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  Topic Review (Newest First)
07-19-2014 10:40 AM
jessaroo One way that we save money on eating out is buying Groupon certificates, Restaurant.com certificates (when there is a good coupon code), using 2/1 meal card for donating to local radio station. I also believe there are apps for locations where children can eat free.
07-18-2014 11:38 PM
happyhats I like to have a few convience items in the freezer. Its not the same as eatingvout as a date/occasion but so often we eat out bc we are frazzled or dont want to cook for some reason. I dont spend money on convience products all the time so its a treat all the way around.
07-18-2014 05:26 PM
crazyms
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpiralChrissy View Post
This is a really wonderful thread! Thank you everyone for the great ideas! I'm planning on trying a few things that you've suggested already. I am going to save my veggie scraps and make a tomato veggie soup, add baking soda to my detergent and have a snack night at home.

Here are some of the things we do: We switched to Aldi's several months ago for groceries. I buy my meat at Lucky's but we get everything else at Aldi's. I do some price comparisons to make sure I'm getting the best deal. We use the clothes line except for those times when are super busy and rushing around. My DH and DS like meat but I don't really care about it so often times I'll cook some meat for them and I'll just have a little bit and eat mostly veggies or I'll make myself some frozen seafood that's much cheaper. I use Swagbucks and save the points for Xmas. I've also recently started doing Bing Rewards. You get points for searching thru their site and those points can be turned into giftcards. I got 1 $5 Amazon card already and I'm working on my 2nd.

What I should be doing: I should cut out the cable, at least in the summer when we really don't need it. I should cook at home more. I should put more money into savings at the start of the month so I have less to spend.

What I need help with: I LOVE going out to eat. It's one of my favorite things to do in the world and where I still spend too much money. Does anyone have suggestions on how to eat out cheaply?

Thanks everyone!
I think I may have already mentioned it in this thread but we bought a digital antenna. It was about $40-50 and gives us 20-30 channels free (after the initial antenna purchase). It's not the same as cable or satellite with lots of channels but it gives us enough to have the local news, weather, some cartoons, and a few other channels or shows. For the little we watch tv it's sufficient and free! Plus it helps us NOT sit and watch tv when we don't have 24/7 access to a good show.

As for going out I don't know if this will help you but... I love going out too. For me the biggest thing though was that at home I bought groceries frugally and we always had cheaper meals (pintos and fried potatoes, black bean soup, etc.) but if we ate out we got the *good* stuff (burgers, tacos, pizza, etc.). I started a one night a week "dine in" night at home. We would buy the stuff to make pizza, tacos, etc at home one night a week. This wasn't quite the same thing but it was enough to stop tempting me to go out to eat. Those meals are more expensive than our regular meals but still way cheaper than eating out with a family of 5! Maybe something like that would help you? If it's the atmosphere and getting out of the house that you like more what about making the dine in meals and then going to a park or somewhere to eat them?
07-18-2014 05:03 PM
SpiralChrissy This is a really wonderful thread! Thank you everyone for the great ideas! I'm planning on trying a few things that you've suggested already. I am going to save my veggie scraps and make a tomato veggie soup, add baking soda to my detergent and have a snack night at home.

Here are some of the things we do: We switched to Aldi's several months ago for groceries. I buy my meat at Lucky's but we get everything else at Aldi's. I do some price comparisons to make sure I'm getting the best deal. We use the clothes line except for those times when are super busy and rushing around. My DH and DS like meat but I don't really care about it so often times I'll cook some meat for them and I'll just have a little bit and eat mostly veggies or I'll make myself some frozen seafood that's much cheaper. I use Swagbucks and save the points for Xmas. I've also recently started doing Bing Rewards. You get points for searching thru their site and those points can be turned into giftcards. I got 1 $5 Amazon card already and I'm working on my 2nd.

What I should be doing: I should cut out the cable, at least in the summer when we really don't need it. I should cook at home more. I should put more money into savings at the start of the month so I have less to spend.

What I need help with: I LOVE going out to eat. It's one of my favorite things to do in the world and where I still spend too much money. Does anyone have suggestions on how to eat out cheaply?

