Cutting the budget

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IronGate

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The thread about costing out breakfasts has gotten me thinking. It's a certainty that expenses cannot exceed income, and market forces dictate that there is a limit to income. When trying to balance a budget, the general consensus, of course, is that beds and breakfasts are the last things you'd want to cut. My question, then, is this: when it comes time to reduce expenses, what DO you cut?
 

Innkeep

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I'm cutting subscriptions to magazines and Wa ll Str eet Jour nal because it has been rare for my guests to read any of them. The business guests rarely stick around long enough to read, and the other guests already have things planned to do. I will keep the local paper (news here is so bad it is really funny for out of towners). It seems to me that when the B&B is in a true destination, people may have more leisure time to read print media. Here it's internet or TV.
 

Morticia

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We put a lot of high energy use items on timers. Guests never know about this stuff. We started taking the trash to the dump on our own and cut out the trash pickup fee. We brought whatever we could 'back in house,' instead of hiring it out. Free delivery when I order online (that can be a biggie!) Summer help leaves in August and we finish out the season doing everything ourselves. We borrow stuff instead of buying it. (Equipment to do yard work, etc.) I started making our tablecloths ($20- 4 brand new tablecloths- that was my best score yet!) We stay on top of repairs so they don't become problems.
Everything else gets cut on the 'other side of the door.' Vacations- cut to the bone. Gifts for anything- we stopped giving gifts to everyone (I mean Christmas & birthdays).
 

JBloggs

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Cutting back?
The obv one for us as a family is the busier we are the more we eat out or buy crap-food vs cooking. This is a lose lose for butts brains and pocket books.
I can't really say there is anything that is extravagant in my life, I live the life of a servant/innkeeper.
Anything cut would not be on the guest side, as whatever we do there either a) must be done, or b) cannot be reduced
We just paid off $5750 of orthodontia and she gets them off May 18th. That is a monthly payment we could live without.

I don't have a cell phone. If I did, that would be the one thing I would 86. We have an answering machine and people can leave a message, of course we encourage booking online to save all those calls and wasted long distance call backs for 30 minutes worth of questions. Making sure the website is easy to navigate and the information is there - this cuts down on calls and call backs (long distance).
It is not rocket science on the cell phone - they are expensive. This is just where I am on this, not saying anyone else needs to listen to what I do. DH has a cell phone required for work, if he didn't then we would be on a family plan. I did have a trac-fone that expired minutes, so I left it that way. I just bought them and used them when I was out of town. My daughter asked for a cell phone and I said "You can't afford it" and ended that discussion.
Like Mort, our lights are on timers, they are also energy efficient bulbs, we do not have ALL exterior lights on if there are no guests (ie winter time when we have less guests).
 

Morticia

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Cutting back?
The obv one for us as a family is the busier we are the more we eat out or buy crap-food vs cooking. This is a lose lose for butts brains and pocket books.
I can't really say there is anything that is extravagant in my life, I live the life of a servant/innkeeper.
Anything cut would not be on the guest side, as whatever we do there either a) must be done, or b) cannot be reduced
We just paid off $5750 of orthodontia and she gets them off May 18th. That is a monthly payment we could live without.

I don't have a cell phone. If I did, that would be the one thing I would 86. We have an answering machine and people can leave a message, of course we encourage booking online to save all those calls and wasted long distance call backs for 30 minutes worth of questions. Making sure the website is easy to navigate and the information is there - this cuts down on calls and call backs (long distance).
It is not rocket science on the cell phone - they are expensive. This is just where I am on this, not saying anyone else needs to listen to what I do. DH has a cell phone required for work, if he didn't then we would be on a family plan. I did have a trac-fone that expired minutes, so I left it that way. I just bought them and used them when I was out of town. My daughter asked for a cell phone and I said "You can't afford it" and ended that discussion.
Like Mort, our lights are on timers, they are also energy efficient bulbs, we do not have ALL exterior lights on if there are no guests (ie winter time when we have less guests)..
No cellphone here, either except the one we use when we travel. That one is on a pay-as-you-go plan. We got it last year sometime and have 8 hours left. It would be a lot more but our cellphone-happy family send us text messages and photos, which cost us to receive. We've politely asked them to not do that unless it is an emergency.
 

