Saving for a down payment on a house has given us a goal. And in pursuit of that goal we have made some radical changes. We are already on a fairly limited budget, so in order to save a down payment we need to cut spending where it seems like no cuts are left.
Victim number one in our budget is my iPhone. We are getting rid of all data on our plan, so that means I have to go back to a “dumb” phone, and that the iPad will now be wifi only. I had to think long and hard about this decision because I use my iPhone CONSTANTLY. But when I really thought about it, 90% of the time I am not using it for work, or for anything constructive. I don’t NEED to check my Facebook 18 times a day, or play Candy Crush. I will still have my iPad, I will just need wifi to use it. Getting the iPad and iPhone off of our phone bill will save us $100 a month.
I have also been shopping around on our car insurance. I have had State Farm basically since I started driving, and while its isn’t terrible, it seemed like it should be lower for two people with good driving records and good credit. I had a client in the salon who works for Esurance and she told me I should just get some quotes online. Every company quoted me a lower rate than what we are currently paying but Esurance is the clear winner price-wise. We would have considerably more coverage with them for less than half of what we are paying with State Farm. I haven’t 100% decided to switch but I am pretty sure that is the company we will choose. If we switch to Esurance it will save us $85 a month.
Another monthly bill I have eliminated is Netflix and Hulu. They are only $7.99 per month each, but that is still $16 extra dollars I can put in savings every month. I also felt like we were spending too much time sitting in front of screens, be it TVs or iPhones, so I am oping this is a positive change for our family and will force us to be more creative in our entertainment choices. I also sold the TV out of our bedroom for another $75 that will go straight into the down payment envelope, and my husband is even selling his beloved Xbox!
Our gas and electric bill has been steadily climbing over the years, and another goal of mine is to lower our usage enough to see an impact on our bill. I started unplugging things when they aren’t in use, and am trying to be more aware of turnings lights off when we aren’t in a room. I usually keep our thermostat between 65° and 68° during the day and it keeps our apartment fairly comfortable, but I have been turning it down to 60° at night and only turning it back up when I can’t stand it any more. I plan to get some plastic for a drafty window in our bedroom, and some foam insulators to put behind the wall outlets. I don’t know yet if all of my efforts have saved us any money on our bill, but if we do see a difference we will definitely look for more ways to cut usage.
I have also cancelled or opted not to renew non-essential subscriptions. I love Pic Monkey for a lot of different editing and design work, but I let my yearly subscription lapse because I can still do what I need to do with their free offerings.
It will take a couple of months to really start seeing some of our sacrifices pay off, but I am excited to get back to the basics. I think the positives for our family will reach far beyond monetary ones.