Extreme Frugality - The other people think I'm crazy thread! - Page 5 - Mothering Forums

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#121 of 156 Old 01-21-2010, 01:31 AM
 
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I totally agree. Time spent with family > material goods any day.

Mom to angel baby, grew wings at 5 weeks in May '07, William, born Dec '08, and another angel who grew wings at 8w4d (lost at 11w) in Oct '10. Rachel born Feb 2012, Another angel Lost Sept '13. New bean due Nov '14!
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#122 of 156 Old 01-21-2010, 03:02 PM
 
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this is our dream! In a few years, DH could drop to 20hrs a week. We were thinking of stopping there b/c then he would have insurance w/ the company.

How amazing! What a dream! Brings tears to my eyes...I would love for us to be home as a family.
I encourage anyone to work toward this. It's great. We thought we'd both work part time to begin with and get ins. benefits. Then we thought one of us would do the part time with ins. Then we realized we could potentially do no work with private insurance. I think any of these iterations is great for people with kids.

Insurance is always a worry. We're closely watching what will happen with reform and private insurance. We may have to do some part time work in the future if we have to pay a large amount for h'care because we wouldn't qualify for a subsidy. We've always known h'care could be the one thing that would send us out to a job again or make us have to have some side income. We have plans that have the potential for side income, either farmer's markets or my writing or dh doing some consulting if we need it.

I said this somewhere else, but right now dh is doing a short term consulting
job that fell in his lap. DD needs braces and we're still not moving yet, so there wasn't any real reason to turn it down. DH is having a hard time focusing because he just doesn't want to do things for others anymore. He just wants to do things with us and his own projects around here. He says that after 2 years of being home, there is no comparison between being home and the big job. I hope we get to continue this for many, many more years.

sorry for any repetition
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#123 of 156 Old 01-21-2010, 04:11 PM
 
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Just subbing.... Wonderful thread....

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#124 of 156 Old 01-23-2010, 05:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Now we can put some money in savings and the basement renos!

We are officially totally crazy as we can't brag to our parents because they just don't get it. No insurance and no repair bills on a truck that we only drive a few times a month but we don't actually *have* to drive it at all. All it took was a little rearranging.

I'm looking forward to some bike trips, train trips and different rental cars for trips where we really need a vehicle.
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#125 of 156 Old 01-23-2010, 05:19 PM
 
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Insurance is always a worry. We're closely watching what will happen with reform and private insurance. We may have to do some part time work in the future if we have to pay a large amount for h'care because we wouldn't qualify for a subsidy. We've always known h'care could be the one thing that would send us out to a job again or make us have to have some side income. We have plans that have the potential for side income, either farmer's markets or my writing or dh doing some consulting if we need it.
Insurance is my big concern. I would love to work part time and financially could easily do it. Im a very healthy person, never had any issues. Last year I got a very serious infection and had to go to a specialist. It was an eye opening experience to realize that if I didnt have insurance the tests alone would have wiped out my savings.

My frugal habits are helping me save money now, and will help me be able to have more of my free time in the (hopefully) very near future.
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#126 of 156 Old 01-23-2010, 10:22 PM
 
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I am eating less....and losing weight. So, for me this is win/win.

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#127 of 156 Old 01-23-2010, 10:23 PM
 
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Now we can put some money in savings and the basement renos!

We are officially totally crazy as we can't brag to our parents because they just don't get it. No insurance and no repair bills on a truck that we only drive a few times a month but we don't actually *have* to drive it at all. All it took was a little rearranging.

I'm looking forward to some bike trips, train trips and different rental cars for trips where we really need a vehicle.
Wish we could do this too.

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#128 of 156 Old 01-24-2010, 10:26 AM
 
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Great thread! I am so glad i found you my frugal sisters. We live in a small town and although some people live frugally others look at us like we are just plains nuts. I love the frugal life and glad I found this thread to share ideas and support.

