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Monday, April 20, 2009

Cutting Back

I am, thank God, employed.  

However, I don't have high confidence that I will be employed at the end of the calendar year. Considering the way the economy is going, I guess I have about a 50% chance, assuming that there is no rebound in car sales.  

So, my family has been cutting back to save some more cash for our rainy day fund.

Here are a few examples of ways that I have been saving money:

  • We don't have cable or satellite TV anymore, we are using one of those digital TV converter boxes on our 10 year old analog TV to watch free over-the-air TV.  With rabbit ears.  It works, and besides, TV is over-rated.  Everyone could benefit from more reading time.
  • I don't subscribe to the local paper, instead I read it for free online (sorry Detroit News and Free Press).  I get a few other magazines such as Consumer Reports for free as hand-me-downs from other family members.  There's some thrifty advice you'll never read in CR: hobo your Consumer Reports!
  • My family has nearly stopped eating out.  Except for the occasional lunch with my co-workers, or a night where we don't have the will to cook anything.
  • I have gotten used to driving no more than a couple of miles over the speed limit.  My mid-sized sedan with its <2.5l>
  • I am stretching my oil changes out to 6,000 miles (manufacturer suggests 3,000 miles on my wife's car and 5,000 on mine).
  • I have cut back on beer and wine consumption.  I used to take a bottle of beer or a glass of wine every day, now I find myself stretching it out by drinking on weekends.  I do have a weakness for scotch, though...
  • I have cut back on how much meat I eat.  I think I eat red meat less than once a week now, and chicken or fish no more than a couple of times a week.  I admit this is also to improve my overall health, but you can save quite a bit of money this way.
  • I have cut back on buying gadgets, except for ones that have an actual useful purpose.  For example, my old Dell laptop (Windows XP, P4) works fine, no need for one of the new ones--I just replace broken parts, which are cheap and plentiful, when something breaks.  I did buy a new digital camera, but I sold the old one on eBay so it was not a big investment.
  • My wife and I don't give each other expensive gifts for birthdays and holidays, just small items to express the thought.  
If you think about your spending habits more carefully, you might be amazed at how many places you are spending that you could trim back, with a little bit of adjustment.

Of course, I'm one of thousands doing the same thing.  As a result, the economic death spiral accelerates.  Restaurants are closing, food producers are hurting, newspapers are going out of business, magazines are getting skinnier (even Consumer Reports).  

1 comment:

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