for those “debt settlement” companies. They are a for profit company that will supposedly “negotiate on your behalf” with the credit card companies. They will hurt your credit the way they operate. Be sure you ask beforehand.

  13. j.r. guerra in s. tx. says:

    From what I’m seeing on prices down here, its hard to justify saving your money when shortages of future needed items loom. I find myself asking ‘What would I rather have – the needed item on hand OR the money to pay for it (prices going up everyday).

    Definitely agree with get out of debt – interest eats you alive. Credit cards – maaaybe one just to have for emergencies, but pay off balance completely each month – always.

    My business lunches are nearly always eaten in office, brought from home – way less expensive than even fast food and I’m more rested than stressing out over lunch crowds and dealing with parking.

    Soft drinks – very rarely, the single serve ‘packet’ drinks are far more reasonable, just keep the screw cap drink bottle after you drank contents and you are good to go.

  14. livinglife says:

    Before buying in bulk, you need to be able to store it so it doesn’t go bad.
    The internet is great for checking prices between competitors. Even a regular store will often wheel and deal if you ask.

  15. ladyhawthorne says:

    I agree with everything said here but would like to make a comment about the credit card debt. If you can pay off the debt quicker than just the monthly minimums you will save on the amount of interest you pay. You are actually saving money as the bill has to be paid anyway. Works the same way with a mortgage or car payment, any type of loan you may have.

  16. HomeINsteader says:

    I agree, j.r. – all that money in the bank? About to become completely useless. The Potentate has a plan for that, too.

    Now about those drinks…howzabout you just carry clean bottled SPRING water? After all, many illnesses today are the result of dehydration, and some of the drinks people consume actually make dehydration worse. Plus, clean water flushes out a whole lot of nasty stuff in your bod. Convinced yet?! ; )

    • just a thought, Good Folks:

      me and the little lady of 46 years tossed out each and every, all and sundry television sets from our homestead over six years ago. it’s all mostly propaganda and trash anyways–useless–and poisons the mind.

      you’d be surpised how much $$$ we’ve saved not being influenced or propagandized to “keep up with the Joneses” or “won’t your neighbors envy you when you buy xxxx.”

      NONSENSE!

      Read the Holy Bible, live right, eat right, and act right. You’ll be aok!

  17. No credit cards, either cash or we don’t buy it. We keep our thermostat at 65 in the winter and use less 100 gallons out of the 500 gallons of propane we store over the whole winter even in this drafty old shack. Last year it was less than 50 and as mild as it’s been so far we’re on track for it to be the same this year. In summer it’s at 80 or above and we use fans. Cut a 100 bucks a month off the electric bill that way. No cable or satellite tv service, no big waste of money there. Just the internet and 2 basic cell phones we seldom turn on.

    We don’t eat out, go to movies or even come off the mountain often. What movie can top a walk in the woods or sitting on the edge of the bluff looking out over a valley at sunrise or sunset? Or the panoramic view of the stars at night? Plus we both like books better than TV anyway and with the Kindles and free ebooks there’s plenty to read. More than our remaining lifetimes worth.

    We try to shop only once a month so that keeps our gas for the vehicles to 20 a month even at the distances we have to drive just to get to a main road. There are exceptions to that at times of course but for the majority of months it’s 20 bucks even at 3+ bucks a gallon. Nice change from when I was doing service calls and The Boss had a 90 minute (each way) commute and our fuel costs were a couple hundred a month. And the exceptions are why I keep a certain amount in gas cans over and above what I keep for emergencies, the mowers, weedeaters and other such power tools.

    Austere? Maybe. It ain’t all beer and skittles but, for the most part, it suits us.