Thanks everyone!
07-18-2014 02:01 PM
PoetryLover
Quote:
Originally Posted by EmsMom View Post
Back to food - I have discovered that cooked dried beans or canned beans can make a great substitute for chicken and meat in many dishes. My mom used to make tuna noodle casserole, but my kids are vegetarian so I make tuna chick pea casserole. I will also make chicken salad, chicken pot pies, etc. with chick peas instead of chicken. This would also work very well to make meat stretch further == half meat, half beans for example. In general, I try not to serve too many refined carbs but casserole type dishes can really provide a lot of food for not so much money.
I'll have to try a casserole with chickpeas instead of tuna. Another place where beans work really well is in pasta dishes in place of meat. I just mix them in with the sauce.
07-17-2014 11:37 AM
crazyms
Quote:
Originally Posted by EmsMom View Post
Back to food - I have discovered that cooked dried beans or canned beans can make a great substitute for chicken and meat in many dishes. My mom used to make tuna noodle casserole, but my kids are vegetarian so I make tuna chick pea casserole. I will also make chicken salad, chicken pot pies, etc. with chick peas instead of chicken. This would also work very well to make meat stretch further == half meat, half beans for example. In general, I try not to serve too many refined carbs but casserole type dishes can really provide a lot of food for not so much money.
Interesting. I've done the beans as a meat substitute for ground beef or turkey and I have made bean burgers but that's it. I never thought of using chickpeas in place of chicken or tuna! Oh I have a ton of chickpeas here. I think we're experimenting with that tonight. Thanks!
07-17-2014 03:34 AM
EmsMom Back to food - I have discovered that cooked dried beans or canned beans can make a great substitute for chicken and meat in many dishes. My mom used to make tuna noodle casserole, but my kids are vegetarian so I make tuna chick pea casserole. I will also make chicken salad, chicken pot pies, etc. with chick peas instead of chicken. This would also work very well to make meat stretch further == half meat, half beans for example. In general, I try not to serve too many refined carbs but casserole type dishes can really provide a lot of food for not so much money.
07-16-2014 08:23 PM
apeydef I cook my own beans and make my own cream if chicken soup for recipes!
07-16-2014 08:17 PM
crazyms Really good points on the grocery shopping. Making things yourself at home and keeping a simple diet really help. I know a lot of people on these boards are on specific diets so some of this may not be relevant to some but I'll toss it out there for those it would help. Some of the ways I've managed to stretch groceries over the years:

- Only very rarely serve meat as a sole main dish. Meat is only used in a recipe with other items to bulk it up and then only half the amount. I can make my family a meal with 1/2 # of meat just as well as the 1# called for and get two meals out of it that way.
- We do eat vegetarian more now to save on meat costs. Things like chili, spaghetti, etc can easily be made without the meat.
- If you buy regular milk and can drink/use the 2% instead of whole milk then: buy the whole milk and mix it half and half with water. You get two gallons of essentially 2% this way for just a few cents extra than the 1 gallon would have cost. (Obviously this method shouldn't be used for drinking milk if you have a family member that is drinking whole milk for health reasons)
- Buy dried beans by the pound or in bulk and cook in the crockpot in batches then freeze in smaller portions in the freezer. 1 1/2 cups cooked dried beans replaces one 15oz can of beans and you can get 6 cups from 1#. That's 4 cans worth of beans for $1.25ish instead of the 1.25 or so it costs per can.
- Homemade cream of ____ soup. There are recipes all over the web for this and it works great. This really lowers the cost of those expensive little cans.
- I found that frozen veggies go much further for us than canned getting at least 2 cans worth of veggies out of one 16 oz bag of veggies. I stock up on these when they are on sale paying no more than .99 each for them.
- One local store often runs 10/$10 sales and I watch for them to but the frozen fruits on these sales. When they do I stock up. This is also cheaper than the canned versions.
- We also try to make snacks and things at home like baked goods since they're a lot cheaper.
- Freezer cooking really helps to make this all more manageable. Even things like pancakes can be pre-cooked in bulk and frozen.

Of course the homemade cleaning and bath and body products and reusable replacement items popular here save money too!

