Friday, January 7, 2011

$300 Per Month Richer

So here's the deal.  Well before New Year's . . . right after we nearly drained our savings for all of our summer projects, Jason and I sat down and took a hard look at our finances.

We decided there were some areas we could trim and over the past couple of months,
we've set out to do it.  Here's what we did.

1. Eliminated Netflix -- total savings $18/ month.  Now if we want to rent a movie, we go to the RedBox, which is less than two minutes from our house.

2. Dropped our cell phone insurance converage.  We were paying $20 per month in cell phone insurance for two phones.  This is ridiculous, considering the fact that if something happens to your phone, you have to pay $50 to get a replacement and it's not even guaranteed to be the same one (usually it's a refurbished model).  At the end of one year, we would have paid $240, more than enough for a new phone.  In my opinion, it's a waste. Google it if you don't believe me.

3. Eliminated Jason's Sirius Radio subscription -- total savings $15 per month.  Jason's drive to work is about ten minutes. He never goes ANYWHERE in his vehicle, so we both agreed that this is one area that should go.  I've considered dropping mine too, but Jason insists I keep it.  I drive 2 1/2 hours one way sometimes to get to my first client, so it is a nice luxury to have it.  We'll see . . .

4. Started using coupons at the grocery store.  It's true, it takes a lot of time to find coupons but through websites like Coupon Mom, we've managed to save a lot.  We wrote down brand-name items we love (like Silk Soy Milk) and went directly to the manufacturer's websites to print off coupons.  You'd be surprised at the number of coupons available for items you purchase every week.  We also buy the weekend newspaper and clip coupons from it.  We're amazed that we never did this before.   We've managed to cut our grocery bill by $50 per week $200/month) and we're buying more name brands now at a fraction of the cost of store brands.  I'll keep you updated as we continue this couponing frenzy . . . our latest ADDICTION!

5.  We switched health clubs.  We both love to work out, but our YMCA membership was costing us $60 more than another gym located within 2 minutes from the Y.  As much as we love the family focus of the YMCA, with our resolution firmly in place, we couldn't justify the $60 at this time.

So there you have it . . . $313 in savings every month.  So what's the plan with all that extra moula?

We are adopting Dave Ramsey's "snowball" method of paying off our debt.  We are taking our student loan with the smallest balance and tackling it first.  We will take half of the $313 in savings (the other half -- $156.50 --will go to rebuild our savings) and apply it toward our lowest student loan.  This means, instead of sending in the normal $110 per month that is required for this bill, we'll be sending in $266.50 per month.   Once we pay it off, we will take the $110 that is normally applied toward that loan PLUS the $156.50 and put it toward the next debt with the smallest payoff balance, along with the normal payment.  

In this way, we hope to tackle some of the student loans and pay down our debt.

We know that when daycare kicks in, we might have to change plans a bit, but hopefully we'll be able to stay somewhat on track. 

We've also considered downsizing in the vehicle department.  I'm fortunate to have a job that gives me a car, so no car payment there, but we also have a Ford F150 that we bought a few years ago for home improvement purposes.  It's been convenient having a truck, but the thing is a serious gas guzzler and it has a hefty monthly payment to boot.  We've thought about selling it and getting something more efficient and less costly but we're still debating. 

 I'm so excited for this new endeavor!  

We'd love to hear how you save money each month and/or are working to be debt-free!

I'll be sure to share our coupon addiction soon :-)


  1. Love those savings!! I am a coupon queen myself!! :) Interesting on the cell phone insurance. I only have it on my teenagers phone cause well she is a teenager....

  2. Loved this post... it's empowering taking control of finances. I've recently done the same... cutting cable channels I didn't know we had, I stopped ordering pizza weekly and go to costco more (bulk goods) and completely cut out starbucks. The pizza alone saves 280 a month. :S
    Isn't it amazing how quickly it adds up and how addictive it is to actually take the responsibility to ensure a better future? Good job!! xo
    ps- I LOVE David Bach books too! He rocks.

  3. I love this post! We were doing so well at putting money on a card and paying it back almost immediately, but when we moved out of our apartment, the landlord there screwed us over charging us for a months rent when we werent going to be there since we "didnt give enough notice" so it put us behind on bills and everything went down hill from there.

  4. Sounds like you're on the right track!!

  5. Great post! I need to do more coupon stuff. I'd love to be that lady in the checkout line who's holding everyone up, because she's using a bazillion coupons and digging thru ads to price match stuff. We're still in debt because of our baby's birth defect, but it's not like they can repossess her, LOL!

  6. Stephenie,

    Great way to start the new year off! Good for you.
    Interested in seeing how the coupons work out -- how much you save.

    Your Friend,

  7. Way to go! We have been on the Dave Ramsey bandwagon for about a year and a half and are now on baby step 3b (saving for a house). Being debt free is the best feeling ever. You can read about our journey if you need any encouragement. Keep up the good work.

  8. So giddy for you. How great is the feeling of whittling down that debt? Hubs and I have been able to knock of a huge sum of our mortgage debt over the last two years and could refinance this winter. I am waiting to close, but I will save $400 a month. It will take me 6 months to cover the closing costs, but in the end the plan is to pay off- completely off- our house and a piece of property we own. I need to do the coupon thing. I know I spend way too much money at the food store for just 2 people. It's all veggies, meat and cereal most of the time though.

  9. depending on where you grocery shop you can save bigtime too. Where I live I shop at Safeway (same as Von's I believe). We have a club card that you can now preload coupons to off the internet as well as using your manufacturer coupons. We don't have double or triple couponing here in california (I wish we did) and I am not one of those who can buy $300 worth of groceries for $15 but I do well enough. Today using my preloaded safeway card and my print coupons from newspaper and printed off the internet I did get $386 worth of groceries for $212 and many of those items I had purchased 2 or 3 or 4 of so I have them for later, which is also a savings...later. Good Job! It is amazing how really looking at things and working a little here and there can really save so much money in the long run.

  10. Our church did a Dave Ramsey seminar this past year. Incredible. We're driving old cars, but paying off debt. It's such a great feeling.

  11. We are also *on a budget*, loads of things were cut, things we don't really notice. I make my own laundry soap, most of my cleaning solutions are vinegar & bleach (cheap!!) Lowered our internet speed, a couple of prescriptions were switched to generic (thanks Doc).

    One major expense for ME. Books, Books, Books. Instead of my twice a week trip to Half-Price Books ($25 per week), I loaded up on books at garage 50 cents the math.

    With my eye doctors permission, I wear my daily contacts two days (22.50/monthly savings).

    Our local grocery store does double coupons up to .99....I get loads of almost free food.

    We have a garden during the summer months, fertilize our own lawn and wash our own auto.

    DH needed a couple pair of running around levi's...forget JCPenney, I hit Goodwill.

    Haircuts: During the winter, I stop at Best Cuts, and wash it myself...savings $28 over my pricy salon.

    When the weather is nice, I put my heavy laundry outdoors (rugs, beach towels, jeans) to sun dry, then toss them into the dryer for 5 min. to soften them up.

    CHANGE: I almost always give a bill instead of digging for change. I run home and dump the change into my *Vacation Jar*. I usually end up with about $600 per year.

  12. We're getting rid of our mortgage...moving to a smaller *older* home which we will pay cash for. Since it's within a 5 min. walk to my office, I will walk to work. All of my shopping is also within walking distance.

    I hope to be able to be back to where I once was physically as well. Before I moved out to the *country*...I walked everywhere. UGH. This is going to be a win-win situation.


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