  18. MountainSurvivor says:

    You should never “wait to get home to fix something to eat” for reasons of saving money, etc. because an earthquake, storm, electrical line collapse, flat tire, blown engine, steering components failure or other events could happen while you are making your way home and leave you stranded until you can get back on the road or get back home. Always pack plenty of food, water, toilet paper or wash cloths with plastic trash bags to put them in and hand sanitizer. And tinder, fire starter, wool blankets, canteen, water purification method, shoes suitable to the terrain, knife and whatever you believe will hold you over for a minimum of a week. You should avoid meats, cheeses, crackers, foods that can cause botulism or turn rancid because they have a lot of oils when they are stored inside a vehicle during days when temps can heat up the truck, back end or cab and leave you wishing and wanting. If you are stuck for four to eight days without anything or very much to eat, you’ll never again want to wait until you get home to fix a meal.

    • Hunker-Down says:

      That’s why I always have a fresh peanut butter and jelly sandwich under the seat. IF I make it home before TEOTWAWKI, I win! If not, I’ll break open the ER bars.

      • HomeINsteader says:

        Or, you could just toss a loaf of bread, the jar of pnut butter and jelly, and few bottles of water in the vehicle before leaving…might need a few friends, who knows?

    • When I was in the oilfield and checking several wells a night I learned to cook meals in double wrapped heavy duty foil on the exhaust manifold while I was driving. Simple food but hot and tasty when there wasn’t time to stop for meals. There was even a cookbook about it. Told you how long to drive, how fast and what size engine the times were for….lol.

    • HomeINsteader says:

      Good point, MS; that’s why carrying a “Get Home Bag” is always a good idea!

  19. harold kirkpatrick says:

    Dear Tighwad, you on on to something. My wife and I don’t spend money we don’t have. We never did but now we are very thrifty. We buy in bulk at Sams. My truck is old. The last big thing was a new HHR car for my wife. We eat out very rairly. We are saving to get a place in the country. We track all our spending ,every cent. We balance our check book and record all atm charges. We budget our bills ,house hold, medical and any outher reoccuring bills such as auto, home insurance. It’s realy not that hard once you get used to sitting down and doing it. We never use our credit card accept for preps we always subtract that from our balance as soon as we place an order, so when the credit card bill comes we have the mony to pay.it. We hold back a prudent reserve for emergencies. The idea of buying an appliance before we need to is foreign concept. I will take a look at that.
    thanks for the artical.
    Harold K.

    • HomeINsteader says:

      Hi, Harold! Sounds like you’re doing a great job! I do have a couple of questions. Why are you paying ATM fees at all? Why not just go to the bank when it is open, write a check and the window and cash it (you’ve already paid for the checks – might as well use them!), or, walk inside and cash a check, while the bank is open. We have not paid an ATM fee in years. As you know, those $$ add up.

      Also, I do not agree with the advice to run out and buy new appliances. If you have older appliances that are still working, keep them, especially if they were made in the USA. DO NOT REPLACE MADE IN THE USA APPLIANCES WITH NEW ONES MADE IN CHINA. You will regret it. Just get replacement parts as “back up”, search the internet for information on how to make repairs to your model, download and print those instructions, keep any paperwork you have now on the appliances for future reference, and make sure your local appliance repairperson is in your circle of friends (seriously)!

      • Repair Mama says:

        About the appliances. I agree with keeping the older made in usa appliances. I had a kitchen stove 40″ wide brown beauty with a double oven. it was electric and over 35 years old when I had to let her go. I could no longer get parts for it. I could not even use a universal part and retrofit it. I cried the day she had to leave and hate the new one that was purchased at lowes.
        you can get on the sears parts store.com and type in your model number for your appliance and check to see if the parts are still available. I have a parts distributor that I use and sears parts website is usually cheaper than the distributor. In my opinion, GE and Hotpoint (made by GE) are the easiest to get. sometimes cheaper than other brands for replacement parts.

        • HomeINsteader says:

          Hi, RM! I don’t know if it’s true or not, but my appliance repair dude told me me the same thing about GE and Hotpoint parts (easier to get), but he also told me it’s because they are more likely to break down. Feel free to comment on that….

          Viking (made in Mississippi) has just been bought it, so, it will be interesting to see how long they remain Made in MS, and not China.