I'm really trying to find ways to get back into more of this since we've fallen off the wagon with a lot of it.
07-16-2014 06:36 PM
apeydef Walmart will price match also.
07-16-2014 06:19 PM
EmsMom I have a habit when I grocery shop that I have developed over the years. First: I shop primarily at the one local store that consistently has the best prices. I really try to never run out of anything that might tempt me to run into the more local store. Second: I buy the vast majority of my food only when it is on sale at a very good price. I buy large amounts of the following when they are on sale: the large packages of eggs (2 1/2 dozen); blocks of cheddar and jack cheese when they are less than 1.99 each; our favorite salsa, canned beans, light tuna, whole wheat pasta, flour, toothpaste, canned tomatoes, toilet paper, olive and canola oil, 4 lb bags of frozen fruit. Even vegetables and fruit go on sale and I buy what is on sale. We have been eating a lot of broccoli because it is always on sale for .99 a lb. Some things don't go on sale often so I make occasional swings to the stores where I know they are cheapest -- good quality whole wheat flour, whole wheat tortillas, 25 lbs of oatmeal from the local health food store, things like that. I keep a big stock of herbs and spices and I know how to cook. If I had a higher income I would shop the same way but I would probably buy a lot more organic food that I can't really afford now. I store my food carefully and rotate the stock, very rarely missing an expiration date. I think because we keep a very simple diet based on just the basics, we eat well at a very low cost. And right now we are almost exclusively eating out of the very inexpensively created pantry because I really need to get some money in the bank quickly for closing on a house in a few weeks. ALso great if I am sick for some reason. I can't remember the last time I made an unplanned trip to the supermarket. It took a few years to get to this level of organization, but it has been really worth it. And we only buy processed food such as store bought cookies or chips on the rarest of occasions when they are on a great sale. 90% of "treats" are homemade: brownies, cookies, popcorn, toast, etc. I started making my own jams a couple of years ago. Hard sometimes because I work full-time and commute almost an hour each way; I keep it going though and it has really helped us. this summer, my favorite store has a $10 coupon off $100 purchase every week. I can't really spend that much every week, but I have taken advantage of the coupon by filling out my grocery order with things we will need for the new house: compact flourescent bulbs (sale plus coupon) and things like that. I may also grab some Chrristmas presents to put away.

You know I happened to be in Walmart today to get some packing boxes; the prices at my local Shoprite are far, far better, especially when I shop the loss leaders. I have generally found the same thing with the warehouse clubs. walmart wanted $2 for generic cream cheese; Shoprite regularly carries their own brand for 1.25. It really does pay to track prices.
07-16-2014 02:42 PM
crazyms
Quote:
Originally Posted by apeydef View Post
We also bought our own modem to avoid the monthly fee, and drive older vehicles. My husband says a used vehicle should not cost anymore than $100 a month or $1200/yr for repairs and if we go over that he's says it's not cost effective and we need to purchase a new (used, new to us) vehicle. This way we have this amount set and we are not wasting money in repairs.
We also drive older vehicles. Actually dh is getting excited because we only have a couple more years before we can get antique tags on our vehicles because they're so old. We are actually working on a large makeover for one of the vehicles right now. It'll be costly but still cheaper than a new car and it will essentially make this old body a "new" car. We get the best of both worlds that way - new car with old car prices for insurance, tags, etc. It's a very strange custom makeover that dh is doing to convert the vehicle to a standard and a small diesel engine to save on gas and maintenance. This will lessen the amount of maintenance and parts to break on the vehicle making it easier and cheaper in the long run. It's also going to increase the fuel mileage by a lot. If I can just calm my nerves about the money for the makeover it'll be a great thing.
07-16-2014 02:31 PM
apeydef We also bought our own modem to avoid the monthly fee, and drive older vehicles. My husband says a used vehicle should not cost anymore than $100 a month or $1200/yr for repairs and if we go over that he's says it's not cost effective and we need to purchase a new (used, new to us) vehicle. This way we have this amount set and we are not wasting money in repairs.
07-16-2014 12:49 PM
PoetryLover This is an awesome thread! I was just talking to DH the other day about how we need to start saving money. We tend to live frugally in general, but during times of stress can eat out too much, etc.

Some things that we have done to save money:

1) We bought a mobile home in the country and now pay less money for lot rent, mortgage (with taxes and home owners insurance) than we paid for rent. Plus, we can pay our home off within a couple of years, freeing up lots of money to save for a down payment on a house.

2) My husband got EZ Pass for his work commute, saving 30% of money paid for tolls.

