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Hop in! On my way to a 100k!

Senior Contributor

Re: Hop in! On my way to a 100k!

Startome – With all the gov’t stuff this past year, my income is practically none.  I might make a few dollars under the table by selling the produce from the garden, but there hasn’t been a regular income from me in a long time.   Before that, it was medical issues that made it so I couldn’t work.  I budget off of DH’s paycheck.  Up until this past year, it’s been a regular thing.  (We have always tried to live off of one income.)


Feel free to use any of the ideas we use.  I understand “tight.”  Lol – several times this year, we have “zero” paychecks.


We no longer do Sam’s Club/Costco/BJ’s.  For us, it was a 20-30 minutes to drive to one.  We try to eat organic and fresh foods.  Those places, at least in the past, did not carry much or any of the foods we prefer to eat.  And it was so tempting to buy other things there that we may not have needed.  I let our membership run out about 7 years ago.


In the last few months, shockingly, our food waste has pretty much dropped to none.  Poor farmer is not getting our food scraps anymore because we do not have any. 


Coupons use to come in the mail in those flyers addressed to “resident” or “household.”   No more.   The grocery stores and the manufacturers seem to have stopped.   And my grocery store installed new software that actually verifies that you met the coupon requirement!  I buy very little processed food anymore.  And there aren’t a lot of coupons for fresh fruit/veggies and meat.  L


I use to do the plasma thing too.  Thinking of getting started again, but I need to find a place around here to do it. 


On the shoes – we get ours resoled – that usually eliminates discomfort.  We also buy sole inserts.  I was so disappointed when the shoe guy looked at my husband’s shoes and said it’s better to buy new ones.  The tops looked great!  But the insides were worn out.


Protein – eggs are great!  I buy a whole chicken (or other meat with bones in it) cook the meat off.  Then I have broth and meat.  Then I take the bones and put them through another cooking and get more broth.


I am getting hungry just typing this post! 


You are doing a great job!  Keep up the great/excellent work! 


KoolDev – Wow.  I was so not raised that way!  All food came in a can or box.  Paper was a major expense in that household.  You had to flush if you looked at the toilet.  (I try to cook everything from scratch.  We are almost completely away from paper.  There is just one thing my DH won’t budge on and insists on paper.   “If it’s yellow, let it mellow.  If it’s brown, flush it down.”  We collect the rain water to water the garden.   We hope to later develop a watering system that will allow us to reuse gray water for things like flushing the toilet, washing clothes, etc.  The washing machine is not allowed to touch hot water!  If something needs to be washed on hot for a health reason, I take it to a laundry mat.)


I still cringe at the thought of 15-bean soup.  But give me some cornbread to go with it, or something bready, I can eat it.  I guess I could try to eat it with a bottle of beer in my hand.  Might make the beans go down easier.  J  I few a varieties of beans this year in the garden.  Makes beans easier to eat when I know I grew them.


With the family, I would analyze the cost of the meal and the cost of the serving.  It helped the kids figure out their food budget when they moved out.  Last night, after picking the last of the bounty from the garden, I so wanted to go out to eat!  The nearest eat out place is about 20 minutes from here.  EXCELLENT food.  Slow service.  Prices a bit high, but balanced with the service and the atmosphere.  I had to ask myself – “Do I want to RAISE local beef or EAT local beef?”  I really want to raise my own beef and have to keep on the strict budget to make that dream a reality. 


I ended up eating it.  I cooked salmon, cayenne pepper (from the garden), and baked potatoes.  Not sure if the potatoes came from the garden.  Dinner, followed by dessert, was about $20.   (No money really spent since I had everything already.)  I would have easily spent $35+ if we had gone to the pub last night.


I love low electric bills!  It’s amazing that your remodeling had that much of an impact on your electric bill.  Wow.  I am not sure what I can do to get mine lower.  It used to hover between 19-22.  Now it’s scorching at 24-25 a month.  I think I know what has caused the spike.  We moved the microwave and leave it plugged in all the time.  I am thinking I am going to unplug it and see if that drops the bill.

Message 61 of 69
Regular Contributor

Re: Hop in! On my way to a 100k!

Then your situation is much more by necessity than I realized, I apologize for speaking out of place. Thank you for responding with so much =)


For me it used to be about 20 minutes out of the way for Sam's Club, but since I transferred at work it's about 10-15. If they didn't have certain foods in bulk that makes them half the price, I probably wouldn't worry about it, but it helps. I get my corndogs, breakfast sandwiches, little 60 cent pizzas, and eggs there =)


And no food waste helps a lot, I've been eating a lot of processed stuff, especially Raman, hardly healthy, but they tend to be a no food waste product Smiley Wink


lol that's hilarious, they learned not to send coupons to you. One thing you might be able to use (not sure if the stores in your area would accept this, but a coworker of mine has used it) is a phone app (might have to borrow a friend with a smartphone for this one if you don't have one) called SnipSnap. People take pictures of coupons and upload them to the app, and sometimes the stores accept them pictures off your smartphone. People rate the pictures or "Coupons" on whether or not the stores accepted them.


