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Cut those costs!

October 10th, 2012 at 05:23 am

I thought I would update some of you on our current financial situation. It has been a while!

Living Expenses

Rent, WSG and Electric have stayed the same. No improvements there. And last month we got a letter from our water provider saying they would be making it so that billing is current, rather than three months behind. They way they will do this is by rolling the extra months into other months. So, October and November are supposed to be larger payments than normal. (Great timing for the Holidays, people!) Unfortunately, we have yet to see the increase yet. I pay rent in two instalments each month, though, so I am sure it will happen on the next instalment. Unfortunately, that means that the $80 I was just able to send to savings will most likely have to be taken out again. >.<

Savings

I am now utilising a method suggested by users on the forum, that I am unsure as to why I had not thought of it before. Haha! Once you get paid, immediately move all unbudgeted "extra" funds to savings. I do have a question about this, however:
When should I reconcile my account and move the rounded monies to savings?
You see, I round up and down to the nearest dollar for all transactions. So I always have more in my account than my manual register says. And since I use my Chase Freedom card for all purchases and pay it each week, my checking account is almost never balanced, what with credit card payments taking three days to process and never knowing when to move rounded monies over to savings. Anyone have a solution to this? It is no necessarily an issue, since it currently serves as a small buffer. But it would be nice to fill that savings!

What I am doing currently is: Instead of paying only wha we spent on the Chase Freedom, I pay the rounded amount. This way it helps pay down the debt we accrued from moving over here for work.

Cost-Cutting

When we moved here, we got 20 Mbps Internet from Comcast for $29.99/mo for six months. Well, that six months went by quickly and, while 20 Mbps was sure nice, I decided to downgrade.

When Comcast kicked it up to $57/mo, I downgraded to their 3 Mbps plan for $39.99/mo with no contract. I then purchased our own modem (a better one) for $71, and was able to get rid of the $7/mo modem lease fee. So on the new rates, that modem will be virtually free after just four months. Not bad. So there is $17 more than before that goes to savings. Smile

Treats

If you remember, we were getting coffee once a week, as our only form of entertainment expense. I still don't think it was that bad, but we came into an opportunity to save more money.

A friend at work had a cheap espresso machine that he need could get a good shot out of. He also happened to be wanted a DSLR camera. I just so happened to have found a working DSLR camera body. He also just so happened to have lenses that fit it.

I think you can see where this is going. Smile

So, now, we have absolved most of that "treats" budget into groceries. Some is for coffee stuff for home, and there is room in there for one outing to a coffee shoppe per month ($6 total). Smile

I think a lot of you would be proud of us. We sure have done a log way!

Groceries

We have decided to go vegan, based on some personal beliefs of our own. We now make even more food from scratch than before. And by that, I mean all of our food except for food milk and flour. We buy everything in bulk (even agave syrup, farina, oatmeal, flour, etc.). We also get a Bountiful Basket every week. $15 for around 25 lbs. of produce every week!

Insurance

Some of you know a little about the insurance headache we went through when we moved over here. Switched from Allstate to Geico, Geico to State Farm. We have been with State Farm. However, in that time, they have cancelled our Roadside Assistance (with no drop in premium), and raised their rates "company-wide."

Today, we made the switch to Safeco Insurance. It would have been $10/mo cheaper had I kept the same deductibles and coverage. However, I decided to save a little more and raise the deductibles. I will most likely lower them again at a later date. Still no Roadside, but there shouldn't be a problem next year. Renters is also more affordable through them - $20,000 coverage at $100/year, $25 cheaper. Our monthly went from $147 to $127. I'll take it!

6 Responses to “Cut those costs!”

  1. wowitsawonderfullife Says:

    Sounds like you are doing very well. Congratulations.

  2. creditcardfree Says:

    You are definitely thinking things through and making good changes!

    A couple things to think about...you should have an emergency fund at least equal to your deductible. So if you went from $250 to $500...make sure you have $500 in savings at all times. Of course, I advocate a much bigger EF, but it doesn't make any financial sense to have a higher deductible if you don't have that cash on hand.

    Also, make sure you know the rules of your savings account. Some have limits on the withdrawals per month. You don't want to be stashing everything there if you are pulling it right back out. A second checking account can work as a savings account if needed to get around the withdrawal limits.

    Your checking account is fluid. It won't always balance because of float in transactions being paid. Don't worry about that.

    I think it might be easier NOT to round your purchases up and down. You really want to see things balance, but it seems you are setting yourself up for not being able to do that. It seems to make things more confusing...even though I see your intention is good...to build up savings. If you stop doing the rounding...your extra will be found when you get paid. If you don't spending everything in your budget category for that period there will be extra in your checking account before you deposit your account. That is when I would move that money. Then you go forward with your current check, pay bills for that pay period, set up your budget categories and move your excess to savings.

    Really you have to extras each time you get paid...the extra from the previous pay period that you didn't spend in your budget categories and the extra that is over and above budget categories you have established.

    I hope this helps. You might also read this post on my blog. This is on my sidebar along with other explainations of how we budget.

  3. Frgal Says:



    This is what made the decision hard. Our deductibles were $500. Now they are $1,000. As of now, we only have $800 in our EF. However, that should be going up if we stick to our guns. Also, I am serious about bringing those deductibles back down after paying the car off this coming March.



    Six per month. Smile


    Yep. That's how I do it. Smile

  4. PNW Mom Says:

    Sounds like you are doing very well! Congrats and keep up the good work.

  5. creditcardfree Says:

    @frugal, glad you know the saving account limits! Get that EF fund up fast....anything you can sell?

  6. Frgal Says:

    I am working on a bicycle we got for free and will be selling that. But have to wait for spring most likely - people don't buy bicycles in the off-season. Wink

    Other than that, not really. We try to stay pretty minimalist. Don't even have a television. Haha. I find things at work that are somewhat sellable. Things like printers and small appliances. They are hard to sell, however. Selling on eBay is usually not very profitable due to shipping costs on items like that. Craigslist is hit and miss.

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