Wise Bread giveaway: $250 gift card courtesy of Scott products

Scott Products is giving one lucky Wise Bread reader a $250 Visa gift card!

To enter:

Between now and 11/23/08, make a post in this forum thread and answer the simple question: Are you cutting back on spending?

We will randomly pick one lucky winner on 11/24/08.  You must be a U.S. resident and be 18 years or older to participate.

Scott's Dollar & Sense website

This giveaway is part of Scott's promotion for Dollar & Sense -- A website where readers can get great money-saving help such as:

  • Tips about personal finance and frugal living

At these tough economic times we could all use a little extra help.  Drop by this forum thread and enter the contest today!

scott dollar and sense

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Guest's picture
Sarah NOT Palin

[Editor's Note: To enter the contest, you have to leave the comment in the forum , not in this thread's comments.  Not picking on you Sarah.  I just picked your post because it is the first.]

I saw this crisis coming in 2006, and spent the next two years eliminating my debt. I was actually completely debt free earlier this year until a dental emergency.

Now, I'm trying to save for upcoming trouble..I work in IT in a New York suburb, and my company, although not finance related, is in an absolute panic. Our pension was just frozen, and I have to contribute more to my 401K to make up for it. I'm worried about my job, and with the Wall Street layoffs, it would be very hard to find one.

I have stopped going out for entertainment, cut back on driving, have not bought any clothing or luxury items for the past few months, comparison shop discounts between 4 supermarkets and buy a little from each every weekend.

I have diabetes, which is expensive between medicine and Dr. visits, and spoke with my Dr. to switch most of my medicines to generic, and get some drugs cheaper through drug store discount programs than my health plan. I have also postponed some visits to specialists because their copay is higher.

I'll be debt-free by March again, other disasters not withstanding, and then it's back to saving. I hope I'm overreacting to the economy, but I'm afraid I'm not. If everything works out OK, I'll enjoy a big shopping binge, and if not, I hope I'm ready.

Guest's picture

Absolutely! This week, for example, is a no grocery shopping week (except for absolute essentials). We have more than enough food in our freezer and pantry to get by. Pantry weeks also ensure that food doesn't get wasted.

Guest's picture

I am absolutely cutting back. I am hoping that the drop in the price of oil means that my oil bill will be less than the huge amount I budgeted for. I am definitely planning to spend less on
Christmas this year and I have cut back at home. Plus, I am about to have a baby in January, so we needed to cut back anyway to plan for my leave.

Guest's picture

One major way of cutting back is slowing down. I recently took a 1000 mile on 3 tanks of gas. Instead of taking a van, driving @ 70mph, we took the sedan and drove between 55 & 60mph. This made the trip less comfortable and longer, but a whole lot cheaper.

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While I'm not really changing my spending I have generally been frugal and always looking for new ideas to save money and the environment. We are hoping to be debt free in about 7 years.

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We've been tracking our spending for the last few months, and this month our goal was to keep grocery spending under $100 (3 people). This is our effort to learn to live WAY below our means. We're right on track for this month, and considering doing it again next month, with a new goal. Streeeetch!

Guest's picture

I've seen my business slow down over the past few months as people are tightening their belts. In turn, I've had to cut back and evaluate every non-essential purchase for myself and my family. While we're already pretty frugal, we've put off some planned purchases and banked the money just in case the economy worsens.

Guest's picture

We are trying to cut back on spending, but not doing a very good job. We've never been particularly spendy, so our biggest flexible expense if our grocery bill. My DH and I end up spending between $450 and $500/month on groceries, and we're desperate to get that number down so we can save more money. We're cutting back on organics (which we hate to do); eating oatmeal and eggs for breakfast instead of boxed cereals; trying to do more with beans as the center of the meal. We'll see how our October grocery bill turns out!

Guest's picture

I enjoy reading the tips in some of the comments :) Although I have enough retail experience to know that economic slowdowns are scary times for small business owners. I remember empty stores following 9/11 -- but this economic will be worse. Unfortunately, what happens in the U.S. happens to all of us, it seems.

Except for special offers and contests like this one. It would be nice to see something open to an international audience once and a while! I realize as a smaller market, Canadians are often overlooked by most blogs and online publications -- but we're still out here and we're faithful readers too!

