Trimming the Fat

So after Todd and I created our budget, we realized that if we wanted to pay off our debt more quickly, we would need to generate more money. We’re left with two options: get second jobs, or make our money stretch further.

Now, I already have a (very small) second job. I do a little writing on the side for an online parenting site and get paid a small amount per post that they publish. It’s never been a way to get rich, by any stretch, however, this money has come in very handy in the past, as it helped to fun our (modest) wedding last year, family summer vacations, has helped with Christmases past, and has even provided a bit of “fun money” when required. We decided that this “extra” money that I earn will be saved exclusively for Christmas, which is what I’ve done for the past year now. So at least we have that taken care of. It will also be there as part of our financial safety net just in case something catastrophic and expensive comes along.

So since further employment isn’t really a viable option (after all, we need lives, too!), we decided that we needed to trim the fat from our existing budget. This meant that we looked at everything we were spending money on, to find ways to do it cheaper. It’s surprising how much extra money can be generated by just making a few cuts here and there. By switching bank accounts, Todd was able to save about $30/month on banking fees alone. He did some shopping around and got us a better rate on car & apartment insurance (to the tune of about $25/month). While it’s easy to dismiss something like those monthly banking fees because it doesn’t seem like a whole lot, a quick calculations tells us that $30/month = $360 a year. And I know a certain credit card – or two – that would love seeing that! And that’s just one place where we were able to trim things back a bit. Fortunately we were able to do this in several places within our monthly budget, giving us extra money to put toward paying off that debt.

So, we trimmed the excess. And while I would love to report that we trimmed everything down to the bare bones, I’m not going to lie to you. Because we are NOT about extreme living, as I’ve mentioned before. We, like many people, enjoy our comforts. For example, we left in our budget amounts for internet, cable, and Netflix. We also put money into the budget for things like family dessert night and the occasional date for Todd and I. Because we’ve still gotta have some fun, yo. (Though sometime in the next few weeks I do plan to contact our cable/internet provider, as well as their competition, to see if switching to get a better deal is a sensible option. Because sure we like our cable, but there’s no reason why we shouldn’t pay less for it if we can.)

So yes, we trimmed the fat, and likely could trim it more if things get desperate, but at this point I’d like to think that we found a balance between trimming the excess while not going to unnecessarily uncomfortable extremes. I know us both well enough to say that we couldn’t survive without a few comforts. Though we may have to get creative when coming up with frugal date night ideas.

Hm. Sounds like a blog post just waiting to happen.

What about you, readers? What comforts have you kept in your budget? What are you unwilling to part with unless you really, really have to?

Until next time,

~Kelly

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8 thoughts on “Trimming the Fat

  1. Hi Kelly,
    I too have taken time to reduce monthly expenses. The trick with Cable/internet/phone is to just call whoever you are with right now and explain that you are trying to reduce expenses. They will offer you discounts right over the phone. You can even scout out the competition and quote those rates and your carrier may match or do better. If you aren’t with Bell, I would recommend that you stay away from them. I switched to reduce my monthly fee but after a few months realized my mistake as their customer service is lacking, IMO. I’m now back with Eastlink and wouldn’t think of switching again.

    If you have credit card balances, have you thought about taking out a consolidation loan to reduce interest rates? Just a thought.

    I’m enjoying your blog on finances!
    Thanks,
    Sharon

    Like

    • Hi Sharon. It’s funny, we’re actually with Bell Aliant right now (we switched 2 years ago when they offered a promotion and actually found their service to be better than EastLink’s in general. I guess it all just depends on who you’re dealing with at any time. I’m definitely going to call around and see if we can land a better deal. I have no problems with switching if I’m going to save enough money doing it.

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  2. When I lived alone for 11 months in 2012, I had to put myself on a very tight budget. Ice cream & Diet Cokes were my only treats. Since I’m back home, I’ve actually been anxious to put us on a budget, mostly to help set goals for travel, but to also pay off some pretty big debt we have incurred. Your new blog could not have come at a better time. I’m getting some pretty good ideas and motivation. And, after 34 years, I think I’ve finally convinced the hubs that its time. Wish us luck!

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    • Oh, hey, Tammy, that’s great that you’re making that decision to get on track with budgeting and stuff. It kind of sucks to have to do it (trust me, we DEFINTELY feel your pain!) but I think that ultimately, short term discomfort will be worth the long-term payoff. Good luck with your new financial adventure! Please be sure to share any tips, tricks and advice that might help us as you go along. 🙂

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  3. I have not had internet, cable or a home phone for years. I get internet from the town I live in ( for free), I buddy up on satellite with my mothers bill (bought a dish and receiver and haven’t paid for it in 4 years!), and my phone is pay as u go. I live on cash alone. If I don’t have the money for it, it doesn’t get bought! Love your blog idea! Wishing you much luck and hope to also find more helpful hints for saving.

    Like

    • Wow! You’re lucky that you have a way to be able to avoid paying for those things…to be honest, I would be totally happy without any cable at all, but I think if I were to cancel it, Todd and the girls would stage a mutiny. heh.

      Thanks for your support and your encouragement. It means a lot. 🙂

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      • It never hurts to check with your family, friends and neighbors. Someone may allow you to buddy up on their satellite, or even if you have close neighbors, internet. At my other house I shared internet with my neighbors and split the cost!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: The Latte Factor | Finally Acting Our Wage

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