Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.

Theodore Roosevelt, The Strenuous Life

By , on April 23, 2010

Managing Debt, Money and Finance


Have you noticed the “pay yourself first” crowd that advocates savings really do not tell you how? Here are the things I like to do to save money so that I can keep enough cash on hand for emergencies, fun staff, and for new things when the time comes:

Although I buy new cars, I never buy expensive models or feature rich-models. We got our first auto air conditioner when they were included in the standard package. We have no automatic transmissions.

Car loans are never longer than 48 months. If the loan is longer than that, I can’t afford the car.

I keep my newly purchased car for between 130,000 to 185,000 miles and over ten years. I am usually sick of them at the end, but keep driving them until the cost of repairs exceeds the value of the vehicle. This saves a ton of money on car industry profits and sales tax.

I buy a lot of tools, as many as I can figure out how to use. Tools often pay for themselves with the first use. Of course the problem is storage of all the tools that accumulate, but that is the subject of another post.

I seldom eat at restaurants. This is good for the budget and good for the diet. See www.aisleofconfusion.com.

My wife and I tend to use things up before disposal. I do not take things to second use building materials anymore because they won’t take my items. They are totally worn out, obsolete, and no demand exists for the stuff I tear out.

I recycle my clothes and shoes. When my work clothes are worn out, I use the garments for mowing the lawn.

I buy the cheapest lawnmower that I can with the widest swath, never a riding mower because they are too costly and do not give me any exercise.

My commuter car gets, on average, 35 miles per gallon. I drive it 9000 miles per year.

My trucks get poor gas mileage. They are driven 2000 and 4000 miles each per year.

I burn wood for heat.

I cut our own trees for some of our firewood, although of late I have purchased a great deal.

We use compact fluorescent lighting in places where we can accept the color of the light. We do not like them and believe they save little when used in heated spaces (our heat source is propane, which is equally costly to electricity, so the waste heat of incandescent lamps helps keep our house warm nine months of the year)

We never pay credit card penalties, high interest, checking account fees,or annual fees on our credit cards.

We do not hire plumbers, electricians, carpenters, etc. The only work done by craftsmen since purchasing our house were workers here for warranty work, wood stove installers, and a team of three who installed a foundation for our cabin.

I subscribe to no newspapers.

I carry a sack lunch that my wife hates to prepare. She saved enough money over the years to pay for a huge expense that we had not planned on.

A future post will cover what some of the benefits are that arise from the behaviors noted above.



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