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,