How We Have Reduced Our Expenses

As a homage to the times I wanted to rehighlight what my wife and I have done recently to reduce our expenses. As we have gone to basically a 1-income household in a bigger house we have established the following:

  • Canceled Cable TV - About two years ago I found that buying a HD TV actually paid for itself when I used it in lieu of cable to get perfect reception on all the over-the-air channels (hint: just because you don't get all the channels with your current antenna setup doesn't mean their are not ways to get them all). It has taken my wife a bit of time to adjust to the idea, but she is coming around. We also make more use of Redbox ($1 DVD rentals) and tv shows on the internet (ex. to fill in what we use to watch on cable. Total Savings: ~$45/mo.

  • Canceled Our Home Phone Line - We reduced our telephone bills by switching my wife to a pre-paid cell plan ($15/mo) and buying an Ooma box for a home phone line. This change allowed us to cut $25/mo out of my wife's cell phone bill. Total savings: $25/mo.
  • We groom our dog at home- I went out and bought a pair of $20 clippers and read a couple how to groom a miniature schnauzer web sites and have started grooming our dog myself. This is saving us ~35 every two months or ~$17/mo.
  • My wife has started coloring her hair at home - My wife now colors her hair at home vs going to the beauty salon. It use to cost her $60 every two months at the salon, now its $10 for the box of color. This is a savings of $25/mo.

The key here is we have made some hopefully long term lifestyle adjustments that (while minor) have allowed us to reduce subscriptions payments that are saving us an after-tax $112/mo. Thats an extra $1344 savings annually - a huge amount over the long term as long as we can keep the discipline in place.

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Comments (6)

Way to cut down on that monthly overhead. My wife and I have been doing the same thing. Though we don't foresee anything too negative to us happening in the near future, you never know!

I found you via Wisebread's Top 100 Personal Finance Blogs. Congrats on making the list!

A good list of simple and practical ideas. I've considered cutting the cable but just haven't made the jump yet...I'm definitely seeing more and more people do it now!

Your phone expense reduction has a payback period because you paid upfront for the Ooma box. Please let us know what this is. Do you have Internet service at home? I find that the cable TV company charges as much for Hi-speed Internet + basic cable as they do for just Hi-speed Internet. This is the "cable tax" and the problem with not having competition for Internet providers. Phone company ISPs want to force you to buy POTS (plain old telephone service @$30/mo including taxes & fees) to get a good deal on Internet service.

util man, yup I have ignored upfront costs and the payback period in this discussion. Most of these have a payback period - buying HDTV, Ooma box, clippers. After payback period its all gravy though.

See my ooma article for more details on the ooma box.

Those seem to be the first two areas that go. As streaming online TV becomes more popular, faster, with better quality, the cable services may be in trouble.

I think it's great that you guys have cut your overhead like you have! However, I think you could do more if you targeted the big-ticket items (if you haven't already). Have you shopped around for cheaper insurance? Have you refinanced the house? Have you sold/paid off an expensive car? In a single income family, it could be worth it to check out the big stuff.

You have a mini schnauzer? I love those dogs! My mom used to breed them when I was growing up so at any given time we'd have 10 or so in the house. I learned early on how to groom the dogs. It's good knowledge and can save you tons of money.

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A personal finance weblog of my journey to reach my goal of $2 million + the value of my primary residence.
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