gillumhouse

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During the winter when we do not have guests, DH holes up in his area (with the thermostat) and has a small electric heater to supplement the foreced air gas heat (we concentrate on keeping him warm so he does not get sick) and I hole up in the Library with they computer and add a sweater and a throw across my legs. We turn the heat UP to 55 at night. I cut the grass - most of the time - and make do with what I have. Our big treat is a trip to Half-Price Books a couple times a year and $4.99 spaghetti night at Jimmy's. For our food, I get a lot of "lets get rid of" baskets at the produce store - and rarely get stung, it is usually mostly very good with maybe one of whatever that is shaky. We never were big spenders - don't smoke, don't drink, and I hate shopping - so we did not have much to change. Now that DH is selling his toys instead of buying them, our big expense is his meds.
 

Morticia

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We put a lot of high energy use items on timers. Guests never know about this stuff. We started taking the trash to the dump on our own and cut out the trash pickup fee. We brought whatever we could 'back in house,' instead of hiring it out. Free delivery when I order online (that can be a biggie!) Summer help leaves in August and we finish out the season doing everything ourselves. We borrow stuff instead of buying it. (Equipment to do yard work, etc.) I started making our tablecloths ($20- 4 brand new tablecloths- that was my best score yet!) We stay on top of repairs so they don't become problems.
Everything else gets cut on the 'other side of the door.' Vacations- cut to the bone. Gifts for anything- we stopped giving gifts to everyone (I mean Christmas & birthdays)..
BTW, as far as cutting back on OUR stuff goes- I hate it. That I'm as old as I am and having to 'cheese pare' as it were stinks. I am not one of those people who is going to write a book about living on a stalk of celery for a week. Or installing 3 watt lightbulbs everywhere.
 

seashanty

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actually, i found that my breakfast expenditure was too high. i had a buffet table with yougurts, hard boiled eggs, breads for toasting, fruit, cereals and muffins in addition to the plated breakfast ... my reasoning was that if they didn't want what i made, they could have the 'cold' breakfast. or a thing or two in addition to what i was serving. but i discovered that folks were eating a little of everything simply because it was there. and they were pocketing, openly and happily, their 'lunch' from the buffet table. so i scaled back. i had a little sign that i made on a tent card that cereals and yougurt were available and to ask if they preferred that to the breakfast being offered. no surprise, much less cereal and yougurt was eaten.
food eaten is one thing, food taken and nibbled at and left on plates was upsetting and wasteful.
i started to take some shortcuts in terms of laundry, too. i had been changing the sheets of stayovers after the second night. but this seemed unecessary, unless there was soiling. so i simply remade the bed tight and put on fresh pillowcases which made the whole bed seem fresh. leaving the damp towels was harder. being in a harbor maybe, i'm not sure, but the towels stayed damp longer. even when guests said to leave towels they would reuse them, i felt bad about those soggy towels and would replace the really wet ones because they just wouldn't dry out hanging in the bathrooms.
i'm a tracphone user ... and love it.
i'm also a magic jack user for my personal phone and i love that, too.
 

