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bsharpe269

Things you do yourself to save time/money?

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This morning I cut my own hair (as I do every couple months). I can cut it in 15 minutes for free instead of spending a $40 + a couple hours going to a salon. I do all of that sort of stuff on my own like waxing my eyebrows. I bet I'm not the only one who does this sort of stuff...

Anyone else have any little things that they do on their own to save money or time? Any skills you've picked up that others pay someone else to do? I don't really have any particular skills in mind while asking this question but I'm interested in hearing any answers that come to mind.

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One thing I'm trying to be better about is my car maintenance. I can do a lot of it on my own to avoid taking it to a shop but my car is falling apart so it's not always possible to do on my own. Knowing the basics like changing a flat, changing headlights/taillights, oil changes, windshield wipers, etc can save money. I also own a small tire pump that I can use to keep my tires at pressure without having to go to a gas station to do it. I guess house maintenance might also fall under this- unclogging sink drains, etc. Just learning to be handy can save money/time.

 

Most other things I can think of are unnecessary anyway and I've cut out of my budget altogether. No gym membership (the great outdoors is my gym- also there are a ton of workout videos on youtube, sounds lame but if it works, it works), no mani/pedis, mom trims my hair when I'm home. I'm probably forgetting about other things.

 

I've found that the simpler/cheaper I live, the more it feels like a treat to have someone do something for you. Going out to dinner, getting a real hair cut, getting a full service wash for my car..it's all silly stuff but being able to treat myself with "normal" things I believe has saved me a lot of money.

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Guest Gnome Chomsky

This thread is interesting. I've been trying the whole minimalism thing lately and it's sort of related to this thread. I pretty much don't buy anything. I used to only spend my money on going out to eat, getting drunk, and bills. I never bought clothes or electronics or had subscriptions for things. Well, my two biggest money wasters, restaurants and drinking, I cut out about 3 months ago. And I've never been big on owning things. I live with someone who is a housekeeper and she always brings home shit she found at work. I don't understand it. Sure, it was free, but do you really need it? Anyway, so once I go to grad school, I'm gonna pretty much get rid of all my belongings. Where I'm living is cluttered with shit that isn't mine. I hate it but it's not my house so I can't really say anything. I'm already down to like 8 shirts and 4 pants, not to mention socks and boxers. One pair of shoes, one hat, one pair of sunglasses. That's it. I used to have a bunch of bathroom stuff that I never used, like extra shavers and soaps. If I don't use it on a regular basis, I don't need it. Another thing is groceries. I used to get a lot of groceries and I'd get more groceries before I finished all those. What happens is, the shit you didn't eat starts to accumulate. Now, I don't go grocery shopping until there's literally nothing in my fridge or cabinets (besides stuff like spices and oils). 

Edited by Gnome Chomsky

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This thread is interesting. I've been trying the whole minimalism thing lately and it's sort of related to this thread. I pretty much don't buy anything. I used to only spend my money on going out to eat, getting drunk, and bills. I never bought clothes or electronics or had subscriptions for things. Well, my two biggest money wasters, restaurants and drinking, I cut out about 3 months ago. And I've never been big on owning things. I live with someone who is a housekeeper and she always brings home shit she found at work. I don't understand it. Sure, it was free, but do you really need it? Anyway, so once I go to grad school, I'm gonna pretty much get rid of all my belongings. Where I'm living is cluttered with shit that isn't mine. I hate it but it's not my house so I can't really say anything. I'm already down to like 8 shirts and 4 pants, not to mention socks and boxers. One pair of shoes, one hat, one pair of sunglasses. That's it. I used to have a bunch of bathroom stuff that I never used, like extra shavers and soaps. If I don't use it on a regular basis, I don't need it. Another thing is groceries. I used to get a lot of groceries and I'd get more groceries before I finished all those. What happens is, the shit you didn't eat starts to accumulate. Now, I don't go grocery shopping until there's literally nothing in my fridge or cabinets (besides stuff like spices and oils). 

 

I'm pretty good about the never spending money thing. I don't go shopping; I've never been one of those girls that buys shoes or clothes...I just wait until I need them. I tend to spend my money on travel or just one or two hobbies like photography and books and stuff.

 

Owning too many things is something I would like to improve. Living with my parents makes it more difficult, because as soon as I go to get rid of stuff, my mom starts acting almost like a hoarder saying that I should keep it "just in case". But, a couple of years ago I got rid of all my furniture except a bookcase. No furniture is awesome. My box spring/bed just sit on the floor and I love it.

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Guest Gnome Chomsky

I'm pretty good about the never spending money thing. I don't go shopping; I've never been one of those girls that buys shoes or clothes...I just wait until I need them. I tend to spend my money on travel or just one or two hobbies like photography and books and stuff.