Plasma helps me  A LOT, but I live in a bigger city with several plasma centers, I think we have like six or seven. I just run there quickly after work, especially the shorter days where I get off more than 15 minutes till they close during rush hour, LOL.


How much does it normally cost for a Re-sole? I know new shoes can easily be upwards of 60 dollars, but like you said some of mine still look good from the outside. One of them has inserts in it (the work pair) because I wear those for about 75% of my shoe wearing time.


I really need to start buying eggs again. I turned the water up too high last time while boiling a dozen of them, one blew and the others didn't cook all the way. I was HIGHLY embarrassed Smiley Sad


and I need to start cooking more fresh stuff. Buying the chicken and using the broth for some soups and other recipes sounds like a good idea. Taking time to cook is a weakness on my part, as being on my feet for more than a short time really hurts, I hate to stand and cook. I need to form good habits here lol.


Thank you =D. You guys sure have been too!

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Message 62 of 69
Senior Contributor

Re: Hop in! On my way to a 100k!

Due to an awful February 1, I am totally inspired to update.  It took a few days of being stuck in disbelief, shock, and questioning the timing of things to be able to find the humor in it.  (See post in Smorgesboard.)


* we make our own toothpaste now (savings of about $4 a month)

* we make our own deodrant now (savings of about $4-6 a month)

* we make our own flours, milks, butters

* soon to make our own cheese (need a stove top to do that and we don't currently have a working one)

* we make our own laundry detergent (savings of ??)

* I reuse the envelopes that come in junk mail.  The envelopes become paper to write lists and notes on or to send letters/payments in.

* reuse paper, if one side is blank

* reuse the stamps if they were not cancelled (and I do buy forever stamps)

* kept the house at 52-54 degrees (on average) through Feb 1 when we ran out of fuel (super cold winter, trying to stretch the dollar)

* use the heater (when we had heat) to melt candle wax as a room freshner

* use perfumes to combat the stinky poos people leave behind

* use free mouthwash as a "freshner" for the garbage can (amazing what a few drops will do!)

* dilute the castille soap with water and use it for dishes, cleaning, etc.  My ten dollar bottle has lasted a year so far!


My goal is still to save up 100k in cash reserves.  I am still a long ways from that.  But I do have the non liquid cash assets of 100k.  Lol - fat lot of good that does me right now!  Oh wait, it WILL help me buy a house...the bank deems me worth of a loan becuase I have locked assets.


Message 63 of 69
Senior Contributor

Re: Hop in! On my way to a 100k!

Startome - how are things going for you?  Have you started to eat more fresh and less proccessed?  Started to cook more?  


I try to cook a big batch and freeze individual servings for later consumption.  Like lasagna.  That makes about 8 DH serving sizes and about 16 me serving sizes.  Regular pasta freezes and reheats ok. Not great, but still ok.  Popcorn - no butter and once it's cooled - will last several days in a ziplock bag.  Baked beans, cook in the crock pot, freeze and reheat really well.  Soups do too.  I take big pieces of meat, or the less popular cuts of meat, and cook them for 1-2 days in the crock pot.  They come out soft and tender.


It costs about $45-60 to resole the shoes.  The resoling will last about a year, sometimes two years.  I know you can buy new dress shoes for $75-100+ around here.  Still cheaper to resole than to buy new.


I can buy sweatpants for like $7 around here.  Cheap.  But I still sew holes, tears, etc up myself rather than throw away and buy new.  We wear sweatpants when we are at home, not going out.  If I can't fix it myself (like when the button to my jeans fell off), I take it to a tailor and pay to have it fixed.  So far, those fixes have cost $5, the product fixed, and returned with a look of disbelief.  Smiley Happy


I also unplug nearly everything that is not in use.  And if I am going to be gone for more than a day, I turn off the breakers.  I'd freak if the electric bill is higher than $25 for the month.  I know, sad, but hey, I am on a budget!  Once I get past a few more hurtles, then I will relax a lot more about it.  I want to go into retirement with the freedom to have lights on, the heat on, take hot showers, soak in a tub, etc.


Hang in there.  Smiley Happy   There are people out there who have it worse than we do.

Message 64 of 69
Senior Contributor


I was rereading some of these posts.  Wow.


