Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Living Well on Less

In preparation for the purchase of our first HOME (Eeeeee!), we've been making even more lists and keeping a close eye on our money.
Our list of expenses is pretty short, or at least I think so.

So after sitting down and looking at the 'extras', we've made some cuts.

  • Smart Phone...........................................$29.99/month
  • Gyms...................................................$34.99/month
  • Netflix Downgrade.....................................$3.00/month
  • Cable Box...............................................$8.00/month *
*I had mentioned in a previous post that we do not subscribe to our own cable plan. Because of the fact that we rent an in law apartment, we just paid for the cable box. While $8/month doesn't seem like a lot, we barely ever watch TV and we figured that since we won't have it at our new house, why not start now??!

Smart Phone: Yeah, it was cool. I'm not going to lie to you. Technology is great, but we decided that for our purposes, it wasn't totally necessary. I remembered how cool it was just having a cell phone (without a color screen!) and made the jump back to an average 'standard' phone. I sold them my blackberry and got a rebate. For $50, I got the LG Octane. I like it a lot, and I'm really happy that I made the switch back. I always used to feel a little awkward having my blackberry. But now, I feel right at home with my standard phone.

Gyms: I remember thinking that the gym was necessary. It's not. After getting certified as a trainer and becoming a dog-momma (relevant because I didn't like leaving her in her crate so early in the morning...barking and waking up the in-laws just didn't seem like a good way to start the day), I became pretty creative in designing workouts. While we are able to get some of the money back from our insurance company, we also save time/gas/miles on the car by working out at home.  I'll be sharing my updated workout schedule in a post at the end of the week! No gym required : ).

Netflix: We would not have downgraded if they hadn't switched their pricing around. We have the unlimited 2 disc plan and it costs us 11.99/month. I cannot remember the last time we went to a movie is our treat and we love it!

Cable: I know I've already explained this, but give this a try if you're trying to save money. So many people look at us like we're INSANE when they find out we're CHOOSING to go sans cable once we move. It's become somewhat of a necessity in this society of ours, and it's a bit scary. I've heard of people taking out credit cards before they cut their cable/hbo/hd/fios.  If we wanted to afford cable, we could. But we choose to afford organic peanut butter (Seriously. It's probably around the same haha). Whatever floats your boat.


That's almost two years' worth of house insurance. Yes please.

That isn't all we've done to save, but I just wanted to share the things that are more common.

If you have any suggestions for me, please tell me! We really need to be super frugal for this upcoming year, and I would appreciate any tips and tricks.
Also, we're thinking about getting a chest freezer for our basement to store breads, beans, rice, meals, etc...does anyone have one? Is it worth it?
Thanks all!


  1. we have another fridge and we like it a freezer would be great too.

    we will downgrade to streaming only and using the library to get the new release movies that don't stream (you can get them for free at our library and have them for 7 days or 3 weeks depending on the movie)

    cell phone I just got one and it's a tracfone for 20 dollars every 3 months that is cheap and works for me since it is only while out and about and we have a land line.

    great savings and good luck on the house :)

    gidgetnfroggi (twitter)

  2. The library, my favorite place. Awesome suggestion. Thanks!

  3. We'll be doing the same thing when we move in a few weeks. We're going without cable at all. We're downgrading Netflix too. I wish we could downgrade to non smart phones but that is a stretch for us. Good luck!

  4. I think the looks are so funny when you tell people you don't have cable. I used to answer with, we read or (gasp) talk.

    People are so weird.


  5. This is great, Emma! We are downsizing on a lot of things as well. We don't have cable either, everything that we want to watch is online!

  6. We got a chest freezer for the exact same reason and it is SO worth it. I don't know what I would do without it. Our biggest cut back was eating out. We looked at our bills and would spend over $125 on eating out so we made a huge effort to eat at home and cook more meals. Best thing for us so far. Good luck! :]

  7. Hey Emma. I'm not the best at saving money in the ways you've mentioned, so I'm probably not a huge help there. However, I could think of a way for you guys to make some extra money - think Brett might be interested in giving me some lessons on construction and building? And/or physical training lessons from you? My fiance and I could use both.

  8. Robin, I totally get the need for smart phones nowadays! I think it's awesome you're going without cable...good luck on your move!

    Laura, I love to give that (truthful) response. I think we've lost potential friends when they find out that sometimes we read at night rather than watch TV. That's just too freaky for some people...the idea of reading rather than watch NCIS.

    Ana, exactly! I love my netflix and the occasional true life episode on : )

    Ashley, I am going to have to get in touch with you about your freezer! I have so many questions...and yeah...eating out used to kill us.

    Peter, you are so kind for saying this. I would be more than happy to get some personalized workouts into your hands just as an old friend/engagement present, and I know Brett always appreciates any help in projects he may be taking on! I'll message you on facebook!

  9. Good for you guys. Not enough people our age live frugally and then are surprised when money is scant around bill-paying time. Rob and I buy Hannaford brand items as much as possible which saves us a fair amount of money.

  10. you know, you might just have talked me out of my smartphone. not even kidding. it really really isn't necessary, is it? hmmm...

    & I've never had cable : ) It's probably a had-to-be-there moment, but I'll never forget the time a telemarketer called and tried to sell my dad cable! (oh, dear, this is going to be a long comment.)

    No, thank you. I don't need cable.
    No, you don't understand. We don't even have a TV.
    Yes, I like to listen to music. Why?
    (in a genuinely confused voice) But I just get CDs from the library. Why buy a TV to listen to music when I can listen to it for free?
    (laughs)... I think the guy hung up on me."

    I can just picture the telemarketer running to the end of his yes/no flowchart and not knowing what to do! my dad cracks me up : )

  11. Good for you guys! Hubs and I were just talking about smart phones the other day {we do not have one} ... my thoughts mirror yours exactly ... is it cool to have all that technology at your fingertips, heck yes! Necessary? Ummmm, no ;)

    Isn't it amazing how quickly savings can rack up when you look at things on an annual basis?

    ♥ Cat brideblu

  12. such great tips- when i quit my job to go self employed I too went over everything with a fine tooth comb. I think the biggest savings I found was shopping for cheaper car insurance and I think we saved almost 100 a month from that. :)

  13. April, that is the best story! I lovelove that the telemarketer was stumped!!! And if you do decide to ditch the smart phone, there's maybe a weeks worth of going to 'check' something and realizing you can't...but it's not bad! Let me know if you do get rid of it!

    Caitlin, I'm with you there! Generic brands whenever we can!

    Cat, thank you! My high tech dad poked fun at me today; ''let me see your 1940's throwback'' when we were out to lunch. I thought it was supposed to be the other way around. Oh well. I have an extra 29.99 each month! : )

    Erika, thanks for the comment! I should look into different car insurance. I have a rating of 3 (ok, no judging, guys) from a little woopsy back in the day, and our car insurance is like a mortgage for a very small house. Ok. Maybe it's more like a car payment. But still, it's too much. I should see what else is out there...thanks for the reminder!


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