 

Owning too many things is something I would like to improve. Living with my parents makes it more difficult, because as soon as I go to get rid of stuff, my mom starts acting almost like a hoarder saying that I should keep it "just in case". But, a couple of years ago I got rid of all my furniture except a bookcase. No furniture is awesome. My box spring/bed just sit on the floor and I love it.

I feel you. Right now, all I have in belongings is a wooden board on top of a box spring (to sleep) and one bag of clothes, a pair of shoes, a laptop and a phone. I left my house of the past 6 years in Miami about 6 weeks ago and moved to a resort in Myrtle Beach to stay for the summer before going off to Seattle for grad school. I didn't have much to begin with in Miami but I got rid of basically everything. Unfortunately, like I said, I'm staying with someone who is a bit of a hoarder, so even though I have no belongings of my own, I'm surrounded by junk. I can't wait till I can just sleep in a bare room. 

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I feel you. Right now, all I have in belongings is a wooden board on top of a box spring (to sleep) and one bag of clothes, a pair of shoes, a laptop and a phone. I left my house of the past 6 years in Miami about 6 weeks ago and moved to a resort in Myrtle Beach to stay for the summer before going off to Seattle for grad school. I didn't have much to begin with in Miami but I got rid of basically everything. Unfortunately, like I said, I'm staying with someone who is a bit of a hoarder, so even though I have no belongings of my own, I'm surrounded by junk. I can't wait till I can just sleep in a bare room. 

 

Wow, I bet you'd be good at backpacking a foreign country for an extended period of time!

 

 

Thinking about the original post @bsharpe269...I wish I knew how to cut my own hair! I bet it would be easy because I don't have any layers, angles, coloring, etc. I also really want to pick up knitting sometime before the holidays. Last year, I got fed up with Christmas because there were multiple people who I got a gift card for, and they gave me the same gift card in the same amount. What the heck is the point of that?! I realized how gift giving should be a lot more personable if you actually care about the person. So I would like to make the majority of the gifts I give this year, whether it be clothes, food, anything. I'll probably frequent Pinterest to make this happen :)

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Guest Gnome Chomsky

I used to cut my hair when I would do the skin cut. Basically I just put the clipper blade to my scalp. As easy as it is, I've seen a lot of people not know that you need to actually put the blade to the scalp. Anyway, it took a little time to get all the little hairs perfectly even. After it's shaved though, I quick run over your head every 2-3 days is easy and takes about a minute. But I wouldn't trust myself with my longer hair I've had the past few years. 

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I just remembered that I have this book called "How to Sew a Button and Other Nifty Things Your Grandmother Knew" by Erin Bried. It essentially has 100+ answers to the thread question! Examples: how to grow a vegetable garden, shine your own shoes, bake your own bread , etc. Check it out!

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0345518756?pc_redir=1402659369&robot_redir=1

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This is my first time living by myself and having to worry about budgeting. Here are a few things that I do to save money. 

1. This is specific to African american women ( i no longer get single braids, i get crochet braids for $ 30 to $40 every three months instead of paying the $200.00 for single braids).

 

2. since i live close to school, i dont drive 5 days out of the week ( this forces me to walk/bike to work everyday and doubles as my excercise time)

 

3. cook big meals and put them in containers that would last me a week ( yay food prepping)

 

I am trying to become a minimalist so right now i am going through my staff to see which ones i dont use. if i do need something i try to find in on sale or second hand stores depending on the cost benefit analysis.  

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  • Ensure I have more than two things to accomplish if I go out; gas is high. 
  • I let the rain wash my SUV.
  • I do my own hair
Edited by Victoris

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Also as disgusting as this sounds, depending on where you live where water isn't free, skip showers.

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I've started watching Extreme Cheapskates and picking up some habits I think aren't too crazy such as saving the condiment packets from restaurants. It isn't exactly to save money but it does have that effect: I've started washing my hair only ever 3 days, so about twice a week. It's actually much better for your hair and scalp and it saves me tons on shampoo and conditioner since I go through it less quickly. I also save a lot of laundry up for visits home to my parents. If I know I'm visiting home I'll stretch my wardrobe as thin as I can and then do 5+ loads for free.

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I'm going to sound much more materialistic than everyone else who has posted, haha.

 

I paint my own nails and toenails (instead of going to a salon).

 

Interestingly, I've started driving to work again because public transportation + biking was more expensive, more exhausting, and more time consuming.

Edited by starofdawn

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Guest Gnome Chomsky

I'm going to sound much more materialistic than everyone else who has posted, haha.

 

I paint my own nails and toenails (instead of going to a salon).

 

Interestingly, I've started driving to work again because public transportation + biking was more expensive, more exhausting, and more time consuming.

