Update: Would you believe I wrote this post last spring and there are still one or two items on the list that we haven’t accomplished? Which is why I never published it. Well…it’s the time of year when I ramp up thinking of all things money and job-quit-y, so I’m back at trying to cut expenses.
***** Warning!! This post contains a discussion of personal financial matters citing actual dollar amounts. I know this is considered tacky by most well brought up folks, but I believe it could possibly help someone recognize some non-essential spending and maybe, possibly positively influence someone else’s bottom line. If you find this blatant money talk offensive please stop by again some other time. Have a nice day. *****
I’m totally aware that my post about going back to work was a tad whiny and that I’ve been whining about leaving my kids in order to work for nearly
six seven years now, but I never really sat down and strategized a way out of it that didn’t involve a fantasy where I was fired or downsized,(I’ve never been a quitter) and stopped by the mini-mart to get a lottery ticket, and won. So I’ve been thinking through some of our non-essential expenditures and here’s what I’ve come up with.
I won’t go as far as to say we could do without TV, even though I know we technically could. Instead I’ll say we don’t need as many channels as we have now. The cable company tricked us into buying expanded cable by spreading the four channels we like to watch out over three separate packages. I’m ashamed to say it’s taken me three years to finally realize that nearly everything I want to watch is available on the internet that’s included in the bundle. So, I’ll be calling the cable company to let them know we only need the basic channels. As for internet and phone, we already have the bare minimum. Getting rid of expanded should save us about $50/month.
Again, it’s taken me three years and for that I am ashamed. I just really stink at sending videos back, so we we’ve been paying for DVD’s and streaming movies, but really only using streaming. So in under two minutes I logged into my account and changed my package to streaming only. This was a quick way to save $10.
I drive a paid off 2001 Subaru. We’ve been paying for full coverage because we had to while we had a car loan. Full coverage on an 11 year old vehicle just doesn’t make sense, so I called the insurance agent and switching to less coverage saves us $25 a month.
Because we didn’t have the full 20% to put down on our conventional mortgage we pay private mortgage insurance. When we reach the balance which would reflect having put the full twenty percent down we can request that the mortgage company drop the PMI which will save us $69 per month. We are eagerly awaiting that day, which should happen in January.
These are all set expenditures that we’ve been making each month, and cutting them saves us one hundred and fifty four of our hardest earned, green American dollars. Nobody is going to let me quit my job for figuring out how to save 154 dollars a month, but I’m not done yet. I know there are a lot of little purchases and expenses adding up to a big ol’ bucket of cash being tossed out the window around here.
Fast Food and Quick Stop lunches
Probably our biggest non-essential expenditure and here’s the smacker: we don’t even really like the stuff (except for you, Rusty Burgers and Mom!) and we feel junky after we eat it. But it’s so convenient and we’re so strapped for time. We fall into the trap of thinking if we grab something quick for dinner on the way home we will have so much extra time to spend with the kids or getting other things done. BUT, if you’ve ever eaten a fast food meal you may know that the only thing you can do after is un-button your jeans and groan. Some weeks we’re better and follow a healthy, cooked-at-home meal plan, other weeks go to heck in a hand basket, but I bet if we averaged it out we’d find a couple hundred going out the window so we can feel full of regret, sluggish and a little fatter. This is going to be very difficult since I’m rarely organized, which is what one needs to be to consistently make quick meals at home. Since it’s hard to say exactly how much we’ve been spending I don’t know how much we’ll save. Shameful, I know. I’ve started by sitting down with the hubster and making a list of easy make at home and make ahead meals, and the things we need to keep on hand to make them. After a month of trying to stick with it, we’ll see what’s left over in the bank account the day before pay day. I have a feeling this one topic will make a great future post.
At 2.3 cents per kilowat hour we have some of the nations least expensive electricity, but that’s no reason to use more than we need. Last winter I became the furnace Nazi, and I’m holding strong there, so the number one way to reduce electricity bills has already been tapped into here. But guess what comes next? Laundry. I’ve already switched to cold water washes which saves on powering the water heater. Also, I’ve been hanging my clothes out more and more with the good weather, but this could still use some tightening. As could making sure lights are off in unused rooms, (like the basement, ahem, Nate), and unplugging chargers and appliances when they’re not in use. I also need to plan ahead and do my baking all at once so we only go through the pre-heating process once. This will also help reduce those fast food visits.
In previous years, though my husband and I work for the same company, we were unable to ride to work together because of differing schedules. This year our hours have been more in line and we’re able to ride together about 80% of the time. This has saved us about $200 per month in fuel costs. It also saves wear and tear on my husband’s newer truck.
Those of us without families should never go a day without life insurance, but the fact is we’ve been overpaying. First, someone decided to say he was a smoker, though he only smokes one or two drags of a cigarette per year, usually when a smoking friend is about to do something stupid and says “here, hold this for a minute”. Then someone else fell for the sales pitch and purchased a whole-life policy. Which is generally considered a poor investment. Next we failed to realize that we were still paying for two term policies. It’s ugly. $400 per month ugly. We plan to ditch the whole life and shop around for a better term policy.
There is one more expense I feel I need to mention, though it can’t yet be eliminated. Daycare. We have some seriously budget daycare from a couple of great gals,who share our values and love our kids. We love these ladies, and know the kids have a great time with them. Still, I am so jealous of them for getting to spend most of my babies’ waking hours with them, while I only get to rush them through dinner, homework, chores and bedtime. If I were to quit my job, poof! We’d save 800 dollars a month and our family would gain the strong foundation of a mama at home.
Again, I know these things seem like drops in a bucket, but that bucket just might be my ticket to raising my own children instead of paying someone else to do so.
Have any of you made the transition from work-outside mama to stay at home mama? What did you do to fill the financial gap? Did you have to convince your husband that the value of Mama at home outweighs the financial sacrifice?