Ways that we could continue to cut our budget

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Thankfully it’s Friday! 

I’m starting to feel better, but still not the greatest. It’s Mardi Gras weekend so I need to start feeling better so that I can celebrate. If it gives you any clue as to where I live (some of you already know), but where I live we have the second largest Mardi Gras in the U.S. (besides New Orleans of course). So everyone goes out and has fun, but I don’t know if I feel like spending a ton of money (heated tents with unlimited beer and food is $100 a person) and freezing to death outside.

Anyways, recently I talked about how much we’ve cut our budget. I also said that I would post about other ways we could cut back, and it took a little longer than I thought, but here’s the post! I know you all were hurting while waiting for this (I’m joking of course). These aren’t all things that I would do, but it’s nice to see the value of everything. And also if we ever had financial problems,  then we could easily cut these things.

How we could further cut back:
  1. Priceline. You all are always talking about it. I’m kind of excited to see how low I can get our hotel for our March vacation.
  2. Bundle services. None of our bills are bundled, but we could bundle our cell phones, internet and cable. I’m guessing this would probably save us around $50 a month. I plan on doing this once our cable contract is over.
  3. Coupons. I couponed for a little bit last year, but I haven’t used any coupons in awhile. I’ve just been throwing my newspapers away, which has been a huge waste of money. I’m not a huge couponer, but I’m guessing that I could save around $25-$50 a month if I did this.
  4. Smoking. I don’t smoke, but the BF does. I really wish he wouldn’t (because of my dad), but he still smokes. He doesn’t smoke a ton because he’s more of a social smoker. But still, it’s probably around $10-$15 a week, which is A LOT.
  5. Cancel our gym membership. Our membership together is around $32 a month. It’s not high at all (especially for 2 people), but we could easily just workout at our house and around our neighborhood. This would also save us money in gas because our gym is around 10 miles away. Gas savings? Maybe $20-$25 a month?
  6. Cut the cable. Our cable is now at $75 a month. Is that worth it? I do like watching TV, but I’m always thinking of cheaper ways that are possible.

These are pretty basic things that we could cut. Yes, yes I know that a lot of people either don’t do these things or don’t see these as necessary to begin with (such as having cable), but I enjoy these things. I’ve never been a huge couponer just because I don’t have patience. Smoking is something that I really wish he could cut out.  Anyways, if we did these things, I’m going to guess that we would save about:

 $292 a month or $3,504 a year

How much we would save if we cut EVERYTHING besides just “needs”? These aren’t all things that I would do, but these are things that are possible. We could use public transportation entirely and that would probably save around $500 a month after buying monthly passes, and we could also get rid of our cell phones, which would save another $100. 
I don’t think I could ever start taking public transportation where I live. It’s not safe here and it would literally take FOREVER to get anywhere (probably 2 hours to get to my job which is only 10 miles away). I also don’t think I could get rid of my cell phone. I know it’s extremely materialistic, but I need that thing.

How far would you go so that you could pay your debt off faster and/or save faster?

Comments

  1. Live Simply- Live We says

    We were pretty extreme. I just felt so trapped by debt, and it felt heavy and oppressive. We went all out to get it paid off and we knew its we went all out, it would be a shorter period of time, and we figured, we would rather suffer and go without for a short period of time. I went to college in Louisiana and went to maradi GRAS in new orleans. It was so insane.

  2. Sarah Kate says

    Let me make a suggestion – don't cut the cable if it's something you like to do. Once you cut the cable out, unless you REALLY like reading, there isn't a whole lot to do at your house for downtime. You might end up finding yourself going out more to watch the game at the bar since you don't get it on your TV, or going out shopping because you're bored. There's a lot of scenerios that could play out and I know them from experience!! We cut our cable off for a year and in the end, we spent more out of boredom.

  3. Holly says

    When I got my first apartment right after college I did not have cable. I went three years without and did not miss it for a second. I was already paying around $45 for internet and almost every tv show can be seen online so I felt no need to pay another $45 for cable. Of course now that I'm married, husband has to have it and I admit I watch a ton more tv than I used to because of it. But really, being cable-less is not that bad!