I agree. Don't do things just because the idea of it sounds good. I tried eliminating needing my car when I was living in Miami. I would bike if it was within 10 miles and take the bus otherwise. That didn't last long. The heat and humidity in Miami is unbearable, the public transportation is awful, and the money you save isn't significant. However, I owned a cheap used car and didn't have insurance so I only had to pay for gas.

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I'm definitely not good at saving money unfortunately. I'm going to be working really hard to get my grocery bill under control. Food tends to be my biggest expense because I get very bored with eating the same stuff multiple times in a row. I'm hoping to get into freezing some of my own meals and trying different ways to stretch my food budget.

 

My car is non-negotiable with my dog and horses but I do rarely wash it, except for glass wipes for the windows/windshield. I will be cutting back on gas and that will help. I drive 300 miles a week now, but hopefully I won't be driving to school or work at all and instead only using my car for large errands or the barn. I'm hoping to get down to 300-400 miles a month, depending on if I take any weekend trips.

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I've had friends cut my hair for me in the past (whenever I could find somebody who felt confident about doing it), and I was always satisfied with the result. Even when I can't find a friend who will cut it for me, I only go to the salon once or twice a year and I always get my hair cut my one of the trainees so that it's cheaper. 

 

I only go out to eat if it's someone's birthday, so I cook at home twice a day most days and eat a cold breakfast. My food costs aren't as low as they could be because I don't buy any packaged/premade foods, only grains and fresh produce and fancy non meat proteins (I'm a vegetarian), but that's something I'm willing to splurge on, relatively speaking (I still only spend about $50 on groceries per week, which isn't exactly breaking the bank). 

 

I get all of my furniture and most of my clothes at secondhand stores or using Freesharing sites or groups - I spent less than $100 furnishing my current apartment, and that was mostly on bedding. I don't buy new clothes until the old ones wear out so badly that they can't be fixed, and until that point I darn them or bleach them or modify them to make them last longer (rehemming sleeves, cutting off worn-out pants, fixing holes until the material gets too thin to allow it).

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This is a bit off-topic, as it's not really something I do myself that someone else could be doing for me, but I just want to throw it out there: go to your local library! As someone who reads a lot of books, watches a lot of movies, and listens to a lot of music, the library is an amazing resource for me. Even if your library doesn't have the item you're looking for, chances are that they participate in an interlibrary loan program, and they can get it for you from somewhere else. Seriously, libraries are great.

 

Also, I make an effort to buy things that are versatile, whether it's clothing or groceries. I find that it's much easier (and cheaper) to buy a few things that can be used many ways than to buy a lot of things that only serve one purpose. 

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I keep thinking of more things for this thread, lol. What about the useful skill of learning to drive a stick (manual transmission)? You can save on the cost of the car, any repairs on the transmission, and if you drive it well, gas, too.

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I keep thinking of more things for this thread, lol. What about the useful skill of learning to drive a stick (manual transmission)? You can save on the cost of the car, any repairs on the transmission, and if you drive it well, gas, too.

 

Good skill to have! I learned on a stick and prefer them, but my most recent car is an automatic. Reasons: actually better gas mileage than the stick version (it's an "automated manual" DSG, not a slushbox), potential Houston traffic, and if I need to sell the car when I move for postdoc it's MUCH easier to sell an auto.

A hidden benefit for sticks though: less likely to get stolen/carjacked! Many bad guys won't bother or don't know how. :)

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Guest Gnome Chomsky

Here's a link to a thread you might find interesting. It's from ZenHabits.com. It lists 16 things this person does to save money and has a bunch of links to other similar articles. I'll post the text too:

 

http://zenhabits.net/how-i-save-money/

 

I think I’m a fairly frugal person. I haven’t always been this way, and it’s taken years of simplifying and cutting back on little things, one at a time. And while there are definitely many more things I can scrimp and save on, I’m proud of how far I’ve come already. Here’s how I save money:

1) I cut my own hair. I bought a $20 buzzer, and it lasts about a year. I used to get a haircut every month, at a cost of $20 (including tip, not including gas money to get there and valuable time spent there). So I save the cost of about 11 haircuts a year. I do the same for my three sons, saving another 36 haircuts (at $10 each). Annual savings: $580.

2) No Cable TV. We watch DVDs, or read. I don’t spend much on DVDs either (probably less than most people, per month). Cable costs about $65/month. Annual savings: $780.

3) Became vegan. I eat a lot of fresh fruits and veggies, which are expensive, sure, but you are supposed to eat those whether you’re vegan, vegetarian or a carnivore, so I don’t count those as extra expenses. The real comparison is between meat, and the protein substitutes I use. Most of my protein comes from tofu, although I do eat beans and soy protein such as fake ground beef or soy burgers. Overall I believe I save about $2-3 per day not eating meat. Annual savings: $900.

