Trimming The Fat (From Our Monthly Bills)

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Hubby and I have made a major decision. We’re sick of being in debt. We have about $30,000 in debt right now, and it’s seriously bumming us out. As a means of reducing this debt significantly by  the  end of the year, I recently went through our budget and trimmed the fat. Trips to Dunkin Donuts multiple times a week? Chopped. Extra nice toiletries? Gone. Monthly waxing? Bye bye!

However, I struggled a bit with our “set” expenses. By set expenses, I mean things that are billed monthly. T.V, phone, internet, etc. In the end, though, we reduced our “set” expenses by more than $240 a month! How did we do it? Let’s see!

  • T.V: This one we did a long time ago. When my husband deployed, I canceled our cable service and got a Netflix plan with one D.V.D at a time and unlimited streaming. This saved us $50 a month, and we haven’t missed cable once. I take that back, actually- my husband briefly suggested it might be nice to watch the Olympics, but someone else was quick to point out that even cable customers have to pay extra for that channel. We pared this down further by cutting out the DVD plan for Netflix, and now we pay $8 a month and are quite happy (and saving an extra $8 a month)! Total savings: $58 a month
  • Internet: We have the second tier internet our provider offers. At one point we were paying $65 a month for it, but I called Cox and nicely explained that we were looking into switching companies. I was offered an introductory rate of $35 a month, which was locked in for 2 years! Savings: $30 a month!
  • Citrus Lane: This is by no means a necessary expense, but I like getting mail, Little Man likes getting mail, and it’s a nice little treat for us as we get through our debt. I did go to cancel this, but was offered 3 months at $15/month instead of $21/month, so we’ll keep getting this for now. Savings: $6/ month
  • Cell Phones: This one I’m proud of. Hubby’s phone plan was up in November, but mine wasn’t up until November of this year. We used to have Verizon, and had the cheapest smartphone plan they offered. The cancellation fee was $300 for my line. We switched to Republic Wireless, which costs $19/month for unlimited everything, plus $99 each for the phones. It was cheaper for us to pay the cancellation fee, buy my new phone, and pay for the remaining service I would have had with Verizon than it was for me to keep Verizon. It wasn’t a little price difference either- we’re talking $400 over the course of the year. Shop around for your phone- and keep in mind that a non-traditional plan might be your best choice.
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4 thoughts on “Trimming The Fat (From Our Monthly Bills)

  1. Hi there,

    I came across your blog through The Prudent Homemaker and I really like it. We are in a similar situation (debt, baby on a way and passion for aviation) so I looked at your finance page. Your car payment is very high for a small car. Have you tried to re-finance the loan to reduce the interest and monthly payment?

    • Hi Silvana! I’m glad you like the blog! We have two car payments right now. The larger one is for my car, a 2013 Honda Fit. It has a 1.9% interest rate. The smaller one at 14.5% interest is for my husband’s truck, a 2003 Ford F-150. Because of the age and my husband’s credit vs. income, we wound up with the high interest loan. If we weren’t planning on paying off the loan next month (stay tuned!) we would definitely look at refinancing! Thanks for the suggestion!

      • Hi again,

        The interest on your Honda is very reasonable, maybe the life of the loan is short -2-3 years, so that the monthly payment is so high.

        I have a Mitsubishi 2011, got it brand new for $15,000, put $3,000 down, the interest is 2.9% (yours is better), for 5 years (2.5 yrs left), my monthly payment is $243.

  2. We did choose to have a 4 year loan period instead of a 6 or 8 year. We wanted to be over and done with the payments sooner rather than later. For us, it’s worth tightening our belts a little more over the months than having a car payment with an uncertain job future.

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