A few weeks ago, I shared George and my little blueprint for surviving a season of unemployment. Wasn’t it SO MUCH FUN? Ugh. Anyway, I wanted to write a more in-depth post about how we actually shrunk our budget to an obviously lower level. Cause guess what? Even if George and I –or you!—are currently happily employed, there are still a few tricks in there that I think are absolutely worth following!
Utilities: While there isn’t much you can do to convince the gas or electric company to lower their rates, you CAN of course alter how much of their resources you’re gobbling up. For once, I actually followed my own advice on keeping heating costs low over the winter. Miracle of mircales—it worked! Despite a long, bleak winter, we had our lowest heating costs ever, yet still managed to stay nice and cozy. Bring it on, Winter 2016, we’ve got this.
Cable/Internet: I gotta admit that it was worth the TWO HOURS I spent on THREE PHONE CALLS over the course of about a week with my cable/internet provider to get my rates lowered. (AAAAARGH.) I was ready with an exit strategy, having already spoken with a competitor who was featuring a great deal for new customers. I finally managed to convince my current company that I was serious about leaving, and they offered me the same deal as their rival to keep me on. I’ll toast to that…by watching like 500 episodes of Hawaii Five-O. (I should note that while G and I were ready to give up cable TV, it was part of a bundled internet/phone deal, and would actually have only saved us a few bucks—so we kept the bundle.)
Auto Insurance:/Transportation: It’s worth pulling our your dusty policy to make sure you’re actually using what you’re paying for. Case in point: My policy indicated that I drove my car MUCH more than I actually do, so I called the company, gave them some basic information and they adjusted my rates. Easy! And even though my ancient car has been paid off for many moons (Hurrah!), I still shifted to public transit to get to work, as itcosts less (not to mention is more environmentally friendly!) than paying for gas/parking (and increased insurance rates – ha!).
Groceries: Fortunately, I’m married to George, the Coupon King. (Should I have gone with Koupon King? I’m torn.) so our grocery budget has always been particularly tight. We stuck to the rules of planning meals ahead and using coupons/sales, and it was no problem to drop this budget line just a litttttle bit lower.
Fun Stuff: Dinner out? A fancy new dress? Upgraded coffee table for the living room? Nope, nope, and nope. George and I did not want to have to use credit (though I realize in some cases, it’s unavoidable) to get through unemployment, so anything that wasn’t absolutely necessary, had to go. That meant that instead of the entertainment line of our budget allowing us to go out to a nice dinner a coupla times a month, it now allowed us to basically buy a bottle of wine when visiting friends, or buy the ingredients for a dinner in with others. You get the drift. And guess what? Miracle of miracles, we not only survived, and also came out the other end with a keener eye towards attempting to avoid materialism. Win-win!
These little tricks absolutely helped us to live within our altered means over the past months. Give 'em a try and see for yourself!
What budget busting tricks and tips do you have? Tell me, pretty please!