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lower your bills

To keep… or to toss?

That’s the REAL question.

My husband and I sat down at the kitchen bar and went over EVERY little thing we could think of that we spend money on. Having these kinds of real discussions regarding your finances is a vulnerable and wonderful time! It’s hard ya know? Finances are very personal and they weigh differently to men and women. What I value and want to see happen financially is not always what my husband wants. Finding that common ground is SO important!

Our list of random things we spend money on went like this:

Gym membership

Netflix

Hulu

Apple Music

Amazon Prime

Sam’s

Dish Network

bills

Let’s start with the gym. It is ONLY $22 bucks a month. And we have NOT been in 3 months. {FACE PALM}

We had the discussion of what to do with it. It’s very inexpensive but we are NOT using it… yet we both WANT to. It is hard for us to find the time between our busy schedules, my husband traveling a large portion of the time, having a child who isn’t old enough to be IN the gym, and let’s not forget having the TRUE motivation to go work out. We talked at length and decided to keep it until February. If we haven’t used it at least twice a week (on a GOOD average) then it’s gone. If we start using it like we desire to–then it stays.

Netflix. We can’t get rid of that! That was a pretty quick conversation. However, we DID make a change. Our bill is going up in January to $13.99 a month. I looked at the plans and we are currently on the 4 screens at a time/ability to download on 4 devices plan. We lowered it to the 2 screen plan for $10.99 a month. The ONLY time we ever need more than 2 devices is when we go on trips…which happens often. On an airplane we will each have our phones watching a downloaded tv show/movie from Netflix. That cannot happen on this new plan. However- Netflix is AWESOME in the fact that you can change your plan at any time and just pay the prorated difference. For now, this plan works. “But is is JUST 3.00 a month you saved.” You are correct. But that’s 3 dollars that WE get to keep. That’s a redbox movie and a 20 oz Dr Pepper to split. That’s a date night. And THAT is worth it.

Hulu. It’s going “Bye-Bye-BYE” as Justin Timberlake would say. {Well-now you know my age bracket!} For $7.99 a month we can get 99% of the same shows that are either on Dish or are on Netflix. My daughter will NOT be happy because she loves her some Cake Wars on Hulu… but I bet you anything we can find some of those episodes on Youtube. #THATISFREE

Apple Music. My husband doesn’t have an iPhone {which drives me crazy} so this one was up to me. I use my Apple Music every single day of the week! It is $14.99 a month and I DEFINITELY get my moneys worth… but I set that to cancel at my next payment date. I have used Pandora a lot this holiday season and though I cannot be AS selective with the music, it really is okay. I’m a big girl. I can do this. I think. I hope. I pray.

Amazon Prime. My number is up with them. They discovered [through their detective ways] that I am no longer a student. I purchased Prime last year as a student so it was half price. Starting in January it will go up to $99 a year. That’s not bad-right? But we don’t use the Prime Video often at all as most of the content can be found on Netflix or tv, and due to our cutting back on spending we really don’t have a lot to order this year. We got our moneys worth last year and ordered some large items, but I don’t see us doing that again this year so— buh bye!

Sam’s Club. I need to verify but I believe we have a membership through March. I jokingly {not so jokingly} told my husband that before our membership runs out we are going to stock up on some TP and paper towels! That is all I REALLY buy there! I mean if I am there I will be a gigantic bag of almonds because they are cheaper than Kroger, but overall, I don’t buy much there. I have found that for a family of 3, we can’t eat the yogurts before they expire, and I can’t eat all those bananas! I hate bananas… but I buy them because they are healthy. {yuck} So all in all, we might spend a LITTLE more on TP and other paper goods but not enough to cover the membership. I never buy gas there even though it’s a little cheaper because it is out of my way. So– there goes another savings of (I think) around $100!

Dish Network. Every month I pay for a TV service provider so that I can watch something I’ve either already seen or own the DVD of. {FACE PALM} It’s so true! We watch 20/20, Dateline, This is Us, Teen Mom [hey- this is a judgement free zone] and reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond. We pay a significant amount for that and even though my husband recently got them to lower the bill by $40 bucks, we pay over $80 each month! So here is the plan- I called to find out when our contract is up. Valentines Day. I confirmed this… we will cancel on that day and 30 days later we can come back as “new customers” and receive the same equipment and channels for 1/3 of the price. Basically this means that in January we will be doing the Whole 30 plus fasting social media for 21 days with our church, and then turn right around and have no cable for 30 days. Sounds like a stellar start to the New Year, huh?!

