Thursday, February 28, 2008

Extreme Savings -- What Personal Finance Choices Do you Make?

I’ll be the first to admit, when I hear about some of the extreme frugal savings tips people give it makes me cringe or think about the time wasted that could be devoted to other tasks.

I’m not one of "those people"– not that there is anything wrong with them. In fact I’m quite impressed that they will go to these extremes, I’m just not ready to emulate them yet.

To me savings and being frugal is about making choices and prioritizing. I choose to have a new sandwich baggy each time I need one. Since a box of 500 sandwich baggies is about $2 I choose to not buy dish soap to wash baggies which costs $2 a bottle so I can afford the sandwich bag. I choose to flush my toilet after each use which costs 2.6 cents per flush instead of having to scrub the toilet each night which would cost 6.7 cents for cleaner and paper towels per scrub.

Okay, so that all sounds kind of trivial but what about the “bigger” personal finance choices that I make. I choose to have cable, which a lot of financial bloggers do without. I’m an avid reader but without the TV what do these people do to fill those voids in their life? (yes - I’m just kidding about the voids) Seriously thought, I enjoy the guilty pleasures of TV and it provides an hour or two of entertainment a day and brings me joy. Plus I live alone so I like the noise even when I'm reading or doing something else and yes I could listen to the radio, but I prefer the TV because its more mindless. Yes, people lived with out TV 100 years ago, and yes I’m crazy, and no I don’t think it’s a necessity, but it is a comfort I enjoy. And to be honest I’m really impressed with those people who live without this comfort. Okay now that we’ve cleared that up. On to the personal choice I’ve made. The cost of the cable package I’ve chosen is $30/month. Since I choose to have cable I don’t have a subscription to Netflix approx $10/month for basic package, I don’t go to the movie theaters approx $10/visit excluding food items, or purchase DVD’s $20/each etc. So its all a trade off on what works best for you personally.

What choices do you make?


Daizy said...

I rented out my house and moved in to an RV. I don't have cable, just 6 channels with an antenna. No movies or Netflix either. I think I spend too much time on my computer.

Madeline said...

Interesting post! Here are a couple of ways I engage in some "extreme frugal savings":
-I wash and reuse aluminum foil. Ditto for sandwich bags (but I usually only keep the same bag for a week).
-Ditched the cable. I used to have the cable "bundle" (internet/phone/cable) but then I realized that I didn't watch cable programs all that much and since I never used the landline phone, I just stuck with the Internet and got rid of the other two. Most of the shows I watch are on network TV and the one or two shows I watch on cable, I can view online for free. I've been without cable for two months now and I can say I haven't really missed it. And plus I don't miss the pesky cable box & telephone fees every month.
-When I go out to eat, I usually just have water to drink, which saves on having to pay for a regular drink.

I do, however, flush after every use. ;)

Mom said...

I have cable too!

I don't have any extreme frugal living habits that I can think of. Well, I hardly ever leave the house... is that extreme? Probably to some. :)

"Future Millionaire" said...

I'm so impressed with you cable free savers. I guess I've just grown too attached to my guilty pleasure.

@ daizy - wow living in an RV is pretty impressive. Although RV'ing is along the lines of how I like to camp, so I might be able to do that for a while. Depending on the RV, it might actually be bigger than my current apartment. :)

@ madeline - lol I'm glad you're a flusher too. :) I'll buy the one week rule for the sandwich bags - I do reuse bags if I'm putting the same food back in it (but I don't wash it first). If I pack pretzels for lunch and bring the leftovers home, I'll re-fill the bag with pretzels for the next day. Part of my prejudice again washing bags might be because it goes against my standard rule for dishes -- "If its not made for the dishwasher, its not made for me." If I could find a way to put baggies in the dishwasher without melting I might reconsider.

@mom - I'd say being a mom might have more to do with not leaving the house and the cable is a necessity to keep sanity - but if it saves money it counts. I watch my friends kids and I'm telling you I need a week just to recover - I don't see how mom's do it! I love kids but needless to say I won't be having any little rugrats anytime soon.

One milion by 50 said...

I like having cable too. I used to subscribe for premium channels and was paying $48 per month for just a couple channels that I really loved. My absolute favorite channel is HGTV (Home and Garden TV). I would watch that all the time nonstop. But I was paying $30 just for that one channel. So I downgraded and now pay only $15 per month for the basic channels and just bought one book about home and gardening. I look thru that book alot to get ideas. When I was living in New Orleans, I did not have cable at all for 3 years. I just hated having to watch static/snow with the shows!

I like to watch alot of movies so we currently subscribe to Netflix ($8.99 per month deal). So it kind of evens out. It beats paying $10 for a movie at the theater! Netflix is considered our entertainment on the weekends. We a watch movie and eat popcorn.

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