Friday, March 5, 2010

Pruning

Keith & I are spring-pruning our finances. Since I don't have a job at the moment, all we have monthly is his paycheque and a bit of money from CPP each month (my dad is a disabled contributor, and I'm under 25 and in full-time post secondary).

Our rent is about half Keith's monthly income. Actually, its about 72$ more. We don't have credit cards, or lines of credit, or overdraft protection. So that means we have about 900$ per month for all bills & personal. It's really not much but it's doable if we are super, super careful.

Good news is that Keith's desktop is finally paid off, so that eliminates a monthly bill of 65$. Another thing is I finally convinced Keith that we don't use our home phone since getting our cell phones. So that's another 71$ bill monthly that's essentially gone. Already we've cut back 136$ of our fixed expenses by getting rid of those two bills.

One thing I need to get into is clipping coupons and watching sales in order to cut back on our grocery bill. I'm also toying with the idea of making my own laundry soap; apparently it's super cheap, lasts forever, and works just as well. I don't receive any coupon books or flyers right now, but it's definitely something to look into if it warrants it. Do any of you have any suggestions for websites where I could find manufacturer coupons on everyday items or think getting coupon books is a good idea?

We're also looking into cutting back our cable portion of our bill. Currently we spend about 160$ on cable, which includes a PVR box, extra digital box in the bedroom, Sportspak for OHL hockey, extended basic, and then all the stupid fees they charge. It's WAY too much, in my opinion, to be paying every month just on TV. It's actually sickening.

For reducing that amount, we have a few ideas: Keith mentioned getting rid of the Sportspak once the Bulls season is over (March 13), which takes an amazing 30$ off monthly. I actually took a closer look at the bill today and discovered that while the extra box is only 5$, the fee they charge for an extra outlet is 7$! That's twelve dollars a month for something we barely use. Also, we pay 57$ for "extended basic" cable. We watch channels 3 to 16, 30, 31, 34, 42, 45, 46, 54. That's IT. Twenty three channels and we pay 57$ a month for the privilege? Ridiculous. So we're looking into reducing it to just the absolute basic package, which is 30$, and adding channel 30, 31/34 (I could be persuaded to just pick one, or neither), 45 and 46 individually, if they aren't included in basic cable (channels 42 and 54 are "nothing else is on" channels, and I doubt we'll miss them that much). So that chops another 27$ off our bill. Total savings; $69 a month. SIXTY NINE DOLLARS. Excuse me while I hyperventilate.

So, all told, we're looking at a significant monthly savings of 205$. Again, with the hyperventilation. For us, that's HUGE to eliminate from our budget. I feel I must note that we do have 130$ for a season of ball hockey for Keith coming up & also 520$ for his course for the summer, but this puts us in a much better position to afford those kinds of things.

Right now for fixed expenses, other than rent and Rogers (calculated at its current cost of 300$), is the gym, which is another 140$, and bus passes, about 165$. That leaves about 300$/month for food, laundry and personal spending. We can't save anything right now, which scares me and is definitely not ideal, but we can survive.
What are your experiences with cutting back expenses? Have you done any of it lately? Any ideas/suggestions or tips?

2 comments:

xoxb said...

Way to go lady! I know how hard it is to trim budgets. I'm constantly playing with ours to see if I can squeeze a few extra dollars for an extra debt repayment. A friend at work told me about smartcanucks.ca which is a website for Canadian freebies and coupons, as well as links to sites with coupons.

If you go to www.womenandenvironment.org they have a whole list of recipes to make your own cleaning supplies. I haven't done laundry soap yet because we have a Costco sized one, but I will be soon. I've made the all purpose cleaner though and it works great.

Leah said...

Whoa good for you for all of the cutbacks!

For budgeting inspiration I always watch "Til Det Do Us Part. You can watch alll the episodes online at slice.ca and Gail, the host, is amazing.

You will learn tons of tips and tricks and will feel refreshed about your budget, not inhibited or embarrassed.