3) We didn't buy a dryer at the new place; instead, we purchased a clothesline and put our deep freezer in the space meant for a dryer. We live in New England where the winters are tough, so we will use indoor clothing racks in the winter time. Even cloth diapering 2, I was able in the past to keep up with laundry washing 1-2 loads a day.

4) Upon moving we went with a different cable internet company, saving us money. We also bought our own modem which saves us $8 a month and will pay for itself after a while. We opted not to pay for their insurance.

5) We switched our phone to Ooma and pay only $3 something a month in taxes. It goes through the Cable internet and I can make all the local and long distance calls I want for free, excluding taxes.

6) We don't have smart phones. We have 2 trac phones that we only use if we're out and about and need to communicate with each other or in the event of an emergency.

7) We don't pay for cable TV. We don't even have a TV, as we gave it away when we moved. We do pay $8 a month for Netflix, as DH has some things he likes to watch on his laptop or kindle. This is something that we could easily cancel, though, on a month to month basis.

8) We drive older cars that have been paid for, so we don't have car payments. We also have good driving records, thus, good car insurance rates. When we moved from the city to the country, our insurance went down and then again when we got home owners insurance through the same company.

9) We bought DH a small vehicle that is good on gas and also good in the snow for his commute. He may ask to work from home 1-2 days a week, as well.

10) We make our own laundry detergent. It seems to clean our clothes well enough. We use the Duggers recipe for liquid detergent. It's super easy and we use it in the HE washer we bought upon the move. We've been using the recipe for years now.

11) Also, when moving, knowing we could anticipate spending lots of money at a particular store, we went online and bought discount gift cards, saving roughly 10% or about $150. DH works full time and goes to graduate school. He likes to study at Starbucks which can be expensive. I found discounted gift cards for 17% off Starbucks.

12) We save veggie scraps and put them in a gallon freezer bag. When it's full we make a pot of homemade veggie broth. People who eat meat (we're vegetarian) can toss in bones or what not, too. Broth can be expensive, so this saves a lot of money over time.

13) We save a lot of money buying certain staples at Costco. Things like yeast for bread, maple syrup and coconut oil are much cheaper there. I'd like to check out Sam's Club, as well, especially as it's closer since our move. We buy huge cans of diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, etc. for a couple dollars and freeze them in roughly the amount in a 15 oz can. We just thaw them before using them.

14) We keep a price book. This is so important. Mine is actually on an excel spreadsheet.

15) We cook certain things in bulk and freeze the leftovers, things like several kinds of beans, rice, soup, chili, etc. I measure them out in the portions I will use them.

16) We make our own bread, pancakes from scratch, etc. and freeze the extras.

17) We shop thrift stores and end of season clearances for our sons and sometimes ourselves.

These are the things I can think of offhand. I may be back later with more ideas, but I will definitely be checking this thread. :-)
07-16-2014 10:39 AM
apeydef Does anyone shop at Aldis?
07-16-2014 07:03 AM
pumabearclan
Quote:
Originally Posted by veghappy View Post
I am interested in making our own laundry detergent but I tried it years ago and DH complained that our clothes never felt or smelt as clean as they do when we use store bought detergent. Maybe I can try adding essential oils. Does anyone have any favorite recipes they'd be willing to share?
I found that essential oils left a residue on the rubbery parts of my washer that eventually encouraged mold.

I use Tide Free powder, but only 1/4 the amount recommended, add baking soda, and do slightly smaller loads. My rationale is that what I would save by using less effective laundry detergent doesn't equate to what I save by taking very good care of our clothes by keeping them clean and stain-free.
07-16-2014 03:47 AM
veghappy What an awesome thread!

Our cell phone contract ended so we switched to metro and are now paying $70 a month instead of $170 a month. We still have smartphones and data, so DH is happy and I'm happy we are saving $100 a month! That was an easy $1200 a year raise!

DH and I went vegan a few months ago so our food costs have changed dramatically. We no longer buy expensive meat or cheese , which freed up our grocery budget to buy organic. I am thrilled with that. On top of that, being vegan eliminates the majority of fast food/dining out options, which that alone seems to be saving us about $400 a month. (Holy guacamole were we eating out too much!!) That equates to a $4800 a year raise! Wowza!

