This coming Fall, I will have 3 kids in college. Never one to really embrace budgets in the past, the time has come to grow up a little.
About four months ago, I looked at the cable bill and wondered out loud how it had come to this – thousands of dollars a year to watch TV, and have an obsolete phone–a victim of the smart phone world. This discovery led to a revelation; we need to cut back a little.
So I canceled the cable and phone service. They had to be replaced, but there are ways that I’d heard about on the morning Network shows and websites that profess the importance of being frugal.
Canceling the cable necessitated a negotiation with the company for a good internet rate, since my wife and I each run a business from home. Now TV shows we watch are available on the (much less expensive) internet connection I still have. I bought two TV antennae for less than $20 each and plugged them in. And guess what? We get a free HD signal. I called the cell phone company and transferred the land line phone number I had with the cable company to a service the cell provider offers for a fraction of the cable or phone company cost. The simple and pleasurable step of taking this action with the cable company saved $150 a month or $1,600 per year.
We saved a bit more with the health insurance I buy through my employer. Choosing a plan with a higher deductible might hurt the the pocketbook the first few times we go to the doctor and pharmacy in the beginning, but over the course of a year, the savings are nearly $2,000. Take a closer look at how often you really go to the doctor and what it costs. You might be surprised. I’m not one to get caught up in the minute details of a flexible spending account for health care costs, but I understand it saves dollars each year based on your tax bracket.
With the skyrocketing cost of gas today, it is wise to take advantage of the discount store options. My experience is that prices are usually less than the typical gas station, but shop around. Another way to save at the pump is with grocery store purchases. Kroger purchases, for example, offer a ten cent per gallon discount for every $100 spent on groceries each month at partner gas stations. At least once a month, I fill up using those points for a minimum 40 cent per gallon discount.
Speaking of groceries, I once discussed the yin and yang of store brand ketchup and name brand. I, for one, will not eat the store brand because I insist it’s not the same. Nevertheless, my wife and I do partake of store brand products for many items at, what I’m sure is, a pretty significant savings each year. But beware. Shop carefully. Store brand deals may not always be what they appear to be, based on per unit costs.
Now it’s time to hook the TV up to the laptop and find a show or movie to watch. My snack is the store brand french fries. Pass the Heinz, please.
Use your best judgment shopping. Happy savings.