Living on next to nothing
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  1. #1
    Registered User Shell's Avatar
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    Default Living on next to nothing

    http://www.greenbergcreative.com/htm.../tightwad2.htm

    Has anyone else had to cut back to complete and total basics? How far did you go? No tv? No heat? What kept you going?

  2. #2
    Registered User FrugalMomof3's Avatar
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    Well actually we did great so far this winter.... we havent turned our heat on but we've been using those econo heat heaters, they plug into the wall and can heat a big room.

    We have one in the bedroom and one in another, we leave the door open in the one bedroom and it heats the whole upstairs, downstairs we have a kerosene heater that heats the whole downstairs so in all actuality we've been saved a couple hundred dollars so far this winter.

    Our oil tank is filled to 3/4 mark which is used to heat the water, we limit our showers to no longer than 5 minutes and no baths.

    It may seems pretty drastic but we really can't afford to fill our oil tank every month or so with the rising costs of oil. Our house is really warm just by using those 3 heating sources and well the electric heating only costs us like $30 a month which is WAY cheaper than $300 in oil.

    Let's see... we are also being frugal with electric, lighting candles, using the dishwasher only when completely full, washing laundry only once a week and drying clothes that we put on hangers and let them dry in the house.

    ~Tracy~

  3. #3
    Registered User kestrel91316's Avatar
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    For many years I have had to stretch a dolar so thin you could see though it. Times are getting better, but I still have to watch every dime.

    How did I get through it? Well, there was no alternative. Failure is not an option in my book. I support myself, have been self-employed for 18 years, and I have only one gear (and it's NOT reverse!).

  4. #4
    Master Dollar Stretcher aka DixieBob Dixie's Avatar
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    Tracy, we found it less expensive to heat with electricity, too. We have propane wall heaters that we use for emergencies. We live in GA, so I'll admit I don't have a clue what cold really is. At least that's what my dh, who's a NYC native, is always telling me.
    When dh and I married at the ages of 17 and 20, we couldn't afford a tv. This was in 1977, when a small black and white tv cost around $150. That was our combined income for the week. Rent was $140 a month, plus utilites. We were horrible with our money, like I said, we were only 17 and 20. I'm sure if we had known how to budget, we could have done much better.
    We moved into one of my uncle's houses, after being married a couple of months. It had a wood heater and neither dh, nor I knew how to build a fire. ( I am so embarrased to write this, but dh and I chopped down a pine tree and immediately tried to burn it in the woodstove.) It was a very cold winter, that year and we were freezing! ( we live in the N GA mtns) After freezing for a month or two, we moved into an apartment in Atlanta. I was soooo thankful for the heat. That experience really helped me to feel more compassion for the less fortunate among us. I know a lot of people had to choose between food and heat this year.

  5. #5
    Registered User joyofsix's Avatar
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    When I was single and just starting out I lived pretty close to the bone. I didn't have to do without heat because it was included in rent but my apartment was definitely the bottom of the barrel. I slept on the floor in a sleeping bag, had a folding chair and a cardboard box for a table. I had no tv or radio. I used library books for entertainment. My car cost me $75 and was held together with bondo and pop-rivets courtesy of my brother. I only drove to work, period, everything else I walked. I ate potatos, ramen noodles and beans. It was a bit of a hard go for awhile but that level didn't last for over about 6mo.
    Mom to Emma, Spencer, Connor, Lily,Fletcher, Amelia and Adeline.

    Mortgage $0
    EF 3 mo income barring
    anymore emergencies

  6. #6
    Registered User alabamagirl's Avatar
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    Dixie - I love the North Georgia mountains! Well, I love GA. period - used to live there and all my family is in the Atlanta area.

    It sounds sad to admit this but once we pawned our high school class rings when we were young and struggling to make a house payment. It wasn't really that bad - we didn't have that much sentamentality about them.

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    Registered User FrugalMomof3's Avatar
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    Well I must admin I have pawned stuff too back in the day for the extra cash... When I see money getting really tight on a given month I usually go back to ebay and try to sell stuff to pay a bill or two.

  8. #8
    Registered User leeleeaub's Avatar
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    It has been really tough the last year. We have learned that things we thought you "had" to have you can definately live without. Extras at the grocery store, buying anything on a whim, I now adore going to thrift shops for everything, dollar stores are awesome. I try to watch every penny I spend. I know I can do better but we try to always make ends meet one way or another.

