Are you cutting back? Can you cut back? Do you want to? : LUSENET : Beyond the Sidewalks : One Thread

Is your budget taking a beating from the recent price increases? Have you had to cut back on what you spend in order to make ends meet? Does your budget have any flex in it? Are you willing to make the cuts, budget wise - even if you don't need to?

We haven't noticed any major changes to our budget yet, but expect to see some increases soon; particularly in energy costs. I'll focus on that in this post, then come back to discuss other price increases. Given the gasoline price increase, I expect to see our heating costs (propane) increase substantially this fall. I also wonder if the price of electricity won't increase. We are on an electrical coop out here, so ours doesn't fluctuate as much as in town - our BOD live among the people served by the coop, so they get hit by the same increase - and have to listen to their neighbors gripe!

As far as gasoline use at home - well, I generally come home from work and park the car until it's time to go back to work anyway, so that's not much of a change! I am making sure that I do errands on my way home from work - even though it sometimes means losing some sleep since some stores - Aldi's, Dollar General - don't open until 9 am and I get off at 0730. When Hubs has to go in town for parts, he often takes my car instead of his truck - it uses less gas. He also makes sure to check the errand list before he goes to town - no more running to town for one or two items.

Hubs put new spark plugs and air filter on my car, and we recharged the air conditioner. He also checked my tire pressure, and my job today is to clean all the junk out of the car! Hey - do you think if I lost this 30 extra pounds of fat I'm carrying around that it would help my gas milage?! I've been taking the country roads to work instead of the highway - that way I can drive 45 mph and not get run over! It takes me about 5 extra minutes to get to work. I've been using the vent instead of the air conditioner unless I'm having trouble breathing; then I run the ac only long enough to pull some of the humidity out of the air, and return to the vents.

Home energy wise, I'm continueing to use my wringer washer, with hand carried, gutter collected rain water (no pump) to wash clothes. I like it, because it is easier to adjust the length of the wash cycle, and the only energy I use is for the agitator and wringer. I use the wash water for more than one load of clothing, so I am saving water too. Most of the clothes are hung on the line to dry, with only the socks, jockey shorts, terry bath towels and the guys jeans going in to the dryer - at their insistence!! They may end up getting hung on the line and then just tossed in the dryer for 10 minutes or so to soften them up if electric costs do go up! We do use the house air conditioner more often than I would like, but keeping Pop comfortable and breathing easy is one of my priorities, so if that takes running the AC, so be it.

Well, I can't think of any other ways we've tried to reduce our energy useage - how about you folks? I'll be back to talk about other ways we've cut back in some other posts.

-- Anonymous, May 18, 2004


We aren't cutting back but we are deferring spending. We had planned on getting AC put into the house this year, and buying a used pickup truck for me. Both of those plans have been put off until next year. Instead we're going to get a small window AC unit for the bedroom so Keith can get some sleep, and when I need to haul things I'm going to rent a pickup from an unemployed friend who could use the extra cash.

There is one little way that I have been cutting back. I'm very tempted by the vending machines at work. Every day around 3pm I'd find myself buying a can of pop and a bag of chips just for something to do. So now I don't carry anything smaller than a $5 in my purse. I leave all of my $1 bills and change in my car. Since I don't have any change I don't have any way to buy things. :)

-- Anonymous, May 19, 2004

I only use 15 gallons or so a month and my chevron/ texaco stock has gained $10 a share over the last few months and I grow or barter 3/4 of my food so I havent felt any pinch to speak of.

-- Anonymous, May 23, 2004

Well, we have been grazing in the garden quite a bit the past couple of weeks - lettuce, other greens, broccoli, radishes, rhubarb, strawberries. I will be glad when the main stuff kicks in - tomatoes, peas, green beans, corn. We are going to put up a lot more this year than in the past years - I have several volunteers to pick tomatoes and peppers for me if I will make salsa for them, so that will help! The beans for drying didn't come up well, so I am just going to go to the store and buy pintos, kidney and navy beans and try planting them instead. I have replanted my pole beans twice now - some come up, some don't! I also need to plant some more potatoes for storing.

