Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Let's talk about saving

I'm a little obsessed this week with my new real efforts to save more money. After watching that Oprah episode where Suze Orman truly laid out what has happened and what will keep happening within our economy, and then paying our frightening bills last Friday, I decided it was time for some change.

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.


Ranch Girl said...

I think I'll review my budget again too. I'm thinking I can save us some $. I have suggested to my hubby that he not buy as much wine, but ... well, let's just say he's not cooperating!

Jamey said...

yep, been there and still there, our goal is to be debit free in 3 years! yep lots of debit.

Ranch Girl said...

... got me thinkin' today - I've already saved myself 5 bucks a month on my cell phone, working on the DishNetwork stuff (but I'll have to ok that with my hubby), and am soon going to ax Blockbuster online because I looked at our last year's renting record and realized if I had rented my movies at the store I would have spent less - bleh! We pay for convenience, but honestly we have a ton of stuff on Dish AND our Blockbuster is literally less than 2 miles away! Thanks, Mer! So far, we're saving about $20 a month, and I'm looking for more ways to save!

Tasha said...

I saw that Oprah, too! Times are kinda scary. Good for you for being moer aware....something I need to do, too.

Heather - Hopelessly Flawed said...

Great post! I need to think more about this as well. We did the same $10 off thing with Directv though! lol

Ali said...

We went through this when I quit work 5 yrs ago--got rid of land line, got rid of newspapers, we even got rid of the internet and directv for a year until we got our budget under control. Now that the economy is so bad I've looked at more ways to cut expenses and honestly, there's not much more I can do!

I watch a lot of shows on Hulu.c0m and I've never used Surfthechannel.c0m before but they've got premium channel shows.

Anonymous said...

Ok, that's it. I'm calling DirectTV right now. Thanks for the tip.

kristen said...

When I became a SAHM 4 years ago, we had to make some changes to our budget. So, the current situation with the economy hasn't affected us in a huge way because we had already cut the excess spending out. We don't have cable tv, hardly ever go out to eat, clip coupons, buy generic/store brands. I spend several hours per week matching coupons up with weekly store ads and save quite a bit on our grocery bill. The only new thing is planning my errands for the week so I don't waste gas driving all over the place.

I think in general, just trying to live a simpler life is what people should focus on.

LazyCrazyMama said...

Oh I need some of that advice too! :)

Susiewearsthepants said...

I think we are ditching our landline too. That's 50 dollars per month. Also because I usually get a pretty large tax refund, I suspended paying in any more federal taxes this year. Why give the government my money interest free?