Perpetual Plan B

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cutting Costs

It seems like these days everyone is having to tighten their belts in some ways. We are no exception. Right now Hal is doing commercial developing, which isn't really so hot right now. We have a gravel pit in West Weber, some lots on 10th West (which now we are paying for all the improvements, since his partner, sadly, died last fall), part of a strip mall in Pocatello that is for sale and the old Anderson Lumber building on South Main. If any one of these came through we'd be in good shape. The problem is, nothing is moving right now. But, we have enough to live on, so I can't complain.

I always get interested when I hear or see an article about cutting costs. "Good," I think to myself, "maybe this will help us out a little." I'm usually bummed when I find out that I'm already doing pretty much everything on the list.

For example:
  • Quit going to the movies: We rarely go to the theater, maybe once or twice a year, once in a while we go with with one of Hal's business partners and he gets free tickets

  • Cut back on your cable: Done. A few years ago, when we had financial trouble I cut back to the basic cable, $10 a month.

  • Cancel your magazines: Again done. I do have some free magazines that I got with my frequent flier miles because I don't fly frequently enough to actually earn an actual flight.

  • Turn down your thermostat: Yep, I dress warm if I'm the only one home.

  • Quit drinking pop: We never did drink much pop. Maybe 2-4 liters a year, on special occasions.

  • Don't eat out as much: Hal hates to eat out, he does it enough for business so we only go out on birthdays, or once in a great while with friends.

  • Don't drive as fast: One of the great features on our Pilot is the little bar that shows what gas mileage you're getting. Instead of seeing how fast I'm going, I watch the gas mileage go up (or down). I think I'm actually driving the speed limit most of the time.

  • Pay off credit cards: Already done. Credit cards scare me. We have two (in case something happens with one) and use them for monthly expenses, like groceries. They each have an incentive program, like cash back or free groceries. We pay them off all the way every single month, without fail. This is one lesson I hope our kids will take from us.

  • Use your library: Yes, we are library junkies around here.

  • Don't buy bottled water: Check

  • Garden: Well, we try anyway.
  • Don't buy things you don't need: It's interesting, because it seems like the times we have the least amount of disposable income, I start to get into "we have too much stuff" mode and start trying to pare down. I guess that's lucky for me. I also don't love shopping as a recreational activity. My favorite store for clothes is Ross because I like how it is set up. You know what you want, you walk in, you go to the skirt (or whatever) section, you find your size, see what they have and either find what you like and buy it or don't find it and walk out. Done. I do, however, have a fondness for shoes and boots. Luckily, I'm not too proud so I will buy them at Payless or anywhere else that they are affordable. My last three shoe purchases were $8 each. That's a number I can live with. (Now that I think of it, I'm going to call Hal right now and remind him what a low maintenance wife I am.)

And so on.

The only money saving tip I refuse to do is play the coupon game. I absolutely HATE coupons. I feel guilty if I don't use them, so sometimes I end up saving them but then they float around all over the house. Then I stuff them into an envelope and leave them in the car, only to be found usually after they've expired. If they are a dollar or more off and for something we actually use, I sometimes remember to get them into my purse but honestly, of probably 25 or so coupons I try to save a month. I really only probably use two or three. I need to just give up on that idea.

Well, that's my soapbox for the day. If you have any other good money saving tips I can try, please leave me a comment.

For now, I'm going to go turn down the thermostat some more, throw on a couple more layers and run around and find all the coupons in the house and throw them away!

1 comment:

babbler said...

Here is a money saving tip - when Mrs. Slug is asked the question "Paper or plastic" at the checkout, she will say paper 50% of the time and plastic 50% on the time. This way she can line the plastic bag with the paper one, making a very useful trash bag that absorbs wetness and is easy to tie and throw in the garbage. She has not bought kitchen size trash bags in a long time. They work well in the bathroom too. She does, however, still buy the larger heavy duty yard litter bags in case Mr. Slug needs them for his man slug duties.