Monday, August 8, 2011

Where I Start to Think the Amish Have the Right Idea

Ok, more than slightly more expensive. $30 a week more.

To say I have been concerned about where this $30 was going to come from is rather like saying there's a possibility the words "goddess" and "tiger blood" might be used in the Charlie Sheen roast.

We figured out some of it will come from the fact that Scott has cheaper insurance at his new job. While Wee 'Burb and I will stay on mine, him getting his own will save us a decent amount of money.

We are also considering canceling cable. The challenge we have there is I have an older Tivo without Hulu, so it would become effectively useless with over a year left on my contract. Also, my Comcast deal, thanks to all their insane screw-ups, lasts until January. So there's no immediate need to cancel.

The other easy place to cut back? Our cell phone bills. Because Scott was working on a side business, and his old job gave him a generous stipend for cell phones, we have 3 lines on our cell phone plan. To cancel the third line, we'd have to pay $300. Or we can continue to pay the $10 a month the line costs for a year.

I was a journalism major, but I believe my math works out where that's a no-brainer.  

Did I mention I loathe cell phone contracts?

Anyway, so that wasn't an option. I told the guy we were desperate, what could we do to lower this bill?

He said the saddest words I ever heard: you can cancel your data plan.

The thing is, a year ago when I found a phone I loved, I was told I had to have a data plan and I was put off. What the hell was I going to do with all of these applications? All the complications?

Um, spend half my day on Twitter and e-mail people while standing in line, of course!

But I'm willing to be a team player here, so I said I would give up my data plan.

The catch? Because, let's face it, there's ALWAYS a catch.

My phone was not compatible with no data plan. It was, in other words, far too good for the simple plan I was now trying to reduce my life to.

So I got a list of compatible phones after the dude condescendingly asked me: "does anyone have, like, a basic phone you could use?"

Yes, all my friends and family have cell phones laying about. Piles of 'em.

I grieved for the loss of Internet at my fingers and began searching for a phone crappy enough to allow me to just, you know, talk on the phone.

Oh, and text. I text a lot. And that's not part of my data plan, so I didn't need to give that up.

People? I have to draw the line somewhere. And if I can't e-mail people while waiting for my Starbucks, then I damn sure am going to text them.

Since this is getting a little bit long, I'm going to make the second part of this drama another post.

Are there cuttable bills in your life? How often do you review your budget and bills?


The Woven Moments said...

Oh, I feel your pain. We started using an online bill service that shows us exactly where every dime is going each month. It's been enormously enlightening.

Let me just say - restaurants and Starbucks are the devil. I'm shocked (SHOCKED!) how much of our hard earned money goes there.

Also? I happen to have an extra simple cell phone. I'm happy to send it to you. Email me if you are interested. :)

Life As Wife said...

You, my dear, are a team player! I could never give up my smart phone!

Woven Moments, I would love to know what online bill program you use!

Anonymous said...

We do a review about once a year to see what we need, and what we can do without. We started by saving the receipts (for a month) for everything we both spent during the day. No lifestyle changes, just saving receipts. Once I realized we were spending nearly as much per month on eating out, packs of gum, and Starbucks are we were for groceries, we cut those "quick purchases" out. More recently, we did a "bundle" for cable (basic), internet, phone and saved about $45/month after cancelling out AT & T landline service.

I'm with you on the text thing--if I gave up data, I would hold onto text! There is something to be said for cheap entertainment.

Sparkling said...

k-ster is obsessed with dunkin donuts coffee and bought at least one per day. after years of begging him to just make coffee at home, out of nowhere, he wanted a keurig. best money (gift certs, actually) ever spent. i was sure it was going to be a one week wonder and then he'd be back to dunkin donuts but we're almost a year in and he uses it every day. he believes tully's kona tastes just like dunkin donuts and i get them cheaper in bulk and we save a ton on coffee. looks like your starbucks might need to go the same way.

Amanda @ It's Blogworthy said...

I CAN'T EVEN. I would die. There are some things we won't cut back on, and unfortunately cell phones are one of those things. We've spent good money on nice phones, so it's staying put for now. We look over our budget once every few months..ususally when we're broke and need to find places to cut. Besides the cell, we've cut almost every place it can cut. Of course, half the time our budget is just a big bunch of nothing since we are incapable of sticking with it :(

Aleta said...

Let's see, I used to have Kentwood Water delivered to the house - that was the first to go.

Then cable. When Greg and I first dated, he made fun of me because I only had the absolute BASICS of channels. I used to go over to his house if I wanted to watch HBO, etc. When we got married, I got all the channels he was used to, because I didn't want him to feel as though he was losing out on his channels. Then.. I showed him the cable bill and he freaked. We cut out the extra channels, bill went from 175 a month to 65 a month - HUGE savings and honestly... we're on the computer more than we watch TV, so it's not a big loss to us.

Greg's work pays for his cell, so that works and my cell is for emergency only, it's more like a paperweight in my purse.

There's not much more we can trim on the budget. Greg did buy this electronic gadget that tells you how much energy is being used in the house with different appliances, etc and that has helped us keep an eye on what we use and how often.

Aleta said...

The other thing I'd add is often times food is the most expensive item in a household after mortgage and electricity.... so, if things get really tight, turn to coupons and sales.

Rach (DonutsMama) said...

I always said I just wanted a plain phone, but since DH insisted on getting all fancy, I've gotten spoiled. Cutting back is hard. I've cut back in other areas and hopefully it's paying off. For example, I make my own cleaning products, I buy Donut's clothes at Ross (yes, they sell Carter's at 1/4 of the price). Perhaps now is a time to look for blog sponsors. ;)

Kat said...

I know for us lately, we've been scrutinizing the grocery bill because I'm trying to figure out how much of the ballooning is due to rising food prices/the fact that we're in the two months of the year that the farm is actually open vs. buying crap.

We do use to keep track of our budget/monies and I will say that for a free service, it is SO helpful when we're trying to figure out where the money is going.

Erica@PLRH said...

I know where you're coming from. We have home phone, cell phones, internet, and TV all bundled with Verizon. About six months ago my husband axed our data plan on our cell phones and reduced our cable package. We no longer get BBC America. :(

Charlotte said...

I always try to think of ways I can reduce some of my bills each month. Seems it all goes to food, drinks, and going out. So in a way, having a stomach issue for the past few weeks has REALLY helped me save up some $! But it's hard. And I know what you mean: As much as I hate my dependence on technology, I'd have a really hard time parting with the FB and Twitter apps on my phone!

Kristen @ Motherese said...

Oh, those bundled plans and contracts really do get us, don't they?

We keep a pretty tight budget using Quicken and still we're shocked at how much money we spend each month. The biggest expense by far (other than housing) is food and household items, with diapers being a huge cost these days. Maybe I should try early potty training to save on those? :)

Hungrigyrl said...

Over the last few years I have had to cut back quite a bit due to various things beyond my control.I have reduced my cable plan, now reduced my Netflix plan, I have stopped buying/wearing as many dry clean only items and started ironing more (ugh), I have really paid attention to food costs and have tried to take advantage of sales/coupons/deals, I've stretched out my hair appts to every to mos., hardly ever get pedi's or massages. I have used to find the cheapest gas in the area, cut way back on eating out, etc. I cancelled my home phone and got the Magic Jack. I could go on! I focus on saving $ all the time because I have to. :(

Mama Spaghetti said...

That is so hard! I hate giving things up. That's why my strategy is just to deprive myself of them in the first place (no smartphone, no cable). That way, I never have to know what I'm missing.