Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Things I Live Without to Save Money. Lattes Are Not One of Them!

Why would anybody discourage caffeine from somebody's diet in an effort to save people money. Caffeine stimulates brain activity and helps you work longer - harder. Can you tell I'm a Starbucks stock owner? I bought in the $15s but that's besides the point.

I feel that most people need a vice, in moderation. If you live a miserable life, it's hard to be consistent in any savings plan long term. My vices are caffeine, yahoo fantasy sports, wireless internet and inexpensive his/hers laptops.

When I was younger, I went years without having a DVD or CD Player. Today i'm going without the following things in an effort to save money:

(1.) No flat screen TVs. I recently gave away a 20" color TV because I was downsizing to an apartment. The TV was 20 yrs old. I'm going to hang on to our two remaining traditional TVs and only buy a flat screen when one of the others die.

(2.) No HD TV or HD cable / satellite upgrades. I grew up in a rural area and was thankful to get 4 channels with coat hanger rabbit ears. I've come along way since then. While I have over 100 cable channels, I get it cheap and i'm happy with the clarity of a regular TV signal.

(3.) Subscriptions.
a. I have subscribed to Sirius satellite radio for about one month only. I used it when I was moving cross country. It's great, but for a regular commuter (less than 45 minute drive) it seems a bit excessive.

b. I don't subscribe to magazines unless I receive them as a gift. Most of the magazine material can be found online. Take for instance Money magazine. I routinely find what seems to be a majority of the magazines articles on the CNNFN.com website. Now why would someone pay for a subscription when they can get it online at no additional cost?

c. Newspapers. I basically buy the Sunday paper from time to time when we move somewhere new and my wife is interested in the classifieds. Or, I find that the grocery store isn't placing out enough coupons and I think it's necessary to supplement our household coupons with those from the Sunday paper.

d. I occasionally subscribe to Blockbuster online rentals but it basically depends on whether or not a lot of interesting new releases have accrued and i'm not otherwise busy with hobbies / work.

(4.) I don't play video games. It seems like a person could easily rack up $300+ in console and video game purchases / rentals each year. Instead, I choose to play fantasy football / basketball and baseball on yahoo.com. This is also addictive fun, like video games, but can be done for free or for $10 per season if you subscribe to stat tracker services.

(5.) My household doesn't keep a new or like new car. Between our two cars, the average age is nearly 8 yrs. We don't have any car loans and it's a great feeling.

(6.) No vacations, at least traditional ones. We typically spend our vacation time visiting out of state family about once or twice a year. Basically, we find things to do near our home.

(7.) No private mortgage insurance on any of our 3 rental properties. It takes aggressive financing to move money around, but I believe it's important to put 20% down when buying a house. It helps you get one of the best interest rates and lets you avoid PMI.

(8.) No cell phone add ons. I rarely pay for my own cell phone. Most of the time, If I carry one, it's a government phone. However, my wife has a cell phone and we don't pay for ring tones or other junk like that.

(9.) No gym membership. Military service members enjoy a number of perks which include free health care, gym and shopping privileges.

What do you live without to save money?

No comments: