Sunday, March 15, 2009

Baby Steps ... aka Effing Recession

It may not sound like much, but here's a short list of conscious efforts I have made to cut expenses.

Giving up name brand ANYTHING and going with store brands, to include important items like deodorant, shampoo, conditioner and diet soda.

Doing more cooking from scratch on my days off. Cooking double batches and freezing half for another day.  And not purchasing convenience foods. Which is somewhat inconvenient. Who is cracking herself up over that one?

We gave up cable TV back in November. It hurt, but we survived.

Tim and I are moving our bedroom and my office to the basement of the house as soon as Taylor vacates the basement bedroom, which should be next week. In doing so, we'll be able to completely shut off the third floor of our house, a very energy inefficient attic remodel, which now houses our bedroom, master bath and my office.

We dropped our dental insurance completely and changed our medical policy to an even crappier one (which is hard to believe because ours was already such crap) with a higher deductible, banking on none of us needing extensive medical care in the next year.

Keeping the heat on 64. Which? Is cold. And involves wearing sweatshirts in the house.

Considering line drying, which seems to be kind of a trend around here. Has anyone gone without a dryer for an extended period and lived to tell the tale?

Next up: we're giving serious thought to selling our house and moving to something smaller. We currently have four bedrooms, three full baths, two big living areas plus kitchen and dining. Erinna is here now only every other weekend, Taylor is moving out, Maggy and Iris are gone. So starting next week it's really only Tim, Carlie and I, and we could make do with less space. 

The prospect of a forced purging is also very appealing, because the only way I am ever going to be motivated to really get down and dirty with the organizing and purging is if it is forced. Of course, the Achilles heel of this plan is the shitty market and the fact that I doubt we could sell for a good price any time soon. Such a Catch 22 -- prices are low if we are looking to buy, which we can't do unless we sell, which we can't do because prices are low. 

I'd love to hear your cost-saving tips in the comments. I'm looking for all of the motivation and inspiration I can find. Because? Being broke sucks.


bernthis said...

Paid of my car
Fired my housekeeper
Put my kid in public school and thank God it is one of the best in the state.

Eat out less
Buy more store brands

Maggie May said...

I'm in awe that you cut cable. We don't even watch tv that much but the little we do is something i really enjoy!

You are amazing. Seriously. YOu have been very disciplined.

We are renting out two bedrooms. :( it sucks, but this way our kids can stay in this amazing school district and we don't have to move to a shitty house in a shitty neighborhood.

Kathy said...

I have a blog coming about much of this so stay tuned. And yes, I went without a dryer for 17mths shortly after Garrett was born so that meant 3 babies under 3yrs and all in cloth diapers. And I developed a routine and line dryed everything...I still line dry nearly all of our items. Have you seen my big ass drying rack? And this summer comes another clothesline. I'd better stop now and leave it for my blog so I don't hog your comments.

katydidnot said...

um. i have no idea. literally, none.

katydidnot said...

um. i have no idea. literally, none.

Jen on the Edge said...

We gave up cable/satellite a long time ago because we weren't watching anything. Instead, we watch TV shows on DVD.

We use the library A LOT.

We do shop at Whole Foods for most of our food, but don't actually spend that much on our groceries -- I AM NOT KIDDING. If you need details, let me know.

We don't eat out that much and tend to cook from scratch a lot.

We're not taking any major trips this year due to us still owning two houses. (Sucks.)

We tend to shop around for car and house insurance every few years in order to get the best deals.

We don't use our cell phones much, so we have pay-as-you-plans. Pete spends maybe $50/year on his and I spend around $100/year.

For long distance, we have a calling card that is super cheap. It's programmed into our phone on speed dial, so using it is quick and easy.

Cheryl Guthrie said...

Oh, no! If you have allergies don't even think of hanging your clothes to dry outside. I did for a whole summer and we were sick all season before I figured it out!

HB said...

I sort of used a clothes line last summer - the downside - you can't leave stuff on the line for like 2-3 days like you can leave stuff in the dryer. I am a library addict - I'm sure that is why Borders & Barnes & Noble are hurting. Coupons never work for me - I use my crock pot - alot. Cheap cuts of meat cooked over a long period of time = good food. And you can do low cal. We used to eat out 2-3 a week - now 2-3 month. And we are going to start home brewing again.

dkuroiwa said...

Good luck with all seems as if you are on the right path. My brother, an accountant (aka Mr. Numbers) and his family follow the philosophy of Dave Ramsey...he seems to have helped many people. You might get a copy of his book!

Oh and by the way...I basically haven't used a drier in about 18 can survive!! (I did use one when the boys were in diapers...yes, cloth diapers at the daycare!) The driers here are too small and have very little power, it's just easier to hang everything outside. And actually...we don't even have one anymore!

Nap Warden said...

I'll tell you what...I just don't shop. Period. I buy basics in bulk at Costco. Everything but meat (we got food poisoning from Costco meat:P)
One thing I absolutely won't give up is my Coke. It's $8 for 24 cans at Costco...that's not the end of the world?
I'll tell you what, I couldn't give up cable either.

Lisa Wheeler Milton said...

We've been cooking more from scratch. Better for you, cheaper.

(Though time consuming at times.)

For entertainment, I love our cheap theaters, especially Bagdad & Academy.

And I gave up gym membership. I walk outside and reuse workout dvds. Not glamorous, but I've saved a bundle.

beerab said...

yeah we cut out eating out quite a bit- we used to eat out many times a week now 1 time a week, maybe two if someone takes US out.

We lowered our cell phone plans as well, then we cancelled our gym memberships and so on. Every little bit adds up and we are putting every extra penny towards our debts, by the time this month is over I should be cc debt free!