Morticia

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actually, i found that my breakfast expenditure was too high. i had a buffet table with yougurts, hard boiled eggs, breads for toasting, fruit, cereals and muffins in addition to the plated breakfast ... my reasoning was that if they didn't want what i made, they could have the 'cold' breakfast. or a thing or two in addition to what i was serving. but i discovered that folks were eating a little of everything simply because it was there. and they were pocketing, openly and happily, their 'lunch' from the buffet table. so i scaled back. i had a little sign that i made on a tent card that cereals and yougurt were available and to ask if they preferred that to the breakfast being offered. no surprise, much less cereal and yougurt was eaten.
food eaten is one thing, food taken and nibbled at and left on plates was upsetting and wasteful.
i started to take some shortcuts in terms of laundry, too. i had been changing the sheets of stayovers after the second night. but this seemed unecessary, unless there was soiling. so i simply remade the bed tight and put on fresh pillowcases which made the whole bed seem fresh. leaving the damp towels was harder. being in a harbor maybe, i'm not sure, but the towels stayed damp longer. even when guests said to leave towels they would reuse them, i felt bad about those soggy towels and would replace the really wet ones because they just wouldn't dry out hanging in the bathrooms.
i'm a tracphone user ... and love it.
i'm also a magic jack user for my personal phone and i love that, too..
Good points on the sheets & towels. I thought I HAD to change the sheets every other day. Then I realized most guests were telling me not to bother when they saw me walking around with the sheets for another room. I have friends who have had guests demand the sheets be changed everyday. To what purpose?
Damp towels...if I can smell a towel just walking by it, it gets changed out. I don't care if it's only been one day. Soaking facecloths get changed, they'll never dry.
Holding off on sheet changing is a way to save time and money. I know I've read that innkeepers think it's part of the perks to get fresh sheets, but it's a heck of a lot of work and utilities to change out all the rooms everyday or even every other day.
And I've never seen a review that glowed, 'They gave us new sheets everyday!'
 

gillumhouse

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actually, i found that my breakfast expenditure was too high. i had a buffet table with yougurts, hard boiled eggs, breads for toasting, fruit, cereals and muffins in addition to the plated breakfast ... my reasoning was that if they didn't want what i made, they could have the 'cold' breakfast. or a thing or two in addition to what i was serving. but i discovered that folks were eating a little of everything simply because it was there. and they were pocketing, openly and happily, their 'lunch' from the buffet table. so i scaled back. i had a little sign that i made on a tent card that cereals and yougurt were available and to ask if they preferred that to the breakfast being offered. no surprise, much less cereal and yougurt was eaten.
food eaten is one thing, food taken and nibbled at and left on plates was upsetting and wasteful.
i started to take some shortcuts in terms of laundry, too. i had been changing the sheets of stayovers after the second night. but this seemed unecessary, unless there was soiling. so i simply remade the bed tight and put on fresh pillowcases which made the whole bed seem fresh. leaving the damp towels was harder. being in a harbor maybe, i'm not sure, but the towels stayed damp longer. even when guests said to leave towels they would reuse them, i felt bad about those soggy towels and would replace the really wet ones because they just wouldn't dry out hanging in the bathrooms.
i'm a tracphone user ... and love it.
i'm also a magic jack user for my personal phone and i love that, too..
Good points on the sheets & towels. I thought I HAD to change the sheets every other day. Then I realized most guests were telling me not to bother when they saw me walking around with the sheets for another room. I have friends who have had guests demand the sheets be changed everyday. To what purpose?
Damp towels...if I can smell a towel just walking by it, it gets changed out. I don't care if it's only been one day. Soaking facecloths get changed, they'll never dry.
Holding off on sheet changing is a way to save time and money. I know I've read that innkeepers think it's part of the perks to get fresh sheets, but it's a heck of a lot of work and utilities to change out all the rooms everyday or even every other day.
And I've never seen a review that glowed, 'They gave us new sheets everyday!'
.
I have a 5-night coming in Tuesday. Firday morning I will tell them I will be going into the room to change their sheets. Crossing fingers they tell me what the majority of guests say - don't bother, we only change the sheets once a week at home. Only twice - in all our years - have guests said, that will be fine. That saves a LOT of time and money.
 

YellowSocks

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Cutting back?
The obv one for us as a family is the busier we are the more we eat out or buy crap-food vs cooking. This is a lose lose for butts brains and pocket books.
I can't really say there is anything that is extravagant in my life, I live the life of a servant/innkeeper.
Anything cut would not be on the guest side, as whatever we do there either a) must be done, or b) cannot be reduced
We just paid off $5750 of orthodontia and she gets them off May 18th. That is a monthly payment we could live without.

