It’s no secret that H and I have been working on saving quite a bit lately. Last summer, we spent a lot of cash on our house and neither of us was happy with the amount we had saved at the end of the year. We both recognized this and talked about it, and decided to finish up all of the house projects that we started, and from then on we would slow down the pace of the projects quite a bit. Just that single move alone would save us about $1,000 per month. However, that isn’t all that we’ve been doing to lower expenses.
One of the first things that I did was do a monthly expense audit. We looked at every place where we had a fixed bill every month, and started working on lowering that. I looked at getting a new cell phone and plan, as well as switched our internet provider. Just making these two moves alone, we were able to drop our costs in that area from about 200/month (1,200/year) to less than 75/month! That is a savings of $1,500 in just 12 months, and it took about 30 minutes total of my time! I haven’t even gotten to some of our other expenses, like car insurance. And what will we do with that extra money? Anything we want, whether it’s going out to a nice dinner or spending it as fun money. When we save money, the choice is ours!
Next up, H and I have also been focusing on building our savings account. Though we have more than 1, we have been very focused on building up the money in our emergency fund. Our dedicated emergency fund is a lot lower than we would like it to be, so we’ve been moving all of our extra cash in that direction to we can build it up to at least 3 months expenses. That should happen by sometime in the second quarter of 2014. To focus more on our savings accounts, we’ve been using coupons a lot more when we’ve been going on our date nights. They have probably saved us about 100 bucks through out the time we’ve been doing date nights and saving the valpack coupons (we don’t get the newspaper).
We’ve also been focusing on our habits. I’ve noticed that when we plan to do too many things, we end up spending more money on stuff that we normally wouldn’t spend money on because we feel this huge time crunch. So, we have been very cognizant of what we are scheduling lately, and are not totally trying to run ourselves ragged. Even though we’ve been pretty careful, we still end up doing too much sometimes. For those times, we make sure that we’ve got some healthy snacks already prepared and on hand for us to just grab. This has really saved us quite a bit of money over the last few months, and we’ve been able to bank the rest into our savings.
We’ve also taken a hard look at how much driving that we do and have started riding our bikes more. We are saving quite a bit on gas, though I imagine that will change now that the weather has gotten colder and it wont be all that easy to ride our bikes around in the snow when its cold. Though we will probably start driving a bit more in the coming months, we were able to cut down on quite a bit of usage of gas in the brief fall we had and saved quite a bit of money.
This is what we’ve done over the past few months to save some money.
Readers: What have you done over the past few months to save some money? Have you looked at your monthly bills and checked to see what you can lower or do away with entirely?