How I Saved $3,024 in Eight Steps
Nine months ago, Bronson and I hit a little financial crunch. It wasn’t anything major, but we found ourselves a little more pinched than normal. We began brainstorming about how to increase our cash flow and simultaneously save money.
“Putting on my ‘money saving shoes’ is a lot like training: kind of painful at first, but eventually begins to feel natural, and after a while, it’s an addiction. Here are some ways I’ve put these ideas to work in our relationship.”
WESABE.com was one of the first places I ended up after a simple Google search for saving money. It’s an amazing, free site, much like Craigslist, for people with like-minded goals and just generally how to be better about the whole money thing.
Our biggest monthly expense is always the mortgage, and there’s not a whole lot of options on that front, save a program called ACCELERATED MORTGAGE, which spreads 13 mortgage payments out, bi-weekly, over 12 months, netting us one extra “bonus” mortgage payment every year. My goal was to trim a lot of areas a little bit to see if by doing so, it would be possible to enroll in this program.
Another big expenditure is my HEALTH INSURANCE. I determined that if I made a slight change to my PPO plan, I could reduce our monthly premium payment from $156 to $116, saving $40 per month. Enrolling in HeathNet’s automatic debit program saves us another $5 per month. That’s $45 saved per month = $540/year.
Next I examined our CELL PHONE situation. My contract with Verizon (which ran about $120/month), expired last month. So I decided to downgrade phones and join Bronson and mother-in-law, Conny, on T-Mobile’s “family plan.” We just received our first bill, $97 (for all three of us). That’s about $30 more than it was before I joined the family plan. All together, that’s about $90 saved per month = $1,080/year.
Our INTERNET HOSTING (through Apple’s .mac service) was up for renewal 2 weeks ago. Instead of renewing my “own” account, we combined accounts under one “family plan” through .mac and saved another $99/year.
Regular readers of my blog know I send a weekly e-mail newsletter, highlighting my blog and fitness Q&A’s from the prior week, using an E-MAIL SERVICE which costs $29.95/month. I scoured the web for other services, and finally found a good free service, Zookoda, which allows me to do “basically” the same thing, but for free. I cancelled my subscription to the fee-based service. That’s $29.95 saved per month = $359.40/year.
Arrowhead provides WATER DELIVERY for my fitness studios, and recently redesigned their sport top bottles, which all my clients hate. Plus, I always have too much water in the office. I changed my water order from the 700ML sport top bottles to the 16 oz regular top bottles, saving $12/month = $144/year.
The ATM FEES for cash withdrawals have been getting me down, so I asked CalNational Bank if they offered any accounts which free us from this penalty. Turns out, our bank offers full reimbursement on all ATM charges (even from other banks) upon switching to a checking account with a $500 minimum balance. We saved $16.90 in fees last month alone = $202.80/year.
I work in a gym five days a week, yet for some reason I still maintain an unnecessary outside GYM MEMBERSHIP. I cancelled that monthly membership and now work out in my studios instead, saving $49.95/month = $599.40/year. (Note: since this article was first published, I re-joined a less expensive, neighborhood gym for $350/year).
None of these changes have been “earth shattering,” and none of them have eaten into our quality of life. But consider by just making these small changes, we will have saved a little more than $3,024 over last year.
Guess what? $3,024 is more than enough to cover that additional accelerated mortgage payment.