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Old 02-13-2015, 10:58 AM   #1
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DR people..help with our monthly bills

Here is a list of most of our monthly bills. Below I have listed things I have already done to try to lower the bills. Feel free to ask me to clarify why something is non-negotiable or anything else just be nice about it

Rent 660 (this is cheap for our area)
Rhapsody 10.91 (non-negotiable due to DW work)
Auto Insurance 120 (cheapest we found)
Car Payment 167
Student Loan 13.26
My Phone 50 (cheapest already)
TV/Internet 65.85 (I can lower this $5-$10 with current company or switch to a company that requires a one year contract which I really don't wanna do but save more money monthly)
Gym 21(non-negotiable)
Electric 130 (this is the highest it ever goes)
Student Loan 88.08
DW Phone 63 (could be lower but we would have to buy her a new phone so not worth it, dang Sprint)
Renters Insurance 20
Food 400 (family of 3 that cooks every meal)
Sinking Funds 310
Didn't include gas, pets (not going anywhere), meds because those won't change

Our sinking funds monthly are..

Clothes 30
Copays 30
Car Repairs/Oil 50
License/Taxes 20
Eating Out 40
Hair Cut 10 (I'm the only one that gets a hair cut, the others done at home)
Holidays 110 (this includes Thanksgiving trip, DD's birthday and Christmas)
Gifts 20

So where can I squeeze some money from? Am I just stuck with increasing our income somehow being the only option?

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Old 02-13-2015, 11:58 AM   #2
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Re: DR people..help with our monthly bills

We dropped our tv this year and haven't looked back. Huge savings!
We also have taken our car insurance to a high deductible. It is $1000 instead of $500 and still has full coverage. You get the $500 to set aside pretty quick with the savings. Our savings was about $50 per month!
Lastly, from your list, I might suggest trying to get the grocery bill down. It seems IMPOSSIBLE at first, I know from experience. (Before kids, the two of us would sometimes spend $800 per month-yikes!) But now that I am in the swing of things, some months I only spend about $50 for fresh items!!! I try to make multiple meals of the same main ingredient that is on sale and freeze them. Buy a lot of our big meat purchases a few times a year (turkey in November for example). Every few months. Roast a turkey and make a half dozen or so meals from it. (Tetrazzini, pot pies, soup, etc). I also only buy mostly sale items and make meals around them. Short dating sections of grocery stores are a gold mine! Usually good quality, just not as well known brands that didn't sell fast. I just scored some organic chicken sausages (like a brat) for $1.99. I bought ALL of them and froze them. (Sausage and peppers, hobo packets with veg and potato, grilled etc.) even small savings each week add up. Everything on my list was on sale two weeks ago and I spent $9.88 for what I needed to complete six meals that week! It gets addicting to see what you can do with so little.

Good luck!
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Old 02-13-2015, 12:08 PM   #3
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Re: DR people..help with our monthly bills

Can you and dw combine phone plans?

Would dropping cable and going to TV via internet be a possibility?
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Old 02-13-2015, 12:17 PM   #4
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Re: DR people..help with our monthly bills

What is your income? What are your other expenses? Child care/activities, travel, life insurance, entertainment? Do you both work full time? Who has the student loans - you or wife? Are they federal loans on income based repayment- how many years have you been paying on them? (They may get forgiven after 25 years of payment). Do you find that you're running a deficit? Are you able to make additional debt payments to make headway? Have you any emergency or long term savings? Are these actual historical budget figures? Like I know exactly what I spend on rent, but I would say we "rarely" eat in restaurants, but then when I really Track spending and average it out, I'm pretty shocked and annoyed with myself. Editt - Are you legally married? If your wife is expecting career growth, pension, etc while you are mostly holding down the home front, I'd definitely want to be entitled to a piece of that no matter what.

The good news is that your spending seems reasonable. And you only have one child who is in school full time so no childcare expenses? The bad news is that means it will be hard to cut significantly.

- I know you say rhapsody is non-negotiable, but if your wife really needs it for work, work should pay for it. Or see what services are offered through the library - I know ours has a couple of music download services. Or listen to the radio? Edit - just seeing your other thread that wife is a mail carrier, I was picturing that she was a music producer needing to stay current or something. She just needs something interesting to listen to. Definitely download or stream for free.

- is that auto insurance for one car or two? If two, that's not bad. If one, that seems really high (we pay just under 100/mo for two cars, fortunately our cars are not worth much) but I know there are a lot of regional differences. Do you pay it all for 6+ months - we save more than $200/yr by paying insurance 2x per year vs monthly.

