Your perfectly-timed article on "Cutting back on spending is no vacation" was an answered prayer in my decades-long cry for help in cutting back on my spending habits. You made your article so absolutely truthful and humorous that I folded in tears of growth-pains and laughter.
According to a quote from the National Education Association, "No one is mature until he learns to wisely spend less that what he makes."
Because I am anxious to cut back on my spending, and because this is the Lenten season, I've ordered Judith Levine's book, My Year Without Shopping, and will use the wisdom and commitment as a year-long spiritual fast. Your interesting documented journey has shown us that the secret of success is self-discipline. Thank you for throwing us a money-saving lifeline.
ONLY THE NECESSITIES
I read your article with interest. It's strange how the other half lives. I always lived with basic necessities. My father taught me to do that from a very young age. Comparison shopping was a way of life, and I continue it today.
We are vegetarians so our grocery bills are less. When I saw that you found a bag of tomatoes for 25 cents, I wanted to know where. Tomatoes are a large part of our daily life. We cook from scratch all the time. I never eat out -- even for celebrations.
Friends can get together once or twice a week and have a potluck dinner. That way no one feels the strain.
You in the media have a lot of power. Maybe you can convince the supermarkets not to throw away their damaged and about-to-expire goods and sell them at cheaper rates.
BRAVO TO THE SAVER
Enjoyed your article enormously! What you did is as drastic as quitting smoking. Every five minutes one would think of a desire, then feel the sadness of not being able to satisfy it.
My kids consider me a miser; I think I am smart about money, or perhaps, careful with money. I wouldn't have lasted until 9 a.m. the first day!
Weekly housekeeper? For a family of three? I stopped reading right there.
Good luck, but maybe it's not saving money that should be your first concern.
DoralHOW I DO IT
I read your article regarding "The Culture of Money" and I wanted to share some of my tips with you.
I live in North Miami Beach with my husband and Twinky, the cat. I am an elementary school teacher and bought a house two years ago.
How did I do it?
1. Always take a lunch from the house. I always cook enough to have leftovers. When you make rice, cook at least three cups.
2. When I cook, I often use a slow cooker and a pressure cooker. You can buy cheaper meats (pot roast, ribs) and turn them into delicious meals.
3. I do not use air conditioning during the cooler months. Instead, we use ceiling fans. During the summer we keep our house around 80 degrees.
4. For cleaning supplies, I buy a big bottle of white vinegar and put it in a spray bottle with water to use around the house. Baking soda and vinegar combine well for most cleaning. We use baking soda and peroxide for cleaner teeth instead of expensive toothpaste.
5. When I save up some money in my savings account, I transfer it to a CD or IRA.
North Miami Beach
TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE
Your article was enjoyable for laughs and would have been more appropriate in the comics section. Let's face it! How much of a dent will all this penny-pinching put in a budget that includes $46,000 a year for college, $12,000 a year for property taxes and homeowners' insurance, $4,000 a year for auto maintenance and insurance? That doesn't even include utilities, Internet fees and other fixed expenses.