Saving Money

DIY Savings Case Study: Oven Repair

Today we will walk through a Do-It-Yourself savings case study. This example will illustrate how with a little effort you can save significant money on home projects/repairs. SITUATION One night recently I was making dinner when I thought I smelled natural gas. I had turned the oven on to preheat it a few minutes prior so I went to see what was going on. When I opened the oven I got a strong gas smell so I immediately shut it off. I also noticed that the oven was still room temperature. After a few minutes of letting the fumes dissipate, I decided to give it another try. Unfortunately the second try was still unsuccessful resulting in the same gas smell. TROUBLESHOOTING Since we decided to…
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Phases of Reducing Spending

I believe that there are 3 Phases to the journey of reducing spending on lifestyle costs: Waste Elimination, Optimization and Misery. Today we will walk through each of these Phases and discuss why I personally am not a big fan of a long term (> 5 year) focus on spending. PHASE 1: WASTE ELIMINATION The first phase in spending reduction is Waste Elimination. This is by far the easiest and least difficult phase of reducing spending. This is why people who have recently discovered the concepts of Financial Independence start with this phase. During this step you identify and remove things in your life that you spend money on and don’t use (gym membership, magazine subscription, etc.). Most people who have not considered their spending…
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Use a Savings Stack to Hack Your Current Spending

Today I will discuss how to use a Savings Stack.  As I have discussed in Save More of Make More I typically only focus on saving money on Cars and Housing and leave the rest for others.  However, I have stumbled upon ways to hack your existing spending in other categories that are too good not to share. The method that I employ is to couple credit card savings with other savings programs to multiply the savings. This can be done with most retailers, but my favorite is to utilize this with my normal grocery chain. Since I cook most of my meals at home (another way to save big money), I buy groceries every week. This means there is always an opportunity to employ this strategy….
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Never Buy a Small Child New Clothes

Buying new clothes is typically one of the worst money decisions a parent with a small child, under 5 or so, can make. There are two main reasons why new clothes have one of the worst Returns on Investments of all purchases a parent will be tempted to make. UTILITY The first reason is that a small child will get very little use out of whatever clothes they wear. When they are very small, under 1, they will seem to stay in any given size for a matter of weeks and this only improves to a season at best by age 5. So there is a very small window when any given outfit will meet the needs of your child. Given this short window I…
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Financial Independence Debate: Save More or Make More

Today I would like to discuss my personal opinion/strategy on whether focusing on saving money and optimizing lifestyle costs or making more money through active and/or passive income is the better route to achieving Financial Independence. To anyone who is active in the FI community the natural answer is that both sides of the ledger are important. It is impossible to achieve a high savings rate which is the nucleus of any early retirement strategy if you only focus on saving or earning with disregard for the other. While I concede that this widely held belief is true, I do believe that from an effort (time, energy, etc.) standpoint there are optimal and sub optimal approaches. The remainder of this post will discuss my tactics…
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FoodSaver Economics: The Easy Way to Save on Food

For most families food represents a moderate portion of their weekly and monthly budgets.  Today I am going to share what my family has found to be the easiest way to save a significant amount of money on this necessary expense.  The best part about this technique, is that it doesn’t require a change in diet or any other difficult behavior changes.  As most of you have guessed from the title, the simplest way I have found to save money on food is by utilizing a FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer. It may strike some as strange that the easiest way to save money is to buy another kitchen gadget (most of us already have too many of those), but when you look at the return on…
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Can’t Cut The Cord? Buy A Modem/Router

As most parents know, TV can be a nice assistant when it comes to entertaining little ones.  I especially find it useful during the winter months when getting the kids outside is extraordinarily difficult.  Obviously this goes against the “Cut the Cord” wisdom that most of the Financial Independence community believes in.  One simple way I identified to minimize our costs was to purchase our own Modem/Router combo.  My family was paying $11.00 per month for renting the cable company’s Modem/Router.  We purchased a very nice Netgear Modem/Router for $149 on Amazon and returned the cable company’s.  Our router will be paid off in 1 year and we will save the full amount going forward.  While this doesn’t remove our cable bill entirely, this allows…
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