  20. Hmm off the top of head a few things I do…
    I will skip what has been covered such as not eating out, shopping in bulk, stocking up on good sales, not using the clothes dryer ect…

    When I buy milk I get the whole milk, then divide it into 2 jugs then fill them both with water…milk is the same cost if it is whole or nonfat.

    Only use my own homeade laundry soap.

    Try to eat as little meat as possible even though I raise my own, meat is the most expensive part of a meal, example: I make tacos I use maybe 1/4lb of beef and a quart of home canned pinto beans as my filling. Also I try to work beans and rice into as many meals that I can.

    Composting toilet

    Got outta debt, completely. Bought a decent 24′ travel trailer, no more rent and utilities

    Gets buckets of restaurant waste for my chickens and ducks, also feed my rabbits about 50% weeds, apple tree pruning, veggie scraps ect ect.

    Grow my own food and can everything! Tattler lids, have already made themselves free twice over

    Don’t buy cheap/poorly made anything…sometimes to save money you have to spend money

    I have tons more ideas but I gotta run for now ;)

    • rev. dave says:

      “Don’t buy cheap/poorly made anything…”. AMEN to THAT! You’ll only buy it 2 or 3 or 5 times over.

      • HomeINsteader says:

        Well that would pretty much exempt anything made in China. It’s not about price, it’s about quality.

    • Sarkin, Please take the time to share with us what else you do to save money, time and the environment. What you have already shared with us is wonderful.

      • Thanks a bunch for the positive words :) I just jotted several paragraphs down for the writing contest. Figured I might be able to hit the 1000+ word suggestion. Gotta think of my most original ideas ;)

    • Prepping Wife. says:

      Does the milk trick make it taste non-fat? I cannot stand whole milk – I was born and raised drinking non-fat. That’s a great trick if it makes it taste non-fat – especially for the kids and thier cereal in the mornings!

      • Yea it tastes just like non-fat imo..so it basically makes your milk 50% off. Some families drink tons of milk so this savings could really add up. Plus I am fairly sure dairy(and everything else) will be skyrocketing very soon.

    • Sarkin,

      Is 2% milk just watered down whole milk? I am guessing that it is–and I’ve been paying for water all these years. That’s a real smack in the face.

      • rev. dave says:

        You might try buying dried milk and just adding water. It’s been a few years – well, several decades really, but as I recall that tastes ‘OK’ and was WAY cheaper than liquid milk of any percentage.

      • Encourager says:

        No Bam Bam. 2% milk has the milk fat (some of it) also known as cream taken off before it is pasteurized and homogenized. Whole milk is 4% milk fat. I believe it is against the law to dilute the milk without stating on the label that it contains milk, water, and whatever vitamins are added.

  21. riverrider says:

    i once knew a guy that bought two ply tp and seperated it into two roles. he disconnected the hot water line to the washer as well. he heated w/ wood and his wife would cheat n let the heat pump run during the day. so one day he shut it off under the house and said he didn’t have the money to fix it. he’s worth about 3 million right now from a labor wage, but alone. sometimes being frugal is fun, other times not so much :)

    • HomeINsteader says:

      and he still died and couldn’t take it with him…think of all the good he could have done with it while he was here.

  22. rev. dave says:

    OK, here’s one I haven’t seen. Buy clothes at Goodwill or consignment stores. I started about 3 years ago going for the senior mid-week discount day. I now have a half-dozen sport coats in either nice wool tweeds or – get this – Cashmere! And I paid under $20 for each – about $12 usually. I also have a half-dozen nice heavy wool sweaters – Shetland wool, Irish fisherman’s, Nordic patterns, etc. I paid about $5 each for those. I don’t buy a lot of trousers there because I tend to like a BDU style and there aren’t many in my local stores, but I do find some shirts there too – at about $4 each.

    • HomeINsteader says:

      I buy beautiful things in this way! But I find I get the best selection “out of season” – in the spring, people clean out their winter clothes, for example. Grab the best from the available choices (that suit you), clean it, put it away for next season!

