Saturday, January 17, 2009

Time to save!

Being so concerned about what's going on in the economy, we're trying to be very wise about every dollar that we spend in order to save every dollar that we don't spend. In November, we began seriously cutting things back and here's what we were able to do:

Satellite - cut back to the bear minimum - saved $50/month - $600/year
Home phone service - cut back to the bear minimum (our Internet service is through the phone line, so we have to have the minimum) - saved $20/month - $240/year
Eating out - (this is huge). We were spending around $400/a month eating out. We've cut that to less than $100/month - so a $3600 savings over a year! So, if you ask me out to eat, and I say I can't...this is probably why. We usually limit eating out to once during the week (with a friend or something) and once together (if event that)...we just eat at home most of the time now.
Buying stuff - you know, trips to Target or Walmart, where you just see stuff that you like and buy it? I was unknowingly spending about $100/week on stuff like that. I've cut that back to NOTHING. I just don't do that anymore. That saves $400/month and $4800/year
Diapers - Starting to use the cheap ones - Saves $40/month - and $480/year.
Formula - Switched to the store brand (asked pediatrician about this and she said it was fine). Saved $40/month - and $480/year.
Childcare - Changed from Daycare to in home care. They get amazing care now and save $3000/year.

We also do stuff like turning the heat off while we're not at home during the day. Making sure EVERYTHING we're not using is unplugged. Saving on our electric bill has been huge.

That's over $13,000 in savings over a year. EXCITING!!

Now, we're working on re-financing our house with a better interest rate. Unfortunately when we were getting close to finishing the interest rate rose quickly with all of the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac stuff going on. So when we locked in, interest rates were at 6.5%. Now they're around 5.1% or less - so great time to refinance and save even more.

What are you doing to save? I'm open to some things we haven't thought of!

3 comments:

Matt and Becca said...

Ooh, please talk to Casey Collyar at First Western Mortgage in FS. When we bought, she always had the low rates by FAR. We've talked to her recently about refinancing, and she's quoted us in the 4's.

Those are all great ideas!!! And I feel you on the eating out thing. We have $35/wk, which means we can eat out once as a family of four. That's pretty much it, unless it's fast food!

Sherry said...

Thanks for sharing your tips, Becky. I was wondering if we were the only ones trying to do this. With Darin being in the Financial Industry, it's been a little scary.

We also reduced our cable to just basic...we rarely watch tv but Darin does miss the ESPN and the kids miss some of the kid channels but they are reading like crazy now. In fact, Daks just got an award/gift card from school for reading the 2nd most books in the whole 5th grade during the 2nd quarter. :0) I miss HGTV but I'm really so busy w/ the boys that I don't know when I'd watch it.

We have dramatically cut the eating out and I've only had 1 Sonic drink this year!!!! (1.92 every day adds up!) I went to www.simplifysupper.com and love it. I make a menu for us based on our schedule then print out the grocery list. Time saver as well as $$. Darin has started taking his lunch a couple of days a week and I am only eating lunch out w/ a friend/co-workers once/ week.

We alos cut down to the walmart brand diapers but have been doing that for some time. We also did the store brand formula when he was taking it. I actually buy mostly store brands....some things I won't.

We were leaving the computer ON 24/7. We have started turning it off at night. We have also just tried to be very conscious of lights being on, etc. We are in the process of switching out to Fluorescent bulbs throughout the hosue. I need to do better about actually unplugging items not in use.

The thermostat is hard for me. Our house seems drafty/cold anyway. I've kept it on 71 but I'm chilly. My AOG was $220! Ouch! Kelley keeps hers on 68 and wears tons of clothes and hers was $140! Big difference...I need to try to find a compromise on that.

I actually got a new job offer (wasn't looking) which is more money and is in GW. GOD THING! Gas Savings is incredible. When gas was it's highest, I was spending $100/week. Right now, $40 gets me about 10 days!!

We have also adjusted our cell phone plans and tried to maximize w/ My Circle (alltel), etc.

I know I'm long winded but one last thing is I am MAJORLY Cleaning out and selling stuff we don't need. I do ebay for the "good" stuff, resale shop downtown for so-so, Growing Kids for Good Kids stuff, and the newspaper for larger items. I am in the middle of this right now and hope to save the money earned for our Emergency Fund.

This blog has some great tips:
www.getrichslowly.org/blog

Thanks for sharing!

Woman of Clay said...

Wow... you girls inspire me. In general, I'm a pretty thrity person (most people who know me will agree!) but I've not consciously written out a list of ways to save money during these tough times. I definitely want to look at refinancing, though. Thanks for getting me to thinking about this stuff.