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Author: arrete Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 725991  
Subject: Mom, How do I Live Below My Means? Date: 8/6/2000 9:33 PM
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Wow - the question any RE person would want to hear from an adult child, and I heard it tonight!

Our daughter came for dinner, and these were almost the first words out of her month. She wants to save more so she doesn't have to work forever.

So we gently explored some possibilities. She already is renting about as cheaply as possible, but does have a low-paying job that she feels tied into for another two years (a University study). Doesn't spend a lot on clothes or doodads. Problem areas? - going out with friends and buying presents for friends and family birthdays, Christmas, etc. Talked about that a little. Not too much, because she knows these are weak areas. But it is very hard to not go when the whole group wants to go to an expensive restaurant. I suggested a contest to find the best local cheap restaurant.

The gift-giving will be difficult, but I think she is prepared to think harder about each gift. Her father suggested that she set a general maximum for gifts for particular categories, such as birthdays, baby shower, etc.

I did warn her about the difficulty of talking about retiring early with others, and she admitted that she felt comfortable sharing with only one friend. But at least her family understands.

And Dad gave her Stiegel's "Stocks for the Long Run", and I gave her "The Best of Living Cheap News" by Larry Roth and, of course! hocus's "Secrets of Retiring Early". Now I'll have to buy one for me :) except I did get to read it first. And intercst's Retire Early URL so she could get the GenX calculator update. Great timing, intercst!

So - enough for now - but there are a couple of really proud parents in this house.

arrete - one proud mom

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Author: hocus Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 14808 of 725991
Subject: Re: Mom, How do I Live Below My Means? Date: 8/7/2000 11:19 AM
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The gift-giving will be difficult, but I think she is prepared to think harder about each gift.

Arrete:

When I began getting serious about my budget, the amounts spent on "gifts" was a real eye-opener. In particular, I used to spend a lot on Christmas gifts. My wife and I would set an amount for this category, and I would run out of money before I had purchased half the gifts I wanted to buy.

For a long time, I was unwilling to believe I really was spending as much as the sales receipts indicated. Our budgeted amount was generous, and it just didn't seem possible that I had spent as much as the numbers indicated and didn't have much to show for it. It took a few years before I was able to stick to the targets.

Now we have our gift category down almost to nothing. We make gifts, or pick things up at yard sales, or tell people at Christmas that we'd rather not exchange gifts anymore (just company). At first, you think the sky is going to cave in, but it doesn't. Somehow, the advertisers just get you thinking that way.

I've come to believe over time that there are certain categories where people are willing to limit spending and others where, for emotional reasons, they are not. "Gifts" is one where there is a lot of emotional resistance (probably because it involves people other than ourselves, who may not share our frugal ways).

The good news is that most of us have a lot of untapped opportunity for speeding up retirement by tapping into these taboo categories. Also, once you start waking up to the possibilities (and once you realize that your friends don't really value you primarily for the things you buy for them), it's hard to stop.

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Author: tsouth Two stars, 250 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 14821 of 725991
Subject: Re: Mom, How do I Live Below My Means? Date: 8/7/2000 1:34 PM
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<<- going out with friends and buying presents for friends and family birthdays, Christmas, etc. Talked about that a little. Not too much, because she knows these are weak areas. But it is very hard to not go when the whole group wants to go to an expensive restaurant. I suggested a contest to find the best local cheap restaurant.>>

A few years ago when I was single and living in Silicon Valley, going out to eat at a relatively pricey establishment was a popular way to socialize. It didn't take me long to realize that I couldn't afford to pay that much for dinner all of the time, but I did enjoy visiting with my friends. The solution was to occasionally have a pre-dinner at home by myself or go out to fast food with a like-minded friend before going on to the the main event, where we would order a soda or sometimes dessert.