      • And just by the way, except for the ‘dress clothes’ that I buy for work and dating, I tend to buy most of my shirts and sweaters in muted color patterns. Some of them completely disappear in the back yard or woods, so I can be reasonably dressed for going into town, running errands, or just socializing – and still hide in the bushes if some emergency comes up while I’m out. It’s like ‘dress camo’ on the cheap – a real survival bonus!

    • our local thrift store gives you credit for clothes you donate to them. So I donate a bag I get to take a bag home! Works great for small boys that grow like weeds!

  23. Thanks for helping us to put those thinking caps on. In terms of appliances, I tend to look for the older ones that have been reconditioned. My experience with the newer stuff has not been good. For example, my mom has a 15 year old washer that runs like a top. My 2 year old washer is a piece of “made in China’ junk. My clothes get torn and I hate the computerization which dictates how much water it will allow unless I stand there and force the level to what is actually needed. Most of my durable goods purchases today are from the standpoint of ‘can it work off grid?’ Know it’s not always possible, but I try to invest in the older items that were quality made.
    Good discussion!

    • I’ve had a lot of success from buying appliances that are being sold due to divorces or at estate sales. Sometimes they’re less than two years old and the expensive brands, and they’re usually cheap especially if you have a bunch of $20’s to pay with instead of a check. But if you want a warranty or maintenance contract, the deals at the Sears outlets are super deals on new appliances – some of them ‘scratch and dent’.

  24. I do pretty much the same as everyone else here: I use homemade laundry soap, I can whatever I can get my hands on, including meat, beans and homemade soups. I buy when products are BOGO. We don’t go out to the movies; it’s just as easy to wait until they come out on DVD and get them online.

    We keep the windows open most of the year. But we do have to run the AC in June, July and August. I don’t spend money on things like going out for coffee. We make a list when we go grocery shopping and only buy what is on the list. (My dh is much more disciplined than I am on this.) We eat out of our garden as often as we can. This year I want to plant extra tomatoes so I can put up a couple dozen cans of stewed tomatoes. I cook from staples, buy in bulk and rotate my stock. The biggest thing we have done is to start working off a menu. We are both so busy that if we don’t take something out of the freezer or plan dinner first thing in the morning, we are starving by supper time. And it’s just too easy to run down the street to Burger Wop.

    I have started baking my own bread in my bread machine. I was buying one or two loves of French or Cuban bread each week. I save a few dollars a week just by making bread. Another area we save is with planning ahead for gifts. We often give picture frames with a nice photo, home canned goods or homemade soaps. That saves a lot of money there. Another area where we save money is by having healthy habits–vitamins, good diet, exercise, hand washing religiously during flu season . . . buying fish antibiotics so we don’t have to worry about the co pay to visit a doctor (and worry about catching something while at the doctor’s office).

    We don’t have car payments and I pay my credit cards off every month. We have another 20 years to go on the mortgage but I am in no hurry to pay that off. I think the rate of inflation will negate the interest we will pay over the course of the next 20 years, so we will make money by not paying off our home early.

    A few months back we made a list of all the fun things we could do that are free. We like bike riding and going for picnics. We like taking our dog for a walk ever day. We like reading books and going to the library. We like watching movies at home. We like having friends and family over for dinner.

  25. One thing I haven’t seen mentioned is saving on phone bills. I have a Skype account that gives me a “real” phone number that others can use to call me from a regular phone, and no limit on the calls I make in the US and Canada. I pay for this once a year: it comes out to about $6 a month.
    You can’t use Skype for 911, though, so I also have a prepaid cell phone (Trakfone). I buy about $100 in minutes once a year: $8.33 per month.
    Total monthly cost for cell phone and home phone: under $15.
    Of course, I couldn’t use Skype if I didn’t have internet – but I’d give up my washing machine and go to the laundramat before I gave up internet, so that’s not an issue! :)