  9. #9
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    just reading all of these replies makes me so thankful for what I do actually have. However, my husband (who makes very good money) may be losing his job in about a year. I am glad that I have this time to plan for what may be a very bad period.

  10. #10
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    Back to basics has been our motto for years. We've gone without a tv, we've never had cable and for one year we went without a car. We can't go without heat because of where we live, however our heat never goes higher than 65F in the winter, no matter how cold it is outside. We don't have all the computer gadgets and only this year the kids got a gameboy.

    We don't have a cell phone. Our phone is only basic service, we don't have call waiting, call forwarding, etc. I bake from scratch.

    We've gone without income for a full month and know we could do it again if we had to.

    When we first got married, we had a car that was free and when you went to the gas station, you filled up with oil and checked the gas. We lived in homes where everyone slept in one bedroom because their were holes in the walls in the other bedroom. For a number of years, we heated only with wood and all our protien came in the form of fresh fish and moose and deer meat. We've picked beer bottles off the side of the road in order to buy baby forumula for the youngest of our biological kids.

    However through it all, it has made us stronger.

  11. #11
    Registered User cspp04's Avatar
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    the last two winters the kids and i have done without cable. that saved me $60/mth. frequenting the library is part of our lives as it is and they are particularly accomodating when book purchase requests are made. i've also had to cut out my long distance calls one winter, which was really hard because all of my family live out of my calling area. other than that, i've been fortunate to not have to go to any extremes. but at the time, doing something like cancelling the cable felt awful, like i had failed in some way. what the kids and i took from the experience, however, was far more wonderful.......added time actually doing things together, reading more, using all of the board games.

    one thing i do now for fun and education......one saturday out of the month is No Hydro Day....we live that day trying to find as many ways as possible to NOT use hydro. it's interesting how little the kids miss all the electronics or having the heat cranked when you're busy reading by candlelight and snuggling under the quilts!! lol
    ------------------------------------------------

    "All you can ever control is your personal input...you cannot control the outcome" -unknown-


  12. #12
    Registered User pkellyc's Avatar
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    We cut cable off, went down to one car, turned the heat down to almost nothing and used a space heater in the babies room at night. I remember having $30 a week for groceries and that included formula and baby food. On some paydays I had to pay the paper woman in change. Home haircuts, entertainment consisted of dinners at parents homes, pocorn and game nights with my family, lots of trips to the local park. You get used to living basic. We never missed the money so much. I was sick and was told by my doctor to stop working. Dh was working but I provided almost 1/2 our income in those days. We had a newborn and a 1 1/2 yr. old. and were just happy to be together.

  13. #13
    Registered User FrugalMomof3's Avatar
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    The moral of all our stories is .... it can be done to live next to nothing... we seem to have all been there and back again.

    Some may think we're crazy, "How can they do that?" but we did it and still do it and we are alive, healthy and happy.

    P.S. I really enjoy reading everyone's posts on FV, it's a great feeling to know:

    - Your not alone
    - You can make it on measly chump change or nothing at all
    - Your learning to find ways to cut costs (even if you dont need to)
    - Your making new friends who are just like you!

    I love this place!

  14. #14
    Registered User thrifty gal's Avatar
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    You ladies are awesome! Although, dh and I have never had it so hard to the point some of you have had. We have been through difficult times. It is very inspiring to read what you all did during times of desperation.

  15. #15
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    We have had a very thin year and we are pulling through. It isn't perfect, but we are doing our best. DH started his own business in June. It was too late for him to sign up under my health plan at work. In September he was just about ready to be able to buy health insurance for himself and he broke his knee the weekend before his appointment with the insucance agent. So no health care. He then had to have surgery and the soonest I could sign him on my plan was for Jan. of this year, which I did. So new medical bills, our EF, and my income were all we had to live on. We did well.

    We turned the heat down to 60 degrees, put plastic and some insulating shades on the windows, more blankets and sweaters. We cook from scratch and have lived well on a food budget of $100 every two weeks. (our foods are very pricey). We have hung the laundry in the basement, kept the lights off and commuted together to work.

    We still manage to have fun though. We have bought several turkeys on sale (during the holidays). When we roast a turkey we have a few friends over for dinner and a movie. We still have plenty of leftovers and I make two large batches of soup later on. We have friends who are in the same boat and we like having each other over for a good meal and some good times.

    There is no such thing as giving up. You make the best of what you have and be happy if you can.

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