Thursday, November 13

Cutting back and saving money

I would say we've been pretty blessed in our household that aside from the gas prices really squeezing our wallet, the economy hasn't really hit us yet. Luckily gas is getting cheaper - it was $1.85 here today! However, with Congress in recess since September (and probably through the inauguration), I am only working with one company right now and the work is not quite enough.

So we are finally having to take some drastic steps around here that we haven't really had to do yet.

  • We're putting our Y membership on hold. This will save about $70 a month. We've really resisted doing this because it's such a great resource for our family - a place for Serge and I to get some exercise, inexpensive sports programs for the kids and just a place for us to get out during the day. It was great having the pool in the summer, but for now it's going on a three month hold.
  • I'm cancelling our recycling. But I'm still recycling! Our current provider charges us $10 a month for curbside recycling. While I do appreciate this service, I'll be buying a Rubbermaid tub and driving 10 minutes to drop it off myself once a week! Mommy Stays Home recently blogged about how she has cut her trash bill entirely. I don't know if we could pull this off, but it's worth it to try and reduce it anyway!

Other changes we've made in the last year include:

  • Dropping cell phones and getting a low usage phone line. This is the cheapest way for us to keep our high speed internet, which I need for work. Serge uses his work phone and I joined my mom's family plan for $10 a month.
  • Student loans are in forbearance. I'm not thrilled about this one, because they're still earning interest but it's one expense that can be put on hold for the time being.
  • Serious couponing to make our grocery budget go farther.

We already do without some easy to cut expenses like cable and weekly nights out. I do miss those nights out though.....

That Y membership is going to be a hard one to let go. I love going to Zumba twice a week. It's fun and it's keeping me in great shape. Unfortunately there are not a lot of free fitness alternatives in my area. I'm going to have to get better about checking Cincinnati Cents, which is a great deals blog, but she also posts lots of family stuff for our area.

So what things have you had to cut out? Are there expenses that you're holding onto and just putting off cutting out?


Jamie said...

I've been trying to combine errands to save on gas. Even though it's gone down so much lately, we still live pretty far from everything.

We switched to a "pay as you go" plan with our cell phones a year or two ago. I pay about $25 every 2 or 3 months. But I don't use my phone a whole lot.

I'm couponing and CVSing.

We almost never go out anymore. Ironically, I'm trying to spend a little more money in that area by finding cheap things for us to do as a couple and as a family!

Jennifer said...

We have done much of what you are doing. I went on a spending fast, which helped us save money, but I wouldn't be able to do it indefinitely that is for sure. I did just list some things on Ebay tonight, have you thought about selling things to help make ends meet?