  4. Stephanie says

    Have you considered just downgrading your cable? If you don't watch many of the channels that your current level gets you, it might be worthwhile to save $10-15 month, but you wouldn't have to give up cable altogether. That's what we did, it was totally worth it.Personally I'm not a fan of going to extremes to pay down debt/save when I (a) already have a comfortable income to cover the debt and (b) have a good amount of cash saved up. I feel like we have a really good balance of treating ourselves while still being frugal. That said, we just got a new assessment on our house, and it went down $43,000! This means we'll likely save $850-900/year on property taxes. I think the plan right now is to take that savings and prepay on my student loans. Once mine are paid off, we're going to take the total amount we were paying on MY loans and use it to prepay on his. Can't wait to not have those payments anymore!

    • Michelle P says

      We're already on the second to lowest package, and the lowest package literally does not have a single channel that we would watch. I hate that! I'm hoping that when it comes time to renew the contract, that we can lock in a super low rate again.And I wouldn't do most of these things to save more, it was just nice to know that if we ever needed the money, that it's there.

  5. Little House says

    I only recently got cable – I went 15 years without it! I know, I'm weird, right?! Now that I have cable, I realize I wasn't missing out on very much. What's up with all the reality shows!? It's outta control. ;) And as for what to do when not watching TV, I'm constantly thinking of projects I want to do, blogging, researching ideas, etc. It's easy to fill downtime with other stuff besides watching TV. So, if you cut out $75 a month from your budget, you might find you have more time for creative endeavors!

  6. Lane R says

    We are considering cutting out our cable. I'm going to call the company first to see if there are some better deals that would make it worth keeping, but if not I plan on canceling it. We don't watch anything that we can't find online so I'm not to worried about it. I spend most of my free time on the internet rather than watching TV anyway. As far as cutting out my cell phone and using public transportation in our area, I would never do it.

    • Michelle P says

      I could never use public transportation or get rid of my car. Especially since I am almost done with my car payments, the cost is only around $500 a month, and no longer $1,000, so I see it as a value now.

  7. kim says

    I hear ya' on the public transportation – while it's safe here (DC), parking in the city is crazy expensive, and I get a transit subsidy but…it takes 45 minutes to go 5 miles!!! And I have to take a bus and two subway lines to get there!

  8. Sarah says

    I always am thinking about ways I could cut back now, thanks to you :) I was thinking of cutting my monthly salon trips back…..buuuuuut I'm not sure I can pull that plug haha. Does Priceline really work for you? I'm still trying to find a decent hotel for Vegas and heard that might be the way to go for airline tickets too.

    • Heather Draney says

      Hey! Sorry for butting in but I just went through the Vegas dilemma like a month ago :) I ended up choosing the Rio, it was $39 a night for a CRAZY nice room. I loved it. It was a little more expensive on the weekend night, but like $15 more is all. It's a little off the strip, but they have a free bus that takes you to either side of the strip, and picks you up again too. It was a GREAT deal. I used the Rio's website, it was the cheapest rates I could find and they always have promotions on there too (like save 10% if you stay three nights) Good luck and have an AWESOME time! :) Much love, Heatherandtylerdraney.blogspot.com

  9. Ashlee says

    We just went downgraded to a lower cable option, we pay like $12 a month for 30 channels. It was worth it for us to reach our debt goals. But, we don't watch that much tv.I could never use public transportation either!(it's not very good here though)

  10. Bre says

    I have used Priceline for EVERY vacation or weekend trip J & I have gone on! The name your own price thing is worth it! We've gotten hotels on there for many nights stay and it was one of the best hotels we have ever stayed in! We also have used it for last minute "too tired" to drive back and got a hotel for 60% off one night when we were shopping for homes! Great website!

