This week, Kacie at Sense to Save asked us to take a look at what expenses we could elminate from our budgets. As I've mentioned before, I've examined and re-examined our budget endlessly. Believe me, I have considered getting rid of Netflix and cable TV and cutting back on our Internet. But the truth is, we're about as bare-bones as we're going to get unless we meet some financial crisis in the future. BUT, I can share how I did cut our expenses to get here.
Our cable bill is $93 a month. Yikes, right? However, it includes:
Television - $15
A few years ago, we were paying about $35 a month for about 40 channels. Or something. And the cable company decided to introduce digital cable. Which required rental of some kind of converter box and whatever else, and would just about triple our bill. Uh uh, I don't think so. So I called and, after asking, "So, do you have anything cheaper than basic cable." Oh, you do? So we have a "limited basic" package, 22 channels for $15. Just right for us!
Internet - $45
SuperDad insists on having cable Internet, and this is what it costs. The end.
Local phone service - $33
I've tried and tried to shop around for this, to see if we could get a cheaper deal anywhere, and have even switched three or four times, but the bill is always within a dollar or two of this no matter what. It seems to be mostly taxes. :(
I realized we could "bundle" these services. I think for $99 we could get the Internet and phone and a bazillion TV channels, but we've decided we just don't really want those channels. I'd rather save the six bucks, honestly.
This one is a biggie. We live in a big old house with big old windows. Our gas/electric bill is $243 a month. That's down from $293 the year before. We did the following things this year to lower it:
- Sealed our windows with plastic film and bought thick curtains (from the Salvation Army for $3 per pair) for over that.
- Bought new air conditioners.
- Bought a new fridge.
- Put in energy-efficient light bulbs, as we could afford them.
- Started being much more diligent about turning off lights and unplugging appliances.
- Living at more uncomfortable tempeartures. We've been keeping our house at 66 degrees this winter. If you come over, bring a sweater, I'll make you some hot tea. I can't remember what we kept it at in the summer, but I can tell you I don't have as much tolerance for heat. I'm guessing 72 or so. Maybe 74.
I had hoped our bill would go down further than this. Maybe next year.Car Insurance
Our car insurance is $93 a month. I know we could pay less for this, but this is one thing we are not willing to compromise on. We've had great customer service from our insurance carrier, and we have decided they are worth it. Netflix
Worth the $18. Just worth it.
That's about it for our monthly expenses. Over and over, I've considered cutting Netflix and TV, but upon evaluation, that $33 just doesn't speed up our debt repayment enough to justify it.