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#129 of 156 Old 01-24-2010, 04:45 PM
 
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Insurance is my big concern. I would love to work part time and financially could easily do it. Im a very healthy person, never had any issues. Last year I got a very serious infection and had to go to a specialist. It was an eye opening experience to realize that if I didnt have insurance the tests alone would have wiped out my savings.

My frugal habits are helping me save money now, and will help me be able to have more of my free time in the (hopefully) very near future.
It is truly a concern. Can you get private insurance? (after seeing what happens with h'care reform of course) We have private insurance with an $8k deductible. So we do have insurance, but they have mentioned that it could go away under this reform. If we had several years in a row of having to meet the deductible, that would also send us back to group insurance. I've been having some health issues lately and hopefully they will resolve soon without sending us back to a job with group ins.

There are some part time jobs that carry insurance. How prevalent they are right now, may be a different story. Some libraries, YMCAs, school systems, starbucks, ups maybe. That was also a back up idea for us.

It's all about freedom for us - our time without being compelled to be somewhere or do something we may not want to do.
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#130 of 156 Old 01-26-2010, 10:03 PM
 
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I am eating less....and losing weight. So, for me this is win/win.
Me too! And when I stopped eating as much, so did the kids and now we are all thinner and healthier and have more money in the bank. Less time cooking as well....
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#131 of 156 Old 01-27-2010, 06:02 PM
 
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I buy birthday and Christmas gifts way in advance...sometimes next years gift for my mother was purchased the previous year. I have a section in my closet to store the items. DD's niece is going to be 14 in April. I purchased her gifts from one of those expensive mall body shops from the 90% off bin. Both items were under $5.00. She'll be happy and we keep more money in our pockets.
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#132 of 156 Old 01-27-2010, 10:19 PM
 
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I buy birthday and Christmas gifts way in advance...sometimes next years gift for my mother was purchased the previous year. I have a section in my closet to store the items. DD's niece is going to be 14 in April. I purchased her gifts from one of those expensive mall body shops from the 90% off bin. Both items were under $5.00. She'll be happy and we keep more money in our pockets.
That's also what I do. More time to find the perfect gift at the right prize. And also less stress compared to having to buy something last minute.

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#133 of 156 Old 01-27-2010, 10:59 PM
 
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Dumpster diving. Hardcore.

The past two nights, we got the girls a BUNCH of brand new books, including a 5-page puzzle book, some board books, and an AMAZING $40 rainforest book that's about 2" thick and chock full of amazing photography. They haven't put it down yet.

Also got brand new Christmas ornaments (2 3' tall, 2' wide boxes full), laundry detergent, tons of vitamins and supplements, brand new kids clothes, fresh bread, a huge bag of fresh bagels, snack bags, 2 brand new glass-top endtables, still-hot pizza...

It was a good two nights.

I have yet to pay for furniture, tv's, computers, office supplies, and half our groceries. And we're keeping perfectly good, useable, often brand new items from going to the dump.

Meanwhile, 80% of our friends think we're insane. The other 20% have recently become enthralled with dumpster diving as well
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#134 of 156 Old 01-28-2010, 06:00 AM
 
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^this is prob. a dumb question but where exactly do you go for dumpster diving?

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#135 of 156 Old 01-28-2010, 12:29 PM
 
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^this is prob. a dumb question but where exactly do you go for dumpster diving?
I was wondering the same thing!

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#136 of 156 Old 01-28-2010, 04:45 PM
 
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Anywhere that doesn't have a compacter. Around here, that's smaller, non-big-box stores. Typically we hit up Big Lots, Family Dollar, Dollar Tree, Dollar General, Borders.

As for furniture/electronics, Office Max, Rent-A-Center, Aaron's Rental, small local electronic repair stores..

Then FOOD! Haha yes, I have no problem eating from a dumpster. Dunkin Donuts, Manhattan Bagel.. they tend to double bag their products.. bagels with bagels, donuts with donuts. Good for a treat to share with friends. Aldi's, Jubilee... they throw out perfectly good produce! Trader Joe's I hear is always an amazing dumpster to hit, but alas, we don't have any in my neck of the woods.

