SAVING $1,000 A YEAR

Brandon Mayes: “I have just started reading your Investment Guide and was surprised to see that I had already implemented several of your suggestions for saving $1000 each year. For example, I always pay my credit cards off in full each month, I have been using Ooma for years (and have convinced numerous others to switch to it) and recently cancelled cable TV (letting Hulu/Netflix/espn3.com fill the void). . . . No doubt you receive tips from people all the time, but I figured I might offer another one (sorry). This one saved me about $55/month, though this figure will vary depending on the circumstances. . . . I currently own a Sprint HTC Evo cellphone. The cheapest plan Sprint offers for this phone is $70/month with an additional $10 charge for 4G service. By the time you add in taxes and fees it’s about $90/month. Even though I’m 28 years old and have my own family (my wife has AT&T service however), I dropped my service and switched to my mom’s family plan. The cost is $20/month for the additional line and of course the $10 charge for 4G as well. I then chip in an additional $5 for taxes for a total of $35/month. Easiest savings I have ever found. We share minutes now, but Sprint only deducts minutes if you dial a landline – calls to mobile numbers, regardless of network, are free. It’s essentially impossible for us to ever use up all of our monthly minutes. If we need to call a landline and are at home, then Ooma is available and thus the call doesn’t require any cell phone minutes to be used. The savings don’t seem to be as significant if there are only two phones on the family plan, but adding a phone beyond that is extremely cost-effective.”

FRUGALITY MEETS FASHION

John Leeds: “Ah – isn’t this [post from last Friday] the story and the agony of so many wonderful couples, except ever-much-more-so with you and Charles? It describes my wife and me, my father and both his wives (not at the same time!) and so many other couples I have known and know now. Opposites attract – sparks fly – the mass coalesces – and then the sparks REALLY fly! . . . Me, I am the frugal one – the guy who calculates what we’re spending compared to our AGI. Various wines? 2% of the AGI. Fine Belgian chocolate? 1% of the AGI. The amount spent on these things over a ten year period? Staggering. . . . I am the guy who calculates the pre-tax money needed to earn the aforementioned ‘necessities.’ The one who butchers roadkilled deer (yes!) so we can have free organic meat. [Emphasis added, wide-eyed.] The one who opens tea bags and gets a gallon of tea out of the amount meant for 8 oz. The one lets the house freeze at night until we can restoke the high-efficiency woodstove with free wood I’ve hauled from the roadside to home, split and stacked and constantly reshuffled on our narrow fenced-in driveway. . . . And guess – guess! – who is eating most of these profits? [But maybe not the roadkill?] Would it be the same one who, as you describe with Charles, boils more water than needed when she makes her coffee, keeps on lights all over the house when she could use just one, and yes, buys tiny amounts of tasty foods at exorbitant prices? Who isn’t planning for retirement? But why does she NEED to plan retirement – she has me to plan. . . . And what is her value to me? . . . Priceless.”

ROBERT REICH

Thomas Whitaker: “I’ve found Robert Reich’s last couple of essays – here and here – to be very helpful in correlating recent events: Wisconsin, Citizens United, the tax issue, the coming war on education (sad!!!), the Koch brothers.”

 

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