Rethinking the budget

K would say I should have done this months ago but better late than never, right? I’ve been scouring the interwebs for ideas on ways to save pennies. Here are the steps we have taken so far…

Cut the cable – We talked about this one months ago but I was passive aggressively avoid it. I love me some tv watchin’ and just didn’t want to give it up. After doing a bit of research I feel much more comfortable with this decision and turned in the cable box on Tuesday.

  

We have had Netflix for over a year and have really loved it, especially for Lil’ A (great kids shows and no commercials!). It is an excellent source for past seasons of tv shows, documentaries, and some movies. We have the instant streaming option for $7.99 a month.

Hulu Plus is what sent us over the edge. Current seasons of almost all the shows I love to watch appear here within a day or so. No need to program the DVR or worry about storage. This is a great option for $7.99 a month. My only sadness is that all the Bravo shows I love so much are just not available here (or anywhere else for the most part). Guess I’ll have to learn to live without the Real Housewives. *Sniff*

Both Netflix and Hulu Plus are available on all of our devices – laptops, PS3, and Wii providing us with more viewing options than we had with cable.

Many networks also offer full episodes on their websites which will round out my tv watching (except for Bravo).

For movies we plan to continue using our local library which offers popular titles on Blu-Ray (I have Captain American and Thor waiting for me on reserve right now). If we are unable to score a movie via the library, Amazon offers the option to rent movies via the PS3 for much less than the OnDemand option our cable provider charged.

Savings: $70 a month

Cut the home phone – We haven’t used our home phone in years. This was an easy decision since we have exclusively been using our cell phones.

Savings: $25 a month

Thrifty shopping – Hitting up the thrift stores for clothing and other home items has been so much fun. The best buys I have found are on clothing for Lil’ A. Our local Goodwill sells kids clothing for $1.09 a piece. We live in an upper middle class suburb of Columbus so the clothing is generally name brand and in excellent condition.  She will only wear dresses which makes it challenging to outfit her with variety. I have been able to fill her summer wardrobe with cute, well made clothing for next to nothing!

Savings: approximately $75 a month

Menu planning – I usually do some sort of menu planning but now I’m taking a different approach. Inspired by the “No spend month” posted by Rachel Meeks over at Small Notebook, I’m trying to plan delicious, filling meals with this approach in mind. The first week I used this method I was able to keep my overall grocery bill to less than $50!

Savings: $200 a month!

Freeze the gym membership – It’s summertime and there are lots of options for outdoor exercise. We are so fortunate to live within walking distance to a park with walking paths. Plus my lovely friend Nikki has been posting great exercise tips and routines over at her blog that can be done at home.

If I reinstate before the end of the year I will get credit for the $10.50 I’ve been paying monthly toward the membership dues which can also be used to pay for the cancelation fees.

Savings: $28 a month

Host a yard sale – For years we have talked about having a yard sale and finally we are going to do it! We have boxes and boxes of stuff that was never unpacked when we moved in 6 years ago. Time to let go. Using the garage as a staging area, I have emptied out ALL of the boxes that were stored in our garage (probably about a dozen) and cleaned out the cabinets in my kitchen. It is so nice not to feel so crowded with stuff we never use. Next up the basement!

While this doesn’t save us money, it might make us a little bit of paper to help pay for some up coming events. More info to come if you live in Central Ohio and are interested in making my junk your junk! Actually my junk is really nice.

It’s a start. If you have any tips for saving money, leave them in the comment section!

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5 thoughts on “Rethinking the budget

  1. This is a very helpful post. I stopped my gym membership about two years ago and working out at home has proven just as effective. I put off buying a home phone for years until I realized I didn’t need one anyway with having a cell phone. I’ve been contemplating cutting off the cable for a good six months now. After reading your informative info on Netflix I think I will make the leap next month. Thanks for the tips 🙂 .

  2. Good luck with all of this! We cut cable (which we’ve only had 2 years of nearly 12 years married) back in September. While I still miss HGTV and E! I’ve gotten over it. I watch less and better tv now. We also dropped our landline last summer.

    1.5 years ago (2011 Resolution! that I’ve kept!) I started to meal plan and coupon. I am not sure exactly what I’ve saved but ALOT and I don’t feel like we are without. If anything more. Cut down our eating out too. Now I am suddenly spending more with buying organic dairy and fruit so need to look where we can spend a bit less. Worth it.

    I go through phases of being really good and then not. WE spend alot more in the summer with utilities here, travel, etc so I am trying to not freak but its time we looked at the budget again. Been a bit crazy lately. I’ve learned it’s not about making more money but just spending less! Good luck!

    • So far I haven’t missed the cable but it is summer and there are fewer new shows on but I’ve been watching Grimm on Hulu (a show I wanted to watch when it started but didn’t have the time). It’s really good! We’ve also been watching movies as a family which has been really nice.

      Groceries are a tough one, right? I have always bought organic dairy. Lil’ A drinks almond milk and that certainly isn’t cheap. Meal planning is easy for me and really appeals to my organizing nature but coupons are just hard for me to get into. We don’t receive the paper and I never think to look online. I just try to make as much from scratch (especially since I have more time) which also cuts down on costs and meals seem to go farther.

      Any other tips you might have… I’m all ears!

  3. Pingback: Parenting in a media rabbit hole | With glitter in her veins…

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