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The Bare Bones

Last post Fri, Jun 3 2011 3:30 PM by slk2042. 13 replies.
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  • Wed, Jun 1 2011 12:17 PM

    • Brandy
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on Wed, Mar 28 2007
    • Saving in South Mississippi
    • Posts 25,145

    The Bare Bones

     Many people have taken deep cuts in pay. When you have to cut to the bone on expenses, how have you managed or what tips can you offer those who need to?


    The Dollar Stretcher Community Manager

  • Wed, Jun 1 2011 12:23 PM In reply to

    Re: The Bare Bones

     We had a 20% hit.  

    It is not the big items that get you, it is the little leak here and the little leak there.  Account for every penny.  Now is not the time to be brand loyal (unless you have some health issue that requires it).  

    You teach people how to treat you -- Dr Phil
  • Wed, Jun 1 2011 1:20 PM In reply to

    Re: The Bare Bones

     I cut food...no more "treats" with the groceries and no more "just one burrito this week" treats from the mexican food stand.

    Then I cut driving.  No more unorganized or casual trips into town.

    I've already cut cable, internet service, using the dryer (haven't even owned one in a decade), washing in hot water, and buying convenience foods, but there are always more areas to cut.

    I can often use less hotwater, shut off the water heater, and cook with a solar rather than electric.  

     The next thing I cut is visits to family.  I only go once a year, but it's 1500miles...cheaper to drive but exhausting.

    The next thing I cut is visits with friends.  That probably sounds odd, but I'm single and my friends are my family too...and my mom and dad will fly out to see my while my friends from college...friends for 20+ years...don't have the funds to do that.  

     THEN, I start selling things or getting more jobs, or just helping neighbors more because it always comes back to me.  

    After that, I'd have to cut back on the phone which is tough for me as a cell and a landline are required for my job, but I could give up the long distance.

    The very last thing I cut is my contribution to savings.  That is my retirement and my security in the future.  Everything else goes before that.

  • Wed, Jun 1 2011 2:34 PM In reply to

    • grame
    • Top 50 Contributor
    • Joined on Tue, Feb 22 2011
    • Kingdom of Callaway
    • Posts 1,950

    Re: The Bare Bones

    I've still got one or two bad habits that cost, so I guess I would have to give them up.  Hey, that would mean I was *** near perfect.  Does it cost anything to become a saint?  Hmmm?

    Seriously, next thing that goes is the land line.

    I declare to you that woman must not depend upon the protection of man, but must be taught to protect herself, and there I take my stand. ~Susan B. Anthony
  • Wed, Jun 1 2011 5:22 PM In reply to

    Re: The Bare Bones

    We had a double whammy - significant increase in expenses (flooding made our previous home uninhabitable), while our income has sharply declined

    Here are the things we did:-

    1. Reduced our cell phone package and cable TV packages.  Looking for ways to further slash those expenses
    2. Stopped using our chest freezer - we were not utilizing it fully.  The freezer of our fridge is adequate for our present needs, since bulk buying is not an option for us at the moment
    3. Installed a natural gas water heater, and disconnected the electric heater.  I'd love to switch to solar water heating but the initial investment is outside of our current budget
    4. Eliminated vacations
    5. Visit our family a lot less - we encourage them to come over (pot luck) instead.
    6. Cut back on eating out and expensive entertainment options.  I can't remember the last time we went to the movies!  DD13 goes to the church youth gathering every Friday, where there is a great mix of fun (including video games) and bible teaching.   She's not whining about all the things she can't do!   We live near the college our older girls attend, so they take full advantage of the sports and social activities on campus.  On the evenings when the girls are not home, DH and I will treat ourselves to a steak dinner at home and maybe some wine!
    7. We've been using candlelight or lamps in the evening where low lighting conditions will suffice.  Our girls think we are the soppiest, most romantic couple on the planet (daily candlelight dinners on the patio!) 
    8. We have become a lot more intentional about our buying decisions.
    9. Prepackaged snacks like chips have been virtually eliminated.  I have been doing a lot more baking from scratch (cookies, cupcakes etc)  The family still gets "junk" as my DD13 calls it, but the cost is much lower
    10. We have not totally eliminated treats.  Instead we have scaled them back.  Instead of buying one chocolate bar per person, we buy a bag of minis and share it or buy a large bar and divide it among us!
    11. Meat serving sizes have been drastically reduced; there have been a lot more stir-fry type dinners, where it is less obvious that the meat is probably half what we would have normally eaten. 
    12. To avoid the inevitable sense of deprivation that comes with bare bones living, we treat ourselves to little luxuries using things we already own.   So I will wear my diamond studs, drink tea from the good china etc without waiting for a special occasion.

