The first thing we looked at was DirecTV. We're not quite ready to cancel it altogether, and already we take the cheapest package, but I had been enjoying the additional HBO add on for the last few years. Hubby made an excellent point that with the Blockbuster online movie rentals, we should probably choose between one or the other. I based my decision on who has the better variety, and it was goodbye HBO.
While Hubby had them on the phone, he suggested that we were thinking about cancelling altogether due to the costs, and they offered a $10 discount per month for one year. Okay, we can live with that.
Next we're going to call AT&T and see about getting rid of our land line. We don't use it that much, and could instead just use our cell phones. I'm hoping they can set it up to receive calls only, but I don't know if that's possible. That should cut the bill down by nearly half. (We would never cancel DSL -- that's blog blasphemy.)
The Newspaper? Who takes the newspaper anymore? We can read all that biased media online for free, so why pay for it?
Those cuts alone, to start with, will bring us a savings over the year of:
$63.00 x 12 months = $756.00
Eating out is going to be a thing of the past for a while, too. In fact, our effort this week has been to only eat what we've got around the house, and we've done quite well. Except for fresh fruit and milk, we've lived well on what we've cooked out of the freezer and pantry, as well as the fresh zucchini and tomatoes from our garden and from a friend. I'm finding that I actually LIKE this challenge for us to be frugal, and while it may get old sometimes, it's satisfying to know that we'll be able to pay our bills and not be worried.
Growing up, I remember hearing about the things that my grandmother and her family did to get by during the depression and during the war. They lived mostly off the meat and produce from their own farm, my great-grandmother made all the dresses and clothes for her six children, and they certainly went without plenty to follow the rations put on goods during the war. Have I ever truly had to sacrifice anything? Not to mention my kids, who think every trip to the store should mean a present for them. I'm trying to find the best way to talk to them about it without worrying them. The best I've found is to say, "We don't have money for extras right now, and we're being careful with our money." I hope it's not lost on them completely.
If anyone out there has additional ideas or ways that they're saving money, I'd love to hear it. Truly, I am enthusiastic about the changes we're making, and I feel really good about the direction we're taking.