Teresa

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Author: JAFO31 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 14823 of 725991
Subject: Re: Mom, How do I Live Below My Means? Date: 8/7/2000 2:08 PM
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<<<<<A few years ago when I was single and living in Silicon Valley, going out to eat at a relatively pricey establishment was a popular way to socialize. It didn't take me long to realize that I couldn't afford to pay that much for dinner all of the time, but I did enjoy visiting with my friends. The solution was to occasionally have a pre-dinner at home by myself or go out to fast food with a like-minded friend before going on to the the main event, where we would order a soda or sometimes dessert.>>>>

And then make sure you are on the lookout for the guy (who happened to order three drinks, an appetizer, the most expensive entree and dessert) who says: "Let's just divide the check by x", where x equals the total number of people in the party.

Regards, JAFO



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Author: telegraph Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 14841 of 725991
Subject: Re: Mom, How do I Live Below My Means? Date: 8/7/2000 3:40 PM
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gifts - can go through lots of money - our family pretty much solved that.....after the kids reach 21, then they are on their own as far as presents from Uncles and Aunts and other relations - and the list of gift exchanging gets whittled down - too many people get too much junk just to get gifts.....something simple like a CD or book (discount book store or half price book store) makes a thoughtful gift.....neckties and sweaters and lotsof other stuff just sits around....lots of guilt from the marketers...who would have you give something to every relation and every friend you ever had!

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Author: washu Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 14854 of 725991
Subject: Re: Mom, How do I Live Below My Means? Date: 8/7/2000 6:36 PM
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Is she single and available? (:

Anyway... (:

* Gifts: Depending on the sense of humor of the recipient (and they can be d*rned if they have none!), she can go to discount toy stores (like Kay Bee's and Toys R Us) and buy discounted action figures, dolls, or similar toys. What's great about toys is that they're personal, seem expensive, and can always at least be placed in the office cubicle. (:

* Eating out: Better have her read the LBYM board for this topic. Choosing not to eat out **is** noticed by other people. OTOH, If she asks "Can we go to a good inexpensive place", she might get a few agreements.

* RE: Just to be safe, she should **not** mention it to others. Just have her say, "I'm working on my stock portfolio." Portfolios are tres sexy, lol.

* Books: Don't forget the Motley Fool books! (: "You have More than You Think" and the Workbook are great starters. Remember! Proceeds of these books support this website, lol.

Best wishes to you and your future retiree!


Washu! ^O^

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Author: rjm1 Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 14867 of 725991
Subject: Re: Mom, How do I Live Below My Means? Date: 8/7/2000 8:21 PM
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So we gently explored some possibilities. She already is renting about as cheaply as possible, but does have a
low-paying job that she feels tied into for another two years (a University study). Doesn't spend a lot on clothes or
doodads. Problem areas? - going out with friends and buying presents for friends and family birthdays, Christmas, etc.
Talked about that a little. Not too much, because she knows these are weak areas. But it is very hard to not go when the
whole group wants to go to an expensive restaurant. I suggested a contest to find the best local cheap restaurant.

The gift-giving will be difficult, but I think she is prepared to think harder about each gift. Her father suggested that she
set a general maximum for gifts for particular categories, such as birthdays, baby shower, etc.


I would rethink the job. Loyality is good but if the grant was cut would they be concerned? I think I would look arround and see what is available, then if a very good job is available move on.

The gift budget is a good idea.


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Author: jackiepatti One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 14899 of 725991
Subject: Re: Mom, How do I Live Below My Means? Date: 8/8/2000 9:55 AM
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There's a LOT of ways to give gifts cheaply. When I was a single mom in college and graduate school (dirt poor) - I only had a couple hundred bucks for Xmas and was determined to spend the majority of it on my child. We baked many types of cookies and made baskets to give as gifts. Then after the New Year, we hit the clearance sales to buy the "gift boxes" marketed for Xmas - the leftovers were marked down to nothing.

I had my couple best Christmases ever the past couple years - and spent a fortune. And I've decided I'm done with that since I made and am sticking to a budget. I still have my child, whom is nearly 17, and I have 3 little nieces ranging from age 1 - 9, and have decided to go back to spending my Christmas money primarily on them - a much smaller budget.

