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Tips for Saving money in an Economic Depression


foogledricks
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I cannot help but worry about a doomsday scenario where everyone loses their job, including me, the investments are gone, and I can't pay my mortgage.

 

  1. Maybe its time to learn how to garden.
  2. Maybe its time to cancel cable and all the services I'm paying for like Cable TV and download shows from the Internet
  3. Maybe its time to wear TWO sweatshirts and drop the heat to 60 degrees
  4. Maybe its time to cancel the Gym membership
  5. Cancel gamefly
  6. Cancel land line phone and go cellular only

What else?

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In the words of Douglas Adams: DON'T PANIC!

 

I work at a downtown hotel in San Antonio and we're actually making more profits than last year because more people are taking vacations in their own state (Texas, of course, being the 2nd most populous in the US).

 

If you work for a company involved in risky investments right now... uhhh... you guys can panic. As long as you've got diversified investments and don't plan on retiring in the next 5 years I believe that everything is going to be fine in the long run. But maybe that's just my positive thinking and the fact that I'm 24 and lack both investments or a mortgage.

 

But really if everyone starts panicking, stuffing their mattresses with cash and peeing in the streets, then we may be in trouble! :)

Edited by Lutter
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Some smart dude said it...Jimmy Buffett I think?

 

Warrent Buffet:

 

"Investors should remember that excitement and expenses are their enemies. And if they insist on trying to time their participation in equities, they should try to be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful."

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I cannot help but worry about a doomsday scenario where everyone loses their job, including me, the investments are gone, and I can't pay my mortgage.

 

  1. Maybe its time to learn how to garden.
  2. Maybe its time to cancel cable and all the services I'm paying for like Cable TV and download shows from the Internet
  3. Maybe its time to wear TWO sweatshirts and drop the heat to 60 degrees
  4. Maybe its time to cancel the Gym membership
  5. Cancel gamefly
  6. Cancel land line phone and go cellular only

What else?

 

Did I misread the title to this thread,... "Things I Can Do To Help Induce a Despession"

Sounds like you are off to a great start!

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The media is creating quite the frenzy.

What do you mean by this? The media is creating a false economic crisis?

 

Media isn't doing anything, The economy really is in shambles and I know a lot of people who fear they may lose their jobs, myself included. Rumors are running very heavy that our plant will be shut down to save money. Sorry, but I don't think the media is doing anything but reporting what is really happening. All one has to do is pay attention to financial reports and unemployment reports to see that things are getting worse by the day.

 

-Dean-

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The US and looks like the world is in big trouble. It is not imaginary. I've lost many many thousands of dollars in the last two months. People about to retire are in the process of losing their retirement funds. This is serious. Loss of jobs IS going to happen. It is a cascading effect. I think we're at 911-levels of the stock market and it is still going down.

 

Now hopefully there will be a hard stop and things won't fall as low as our worst fears. But I am seriously forming a plan to save money in case my wife or I lose our job(s) which is always possible but more likely of course when an economy tanks.

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With respect, since the title of the thread is "Tips for saving money", can we keep to that theme, instead of debating whether an economic crisis exists? I think this could be a potentially useful thread if we don't bog down in arguments.

 

When my wife and I decided that she was not going back to work after our second child, we had to take a hard look at our economics and make some cuts so that we could live on just my salary (at the time, she was making about as much as I was making, so our income was effectively cut in half). Here are some of the things we did:

 

1) Cut memberships. Gym, Netflix, World of Warcraft, AAA, Costco, everything we weren't actually using. We have since reenlisted in Netflix, but at the second lowest level (1 out at a time, unlimited), so we are paying like $8 a month instead of $20. I have also rejoined Costco, because we calculated that the money we save there is about equal to the membership fee, and it's a fun place to shop. But take a hard look at the things you pay membership fees to, and ask yourself if you can live without them.

 

2) Cut coupons. Look, I know it's kind of humiliating to hand the grocery clerk a handful of coupons along with your money at the checkout. At least, it is for me. But you can save some serious money this way. We also pay very close attention to the weekly fliers, and make separate lists for the two grocery stores near us so that we buy as much as possible on sale. They are only a few miles apart, so gas mileage isn't an issue. When we run out of something, sometimes we have to live without it until it goes on sale. Not stuff like bread or milk, but, I don't know, mayonnaise or snacks for sure.

 

3) Drop HBO and Starz. Yes, it means no Entourage and no crappy 90's movies at night. But we were paying $25 a month for those two services, and there's no way we were watching $25 worth of shows. Hell, we were lucky to watch $2.50 worth of shows.

