Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Ellicott City, MD
Re: How do you save money?
Own a home...so that is a huge tax write off there. Heck between my mortgage intrest, state taxes, and property taxes my write off next year is going to be something like 20k+.
Just about all the bulbs in my house are compact flourescent bulbs. I have weather proofed the ever loving crap out of my house (caulking around windows, new weather stripping, plastic plugs in outlets that are not in use, outlet foam backing panels). I have a digital thermostat installed to drop the temp from my normal blamy 67F (which my wife bitches about) in the mornings and evenings when we are home (and weekends) to 64F at night while we are asleep and away at work. In the summer it is set for 78 when we are at home, 80 at night, and 82 while we are away.
My wife and I also don't go out much and do things 'expensive'. Most of the time we invite friends over and make dinner for everyone, have a drink or two and watch a movie, talk, or play board games with them. When we do go out we don't drink alcohol with dinner or we go on cheap dates like a walk around a local park or a hike somewhere. We both also contribute a lot to our retirement accounts. Me to my TSP (government equivelent to a 401k) and my wife to her 403b (sort of academias version of a 401k)...my wife contributes 20% of her salary and I contribute the max that the government matches (sadly only 5%).
When we drive anywhere together we take my car when we can...because the 3 gets much better milage then my wife's Forester (36mpg average to her car's 26mpg in the summer time). We also hand wash dish in either cold or luke warm water...though that is a bit more because our dishwasher is rather crappy and we don't trust it with our nice stoneware dishes we got for out wedding.
We also do lots of work on the house we just bought...and since we do all of it ourselves that saves A LOT of money. It also sort of generates future income as most of the work we have been doing on the house has been improving the equity a lot more then the dollar cost of the improvements.
Most of our vacations are out to visit my in-laws at their (effectively) beach house near Ocean City Maryland (it is actually on the St. Martin river right by the inlet to Ocean city, but it is on the river with a dock and about 4 miles from OC).
Of course some of this is to save money for long term stuff. Some of it is general why not things like the flourescent lighting (save the pocket book, save the environment, why not), and some of it is short term. Basically we aren't over extended financially...but it is a bit tight with just buying our house...so we have to watch out spending for the next few months. This summer means a promotion I am getting which will mean another $400-450 a month after taxes and next summer is another $275.20 a month once the 3 is paid off as well. That is quite a bit more in disposable income we will have to both save and to use for other things, like maybe more expensive date nights and vacations (and toys, gotta have the toys).