I bought a bread maker a few years back and began baking various types of bread for gifts last year. After cooling, I wrap them in colored plastic wrap for a festive feel.

This summer, I started learning canning and have put up cherries already. I expect to put up a few other fruits and veggies before the year is out as well. These should make fairly nice gift baskets.

I recently bought some lights to grow vegetables year-round in my home for myself. I recently decided that live, fruiting tomato plants are going to be one heck of a treat come December when no one has tasted a really fresh tomato in months. They grow really well in the big pots and fruit like crazy. I just started the seeds for my winter crops.

The thing about food gifts is that you KNOW you aren't giving somebody some lame thing that they're going to smile over and then secretly hide in the closet or return. Your gift will definetly get used up and be aprpeciated!

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Author: hocus Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 14910 of 725991
Subject: Re: Mom, How do I Live Below My Means? Date: 8/8/2000 11:00 AM
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I still have my child, whom is nearly 17, and I have 3 little nieces ranging from age 1 - 9, and have decided to go back to spending my Christmas money primarily on them.

jackiepatti:

I liked all of your suggestions re gifts. My only addition is to not overdo it on the kids either. I remember the look on the face of a girl (about nine years old) we visited one time around the holidays. I was making conversation asking her about what she got for Christmas. It turned out that her parents were divorced and she had to go several places and open a lot of packages before the day was through. The tone of her voice and the expression on her face indicated that she viewed this as an ordeal.

As I thought about it, I saw how opening gifts can turn into just that, both for kids and non-kids. When you open a gift, you sometimes feel you have to act surprised even though you are not. And you need to express gratitude, even if you don't enjoy the gift that much. There are probably times when I wish I could tell people that what I really want from them is a chance to talk to them in peace for a few minutes without the distraction and fuss of having to open boxes.

Gift-giving is a great thing when it is a rare event. But like eating out, it becomes a drag when done too often. If an orange is a rare treat, then a gift of an orange prompts real excitement. But if you already have 23 video games, one more is just an annoyance. And then you have to worry about where you are going to keep it. And perhaps it is not the particular game you would have picked for Number 24 in your collection.

As I think more about the down side of gift-giving, I'm beginning to understand why young people don't like to write thank-you cards as much anymore. At some point, it's not a gift being given, but a chore and an obligation. What might be a real gift is spending some time with the child playing the first 23 video games instead of adding a new one to the collection.


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Author: inparadise Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 14916 of 725991
Subject: Re: Mom, How do I Live Below My Means? Date: 8/8/2000 12:31 PM
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The gift-giving will be difficult, but I think she is prepared to think harder about each gift.

People really can get carried away with gift giving. I finally got my in-laws to stop giving us Christmas gifts and we only get presents for each others kids now. It had become a ridiculous game of mail of the check, as we all live away from each other and they have no idea what we would like or need. Not to mention the complaining I had to endure from my MIL!

Personally, I start my Christmas shopping in January. I hit the sales and shop all year long. This allows me to shop in a relaxed manner and not have the customary mountain of holiday bills facing me in early January. Plus I get the added bonus of being able to think about my family's needs or desires 12 months a year. I love the challenge of finding just the right thing for someone. Of course if I'm wrong, it is awfully hard for them to return it! There is also always an available age appropriate birthday present for my boys' friends, or a baby gift or house warming present in my gift closet also. Buying these at 50-75% off really stretches the budget!

I guess my philosophy is You are never too rich to be cheap!

InParadise

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Author: jtmitch Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 14930 of 725991
Subject: Re: Mom, How do I Live Below My Means? Date: 8/8/2000 2:11 PM
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Here's one thing we did a few years ago at Christmas; it didn't really save a lot of money but it avoided a lot of hassle. Neither my wife nor I felt that we really "needed" anything for Christmas. We got each other small token gift and took the money we would have otherwise spent and divvied it up among several charities in the area -- the type that take care of people's basic needs, not the type that underwrite operas and art museums. Sure was nice to avoid the malls and from what I could tell no retailers went out of business because of it.

jtmitch

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