Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The 15 Changes That Save Our Family Over $13,000/Year: Part 2

Welcome back!  This is a three part money-saving series on how our family cut over $13,000 from our budget!  Today's 5 tips are mostly home/utilities/reoccurring bill type cuts that we made.  Some were easy, some were hard.  I hope they give you something to think about in terms of what is really necessary!

#6: No Cable TV.

About a year ago, we finally bit the bullet and cancelled our tv.  We paid $83 a month.  You can really find most every movie or show online.  Sites like Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu all have cheap subscription programs to be able to view most all of of our favorites instantly via streaming to our Apple TV box thing-a-ma-jig.  Canceling our satelite tv saves us almost $1000/year!  Ben felt the brunt of this decision (football, anyone?), which is why I waited to do this cut until he gave the go-ahead.

#7: No Home Phone.

We cancelled our home phone almost 2 years ago.  We had even wanted to do it before then, however our cell phone reception was not great at home and so that was not a smart option at the time.  Once we moved and found that our at home cell reception was great again, we canceled our home phone.  This saves us around $18/month, which works out to a savings of $216/year.

#8: Shop Car Insurances.

Within the last week, we (and by "we", I mean "Ben") shopped around for car insurance.  Switching providers, we were able to get the same car insurance on both cars, our renters insurance, and life insurance for both of us  (we've never had life insurance before) for $40 less per month.  That's a huge help to our monthly budget!   It only took a little research time, and then our lunch break together to sign and review papers.  This works out to a savings of $480/year.

#9: Move.

While I don't suggest just up and selling your home or quickly moving to a new rental, selling our home and choosing to rent was one of the best money saving decisions we made in the last couple years.  It's a big one, but it was such a relief to us.  The house we owned was old, not in a great neighborhood, and was not the best layout for our growing family.  While we don't want to rent forever, it has been a great move for us.  It may not be great for everyone, though!  By selling our home and moving to a new (newer and greater) home, we saved about $650/month on our payment and utilities.  This works out to a savings of $7800/year!  And really, if you consider all the money we are saving on maintenance right now, it's more than that!

#10: Make our own Christmas Gifts

Because of our finances, we quickly determined that we needed to keep our Christmas spending to a minimum the last couple years.  And, while we weren't crazy spenders at Christmas, it was still a little difficult to make the transition.  The first year we did it, I almost felt like I was a "bad" person for not buying so-and-so a $20 gift, but rather making them some homemade chai instead.  It was hard for me. I realized that my thoughts toward gift-giving at Christmas were more motivated by how people would perceive me or what I thought people might expect from me.  The heart and love factor weren't really there.  The second Christmas that we did this, I found much more joy in the giving.  I knew that people would understand that we didn't have "money" but that we did think about them and plan for them.  We even did homemade gifts for our kids, who totally loved it!  By making homemade gifts, we save about $300/year. (we spent $100 in total on Christmas this year).

Changes #'s 5-10 total a yearly savings for our family of $9796!!!!

Find Part 1 HERE, and Part 3 HERE.


  1. $13,000 is really impressive!! Thank you for doing the math and since we also do many of these, thank you for making me feel very frugal! :) A great money saver for us was that I got onto my parents cell phone family plan which cut $50 off of our monthly bill.

    Also, I saw an Oprah on saving money and some suggestions were to limit showers (play a 10 minute cd and once it's over, you get out). Another suggestion that we tried was to unplug all of our appliances from the wall to save energy, but it was really annoying and I didn't notice a difference in our bill.

    I'm excited to read part 3! :)

    1. I had been talking to Ben about unplugging our appliances a couple weeks ago (Also saw that on Oprah a long time ago). Phantom energy I think is what it's called. But it does seem like a pain! We take quick showers already, so that's not a problem! Getting on your parents phone plan is awesome! I think Ben will soon be on his work plan, which will be a great help to us, as well! I hope it happens soon!

  2. Thank you for these! I am always interested to see how to cut our budget! You and I are in very similar situations! I was looking at your granola bar recipes (this would save us a lot of money) and can you buy nectar agave and nutritional yeast at a regular grocery store (like Aldi) or do you have to go to a specialty store? I have never purchsed either of these items before. Thanks!-Michelle P.

    1. Hi Michelle! Agave nectar can be found at most stores. We don't have an Aldi here, but even stores like Walmart carry it. You can find it near syrups or honey. I buy nutritional yeast out of a bulk bin at WINCO. I've never looked for it elsewhere. I'm sure you can find it at health food stores, too. It's not a necessary ingredient, but I especially use it when I'm nursing babies as it helps boost milk production, too! I hope this helps! Let me know how you like the granola bars!



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