Belt tightening strategies

12663532544_c2a6d47814_zNow that I’m all signed up for California’s Unemployment Insurance, I figure it’s a good time to look at my spending. Over the past couple of months, I’ve identified several places in my monthly recurring expenses that could easily be trimmed with a wee bit of sacrifice on my part. I fully expect that further expense cutting will be more difficult and have a larger impact on my social life (boo!), but for now this is a solid start.
Charter Cable Service
  • Last year, I took the leap and canceled my Charter cable service! I now use Apple TV, Netflix, and Hulu+ and find that I watch much less television and save a chunk of change. I had been paying $105/month for cable and internet. I lowered it to $55.00
  • A few months later, I called Charter to see if I could get a better deal on internet service and they hooked me up with a year for $40/month!
  • Monthly savings: $65

Hulu+

  • After several months without TV, I found that I don’t use Hulu+ very much. I’ve only been occasionally catching Grey’s Anatomy and Saturday Night Live. I can get everything on my laptop (rather than TV) without paying for it – time to drop!
  • Monthly savings: $7.99

Graze

  • Graze is a cool subscription service for snacks! For $6 per box, you get four different kinds of munchies that you can customize to your taste. You can get them anywhere from weekly to monthly. Cool idea, but I don’t need it right now.
  • Monthly savings: $12.00
Amazon Prime
  • This is a tough one. It’s soooo convenient to get free two-day shipping on almost everything I buy! But Free Super Saving Shipping is still available with a $35 minimum. If I utilize more patience, I can group my purchases and wait a bit longer for them to arrive. Prime convenience also encourages me to shop, which is something I’m trying to do less. Furthermore, I don’t need their video service – I get plenty from Netflix and Hulu.
  • Monthly savings: $8.25 ($99/year)
Emeals
  • Late last year, I tried out emeals.com based on a friend’s recommendation. It was pretty convenient to get paleo recipes and shopping lists in my inbox each week, but now that I have all of those recipes, I’m comfortable taking a few extra minutes each week to plan my meals all by my little self. My life is not so busy that I can’t do that.
  • Monthly savings: $8.00
Local Grocery Delivery
  • Almost two years ago, I started subscribing to a weekly delivery service for local, organic fruits and veggies. Boxes got delivered to my work, which was extremely convenient since I live in a condo and getting them dropped off there might not work. Being a single-person household, I opted for one small box every other week. Unfortunately, I found that I got too much food at once and had a difficult time using it all up before it went bad. I was also unable to customize my box in any way and frequently got items that I don’t really like (eggplant, lettuce). I had already made the decision to cancel by the time I was laid off; I think it’s more cost effective and less wasteful to walk to my local farmers market on Sundays and buy only what I know I will use.
  • Monthly savings: $45.60

That’s a total of $146.84 I am easily saving each month! I’ll take that any day.

(Image: EvelynHill)

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