Health food stores, GNC... basically, anywhere there's an unlocked dumpster, we give it a peek. It's 50/50 right now, slow season after the holidays runs about January-March. Then it picks up big time and you won't have too many "slow nights"!
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#137 of 156 Old 01-28-2010, 05:07 PM
 
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Oh my goodness my DH and his friend have gotten perfectly good printers, paper shredders, etc, in the electronic store's dumpsters, like Best buy. They smash them now though, because they realized people were taking them.

Anyways I have a question. It snows a lot here. Would it be worth it to thaw snow for water? Or would the extra cost on the heating bill cancel out the water savings?

Mom to angel baby, grew wings at 5 weeks in May '07, William, born Dec '08, and another angel who grew wings at 8w4d (lost at 11w) in Oct '10. Rachel born Feb 2012, Another angel Lost Sept '13. New bean due Nov '14!
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#138 of 156 Old 01-28-2010, 08:33 PM
 
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Would it be worth it to thaw snow for water? Or would the extra cost on the heating bill cancel out the water savings?
I think it's pretty negligible, but that's just a guess. My grandma always used to melt snow indoors for: watering plants, filling her goldfish tank, and washing her hair. It wasn't as though this allowed her to avoid chlorinated town water - it just saved a long walk out into the farmyard to the well.

Also on the frugal side, she fed her goldfish bits of lettuce and mosquitoes any month they were available. The fish got "real" fish food on Sundays for a treat. She had two goldfish that lived 25-30 years each and her other few fish were long-lived as well.

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#139 of 156 Old 01-28-2010, 08:40 PM
 
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Anyways I have a question. It snows a lot here. Would it be worth it to thaw snow for water? Or would the extra cost on the heating bill cancel out the water savings?
If you just scooped up big buckets and left them to melt overnight inside the house that could work. Like in the basement? My basement is not heated so for me it would not raise my heating bill and the snow would slowly melt.

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#140 of 156 Old 01-29-2010, 02:57 AM
 
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I have loved reading all 7 pages of this thread!

One thing I noticed that hadn't been mentioned yet is gift wrap/bags. A PP did mention using paper shopping bags (the brown kind) to wrap gifts....which we do. Another thing is reusing gift bags and tissue paper. It's been years (as in easily over 10) since I've bought either a gift bag or tissue paper. I saved every bag that held a gift from our wedding, all my baby showers for both kids, and every birthday/Xmas gift any of us has ever received. I've got them stored in a HUGE shopping bag and it'll be years before they're all gone...even if we never receive another gift again.
The tissue paper, I just smooth out and fold it nicely and put it all away together. Yeah, I think people think I'm crazy for doing this....but that's their problem.

There are other things that I'd like to do more of, like composting and saving rain water. I'd also love for our gardens to be bigger and more productive. We do have apple and plum trees that we make good use of....as well as TONS of blackberries on our property. Can you believe that people will pay $5 for a pint of blackberries??? Around here, you can stop on the side of literally any road and pick a gallon of them for free (in August)....and people still pay for them in the summer. I think that's crazy......

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#141 of 156 Old 01-29-2010, 10:35 AM
 
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Anywhere that doesn't have a compacter. Around here, that's smaller, non-big-box stores. Typically we hit up Big Lots, Family Dollar, Dollar Tree, Dollar General, Borders.

As for furniture/electronics, Office Max, Rent-A-Center, Aaron's Rental, small local electronic repair stores..

Then FOOD! Haha yes, I have no problem eating from a dumpster. Dunkin Donuts, Manhattan Bagel.. they tend to double bag their products.. bagels with bagels, donuts with donuts. Good for a treat to share with friends. Aldi's, Jubilee... they throw out perfectly good produce! Trader Joe's I hear is always an amazing dumpster to hit, but alas, we don't have any in my neck of the woods.