Between the cell switch and not eating out, we are saving (which I equate to getting a raise) about $6000 a year! Being in debt payoff mode, that's a huge help to us.

I am interested in making our own laundry detergent but I tried it years ago and DH complained that our clothes never felt or smelled as clean as they do when we use store bought detergent. Maybe I can try adding essential oils. Does anyone have any favorite recipes they'd be willing to share?
07-15-2014 01:27 PM
spiderdust
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyms View Post
yes we have some missing z keys around here. Makes for some cute posts though!
I kept wondering what combination of letters were getting banned!
07-14-2014 08:59 AM
pumabearclan Speaking of free*r you can "block" empty space in your frig & free*r with a boxes of ice packs and jugs filled with water. It's supposed to save on energy. Helpful to preserve temps during a power outage as well.
07-13-2014 10:41 AM
crazyms
Quote:
Originally Posted by salr View Post
Is free*r meant to signify that stuff from your freezer is almost free, or is everyone missing their z key?

Sorry if I'm missing some basic frugality notion here...
yes we have some missing z keys around here. Makes for some cute posts though!
07-13-2014 06:57 AM
salr Is free*r meant to signify that stuff from your freezer is almost free, or is everyone missing their z key?

Sorry if I'm missing some basic frugality notion here...
07-11-2014 09:07 AM
mamarhu I spend much of my work day in my car, driving between clients' homes. In this hot weather, I would love a cold drink, and I have found a way to avoid buying anything. I free*e about 6 inches of water (we have GREAT tap water here!) in a gallon jug overnight. Then in the morning I fill it up and bring it with me in the car. Even on the hottest days, it stays cool into the afternoon.
07-10-2014 11:59 AM
crazyms
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruthiegirl View Post
There are a bunch of these companies that provide mobile service without a contract. I just started with Page Plus and have been decently happy. I went with the super low cost $12 a month plan. I get 250 texts a month and 200 minutes of cell time. It is just enough for me and I love the low cost.

Page Plus
Ting
Straight Talk
Virgin

There are a ton of them out there. I thought Republic Wireless was going to be perfect for me, but their coverage is kind of lousy in my area. PagePlus does a better job for a lot less.
I will look around again at them. I currently use Net10 which is prepaid and fairly low cost. They do have some lower plans I can change my phone to if I need to. I had glanced at the Page Plus as well so thanks for the recommendation for them!
07-10-2014 09:05 AM
Ruthiegirl
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyms View Post
Aw man just checked the maps. The Republic Wireless isn't available for me. Maybe I'll find another one.
There are a bunch of these companies that provide mobile service without a contract. I just started with Page Plus and have been decently happy. I went with the super low cost $12 a month plan. I get 250 texts a month and 200 minutes of cell time. It is just enough for me and I love the low cost.

