Wednesday, April 1, 2015

On Money #2

About a year ago I wrote on how we were planning to save money by cutting some of our expenses so we can increase our retirement contribution.   I didn't think this was going to be easy since both DH and I are for the most part on the same page when it comes to our finances and that we don't really have excessive spending.   The followings are areas that we tried to cut back

1. Cell Phone Plans: Both of us were on Verizon plan and did not have smart phones.  We paid about $96 on a basic plan (phone & text) which we were happy with.  We never had smart phones even when I was working.  I never saw the need for it since I was stuck at work all day and the rest of the time I am home and use my I-pad for most things. 
So a few months ago I changed over to Republic Wireless and got a smart phone for $150 and have a $10/month plan.   My DH uses his phone rarely so he decided that he will also get a smart phone, mainly for the camera and sign with Ting.  His is a prepaid plan and it costs him about $5-10 a month.   Now this might not work for some people.   The$10/month republic wireless plan doesn't have a data plan but you can use Wifi for Internet and also it defaults to wifi service for calls when available.    The plans has been working wonderful for us and once we cover the cost of the phones we will be saving about $70-80/month on it compared to our Verizon plan. 

2. Water consumption:  We looked in to low-flow toilets & washing full loads of laundry to minimize water bill.  We also installed a control at the kitchen sink where we can adjust the flow.  My sister changed all her toilets to low flashing and said she it has made an impact on their water bill but I didn't really like those toilets, it seem like sometimes their is a need to reflush.  After reading about is a bit we decided to just adjust so that the tanks only fill up 3/4th of the way.   We didn't want to go out and spend money on new toilets.    Another thing I just don't want to give up is my long hot showers.  I take a long hot shower to manage my endometriosis pain and that is not something that I am going to give up.  But I have really tried to make sure I wash a full load of laundry.     

3.  We also tried to lower our thermostat by a few degrees.  We used to set it at  74C and changed it to 72C at nights but  it became really cold in our bedroom and toddler MH doesn't like sleeping under a blanket and sometimes asks for a her PJ bottoms to be removed.   It may be 72c by the thermostat but our room is much cooler so we had to increase it back up to 74C.  We are babies when it comes to cold weather :).  So we have failed in this department.   I think in the near future it might be better to upgrade to efficient windows. 

4. Cable: I sometimes watch TV, especially when my pain it at its worst and I am not able to do much.  But I really don't care for cable much.   When we were in our apartments we didn't have cable and relied on just local channels for years and we were fine with it. But now we are not able to get the local channels without the cable connection and so we singed up for cable service when we moved to this house.   We are looking in to ways we can get rid of it when our contract ends.

5. Food: This department is a fail.  I looked in to joining Costco but the one closest to us is not very convenient and I didn't think we are going to save much.  I try not to buy anything that I have to freeze.   My freezer right now has some chicken, a small container of ice-cream and some spices.  We go to the grocery store at least three times a week and buy fresh.  So food is our biggest expense in general and I try to buy vegetables that are on sale and buy eggs & chicken from Trader Joe's to minimize expenses.   

6.  Other sending: DH doesn't like eating out much so we try to eat at home and may be end up going out 2-3 times a month for a meal.   Most of the time we eat at home and go out for coffee.  I really don't miss eating out much since I can't eat a lot of things because of the gluten free diet and that I am also trying to be careful and eat as much fresh vegetables as I can.    Cloth is another area where we don't spend much on.  DH hates shopping and may go out 1-2 times a year for cloth.  I am at home and don't need to buy a lot of cloth.  I usually just go out about twice a year and we don't buy stuff if it is not on sale & reasonable priced.   

In general we have made some improvement but not a lot.   We are more aware of where the money goes.  We were able to increase our retirement saving last year and will be doing that this year too.  When I tell DH we need to budget he laughs at me and says we already know where the money goes and there is no need for a budget.  I guess he is right.


1 comment:

  1. Oy. I totally get it. We have cut back dramatically on our non-necessity spending. So hard! LOL. But I'm sure it will be worth it in the end, when we're able to reach our goals and stuff. *sigh* Just seems so far away. I'd love to find a way to cut back on our cell phone bills, but there is just no way to do it... hubby's job requires him to have a specific type of super fancy phone with lots of data and stuff on it, so he can "remote in" from anywhere he is to help fix computer problems. Anyway, good luck with this! A little bit at a time, consistently done, always adds up quickly. :)