I need to set a new financial goal for 2016.


I had really thought I couldn't get the belt any tighter, but I did.  I was shocked. 


* I cancelled my life insurance.  Since I no longer bring home a paycheck, it didn't make sense to continue to pay a premium for me.  Savings - $13 a month.


* I prepaid my husbands life insurance a year ahead.  I had no idea (and I am kicking myself for not asking more than one person before) that we were being charged a $5 a month "fee" to bill monthly for life insurance!  I had asked before if there was a monthly charge/fee for monthly billing and was told no.  Turns out, the person gave me the wrong information.  Savings - $60 a year.


* I removed the child rider on my husbands life insurance policy.  Again, received wrong information.  Was told it was free, no cost to have it.  Well, turns out, there IS a fee.  Savings - $30 a year.


* I did a lot of research, found that one of my meds could be changed.  The cost is now $1.20 a month, out of pocket.  Previously, $65 a month out of pocket.  (I had to change doctors twice to get the meds changed.)  Savings - $63 a month.


* I did a lot of research and found with some lifestyle changes, I could significantly decrease one of my other daily meds.  A one month supply is lasting a year or longer now.  Savings - $10 (?).


* Batteries.  Not sure where they fit into my life before, but I have taken a different approach to them.  I have ONLY the max I need to use for whatever.  So, the little holiday tree needs 4 AA batteries.  Ok, I put them in the tree in the evening.  Then take them out and move them to the flashlight as needed.  I was at a friends house and they have these jumbo size packages of batteries.  I thought wow.  Will they ever go through all of those before they go bad??  By buying and using just what I need, I am saving probably $20-40 a year in batteries.  Now, the exception is the smoke detector and the carbon monoxide detector.  Without fail, they get new batteries every year and I don't take them out for something else.  


* Slippers/wool socks.  Instead of buying slippers, I am wearing my old wool socks over my regular socks.  I have been able to use up two pairs of wool socks this way.  Savings - $25 a year.


There are some other things I am doing to save money.  By February (next month), I will know how much I have to work with to pay our bills.  The prices keep going up and the take home pay keeps getting smaller.  But I can do this!  


In an oddball note, our food bill for 2015 was LESS than the food bill for 2010.  Amazing, huh??  And definitely less than 2014.  It's not perfect, but I feel pretty good about spending less in 2015 for food than some of the previous years.  Smiley Happy

Message 65 of 69
Frequent Contributor

Re: W

Are you close to your goal? 


My goal is to save 100k too but we're holding on to this home because we want pass it on to our child.  Would love to know how far you have saved. Are you also giving to charities and such? Part of life is sharing and giving to those in need. I believe that's how many people for wealthy. Anne Frank once said, no one has ever become poor  by giving. Smiley Happy 

Message 66 of 69
Senior Contributor

Re: W

Kinda hard to say.  


We bought a place last year.  Was able to put down 75k and pay closing costs out of pocket, for a total of roughly 83-85k.  Had roughly 15k still in the bank.  So yeah, I guess we did make it!  But to do so, I had to cash out a lot of our old CD's and one of my long term investments.


We are applying just about everything we can on the mortgage to pay it off now.


For 2016, we have started over.  


* Still putting 5% into retirement account.

* Still using a budget.

* Still trying to be very frugal.

* Still using cash to pay for groceries and putting the coin into savings.


Debating on the emergency fund.  How much do I put in?  I retained two CD's and have about 3k in those.  Roughly 12k in the checking account.  A huge part of me says to slam it on the mortgage!  As time passes, the other accounts (for taxes, for insurance, for gas, etc will build up and act like an emergency account.)


Yes, we donate.  We donate clothing, household items, and some cash.  We donate our time through volunteering too.


So what do you think?  Take the cash in the bank and slam it on the mortgage?  Or keep it there for an emergency fund?

Message 67 of 69
Senior Contributor

Re: W

I realized I could kinda update this thread.


I did make it.  I reached 100k!!  All that money went into a down payment for a much better place to live.  The new place isn't all that AND a bag of chips, but I can say there are no bats hanging out on the couch.  (Yeah, live bats.)  No noisy people upstairs clunking on the floor.  I can park relativley close to the door! (No more long walks in the rain or snow or ice...)  A washer and a dryer!  (No more trips to the laundromat or to the bank for quarters or doing wash by hand!)  


I still employ the savings steps I had before.  We still live frugally.  (Can't wait for that to lighten up!)


I'll have to start a new thread...something like Grandstand to zero Grand!

Message 68 of 69

Re: W

Congratulations! Thank you for sharing your story!

Message 69 of 69