  26. All the suggestions are worthwhile…thanks. Personally every year I review cost of auto and home insurance. Shop around to ensure I’m getting the lowest rates. Couple years ago discovered a competitor insurance offered a much lower rate, called my current insurance co to cancel. They asked why…told them the difference in cost…current insurance lowered my rate…didn’t have to change.
    Only leave 1 or 2 months of money in the bank for making bill payments. Banks are snoops, deemed to another round of failures and so forth. For govt savings…what a laugh, have to use the bank or no Social Security check.
    One thing to remember…what D.C. bailed out…D.C. owns ! Don’t forget it.
    I agree with the comment of putting food and other items in your care just in case. Ten days ago..family out of state in the snow belt, who are like minded with all of us…have their items stored in another location..discovered in they had no extra food, water, even lanterns during a recent snow storm and power outage. They prepared so well…nothing available when they needed it most.
    Ya just never know…when your gonna need that pb & J, light, water, ect.
    Keep moving forward, pray for America, each other, our troops, and our local law enforcement. Thanks MD for your wonderful idea of this blog. Best knowledge is learned from experience and others.

    • Good point about prepping too well, Lynn. I work in IT, and every company uses the ‘redundancy’ theory to maintain their capability. Of course, a big corporation can expense off their redundancy – which we can’t do making it more difficult for us – but the point is the same. You have to have what you need, have spares always, and have BOTH in different geographical locations to avoid having it ALL unavailable in case of some natural catastrophe.

      One of the casinos near me used to run their entire gaming operation from one PC. When it suddenly died one night, they had no ‘spare’ and lost the entire business for hours until they could get another just like it and install it. For the savings of a few hundred bucks, they lost hundreds of thousands in revenue. Don’t let that be your survival cache, folks. You probably won’t lose millions, but you could lose your lives.

  27. mindyinds says:

    About the only thing we do (both retired) that I didn’t see listed is that we take our own trash to the county dump. Don’t even have to take it every month, as DH has a method of hanging on to the deck railing so he can stomp down the trash cans, giving me an extra two weeks worth of space! He is still strong enough to lift the cans into the truck. For entertainment and health, we found a free Tai Chi class twice a week. Got to keep an eye out for those freebees and senior discounts!
    As always, great ideas and inspiration from this blog.

    • mindyinds:

      That was one of the reasons that they started itemizing the county tax assessment out here. People were getting charged for services they didn’t even get, let alone use. It was quite an eye opening for the Commissioners.

  28. Millie in KY says:

    Wow, lots and lots of great ideas, guys.
    Here is the one I thought of for the week. I’ve been squirreling away TP but then was thinking the other day (and I think I read it here somewhere) that you could make flannel squares for use as TP and have a bucket nearby with water and a little soap and bleach in it for safekeeping till you could wash them. And I thought why am I spending 6.00 for 8 rolls when SHTF when I can make these? I will continue to use nice soft paper in the meantime, though. :) And Reverend gave me an idea, I will go and seek out flannel shirts and old nightgowns at Goodwill for this, has to be less than buying new flannel. I’ll have to do some price shopping. I figure I can make 100 little 6 x 6 sizes, double thick and that should take care of the average use.
    You are all just amazing! Thank you!

  29. HomeINsteader says:

    Hi, Millie in KY! I’m not telling you NOT to do the flannel hoarding thing at all, but, if you are planning on dropping flannel (a loosely woven cotton or cotton blend) down in bleach water, don’t expect it to last long – especially the new fabrics, all of which are coming out of China. That should be enough said about that problem.

    TP should be high on “stack it high” lists, IMHO, as it will be a “first up” bartering tool when SHTF (pun intended)!!!! ; )

  30. Backwoods Prepper says:

    To save money three years ago I ripped the electric furnace out and built me a very nice large pantry. I put in a wood and coal combo stove from buckstove. right through the top portion of a livingroom window, no holes and expencive pipe. My winter electric bill went from 350-400 dollars down to 90.00 a month. I buy hamburger on sale, around 20lbs at a time and can it in quart jars. I kill as many deer as I can and I will can most of those. Why can you say. I use my deep freezer for my rabbits,bacon,sausage,green tomatoes. if I want fried green tomatoes with a foot of snow on the ground I can have them. My homestead is a work in progress. I also installed a 220 AC unit in the living room and a small 110 unit in my bedroom summer time electric bill around 130.00. Also in the summertime we cook on our screened in back porch. I bought an old gas stove 4 eyes and oven off craigs list for 75.00 it uses about one 20lb tank a month. we do all of our cooking on it in summer. Stop trading in your propane tank unless you are trying to upgrade your tank. It is about 4.00 cheaper to have it filled by a hardware store so shop around.