Hubs has been doing the shopping and cooking for about 6 months now, and my pantry is nearly bare to the walls! I told him that we need to take $25 each week to stock up on sale items - only problem is, there hasn't been anything we use on sale! We don't use a lot of convenience items, put up a lot of our fruits, veggies, jams etc, buy our flours, oatmeal and seasonings at the Amish Bulk store - so I'm not really sure what we buy at the store anyway! Dairy items, I guess; and sugars, oil, the Sunday paper and donuts! Can't forget the important things!

Hubs has been making his own wine and beer; and Christmas presents this past year left him with enough ingredients to last him until this Christmas. 79 cents worth of wine yeast, plus our own fruits, and $2 worth of sugar will make him 6 gallons of wine - cheaper even than the box o'wine he used to buy. We have pretty much quit drinking soda pop, so that was a savings too.

Something screwed up on our chick order - it got lost or something, so we don't have our eating chickens yet; we had ordered 25 heavy roos and 25 leghorn roos; hopefully we can still get some chicks. We have 2 banty hens that are setting, so they will hopefully be producing us some more egg layers. I've pretty much decided to go to all banties for eggs - more efficient feed conversion, plus they forage a lot of their feed.

I guess we could save a few more bucks if we provided for our own dairy needs, but I don't think we'll try it. We do have commercial dairies nearby that might sell us some milk if we asked, but I really don't want to get in to cheesemaking or anything like that!

-- Anonymous, May 28, 2004

Strangely enough, I expect we'll be saving alot of money by moving to the city. Also have been feeling badly about all the pollution my family has been adding by the daily commute from way out here. The house we're trying to buy is 11 blocks from Betsy.....we can bike or walk on nice days! The yard is itty bitty, but I dont have time for yard work anyway anymore;I need all my energy for the business and my family. The worst part is we will have to find another home for Isis;there is no way she would be happy in that little yard,and she'd ruin the plantings in 5 minutes anywho. She has ruined pretty much every thing here even, where she has 5 times more space, just cuz she is so huge. She needs to be in the country,and we'd all be happier.

-- Anonymous, May 29, 2004

I plan my trips around going to work,we no longer run out just to get something, we either do without or wait till the next time I go somewhere of importance (work). I've been stocking up with more dried beans etc trying to buy extra so if it gets any worse we will have some food at least. As my Daddy is always asaying "when I grew up one day we had beans and rice and the next day we would have rice and beans, It didn't kill us so I reckon if I ever have to do it again it won't hurt me then!!!"


-- Anonymous, May 30, 2004

I feel like a 1950's scatterbrained TV wife when my husband starts bellowing "I am not made of money!!" It can be about anything when he's totally stressed so I am hoping he doesn't notice that I just had my guitar restrung and not with the cheapest strings. I keep meaning to cut back..REALLY!! Then something just pops up again. I was a frugal queen back in the older days and can't seem to quite pinch my money splurging ways back into that wee box they belong in. Its not a case of not knowing how..its a case of self control here. YUCK! I do know I don't want to make my own laundry soap again because of the pain in the butt factor. As for energy etc..I'm already saving gas since we sold the shop and I'm not travelling to town every bloody day. (was into 2 $50 fills a week down to almost one) And now no more daycare!! I'm starting to cook from scratch more but my pantry is in bad shape so I'm having to spend extra on that (restocking). I quit the blonde highlights last summer but need to touch up the brunette when the formerly bleached part gets brassy (11 bucks every 2 months maybe?) and I'm lettin' it grow out again (been a bob for 2 years..trims every couple of months). I will be looking for part time work during school hours come September but my babies are NOT going back to day care so that may hinder me but they are whats important to me. We need to order our fire wood and more of it because I am NOT freezin' my ass off with the heat turned way down again this year after running out of wood or no fires for a week at a time because of our hectic lives. Plus I broke the woodstove window again so there's $40 -70 bucks depending on used or new glass for replacement. sigh...the harder I tries the farther I falss behinds..Oh and DH had a conniption when I told him about my windshield getting hit by a rock yesterday..another repair...ARGH!!!! Run away..!!

