CJ: You mentioned that you're quite frugal -- can you talk a little bit about that?
LT: I’ve always been a bargain shopper, but I go into super-saver mode when necessary! I mentioned eliminating all non-essential monthly expenses. When the 2009 layoff happened, we stopped a gym membership (check your contract—some have a clause for unemployment, ours did), cut the cable back to basic, stopped the newspaper (except Sundays), stopped the lawn care service and got rid of our land-line. I cut way back on buying any type of snack foods and my all-time favorite: diet coke. I made iced tea instead, or just had water. I stopped buying paper towels, and I still just use washable rags. I made most of our bread, rather than buying it, and I experimented with other homemade items, like bagels, yogurt and granola. All dinners, lunches, coffees or any fast food out stopped as well. I went almost a year without a haircut. All car and home maintenance was deferred. Our one big expenditure was a water heater, which we couldn’t put off replacing.