Health food stores, GNC... basically, anywhere there's an unlocked dumpster, we give it a peek. It's 50/50 right now, slow season after the holidays runs about January-March. Then it picks up big time and you won't have too many "slow nights"!
Sounds very tempting (and I have a Trader Joe's nearby)... But I kind of remember hearing dumpster diving is illegal, is that true???

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#142 of 156 Old 01-29-2010, 11:19 AM
 
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I have loved reading all 7 pages of this thread!

One thing I noticed that hadn't been mentioned yet is gift wrap/bags. A PP did mention using paper shopping bags (the brown kind) to wrap gifts....which we do. Another thing is reusing gift bags and tissue paper. It's been years (as in easily over 10) since I've bought either a gift bag or tissue paper. I saved every bag that held a gift from our wedding, all my baby showers for both kids, and every birthday/Xmas gift any of us has ever received. I've got them stored in a HUGE shopping bag and it'll be years before they're all gone...even if we never receive another gift again.
The tissue paper, I just smooth out and fold it nicely and put it all away together. Yeah, I think people think I'm crazy for doing this....but that's their problem.

There are other things that I'd like to do more of, like composting and saving rain water. I'd also love for our gardens to be bigger and more productive. We do have apple and plum trees that we make good use of....as well as TONS of blackberries on our property. Can you believe that people will pay $5 for a pint of blackberries??? Around here, you can stop on the side of literally any road and pick a gallon of them for free (in August)....and people still pay for them in the summer. I think that's crazy......
When we got married 13 years ago, we must have gotten 25-30 gift bags from our wedding and even more from our shower. We saved them all and it took a good 3 years before we used them all. I did the same thing with baby shower gift bags. My best friend even said she herself had received the gift bag at her shower and used it at mine. I in turn did the same to someone else. I still do that.

We compost all year. I just put a big heap in the veggie garden and let nature do its work. We bring out the compost pail about every day and a half. I keep saying I am going to start a worm one, but this works really well. We have one barrel for rain and will get another one when its warmer. That one we will attach a hose to and water the lawn. The barrel now is for watering the garden. I notice a difference using rain water in the veggies. I also notice how over the last 2 years since we moved in and I have been getting the soil ready how its evolved into a wonderful soil from composting.

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#143 of 156 Old 01-29-2010, 03:37 PM
 
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Sounds very tempting (and I have a Trader Joe's nearby)... But I kind of remember hearing dumpster diving is illegal, is that true???
You'd have to check your local statutes. In most places, it surprisingly isn't illegal! Breaking into a locked dumpster is illegal, going into one with a No Trespassing sign is illegal, dumping your own garbage into a dumpster is illegal, but in most instances, taking things OUT of a dumpster isn't!

Biggest reason why is that things in a dumpster or at a curb, things clearly meant for garbage pick up, are considered "abandoned property". It isn't until the dumpster is physically picked up by the waste management company that possession of the items in it transfer over to belong to someone.

Granted, it isn't looked upon well by many store employees, and while I've never been confronted by law enforcement, I know people who have, and no one (even on a hundreds+ forum devoted to it) has ever been ticketed or arrested.


Update on my own finds: last night we went to a grocery store and hit the jackpot. Over $600 worth of meat. Cases and cases of beef, pork, and ham. Still frozen, thanks to the weather! (The "best if used by" isn't until the end of March. Unbelievable that people are going hungry and this mass amount of food was going to end up at the dump).

Knew before we got home there was no way we could fit all of it in our freezer, so we called a couple friends who also have a hard time making ends meet to meet us at our place and divied it up. Even after splitting it 4 ways and LOADING our friends up, my freezer is still full. We have enough meat to literally last 2 months for a family of four.
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#144 of 156 Old 01-29-2010, 03:43 PM
 
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Update on my own finds: last night we went to a grocery store and hit the jackpot. Over $600 worth of meat. Cases and cases of beef, pork, and ham. Still frozen, thanks to the weather! (The "best if used by" isn't until the end of March. Unbelievable that people are going hungry and this mass amount of food was going to end up at the dump).