4) Don’t use the gym. I used to be a member of a gym. Didn’t use it much, and still got charged for a full year. Now I get a lot of exercise, but I do it at home and on the road. I do strength exercises in my living room and jog (and will soon start cycling and swimming). Annual savings: $420.

5) Rarely go to the movies. I used to go out to the movies at least once a week, and sometimes more. I slowly made it every other week, and now I don’t even go once a month. Now we take the kids to the park or out to do something more fun and creative. I figure this saves me at least $15 per week, although it’s probably more when you factor in the cost of my kids’ tickets, and concessions. Annual savings: $780.

6) Quit smoking. I quit over a year ago. I smoked a pack a day, plus a soda or tea or coffee to go with the cigarettes, at a cost of about $5 per day.Annual savings: $1,825.

7) Don’t drink much. I never did, really, except maybe in college. But for some people, drinking is a major expense. A beer or two a day can add up, and for the sake of these calculations, I’ll count it. Annual savings: $800.

8) Never go out. I don’t go to clubs, or the theater, or ballet, or opera. I guess I’m just not that type of person. Annual savings: maybe $500.

9) Stay healthy. As mentioned above, I’m a vegan, a runner, and I don’t drink or smoke anymore. I never go to the doctor, and if I keep up this lifestyle, my likelihood of getting the most common diseases are greatly lowered. Annual savings: probably $1,200.

10) Don’t go shopping. We used to hang out at the mall a lot. It was convenient, and had a lot of great stuff to look at, and a food court. The food court alone costs $30 for us, and if we bought stuff that would be another $25-75. Cha-ching. Now I rarely ever, ever, ever go to the mall. I hate it anyway. I only go to the mall or Kmart if I need something, and even then I try my best to avoid it. Annual savings: probably $2,600.

11) Have only one car. We are a married couple with six kids, soccer practice, choir, school functions, many many family gatherings, running events, martial arts, and much more. But we get by on one car. We are looking to get a used van with better fuel economy, and I am going to start commuting at least a few times a week by bike. Annual savings: unknown, but perhaps $5,000.

12) Bring my own lunch. My co-workers eat out every day, at a cost of $8-20 per lunch. I bring leftovers or a sandwich and fruits and pretzels and stuff. At a cost of probably less than $5. Annual savings: $1,800.

13) No magazine or newspaper subscriptions. I used to have the paper delivered. Now I read it online or at work. I used to subscribe to 1-2 magazines. Now I read the Internet. Annual savings: $360.

14) Rarely buy new clothes. I use my clothes and shoes until they are threadbare. Really. Ask my wife and kids. Annual savings: maybe $400.

15) Never travel. I would like to travel. When I am out of debt and my savings accounts are nice and healthy, I will travel. But for now, I skip it. Others I know take at least a trip per year. Annual savings: $1,500.

16) No more lattes. I used to get a latte every day. At a cost of about $4 per latte. Sometimes I’d get two. Now I make my own coffee. Annual savings: about $1,000.

There are more little ways that I’ve learned to save, like getting my books at a used book store, cooking most of my meals (aside from the above-mentioned lunches), power-saving measures, no long distance calls. There are also ways I can still save, including eating out less (we eat out 1-3 times per week, mostly fast food like pizza or Taco Bell or Wendy’s, all of which I can do without).

Estimated total savings: $20,445.

Now, I’m not sure if most people spend the full amounts listed above, or if I ever did. But at some point, I did come close, and I think many people do as well. But however you look at it, I’m proud of how far I’ve come. Does this all go into savings? Of course not. Other expenses have gone up, because I now have six kids, and our income has temporarily gone down. Also, we’re now putting money into debt, and once that is freed up, more will go into savings.

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The public library can be a fantastic resource, depending on where you live. Where I did my PhD, I got entire seasons of TV shows from the library, rather than watching via Netflix or cable. They had all sorts of shows, like True Blood, Girls, The Wire, Battlestar Galactica, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Gilmore Girls, etc., not to mention a great selection of movies and documentaries, and you could check out a season for 3 weeks. I would even place the next season on hold so that I could get it when it came in without having to rush to the branch. I have since moved to an area without a good public library and it makes me sad from time to time.

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My entertainment budget is my Netflix account and semi-annual yarn and used book purchases (the latter two I save a few dollars here and there for). I also take the bus, because one of the student "perks" is an annual bus pass for $5 (which includes connector buses to nearby cities and all of the bus routes in Raleigh itself). And my roommate gardens (I water when he's out of town and help him eat nice fresh veggies), which cuts down on groceries. 

 

I buy school supplies in bulk (especially pens and post-its) and re-use binders until I can't anymore. That's a hell of a lot cheaper than buying them new once or twice a year.

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