Guest's picture

Although, we started just before the markets took a dive. More than anything we are just being better aware about our money and where its going. Nothing really got "cut" per say, but we are being much much more frugal about EVERYTHING and really asking ourselves if we really need what we are thinking about buying. More often than not, we dont need the item(s) and pass on it - saving the money and putting it to better use someplace else.

Guest's picture

Yes! The last two years of my life I have been living more simply. This means cutting back on things we "need" that are truly wants. It has been wonderfully fulfilling! It is like a game now to see how much money I can not spend. Thift stores, coupons, energy effient lights, learning to cook and much more have enriched my life and I love learned new ways to save!

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I wanted to wait awhile longer before starting potty training but can't afford to wait now. I need the diaper money to off-set the increases in other groceries. Disposable diapers are becoming a luxury in this economy. Not to mention environmental issues. Bottom line (pun intended) they got to go!

Guest's picture

No choice, really, there just isn't enough money to go around. I've always been rather frugal in some areas, and now I've tightened my belt even more.
I've watched business slow down, and I know clients are in the same position as I. I only hope we can all survive this crisis with some sense of our former financial life in contact.

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Yes. And working to pay off our debt. Should be able to do it in a year or so.

Guest's picture

Since gong (coming) back to school... the financial belt has been lean but with the way the economy has taken a turn we have cut back on many things... especially gas. Since there are three of us in school we got the student bus pass which was $25 but it is good for five months!

Guest's picture

retired 5 years ago, have been watching every penny. Health, grocery, and home heating have been eating up my income. Picked up a loaf of bread and the price was nearly $4.00. Could go on and on, but you all know what I am talking about.

Guest's picture

As a stay at home mom with 4 kids, cutting back is a way of life! We don't eat out, get the most of our gas by planning shopping trips and make our own fun at home.

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We are absolutely cutting back in all areas. We are driving less (not at all if possible), are eating at home, and forgoing paying for enternainment by using our local library extensively.

I can't imagine anyone not cutting back in this economic environment.

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I've been continually cutting back on spending since, well, since college. Finding ways to save money is a hobby of mine!

Guest's picture

Yes, we have been cutting back big time since the beginning of 2008.

We've trimmed the grocery bill by 50% and quit eating out 2-3 times per week (now it's more like 1-2 times per month and we share a meal or go to less expensive places).

We used to go to 2-3 movies per week. Now we don't go to any. Instead, we use coupons to rent movies for free or for very little (through e-rewards or by filling out blockbuster surveys).

Personal spending:
We've reduced our personal item budgets by 70%.

I've been trying to do additional things like unplugging electronics and turning down the thermostat, but haven't seen much of a change in the bills. Maybe because prices are rising?

Still looking for more places to cut, but it's getting harder.

While we didn't spend as much compared to many people I know, we still had A LOT of extra spending in our budget. We were basically saving 20% our our income and then spending the rest. I wish we had started doing this earlier because I'm very interested in early retirement and we could be a lot closer!

Guest's picture

My salary is stable and I'm not a heavy spender--no credit debt, so I don't think I need to worry.

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I have worked multiple jobs since 1993.I always work my base of 40 hours right now being monday thru friday 7am to 3:30-4pm then scoot over to 2nd job asap Boss is great saying come as soon as you can so I work 4pm-12 midnight evening week days this is a call center for a hospital system then weekends per diem for a nurse on call system for pediatrics.My fav word is free but 2nd is frugal so multiple jobs plus a team approach has allowed my husband and I to do this balancing act.We have paid off the mortgage,paid for college,paid for a wedding, paid off cars and now are almost debt free for credit cards.Taking longer than we thought but still on track.We are lucky to have health care coverage that is employer covering 75% then we kick in the 25% in pretax dollars.We get up early in saturday morning to go to our public market for eggs,veggies,fruits anything local produced.Coupons a standard, share buying groceries with daughter to take advantage of buy one get one or splitting quanity.All errands done on way to work or way home.Entertainment has to be free or a gift for a special occasion like birthday,Christmas.There is a budget for everything like car repairs(driving 1995 Toyota Camry 182K)Birthdays,Christmas,etc I run seperate budgets for each category out of the entire years income.The months that have 3 paychecks go into savings that goes the same for any rebates, stimulus checks what I call found money.My next goal is to purchase a chest freezer for 2009 since I cook in quanity on sundays and then during the week the meals are planned using local seasonal goodies.I am constantly looking for ideas on how to "cut back".Love the money/frugal blogs.

Guest's picture

Yes, I am cutting back on spending.