  31. My husband I figured that I save enough money throughout the year that it would be counterproductive for me to work for someone else. I literally saved double than my wages from my last job.

    I work full time to be frugal. It is a “life style” now.
    I could make a list several pages long, but most have ccovered the basics above. The coupons, thrift stores, garage sales, clearance sales, Craigslist, Freecycle, recycle, reuse, save, barter. Grow, sew, bake, butcher, eat at home.
    I read the posts on the credit cards. I keep them all. Even the old high interest ones. I only cancelled one in 08 fiasco when it jumped to 26%, and it hurt my score by 40 points. I had a hissy fit, not understanding what was really happening. You need to keep your available credit high and your balances low.
    We keep our cards paid off every month. The longest I have had a balance is 4 months in 10 years. We keep them in a safe. We each carry one when traveling, and rarely use them.
    I used one to pay a big hospital bill co pay when they offered 1/2 for a payment in full that day. Paid it off in 3 months. Saved thousands. Zero interest.
    We don’t use them unless we discuss it first. We use them to SAVE money, not SPEND money.
    One of our best prepping assets is this current world having excellent credit. If I find a killer deal on preps or need something like a big auto repair I can get it.
    I can get 0% interest on a new car if I want to buy one, however all our cars are paid for. I have never bought a brand new car. But I could. You get my point.
    Years ago, my truck was slightly side swiped in a parking lot. Fortunately for me they swiped the whole side, causing damage on all the panels and doors. I took the check from the insurance and paid the truck off. I lived with scratches and slight dents. You can barely see them anyway.

    We have taken one “vacation” in 10 years. Only to take young daughter to several amusement parks in California.
    Our recreation is mostly in the wilderness and exploring with staycations. We live in a beautiful diverse part of Colorado, we never run out of fun things to do for free, or the cost of a tank of fuel.

    We have a mortgage, but the payments and interest are low. We strive to make two payments every month.

    We do enjoy movies as entertainment as a mental escape. However, we rarely go to the theatre, but buy DVD’s when are they marked down to $5 to $10 dollars. When we do go to the theatre, we bring our own snacks and drinks.
    I homeschool and we use the library for educational DVD source. History Channel, Nat Geo, and PBS series. We really enjoy those.

    We built a 24×80 stick built greenhouse with cull lumber, a nice wood shed that holds 14 cords, and a chicken coop from lumber and pro panel salvaged from odd jobs. We build almost everything with recycled materials. These buildings look nice, clean and you would never know they weren’t built from new materials.
    The only thing that I pay full price for is my husbands Fire Retardent clothing which is very expensive. Only because I have never seen them sold used, or on sale. However, I use it as an expense on our taxes.

    I get a rush saving money, where other people might get a rush from spending it.

    • Tactical G-Ma says:

      Mama J
      Kudos to you for enjoying what you have. There may come a time as you age when you will need to hire out some of that work. The most important part is that you can sleep without worrying about the pennies. God bless you and keep doing what you’re doing.

    • I totally understand you Mama J. I use my credit card to my benefit too. The Cabela’s card I have I get points for spending, points for paying promptly or paying off quickly & can redeem those points for merchandise (ammo). My other card through my credit union pays in cash towards my balance or cash in my pocket for prompt payoffs. So, even though I have cash in the bank for big purchases I put stuff on these cards, go home & pay it off. Makes it look good on your credit report too!

      • Encourager says:

        That is exactly why we use credit cards – for the points they offer. We even used the credit card to pay tuition for our son’s college. It was nice getting that 1% off the tuition – it really added up. We ALWAYS pay off our cards.