Page Plus
Ting
Straight Talk
Virgin

There are a ton of them out there. I thought Republic Wireless was going to be perfect for me, but their coverage is kind of lousy in my area. PagePlus does a better job for a lot less.
07-09-2014 09:54 PM
crazyms Aw man just checked the maps. The Republic Wireless isn't available for me. Maybe I'll find another one.
07-09-2014 07:50 PM
apeydef Oh we canceled cable and only do netflix. Which is only $8 a month. But we saved $30 a month doing this.
07-09-2014 07:46 PM
apeydef There is a bread outlet by me where I can get super cheap bread even organic.
I wash, hang and iron a lot if stuff including my husbands work clothes vs dry cleaning.
We rarely eat out and if we do we have like two super cheap places we eat. One is a Mexican place where we all share one big nacho.
I make a lot if meals at home. I also pack my husbands lunches.( I need to get better at this though!)
We make our own coffee. We have a keurig and I bought the little pods you fill yourself.
My friend and I swap kids clothes.
We have a credit card we use for everything and pay off every month to avoid interest. We earn a lot of cash back doing this with the type of card we have.
I plan meals around sale items.
I buy some bulk. Meat, cheese, and a few other items. With The cheese I just started grating myself instead of buying shredded cheese.
I soak and cook beans
I shop every two weeks so I don't buy a ton of produce at once. So it doesn't go bad. I buy fresh of what i know we will use before it goes bad and then buy things like frozen veggies and applesauce, raisins to have on hand when fresh produce is gone. These items are very inexpensive and for me it's cheaper to buy applesauce than make it as I considered that before.
I make homemade pancakes, waffles etc vs buying frozen. The ingredients go a long way!
I have a friend that her and I get together every few months and bulk shop and cook a ton of freezer meals ( we have not done this in a while and I plan on doing it before my baby comes)
I make my own cleaners. I use things like Vinegar, peroxide, just bottles of soapy water to wipe down counters and high chair. Also I make my own disinfectant with water and just a tiny bit if bleach. I only use this for cleaning poopy stuff ( two young kids lol) or raw meat on counters.
I did make my own detergent but I find I can get it pretty cheap on sale with coupons.
I buy a lot of stuff at the dollar store. Cleaning items, some toiletries,
Craft items etc.
Breastfeed ( this is a big one)
Ok I'm tired now and rambling. You ladies gave great ideas and inspire me!
07-09-2014 07:04 PM
crazyms
Quote:
Originally Posted by EmsMom View Post
I wanted to share that i just received my android from Republic wireless today. $149 for the phone, $10 a month for unlimted phone, text and wifi. $25 for unlimted phone, text, wifi and 3G. The phone is beautiful, pictures are excellent. very easy to use. I ported my current home # to this number, saving me $35 a month. I break even in 4 months. I had a cancellation charge for my cell, but i am replacing it next month when the charge goes down. I will break even in just 3 months for that one and my son can use this phone when he needs it. (he is still just 11, so he really doesn't need a full time phone yet). this switch will save me $125 a month. every month. and i can replace the phone when i need at at a reasonable price. actually, my current phone insurance is $8 a month and still requires a $100 copay so I will just cancel the insurance completely. I will try it out heavily over the next 4 weeks (30 day money back guarantee) and try to remember to report back.
That sounds awesome! Definitely report back. I'll have to check that out. Not sure if it's available in my area or how the service would be. I use Net10 right now and we've been with them for a couple of years now. We love it but even as cheap as it is that would cut our bill almost in half from where it is now! We were paying $50 unlimited everything until the new plan came out last month at $40 unlimited everything. We get it slightly cheaper by using the family plan for two phones for me and dh at $75 so total with tax, 911 fee and all is currently $81.25/mo for two phones. Not bad for unlimited everything but half that would make me positively giddy!
07-09-2014 06:24 PM
EmsMom I wanted to share that i just received my android from Republic wireless today. $149 for the phone, $10 a month for unlimted phone, text and wifi. $25 for unlimted phone, text, wifi and 3G. The phone is beautiful, pictures are excellent. very easy to use. I ported my current home # to this number, saving me $35 a month. I break even in 4 months. I had a cancellation charge for my cell, but i am replacing it next month when the charge goes down. I will break even in just 3 months for that one and my son can use this phone when he needs it. (he is still just 11, so he really doesn't need a full time phone yet). this switch will save me $125 a month. every month. and i can replace the phone when i need at at a reasonable price. actually, my current phone insurance is $8 a month and still requires a $100 copay so I will just cancel the insurance completely. I will try it out heavily over the next 4 weeks (30 day money back guarantee) and try to remember to report back.
07-09-2014 02:16 PM
jessaroo This thread is very motivational. Thanks. I use coupons whenever possible and shop clearance, but I need to really practice saying no to things more to make more room in the budget. I am trying to save enough to go to school next summer. I also am realizing how important it is to get back into meal planning. We lived on a super tight budget when my husband was in school and then I let it go. Need to get it back.

I do surveys which earn me about $30 a month as well as Swagbucks which I am saving my Amazon giftcards for Christmas shopping time. I also shop at Smiths when there are good sales and use their digital coupons. They offer 10 cents off their gas for every $100 spent. I rarely spend $100 there in a month. The way I make it work is that I shop over the weekend to get double points (which is with a coupon.) I also take the survey at the bottom of the reciept which gives me 50 points. The kids are doing summer reading at the library and some of the prizes are free books so they are getting books of their own as well.

We save water in the shower and have been getting a low use discount on our water bill. I am sure this is not applicable in all areas. We live in the desert. The electric company just offered free energy efficient lightbulbs and sink aerators. You can check with your utility companies about that.
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