I don't have a cell phone. If I did, that would be the one thing I would 86. We have an answering machine and people can leave a message, of course we encourage booking online to save all those calls and wasted long distance call backs for 30 minutes worth of questions. Making sure the website is easy to navigate and the information is there - this cuts down on calls and call backs (long distance).
It is not rocket science on the cell phone - they are expensive. This is just where I am on this, not saying anyone else needs to listen to what I do. DH has a cell phone required for work, if he didn't then we would be on a family plan. I did have a trac-fone that expired minutes, so I left it that way. I just bought them and used them when I was out of town. My daughter asked for a cell phone and I said "You can't afford it" and ended that discussion.
Like Mort, our lights are on timers, they are also energy efficient bulbs, we do not have ALL exterior lights on if there are no guests (ie winter time when we have less guests)..
Joey Bloggs said:
The obv one for us as a family is the busier we are the more we eat out or buy crap-food vs cooking. This is a lose lose for butts brains and pocket books.
Oh, so true!!! It's so hard to cook frugally when I'm exhausted! But I figure the premade french fries from Aldi are still cheaper than going out to eat, so that's what we do.
I'm as frugal as the day is long.
We do everything possible in house (esp. now that dh is laid off and here full-time!). I haunt yard sales and auctions for supplies, toys, and clothing.
We do have a cell phone... stripped down, basic, no frills cell phone and I forward the calls when I'm out. But no cable TV, no Netflix, no Y membership. I cut our hair. We rent heavy equipment (like carpet cleaners) from an excellent source here in town and do it ourselves.
We're splurging a little on vacation... staying in a nicer cabin than I thought we'd end up with. But it has a full kitchen and w/d so we'll be cooking our own meals instead of eating out.
Use it up.
Wear it out.
Make it do.
Do without.
=)
Kk.
 

gillumhouse

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Let me put it this way. My entire life has been spent in such way that IF my kids decide to ignore my "roast & toast" wishes, if they bury me in anythng better than a cardboard casket marked down for water damage, they will have made a mockery of my life. (My son's birthday presents came from Yard sales.)
 

SecondAct

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I love this thread. I feel like I've been doing these things all my life. I'm not a shopper but when I need something I pretty much make do with WalMart or Salvation Army. I use coupons wherever possible; however, I don't buy coupon items just because there's a coupon; it has to be an item I typically buy. My washer agitates for only about 7 minutes and I only use about 2/3 of a capful of detergent for a full load. I buy store brands wherever possible. When I buy annuals for the yard, I split them up. I'll buy a hanging basket and split it in 3, or I'll wait until they're on sale and looking half dead and then bring them back to life with a little TLC.
I do have a cell phone though, and I have to say I'm amazed at how many of you don't - but, good for you!
 

Emily Spiers

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Not an innkeeper, but a mostly stay-at-home mom of two. I make our own landry detergent. Shop at this awesome place called the Save and Serve. It's a Mennonite run second hand store with wonderful people running it, VERY clean store, and above-average quality items. Aldi and the Bent-n-Dent stores are my friends! The bulk food stores are very inexpensively priced for dry goods (flour, sugar, nuts...). Cold water in the washing machine. Line dry if possible. Light wash with minimal detergent in the dishwasher. "No heat" dry in the dishwasher. Windows open for air, no air conditioners. Basic cell phone with below basic package...try not to call people who aren't on my carrier (free calls on same carrier).
It just makes sense.
 