Knew before we got home there was no way we could fit all of it in our freezer, so we called a couple friends who also have a hard time making ends meet to meet us at our place and divied it up. Even after splitting it 4 ways and LOADING our friends up, my freezer is still full. We have enough meat to literally last 2 months for a family of four.
That's amazing!!

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#145 of 156 Old 01-29-2010, 07:11 PM
 
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Update on my own finds: last night we went to a grocery store and hit the jackpot. Over $600 worth of meat. Cases and cases of beef, pork, and ham. Still frozen, thanks to the weather! (The "best if used by" isn't until the end of March. Unbelievable that people are going hungry and this mass amount of food was going to end up at the dump).
I'm just curious, really not knocking dumpster diving, I know amazing things can be found there, but I'm trying to figure out why a store would throw away meat that wasn't past the expiration date? Could it be that it sat out and wasn't refrigerated/frozen for a period of time?
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#146 of 156 Old 01-29-2010, 07:27 PM
 
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Asked friends of mine who work in grocery stores. They said it's probably just a storage issue in a smaller chain store like that. They got their new shipments in, which are fresher and brand new, and had to chuck the "older" stuff.

I'm fairly cautious with meat and dairy dumpster products. If there's any discoloration, smell, etc, I don't mess around with it. This meat has no discoloration whatsoever... the beef is bright red, not a speck of odd colors at all. I left some out to thaw last night, smelled it this afternoon.. smells beautiful. Once spring hits, we tend to not get meat, dairy or produce as often due to the weather. In the winter, everything stays frozen or freezes almost immediately.

In my years of diving, I've found that stores in general tend to be incredibly wasteful. Hundreds of dollars of Christmas decorations were found in one dumpster.. hundreds of dollars in books and dvds in another. Foods the same way typically. It's insane.
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#147 of 156 Old 01-29-2010, 10:15 PM
 
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Redifer I just think that is amazing!! Makes me want to take a peek 'round back next time I'm at the grocery store. I hope you and your friends enjoy every last ounce of that not-wasted meat.

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#148 of 156 Old 01-30-2010, 04:38 PM
 
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Wow OK so I have to ask, do you "sneak" behind the stores at night or do you go in broad daylight?

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#149 of 156 Old 01-30-2010, 05:07 PM
 
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Is dumpster diving legal? I mean if you get caught will you get in trouble or do people not really care? I have never dumpster dived before but am interested. I told my husband about it and he said it sounds illegal so I am just curious!

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#150 of 156 Old 01-30-2010, 10:01 PM
 
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We tend to go at night, usually around 10 pm til midnight. 2 reasons:
1. It's a lot easier to dive when the kids are asleep in the truck.
2. Most places around here only throw their garbage out right before they close, so during the day is fruitless.

But I know plenty of people who go in the day. It depends on your schedule! It's a lot easier to see during the day.

Legality - most of the time it is legal. That depends on your local ordinances. The current law in the U.S.A. (federal as well as most states) is that (1) a person has no reasonable expectation of privacy for contents of garbage and (2) a person has relinquished any property interest in garbage, even when it sits in metal trash cans or opaque plastic bags at the person's home awaiting collection.

The only time dumpster diving becomes risky is when you're on private property, in which case it could be trespassing. However, I'd like to point out that in years of diving, I've never been confronted. And out of the people I know who dive, only 2 have been confronted by local law enforcement. 1 cop thought it was cool they got all that stuff free, and the other one simply asked them to leave the premises. No threats, no fines, no arrests. Online forums devoted to the subject have about the same rate... hardly anyone gets confronted, and if they do, it's 99.9% of the time a non-issue.

Like I said, in my area, its legal. We just stay away from locked dumpsters (which is vandalism/breaking and entering) and away from stores/buildings with "no trespassing" signs (even if they have really good stuff).
Redifer is offline  
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