  11. Alex M says

    I think the most effective way to pay off debt faster is to find additional income — but to also make sure that working more hours doesn't mean you need to spend more to make up for time you don't have. Like grabbing dinner as take out because you don't have time to cook.I think we have cut what we could and I am not spending as much now that I'm not using coupons. That may be due in part to have HBA stuff stockpiled. But if clipping coupons and reading sales circulars kinda means you are still looking for ways to spend. And I also think coupon food tends to be less healthy than fresh.What you are doing is great!

  12. Mrs. Pancakes says

    We definitely did it at our house…getting a part time job and cutting back on going out was definitely worth our while…i completely paid off all my stuff and now we are working on hubby's student loan.

  13. CeCe @Frugalista Mar says

    Cell phones are not materialistic just like cars aren't. They are conveniences that make our life easier. I could go live in a trailer to save money too but I'm not. Our cable bill is around $100 bucks!!! Sheesh. But I'm not giving it up. I work hard, I pay my bills I save….gotta enjoy some things.

  14. shopping2saving says

    I definitely can't cut my gym membership – it's prepaid anyway for 2 years! Came out to about $11 a month which is great for me. I could also cut on eating out but I have no kitchen, so that's a bit hard to do.I remember when the BF used to smoke almost a pack every other day. I am SO happy he quit because that was A LOT of money down the drain!!!

  15. Mrs. Baker says

    We have cut our cable off before and are considering doing it again it's really not a big deal especially if you get an HD antenna and saves a good amount of money!

  16. femmefrugality says

    It's amazing how much I don't miss our big cable package…especially with Netflix. There's also the roku option I've been hearing good things about lately…Priceline is awesome, but I still call the hotel directly just to make sure they're not offering an even lower price (which has happened to me a couple times!)I'm not too crazy about couponing, but the little bit that I do saves us a substantial amount of money.Wish you the best of luck with your goals. You're already so inspirational!

  17. Paul @ Make Money Ma says

    I have wanted to cut my cable for a while now. There is one thing stopping me…SPORTS! Sarah Kate said it earlier, I would be at the bar spending the money I saved. Other than that, I like to enjoy myself so I would not want to go too far in order to be completely debt free.

  18. Becky R says

    I hate cable, and tv for that matter. But I run an in home dayacre and have to have a home phone. Interent is also very helpful with homeschooling and in home daycare. I pay $80 a month for all phone, internet, and cable. If I cancel the cable it will actually be $86 a month for just phone and internet. Weird. Just phone is about $40, even for basic service because they now only have fios in my area. Ridiculous. So it makes sense just to keep it.

  19. MyMoneyDesign says

    It’s great you want to squeeze your expenses a little more. Bundling (2) and cutting smoking (4) would definitely help. But the rest of these don’t seem that bad. Instead of making cuts, have you considering making more money, perhaps with this blog? I don’t know how much it helps you now, but it seems like a lot of other people in the financial blog community seem to be doing pretty well.

  20. Ella says

    For me the gym membership is a motivation to exercise cause I am paying for it I don't feel like not using it. If I cancelled it then I think I might be tempted to exercise less…As for cable I lived 10 years without TV and didnt miss it a second. But then I moved in with my bf and he wanted to be able to watch TV so we ordered cable TV but then he changed his mind and now we have cancelled it all!

  21. fabulously frugirl says

    $500 is a lot of money that can potentially be saved, but it probably isn't a sustainable way to live. For me, I do have a barebones budget of what is the minimum I can possibly live off of, and then I add in the extras that make my life just that much better. If I lose my job, or an emergency happens, then the barebones budget kicks in. I don't think that I can do it all the time.

  22. Rafiki says

    You really don't spare your budget even a hair of waste money. I admire you a lot.I've being doing a lot of thinking about paying off debt faster but I am slowly coming to a surprising realization. Should post about it soon.

  23. Simple Rich Living says

    You could try to suspend your cable for a period of time throughout of the year. Some companies allow you to suspend the service for up to 6 months. I have a friend who does that. She suspends her cable during the summer months as she does a lot of outdoor stuff.

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