Friday, July 24, 2015

Steps are Being Taken . . .

Alrighty then.  My friend, Michelle says it's way doable for one human to eat on $200 smackers a month.  She's quite knowledgeable in things of this sort, so I'm going to go with that and not worry about it.  It will force me to plan.  And cook.  I'm quite capable of both.  I went through the pantry yesterday morning . . . it's really awful how many cans I needed to get rid of because they were three years past their expiration date.  Guess I will be learning to actually USE what I have in the cupboards.

I spent the time necessary to go through old bank statements to see where my money has been going.  There are a whole lot of entries that say "Paypal," and "Amazon."  Really A???  I've fallen into the habit of buying without thinking, and part of me wonders if that's why I had So Much Stuff that I took to the Second Chance Shop in the last round of divestiture.

When all the budget dust settled, it became clear that I need to trim about $150 - $200 from my budget.  Like I said yesterday, more goes out than comes in, and I relied on savings here and there to make up the difference.  Today I analyzed my cell phone bill.  I have a data plan that includes 4 GB of data every month.  I've never used more than 2 GBs, and since January, I've used less than 1 GB a month.  I cut the data plan in half, which will save me $30/month.  I may also drop the HotSpot I have on the phone, which would save me another $20/month. I've discovered that I rarely use it.

I also analyzed my DirecTV package.  I don't have any premium channels, but my monthly cost for what I do have seems like a lot to me.  I could drop down to their lowest package and save another $20/month.  I would lose ESPN and most of the other sports channels, but the only one of those that I ever watch is NBCSN (that's the Sports Network - they show the Tour de France), and I only watch it like once a year.  I would lose OWN, the Oprah Channel, which I do watch from time to time, and I would lose The Weather Channel, but I don't really watch The Weather Channel, so I don't think I would miss it.  I'd still have all the channels I actually do watch, so that's pretty much a no-brainer because no, I'm NOT going to pay $20 bucks a month to watch the Oprah channel.  When the Tour is over on Sunday, I'll go online and make that change.

I've brought my lunch two days in a row and am feeling seriously righteous.  :-D

Steps are being taken.




11 comments:

Michelle said...

Adjusting your phone and cable services sounds like an easy and painless way to save $50-70/mo.; way to go! We have a 2GB data plan for three cell phones (Rick's, mine and his mom's) and it is enough. We dropped our satellite TV service completely because the price kept going up and we watch very little; network TV and public broadcasting gives us satisfactory options.

Almost everyone at my workplace brings their lunch, and I've gotten ideas from what others bring. We have a frig and a microwave, which means there are plenty of options besides sandwiches.

I rarely throw out past-date food that is unopened and properly stored. Between my mom, who is a registered dietitian, and my veterinary husband, I've learned that the food and drug industries have built in considerable safety margins with those "Use by" dates. In fact, I frequently take advantage of "close date" sales at Grocery Outlet because of that knowledge, and save a bundle! But I, too, have to remind myself to USE what I BUY; if I let something spoil (usually fresh produce or partially used containers in the frig) then I am wasting money. I'm getting better at that!

Having freezer space and a garden have been key to keeping our food bill low. You might be surprised by how much you could grow in some well-placed planters next year!

A :-) said...

Thanks for this info! I do watch telly, so I'm not quite ready to give it up, but dropping it down is definitely going to help.

The cans I tossed were all at least 3 years past their prime, I decided it would be a better plan to let them go and it made the pantry much more manageable.

There is so much wild life near me that I would need to build cages and put chicken wire around any planter to have any measure of success. I'd really love to grow some strawberries, though. Those would be great but the bunnies, squirrels, raccoons, and deer make growing anything without cover impossible. The rabbits even eat all the wood violets - leaves and all - right down to the stems and they chewed on the bottoms of my arbor vitae shrubs this last awful winter. There's no getting rid of them as I live in a heavily wooded area and I do not have a fence.

We have a large lunchroom with fridges, freezers, and microwaves where I work, too, so I'm not limited to sandwiches either. Plus, I have a good wide mouth thermos so I can take soup or other hot things with me. This will be good as the weather gets colder.

Thank you for these ideas!!

Michelle said...

Trust me; we have to use protective measures for what we grow, too!

A :-) said...

A quick look at Gardener's Supply for a raised bed, the soil and a pest cage came in at more than $300. Since I'm not dipping into the Savings pond, that's going to have to wait. I did always want a greenhouse when I was a kid :-D

A :-) said...

Yikes! A small greenhouse costs a bundle!!

Michelle said...

Forget all those catalogs and stores that want to sell you kits and plans for raised beds; WAY too expensive if you're looking to SAVE money on groceries. You can use salvaged five-gallon buckets, for Pete's sake! Lots of ways to grow things on the cheap....

A :-) said...

:-D I'm such a city girl :-D

Michelle said...

(That's what I was thinking. ;-)

Ely said...

I stream most of the tv I do watch, and while we had cable for awhile for my husband to watch, ironically he couldn't be bothered or forgot about it so we got rid of the box. I'm not as current on shows like most people (I'll live), but there are so many streaming options that work out cheaper than traditional tv.

As far as my phone bill, as soon as my contract ended I did not sign up again for a multiyear plan -I bought my new phone outright and that automatically lowered my monthly bill. I also lowered the data plan, and just take advantage of all of the wifi I can get my hands on!

It's funny you mention Amazon because I find it very helpful for toiletries and such. I have Prime so I don't feel the need to pad my order but I do keep a wish list going and every once in awhile I will tack on a want versus a need.

A :-) said...

Streaming is not a good option for me - my internet freezes just watching YouTube - it would drive me mad to attempt to watch a film through the computer. And yeah, when I checked on my hotspot, they trying to get me to upgrade my phone. Nope! I also have Amazon Prime, and I do use it for certain things that I think are less expensive - but I was mostly getting kindle books . . . ;-)

Ely said...

We happen to have both Roku and Apple TV hooked up in different rooms, and compatible devices that allow us to use our devices as essentially remotes so I don't watch movies on my computer either! But if your internet isn't all that great, streaming is not a useful option.