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Rent On the Rise - Where to Trim the Fat?

April 9th, 2013 at 09:48 am

Our rent is due to go up by $20 in June. I received a $.36 raise this year ($57/mo) and as a result, our food assistance dropped by $50/mo. Makes sense. But now rent is on the rise as well. The $20 won't break us, as I will still come out $80/mo ahead (before including ~$80/mo commission), but it is still a set-back.

Our expenses are almost as bare-minimum as it gets. Prepaid phones (actually, my phone is on a family plan with my parents, but only costs $2/mo more than prepaid), slowest Internet, no cable, only $40/mo in fuel (no commuting), etc. We even slashed our electric bill by about $15/mo by line-drying our clothes inside rather than using the dryer. We only contribute $80/mo of our own cash to groceries ($230/mo for two adults and one child after assistance).

The only unnecessary expense is $30/mo in coffee.

Water/Sewer/Garbage is through the roof at $80-110/mo. No idea how to avoid that, being on a rented boiler system, an having to pay for other residents leaving crap everywhere.

So, that brings me to car insurance. We recently paid off our car, and still carry full coverage at $140/mo. This is the cheapest. We have looked around. If we drop all but the necessary coverages, it goes down to about $65/mo. Our car cost $5,500 at the time. In order for a downgrade to pay for itself to fund another vehicle, it would take six years to save $5,500.

What to do...

7 Responses to “Rent On the Rise - Where to Trim the Fat?”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    If reducing auto insurance is the ONLY option, I'd do it. Our past experience was that we did drop to liability on a vehicle probably worth $4K. It became inoperable in a car accident(medical issue with my husband) and we let it go. To replace we bought a used car for $8K, $2K of our own money and a $6K loan...which is more expensive than the difference in the auto insurance premium. Of course, we could have looked for $2K car...but that was harder to find in our short time frame.

    Could you go without a car if something were to happen? Do you have ANY cash that you would be willing to use to purchase a new to you vehicle if this one was totaled? What are you willing to do IF something were to happen...AND is it worth it to save the money now. Only you know what makes sense to you.

    Also, do you have any way to bring in any extra funds to make up the difference? You talked about donating plasma in the past.

  2. snafu Says:

    It's clear we will all continue to see increases in cost of rent, food, transportation, utilities and services. Those getting assistance will see reductions in their programs and more and more and more qualifying barriers. Funding is being withdrawn with no notice.

    You've often mentioned curb-side items you've acquired with potential for future earnings. How are you moving that potential forward? Can you put some time and effort into fixing/painting/re-selling rescued/re-purposed items to sell on CraigsList or Buy 'n' Sell in your community? What skill sets can DW put to use to increase income? Do you have any potential to grow herbs, tomatoes or bush beans in containers? Are you signed on for any of the Angel Food Ministries or similar groups?

    I hope DW has started researching no cost/low cost experience enrichment programs for baby/toddler. Some blogs can generate income and you both may have frugal life potential ideas.

  3. BuckyBadger Says:

    I know at one point that you had considered selling the car. Could you re visit that possibility? Could you manage a few trips a month using a bus/carpool/taxi/rental car/care share service?

    Between gas and insurance you'd be almost $200 a month better off. $2400 a year would cover a lot of taxis, rental cars, and care shares...

  4. Frgal Says:

    Thank you all for the refresher ideas. Will be chatting with my wife about these as well.

  5. scfr Says:

    Would your landlord consider holding your rent where it is now in exchange for some work around the building? Perhaps you could clean up some of the crap that the other tenants leave laying around on your day off? That would be an entrepreneurial approach to the problem (I see that you hope to own your own business some day so hopefully you are a self-starter.)

  6. Frgal Says:

    @scfr - I am employed at said property.

  7. scfr Says:

    Ahh ... so your employer is giving with one hand (pay increase) while taking with the other (rent increase).

    Hate to say it but you may need to think about cutting back on the coffee if you want to reduce your expenses, unless you can find some other source of income.

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