-- Anonymous, June 10, 2004

Alison, I too am involved in a business that is still busy losing money! :) But then I expected that; it takes quite a while to get something like this on its feet. Just pray Bren can keep finding work in the meantime, and we sell our house quickly and for what it's worth cuz then we'll be able to bank quite a chunk.

Well, we've done it. Bought a house in the city of Minneapolis! I can't believe it! But I'm actually really excited about the move; we are certain we are not suburbanites! What finally pushed us over the edge was our very own state senator introducing and vigorously pushing a 'ban gay marriage or equivalent' amendment to the state constitution. I guess if those people's intention is to kick gays out of their precious white upper-middle class culturally sterile bedroom "community", it worked for us. We are looking forward to living somewhere where we'll actually be welcomed with open arms. The house is 11 blocks from Betsy! And it's fabulous........turn of the century, beautiful woodwork,high ceilings, three stories and a full basement. A very tiny yard; that's the hardest part for me, but we're on a corner, and the yard is beautifully landscaped;right now it's in full bloom and gorgeous,what there is of it.You can see there is no way we can keep Isis there. Here's the listing (we did not pay that much,btw);you can take a 'virtual tour' if your connection is fast enough:

EM's house

-- Anonymous, June 16, 2004

Glad to hear you didn't pay $16,000,000 EM.

(I am assuming that the top one isn't the one you bought?)

-- Anonymous, June 16, 2004

Oh too funny! I have no idea how that page came up!! I tested it before posting and everything! Haha! Um, needless to say, that aint the right page. I didnt know there WERE homes that expensive in the Twin Cities! I'll have to try that again....sorry, didnt mean to give anyone (besides myself) heart failure here!

-- Anonymous, June 16, 2004

That second house is pretty, the one on the water. Why don't you buy that one?

I grew up in a house with 4 bedrooms and 1 bathroom, so I just don't get these houses that have twice as many bathrooms as bedrooms. I don't think there's ever been a situation where I've had 8 people at my house who all had to pee at the same time.

-- Anonymous, June 16, 2004

Oh I think so too,Sherri. Perhaps I should buy two or three? I really don't think 8 bathrooms is enough though. After all, I expect the homeless and winos in the neighborhood will soon figure out we're a soft touch and will be knocking on our door to use the loo, so we'll need lots more.

Let me try this again: EM's much more modest house

-- Anonymous, June 16, 2004

No one is going to comment on my move to the city, fer cryin out loud?

-- Anonymous, June 18, 2004

sigh........they've taken the photos's another reference, without the virtual tour though, in case anyone is remotely interested...........

boring you again

-- Anonymous, June 18, 2004

I'm interested, just busy! And I think my friends deserve more than a word or two. Gimme a chance!!

-- Anonymous, June 18, 2004

sorry, guess i'm a little touchy these plate is too full and I need to meditate.......

-- Anonymous, June 18, 2004

Deep breaths, hon!

I liked the house, especially the woodwork. I am thoroughly amazed at the difference in prices in a home in the city and one out here in the boonies. Your taxes are less than mine though - and you get services. No fair!!

Are both girls moving too? Will you have to do any major redecorating? Will your furniture fit - physically and esthetically? Is your neighborhood safe enough to walk the 11 blocks?

I sometimes wonder what it would be like to move from the country. I think that cities can be fascinating places to live and work; I just worry about the people factor. I think that I would have less difficulty in a location like yours than in a small town however. And there are many things that you can do in town r/t the ecological mindset. I imagine that you are way too busy now, with the business and activist wise, to waste much thought in that direction, tho. I wish you happiness and peace in your move. And a nice home for Isis too - wish Hubs would let me take her.

Hugs to you,

-- Anonymous, June 18, 2004

Great house! I grew up in a city. I think it probably shaped my character to a great extent (for better or worse). I grew up in a great big ol' house, too. I like this one you're buying!

Went to bed at 4:30 a.m. Had a solstice party with a HUGE bonfire...zzzzzzz....not making too much sense on a couple of hours of sleep. Off topic. Congrats, though!

-- Anonymous, June 20, 2004

The house is beautiful EM, I love the woodwork. The kitchen looks like it's nice and sunny. And you've always struck me as the sort of person who could live just about anywhere and get something good out of the experience.