        We just had a bit of a spat with Discover card. Someone over the phone from Discover told me to go ahead and deduct a duplicate charge I had found on my bill. So I did. The next month they charged me interest, not only for that one item but everything we charged after that; they called it a revolving charge. I hit the roof and called them. They admitted it was their error. But they didn’t want to take off the interest charged. I told them to do it or I would cut up the card. They took it off. But we put away the Discover card and now will not use it for 3-4 months. Doesn’t hurt us a bit, but they don’t get our business. Now I am getting emails thanking me for being such a good customer, lol. Uh-huh…two more months to go then maybe we will use it.

        • Hunker-Down says:

          Encourager,

          That’s a neat trick; making the credit card company earn a higher credit score with you before doing business with them!

          • Encourager says:

            I think too many people allow the credit card companies to jerk them around. It is one thing if you never pay off your balance and just make minimum payments…then they have you over a barrel. But we don’t have balances. So THEY have to play nice or we just don’t use the card. Doesn’t hurt us at all because we just use our other card (that bends over backward for us at times!) It hurts Discover because they lose a good $1000+ per month in charges from us.

  32. I just want to comment that this is one of the best posts I’ve read on this blog. And the comments are so informative. There is such collective wisdom here. I cannot even begin to tell you how much I appreciate your comments. And I am sure everyone who has commented feels the same way. Thank you, M.D. for giving us this blog.

  33. Jim Murphy says:

    Over the past several years I have been noticing more and more wheat pennies, an occasional silver certificate and just some older change in general, in circulation. When times get tough, many folk raid old stashes of older coins and bills to buy everyday goods. In the winter when there is much less to do outside, I like to buy rolls of dimes and quarters when I’m at the bank and go through them looking for pre-1964 coins. You would be surprised how many pre 1964 dimes I have come across. Quarters are fewer and farther between. However, I feel like I’m getting something for nothing. I need to stop at the bank anyway, and I have some old coin books with empty holes, that with any luck, I might fill a spot or two. After you go through the rolls, add back what you took out (if your lucky enough) and cash them back in. Repeat this cycle. As inflation increases, so should your chances at finding a “little” silver every once in a while. If you have coin books to fill, this is a great way
    to get the more common dates and a few less common ones. Costs you nothing.

    • Hunker-Down says:

      Jim Murphy,

      Gee……I wish you had not brought up that subject. Every 2-3 years I get the ‘itch’ and go through 2-3 bags of pennies in the wintertime, usually finding from 40 to 70 Wheaties.

      I thought I was over it but…. I better start saving for rolls of dimes.

      Its really hard to find the time to do the searching since I have to read every post on M.D.’s terrific blog.:-)

  34. HomeINsteader says:

    NEW TIGHTWAD ALERT!

    Did you know that you can get breakfast at Krystal for $2.99, INCLUDING your choice of coffee, o.j., or milk? Yes, you can! And it’s tasty! If you want an egg cooked a certain way, they do that, too! No extra charge.

    I’m personally not a fan of their “regular menu items”, but DH loves a Krystal burger (or 6, or whatever) as a RARE treat (I don’t eat them at all). But the breakfast was GOOD, it was cheap, and we’ll do it again!

    Just thought all us tightwads, er, frugal people, should know about this!

  35. I’ve enjoyed reading all these great tips. I’ve always had to live frugally & since being laid off & the only job I can find is a seasonal job I’ve learned to be even tighter with my money. One thing I’m doing this year that I’ve never done before is writing down each thing I spend money on. Since I have no money coming in it’s really made me think if I really want to spend money on something because I sure don’t want to look at it in the money journal & feel guilty. I was surprised to learn that we were actually spending less on groceries then I thought. I’ve been meal planning out of my stash & only buying what’s on sale. Red meat is venison or squirrel I’ve shot. The only thing that’s bordering on extravagent is our gym membership & cable. If I cancel cable then I have to start paying internet & land line phone service so I’m kind of tied to it. Thanks everyone for sharing your ideas.