    Philippians 4:19

    And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus
  • Wed, Jun 1 2011 9:09 PM In reply to

    Re: The Bare Bones

    Timz ... just wanted to say that your post is inspiring!   I especially like No. 12 ... it's important not to feel like you're being deprived.  (I like to think of some of cuts/substitutions we've made as adventures.)

  • Thu, Jun 2 2011 8:28 AM In reply to

    Re: The Bare Bones


    Timz ... just wanted to say that your post is inspiring!   I especially like No. 12 ... it's important not to feel like you're being deprived.  (I like to think of some of cuts/substitutions we've made as adventures.)

    Thanks!  Bare bones living is always more bearable when I turn it into a challenge or game.  Two of my favourite challenges include:-

    • Try to create and wear one "new" outfit per week by combining existing wardrobe pieces in new combinations. I have a weakness for clothes and shoes even if I only buy them on sale or at thrift stores. Invariably when I play this game, I find at least 5 new outfits.  According to my Excel spreadsheet (another game) I have over 200 outfit combinations that I can generate out of the things I own!  A quick look at that spreadsheet instantly cures me of the desire to "buy myself a little something" 
    • Give myself a budget of $10 - how many balanced meals can I get out of that?  It might involve canned fruit instead of fresh, but at least I already have a plan worked out in my head for how I would feed us if things got really desperate. 

    I have been through tough times before, and made myself quite miserable by focusing on what I didn't have, couldn't do etc. I have learned to "reframe" my experiences in a more positive light.    Is my 20 year old leather handbag "old" or is it "vintage"?   Are cloth napkins elegant and environmentally friendly, or evidence that I am so poor I can't afford a pack of paper napkins? Are my clothes classic and timeless or have I been left behind in fashion? You get the picture...

    Philippians 4:19

    And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus
  • Thu, Jun 2 2011 5:10 PM In reply to

    Re: The Bare Bones


    I have been through tough times before, and made myself quite miserable by focusing on what I didn't have, couldn't do etc. I have learned to "reframe" my experiences in a more positive light.    

    I think that's a healthy attitude.  

     At my house, we've been doing more ethinic type cooking (which also stretches meat) ... but I figure if we can make something that is different than what we can get at a restaurant, then we don't miss eating out as much.

      We've been taking more advantage of the free or lower cost events in the community.  High school or college sports may not be a slick as the professional  teams, but the kids play hard ... and are more fun to watch...    the local orchestras may not be as polished as the symphony, but the Christmas music was just as sweet.

  • Thu, Jun 2 2011 7:22 PM In reply to

    Re: The Bare Bones

    I've had to deal with no part-time job this year since February. I had to leave because driving 14 miles round trip for a two hour shift was not possible and my employer didn't have more hours to offer me. I'm now just surviving on my SSDI check. I am writing freelance but it's just a little bit of money. It does help me get a job doing the newsletter somewhere through.

    1. Eliminate the habit of 'fixes' such as smoking, using drive-thru restaurants and running into the gas station for a snack when I fill up. This is especially hard because I have severe problems sleeping due to a health problem and am now refusing the deal with the required docs to get sleep medication. The pills had caused a habit and the easy escape of taking a pill so I had to totally eliminate the habit. I'm still dealing with my usual health complaint which has caused me constant depression known as atypical depression which many people will try to eat their way out of with sugar, chocolates and carbohydrates.

    2. Eat at home. Make a menu. Stick to the menu when shopping.

    3. Toiletries, paper products (TP excluded), cleaning supplies, office, cards, etc. come from the Dollar Tree. TP is a better deal on special at the grocers, Walmart or Aldi's.

    4. Don't use the dryer or oven.

    5. Water the yard sparingly.

    6. Try to meet your clothing needs at the thrift stores.

    7. Make a list of inexpensive entertainment options and post it on the refrigerator to remind you of what's available when boredom hits.

    8. Brain storm some ideas to bring in more money. Babysitting, yard work, clothing alterations, freelance writing, craft sales or ebaying trash picked items or selectively garage saled items.

    9. Study new skills you can sell. Use the library, low-priced classes offers, older computer software and free 30-day trial downloads. Some examples include hobbies, computer applications, home repairs, car maintenance, etc. Use your free time in a way that makes or saves money.

    10. Camp for your vacations. Borrow equipment to check out this hobby then purchase used at garage sales if the family is game. The littler county lakes are much quieter than the state parks near large cities. These lakes sometimes offer free camping too.

  • Fri, Jun 3 2011 12:42 AM In reply to

    Re: The Bare Bones

     Ms. Super Saver,

    great ideas!  I'm going to post a list of things to do as well.  


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