-- Anonymous, June 21, 2004

Wow, sherri, that's one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me; I'll treasure it and take it to heart.

Polly, I think I know what you mean about a small town, although I was rather surprised to hear you say it actually. I wouldn't do well there either,even it the whole town was like me I think! I wouldnt want every single person to know everything I was up to every minute. I do value my privacy. I anticipate the people factor, with all it's inherent urban problems,will be more satisfying than the one out here in suburbanite heaven, but we'll see. I have people from the neighborhood dropping in on me all the time at the shop, and they are wonderful. One fella, the one who always comes with his adorable baby strapped to his chest, is from Wisconsin originally (Japanese- American),and told me how when he first moved here (burbs) he never felt at peace until he crossed the Wisconsin line on the way to visit his family. Then he moved to the inner city, and now finds peace and real community right there in the middle of the neighborhood even I wouldn't live in. He and his wife have a neighborhood BBQ every sunday open to anyone. Turns out she was the one, of all the loan officers at the big bank where we are financing the house, who is working on our loan! Kind of a weird feeling though, the neighbor knowing all your financial stuff! I would walk or bike to work in the summer (I aint walking nowhere outside in the winter) but only during the day of course. As to the girls, Lotus is in limbo right now, wanting of course to be on her own, but she really can't afford it yet. I went apt shopping with her a couple of weeks ago, and it wasn't encouraging. She is at her boyfriend's place 80% of the time anyway, seems a waste of money to get her own place to me. She will probably stay with us for awhile out of necessity. Matthew (they've been together 2 1/2 yrs now) is only 19, and he wisely (with nagging by his parents) knows that moving in together now would be a commitment (even though she insists it is not) and he never did play the field since he was only 16 when they first got together. It isnt at all that he wants to do that,they are completely devoted to each other, he just thinks he SHOULD want to! On the other hand, he hates living alone (he lives in a tiny little rental house that his folks own right next door to them!), even though he's rarely alone. So they are both torn and muddled, going through a transition. Lotus is not going to have her own private space like she has here in the basement apt we built for the spoiled brat! ;) She will just have a room.

Yes the price difference in town is amazing; I'm told our place out here in the burbs (mostly cuz it's on so much land), would be worth well over a million bucks in the city!

Major redocorating? The top floor has not been done since the 70's and its pretty tacky, so we'll be doing some there. Scroungy carpets will come up to reveal the condition of the wood floors, tacky wallpaper done away with. And we'll probably add a shower, since it has only one; either in the basement or in the first floor half bath. Otherwise, it's in move-in condition.

-- Anonymous, June 22, 2004

LOL, EM!! I meant the price was HIGHER in town than in the sticks - here that place would bring much less. Of course, wages, etc... are not what you'd find in the city either.

I'm glad that you're taking to the move with such enthusiasm. As Sherri said, you are the type to bloom where you are planted; and to look for the positive things, so you will be fine.

Small town life as it is today annoys me; I don't recall that it always did so, but then, I was somewhat oblivious when I was younger. Kinda reminds me of jr high and the cliques, ya know? I think that if I couldn't live out here in the sticks (6 miles from "town") I would try for much farther out (Nebraska, SoDak, anyone) or a city; but not somewhere like Chicago or St. Louis. Louisville maybe? Or maybe somewhere up north...

-- Anonymous, June 22, 2004

thought all your country-like folks would enjoy this: the business received a notice from the city of Mpls that we are required to correct a "nusiance condition (mpls ordinance sections 227.90 and 227.100)." Inspection was done 6/15,we received the notice yesterday, and work is required to be completed by

Seems I have created a public nuisance by letting the grass grow along the one foot border between the alley and our building, and Mpls ordinance requires that all grass and/or weeds be left at no time longer than 8". (they actually use a ruler!) LOL

I actually had chosen to leave that strip natural cuz the grass was all evenly bent over looking very like a decorative grass and I think it looks quite lovely, but apparently the inspectors have a different opinion. When I told Ali, she had many choice things to say (my kids have never lived in the city) like " In the Phillips neighborhood? They cited us for TALL GRASS?? Well why don't they cite our neighbors who don't have their crack orders alphabetized?" too funny.

-- Anonymous, June 23, 2004

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