It comes down to your priorities. Maybe you have those perfectly in line. Or maybe you need to reevaluate them. I know that for US, this year is about paying off as much debt as humanly possible. If that means not having Apple Music and Dish for 30 days (And who knows? Maybe we will end up 6 months and just get it back in time for football season?), then those are sacrifices we are willing to make in order to reach our GOAL!

What is your goal? Figure that out NOW! Maybe it is to pay off one credit card and move right along. Maybe you can’t sleep at night for fear that you won’t be able to pay your bills. Whatever your situation is, decide what your GOAL is. Once you have prayed/meditated over that goal and decided this for SURE what you want… NOTHING will stand in your way!

Thanks for reading.

For now,

Cara Roxanne

Void where prohibited

As I have said before, when I was BIG into reading financial savings blogs, frugality books/blogs, and so on, I would get so frustrated when I would click on one that looked so inspirational only to find out that NONE of it applied to me.

Some would suggest “get rid of your cable all together”– ok, that’s not gonna happen {for me}

Others would say “How to spend less than $25 dollars a week on groceries”- ok, we are NOT gonna eat THAT….

I say that to say– these may not apply to you. BUT, they may apply to some ONE and that’s the purpose.

On your journey towards financial freedom, cutting spending, saving more, or whatever your goal is, you HAVE to start somewhere. {You already know this} Here are some things WE have done that worked for US. Maybe one will inspire you! 🙂

  1. I chatted online with DISH. I told them I was considering leaving them unless they could lower my bill. Guess what? They lowered my bill for $30 bucks for 6 months! As Charlie Sheen would say “WINNING”. After that 6 months, I got BACK on chat and got 3 more months PLUS free HBO for a month. Worth a shot!
  2. Start clipping coupons! I did this for one year and my stock pile lasted us 3 years. Not lying. I never bought detergent, toothpaste or deo for 3 WHOLE YEARS! It was so nice. I’m at a point where I don’t have time for that… school and family keeps me too busy for that BUT it helped us out when we needed it most!
  3. Know what items sell for! I took a spiral notebook and half a day and went to Kroger, Walmart, and Harps and wrote down (before I left the house) the items that I buy EVERY. SINGLE. WEEK. I wanted to know if there truly was a big difference–not counting on the coupons or weekly specials, just plain and simple what items cost. This helped me with my grocery budget!
  4. I wasn’t afraid to ask. {This can be embarrassing if you don’t do it right} I called restaurants before we went to them and asked about specials. I looked online and social media to see if I could find coupons or freebies. I would ask the butcher at Kroger if he had any meat he was about to mark down. {I can’t tell you how many times this saved me TONS}. I called Entergy and asked if we were better off to do levelized billing or NOT. Bottom line– I wasn’t afraid to ask for a discount, for what days they have special pricing, for specials. I don’t have an amount written down but I assure you this saved us tons of money!
  5. I decided what I could do without. I should blog about this separately, but I have TERRIBLE feet. I mean the worst. Picture the worst–now double it! That’s my feet. In the summer I LOVE to get my toes done up pretty. But it gets expensive. I decided I could buy the tools and do it for myself in between pedicures. I don’t HAVE to have a pedicure every 3 weeks… I mean I WANT to, but I can’t if my goal is to be financially free of debt.
  6. Plan ahead. You know every evening your family wants food… and how every December a major holiday rolls around? Plan ahead. Plan your meals. Shop in your own pantry. Buy gift cards throughout the year so that when Christmas rolls around you either have gifts to give OR you have gift cards to go buy them with. Mothers day is EVERY single May. That’s not gonna change. Start thinking about that in January. PLAN. UGH. HEAD. {See what I did there?}
  7. Probably should have been #1 on the list, BUT… make a budget. I will go into MUCH MORE DETAIL tomorrow {I’ve been in class all night and my brain is fried} but you HAVE to do this or you will never create any traction. void

 

There are SO many more I would love to share with you! And I can’t WAIT to share with you. For now, this is a good start. 🙂 I hope…

Feel free to email me with questions. roxyrambles02@gmail.com

For now,

Roxy

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