 

4) Stop buying video games and DVDs. Yes, it hurt. At least, at first. I am not the collecting nuts that you guys are, but I had at least 60 games for the original Xbox. I have maybe 15 for the 360. I buy the AAA titles only, and then only after reading positive buzz here. I can't afford to drop $60 on a stinker anymore. As for DVDs, I own over 200 of those, and maybe 5 of them are from the last three years. DVDs like Iron Man were once a day one purchase for me, no questions asked. Now, I get em for a buck from the Redbox, or Netflix them. I discovered that, other than Pixar movies for the kids, I just wasn't going back and watching the DVDs I bought.

 

5) Look at your transportation costs. I drive 94 miles a day round trip to work. If I drove in every day, it would cost a fortune. I looked at train schedules, looked into carpooling at work, asked about telecommuting, and finally decided to take advantage of a work rebate program and bought a Prius (I would not recommend buying a car if your current car is in good repair; mine was not). I also work from home two days per week. My fuel costs went from $75 a week to about $28.

 

6) Eat in. We used to go out for dinner a few times per week. Now it's only for special occasions, although we do spring for pizza a few times per month. Of course it helps that she is actually home to cook now.

 

Basically, we took a hard look at how much money we were spending each month on, essentially, entertainment. Netflix, DVDs, games, gym, HBO...it was a lot of money, and to be honest, we weren't really taking advantage of a lot of it. We were able to cut out a lot of fat just by re-evaluating what we HAD to have versus what we only WANTED to have.

 

Sorry for the long post...hope someone gets something out of it.

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Oh, one more: Never pay full retail for anything. Well, okay, it's impossible to say "never", but almost everything you buy has been, is, or will be on sale somewhere, at some point. My wife has actually turned this into a kind of game, and scours sites like Slickdeals and even Woot for stuff that we have our eyes on. Now, if we have to pay full retail for anything, it feels like we "lost". I have found that if I can get past the (extremely powerful) urge for instant gratification on things, I can pick them up cheaper. Example: in July, I was killing time in Old Navy while my wife picked up some kids clothes, and I saw a few shirts that I really liked. They were $25 each, not on sale, so I didn't buy them. Last month I went back in on a lark and found two of them for $8 each. So, I wasn't able to wear them this summer, but by waiting a little while I was able to save a bunch of money, and I'll wear them for the next few summers.

 

This stuff sounds kind of coarse, I know...penny-pinching, grubby, all that. It felt that way at first to me, too. But the cumulative effect of all of this penny-pinching has let my wife stay home with our kids for three years, and the benefits of that far outweigh the costs of stuff like not having HBO, or having to scan fliers for deals, or living without Triscuits for a week or two until it goes on sale.

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Dave great posts! Was the initial start-up the hardest part for you? We've been trying to slowly cut back on things in an effort to make better use of our money. It's been hard for sure.

 

One thing that I found was when I was hooked on a MMO, I didn't buy a single game. Sure I was paying $15 a month to play it, but that was a far cry from the $60+ I was paying before.

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Thanks, Kelley. To be brutally honest, I think the hardest part for me was letting go of my ego and sense of entitlement. When we were both working, we knew we were wasting money on frivolous things, but I would rationalize it to myself. "I work hard for my money, I deserve to get (such-and-such game)." "Sure, I haven't watched any of the three Netflix movies I have for over two months, but I have to support their business model". "Coupons are for losers and old people." And so on. It was very easy for me to talk myself into buying stuff that I really didn't need. It was only when it came down to, "Are we going to have to put our kids in daycare instead of having their mother raise them just so we can eat out a few times a week, and keep HBO?" that it started to crystallize for us.

 

Starting up wasn't so bad, because we really phased in. We killed HBO first, after the Sopranos ended. We called our ISP and got DSL rate dropped from $35 a month to $15. We killed Netflix, and I cancelled my WoW sub. Then we just held steady for a few months to see how we were doing. That's when I realized I really did miss Netflix, so we re-upped at a lower rate. But we didn't miss the other things at all, so we started cutting more. Someone tipped us on coupons, and we tried that (I made my wife hand them to the clerk, while I walked away, lol), and we saved like $8 on $50 worth of food that first time. And it went from there.

 

I think if we had made all the cuts at once, we would have been miserable. We just kind of cut out the biggest wastes first, and then gradually started cutting closer and closer to the bone as time went on.

 

I'm not going to say it's the greatest thing ever. I hate reading posts here about games that I know I'll never play. Sometimes I do resent the fact that we busted our asses off and put ourselves through college, and then invested all that sweat equity in our careers to the point where we were making decent money, and now we have to live on a shoestring. I dearly miss the days when I could window shop on Amazon, add things to my cart at will, and then checkout. I miss getting packages of goodies in the mail. But I keep telling myself, it's either this, or go back to having a wife who is miserable all the time because she hates her job, and paying someone else to raise our kids for us.

 

BTW, great point on $15 MMO. I recently installed WAR and I am back to the $15 a month model, and technically I don't NEED that bill, but for the amount of hours of enjoyment I am getting out of it, it's worth it to me. And like you said, it keeps me from spending $60 on all the other games out there.

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