Morticia

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This seems an odd place to bring this up (but it is logical if you think about it because we're talking about cutting corners)...for anyone who is operating a lodging property heat in your dryer is your friend. Kills the BB dead. Don't skip on this part no matter how much you love the line dried scent. Save that for your clothes and your bedding.
Run your pillows thru as much as possible. No need to wash them in advance, just pop in the dryer on high heat. Get those comforters and blankets in there as much as possible, too.
(BB= b e d b u g s)
 

JBloggs

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"Wait wait I'm cheaper!"
"No I'm Cheaper!"
Hey they have websites where people actually make big bucks sharing their frugality with the world.
Quality counts.
But being smart counts too. :)
 

YellowSocks

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"Wait wait I'm cheaper!"
"No I'm Cheaper!"
Hey they have websites where people actually make big bucks sharing their frugality with the world.
Quality counts.
But being smart counts too. :).
Joey Bloggs said:
"Wait wait I'm cheaper!"
"No I'm Cheaper!"
Hey they have websites where people actually make big bucks sharing their frugality with the world.
Quality counts.
But being smart counts too. :)
Emily's cheaper than me... but not by much!
I'm pretty darn frugal... but I just spent $12 on blackberries alone this afternoon. I have four breakfast times tomorrow morning (6, 7:30, 8, 9) and blackberries are elegant and easy! Add a little sugar, top with a little cream, add a wedge of kiwi, and they're good to go. It's worth every penny to keep my sanity tomorrow morning!
=)
Kk.
 

IronGate

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This seems an odd place to bring this up (but it is logical if you think about it because we're talking about cutting corners)...for anyone who is operating a lodging property heat in your dryer is your friend. Kills the BB dead. Don't skip on this part no matter how much you love the line dried scent. Save that for your clothes and your bedding.
Run your pillows thru as much as possible. No need to wash them in advance, just pop in the dryer on high heat. Get those comforters and blankets in there as much as possible, too.
(BB= b e d b u g s).
Morticia said:
This seems an odd place to bring this up (but it is logical if you think about it because we're talking about cutting corners)...for anyone who is operating a lodging property heat in your dryer is your friend. Kills the BB dead. Don't skip on this part no matter how much you love the line dried scent. Save that for your clothes and your bedding.
Run your pillows thru as much as possible. No need to wash them in advance, just pop in the dryer on high heat. Get those comforters and blankets in there as much as possible, too.
(BB= b e d b u g s)
Now there's a tip that's priceless. Avoiding costs is just as important as cutting them, and how expensive is a bad reputation?
 

seashanty

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i wasted some money buying bakery muffins and bisquits when i was short on time. never a good thing!
as for fruit, that is a tough thing. if it starts to go, you have to use it up some way, prepare it in some fashion so it's freezable ... i wowed my guests with smoothies, but it was because i couldn't let the beautiful fruit go bad.
i don't know about dented canned goods for serving guests. for personal use, okay. but i feel a little skittish ever since my sister didn't notice a pinched in can that compromised the contents. anyway ......
bulk buying is great if you can store it and use it in timely fashion.
i don't know anything about making my own detergent.
as for a/c, in some areas ... don't guests demand it when they call to reserve a room? some guests would not book with me because i didn't have it. didn't matter that i told them we had cool nights (usually) and window fans and ocean breezes ... there was an occasional steamy night and the third floor was uncomfortably hot and difficult to cool.
 

Joey Camb

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My big thing this year is to make sure every bulb in our place is energy saving as I must have about a million bulbs (19 in the breakfast room alone!) I have unlimited free texting on my mobile so I only text to save money. I also freecycle which is an online free swopping scheme people give away things they no longer need have had all sorts. Also I shop around as much as I possibly can for big ticket items. For example in 2012 they are turning off our TV signal and changing it to digital which means we have to replace all the TV's in our guest rooms so that is going to be a big expence so I am trying to freecycle for Digital TV's and or set top boxes which convert the old ones otherwise it will be about $3500 dollars for new ones. I think a lot of it is planning ahead, not wasting food, electric, gas etc and being smart. Also there was another thread about saving water that was good. There is lots on the interenet as well and I have a really good book of tips if anyone wants the title cost me 50P. ($1.00)
 
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