Here are some of the ways:
-Driving slower to increase fuel efficiency.
-Riding my bike more often.
-Making homemade gifts.
-Having more group meals & potlucks with friends.
-Drinks at home!

Guest's picture
The Diving Belle

Not only am I cutting back -- grocery shopping with a list, purchasing what's on sale and more house brands, I'm already formulating a plan of attack for the New Year!

Guest's picture

We've been cutting back a lot on groceries (I joined a veggie co-op), eating out much less, and not buying extraneous items to try to prepare to live on one income. We want to start a family soon, so we're trying to cut expenses to the point that I don't have to work outside of the home.

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Yes. I can't even afford to explain how.

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had a great vegetable garden this summer and froze many of the contents for use all winter long.

Really watching what I buy at grocery store.

Not going out to eat as much.

Putting another layer on at home to avoid turning on the heat just yet.

No new clothes this winter. Plan to have a modest Christmas.

Was hoping to retire in a few years but with my 401K now half of what it was, looks like I will be working for a few more years too.

Guest's picture

We've tried to make it as positive as possible, though, turning it into a game we call "The Week Without..." Each week we choose not to use something we normally would, for instance, the clothes dryer, movie rentals, or dessert. Nobody feels truly deprived, because they know what they're missing will come back next week and something else will disappear for a while. We've had some interesting discoveries, like how much we saved using no hot water in the washer and hanging clothes on the line while the dryer sat idle. It has also made us appreciate common, everyday things that we have that our ancestors did not; I do not want to go through "The Week Without Electric Lights" again!

Guest's picture

I certainly am trying to cut back. I've started trying to go to the grocery store only once a month an dstocking up on absolutely everything. It's just as hard as you would think!

Guest's picture

I am cutting back on spending so that I can funnel more of my money into the stock market or realestate for long term investing. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for unattached money.

Guest's picture
Lisa S

... because we were already living below our means. There's no need for us to spend less when we're happy with how much we're spending and where the money goes.

Our living well, within our means tips:

Keep the thermostat set to 65 in the winter
Buy only loss-leaders at the grocery store and stock up
Carpool everywhere you can't use public transit
Barter your services
Any raises or "found" money are slammed into savings immediately -- no spending

Guest's picture

We are cutting back. I clip a lot more coupons and we don't eat out anymore. I work from home and try to drive as little as possible and group trips. We have cut out going to the movies and now just wait for it to come out on Netflix.

Guest's picture

Like another commenter, my job is solid, my salary is stable and I'm debt-free. Still, I'm trimming. I've dropped to basic cable, called the phone company to get better deals on both local service and cell and am cooking at home about 50% more than before. I've bought no clothes or "frivolous" items in months and will keep that up as long as possible, putting the money I usually budget for those purchases toward Christmas instead and then my emergency fund. I'm also much more attuned to sales and deals and freebies.

Guest's picture

Yes, we've been cutting back. We buy store brand soda, clip coupons, only buy what's on sale, has a coupon or is really a necessity. We have cut back on eating out. We have been eating more hot dogs, mac & cheese and grilled cheese sandwiches.

My husband and I are also planning to scale back on Christmas this year and not buy anything for each other.

Guest's picture

We've been cutting back for awhile. I've paid off most of my debt, except for about $1K in no interest offers, which I've used for convenience. That will be paid of by the end of 2008, as the offers expire.

We've cut back on clothing purchases, household items, grocery expenses, eating out (which used to be a regular thing), and on gas, by cutting back on casual driving and combining errands.

Fortunately most of our friends are cutting back also, so instead of meeting for dinners out we get together and cook dinner. Only problem is my best friend lives an hour away so one of us has to drive to get together... but we had to do that to eat out anyway!

Guest's picture

We've just started really setting ourselves a budget and have been looking at our past spending habits to figure out where to cut back a bit. This month's goal is to eat out less and allocate ourselves a discretionary spending limit of $25/week each. I'm really excited to see how our budget compares to our spending at the end of this month!

Guest's picture

My budget is the same. The only cutbacks have been due to bicycling to work instead of driving. The gas saved is minimal though because I already work close to where I live. Thanks for the chance to win.

Guest's picture

Yes. Definitely cutting back to be able to stay afloat. My wife and I have been trying to cut back, especially because childcare is very expensive here.

Will Chen's picture
Will Chen

\Editor's Note: To enter the contest, you have to leave the comment in the forum , not in this thread's comments.