-$113/mo is a lot for phone service. DH and I pay $75/mo with virgin mobile with no contract. I did have to buy my phone, it was $100. I know there are even cheaper services that I mean to look into - republic, ting, etc

-I would probably do a contract for internet if it'll save you money. I mean, you'll still want Internet in 10 months, right?

- If one or both of you are using the gym regularly and are healthier for it, that does seem worth it. But can you take 3-6 months off when the weather is not bad and just be active outside? Edit - okay if wife is walking all day, this is only for you? Can you also walk or exercise free?

- I understand not rehomingyour pets, but I'd strongly consider not replacing them when they die if money is tight. Pets are pricey, and can limit rental options.

- how much of the $110 a month is related to the thanksgiving travel, and how much on "stuff" for your daughter or others? I think you could probably cut here, and possibly stop gifting to everyone in your life except very modestly for dd and little things for her friends' bday parties.

- $40 is not a lot for restaurants, that's like one real restaurant meal for 3 or 2 fast food meals? Still, if it's not realistic for your budget, cut it out. Get your cooking break from a big frozen pizza or some other convenience food that you all like...

Quote:
Originally Posted by TalkinBoutMyGirl View Post
Here is a list of most of our monthly bills. Below I have listed things I have already done to try to lower the bills. Feel free to ask me to clarify why something is non-negotiable or anything else just be nice about it

Rent 660 (this is cheap for our area)
Rhapsody 10.91 (non-negotiable due to DW work)
Auto Insurance 120 (cheapest we found)
Car Payment 167
Student Loan 13.26
My Phone 50 (cheapest already)
TV/Internet 65.85 (I can lower this $5-$10 with current company or switch to a company that requires a one year contract which I really don't wanna do but save more money monthly)
Gym 21(non-negotiable)
Electric 130 (this is the highest it ever goes)
Student Loan 88.08
DW Phone 63 (could be lower but we would have to buy her a new phone so not worth it, dang Sprint)
Renters Insurance 20
Food 400 (family of 3 that cooks every meal)
Sinking Funds 310
Didn't include gas, pets (not going anywhere), meds because those won't change

Our sinking funds monthly are..

Clothes 30
Copays 30
Car Repairs/Oil 50
License/Taxes 20
Eating Out 40
Hair Cut 10 (I'm the only one that gets a hair cut, the others done at home)
Holidays 110 (this includes Thanksgiving trip, DD's birthday and Christmas)
Gifts 20

So where can I squeeze some money from? Am I just stuck with increasing our income somehow being the only option?

Last edited by BSWmama; 02-13-2015 at 12:34 PM.
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Old 02-13-2015, 12:31 PM   #5
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Drop cable completely. For a $30 attenea you can get free public tv. Netflix if needed is $9 I think.

You can call your electric company and see if you can get on budget billing which will lower your winter monthly bill, stabilize it.
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Old 02-13-2015, 12:56 PM   #6
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Re: DR people..help with our monthly bills

The only ideas I have are quitting TV, gym, haircut and eating out. I realize the gym is listed as non-negotiable and everyone needs a few luxuries. My 2 cents, fwiw.

We quit TV 2 years ago and we love it. We use an antennae and subscribe to Netflix. The kids don't miss it one bit. Any non-prime time shows DH and I miss, we just buy a season pass from Amazon for about $20-$30 for the season. Still much cheaper than cable.

DH quit the gym after regularly using it for years and bought workout DVDs. He lost 50lbs and looks better than I've ever seen him. The DVDs were more effective than the gym.

I just don't cut my hair, but I know that's not for everyone. I grow it for 2-3 years, then donate it to locks of love whenever I have a baby.

We do eat out and spend more than you do on it, it's one of my weaknesses, so I can't fault you for keeping the luxury. But if things were tight, eating out would have to go.
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Old 02-13-2015, 01:02 PM   #7
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Re: DR people..help with our monthly bills

For those of you saying cut the Internet/tv that is $65/mo, do you have Internet service at home? What do you pay per month? I've not been able to find Internet for less than $55 or so per month (that's what we pay currently with 12 mo contract) but maybe I'm missing some better option...
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Old 02-13-2015, 03:10 PM   #8
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Re: DR people..help with our monthly bills

I think I answered everything...lol


Quote:
Originally Posted by teacherpippi View Post
Can you and dw combine phone plans?

Would dropping cable and going to TV via internet be a possibility?
No, we can't combine phone plans. She has a Sprint and I have ATT and you can't take either one of our phones to the other company. You can't take a Sprint phone to any other company. We have perfectly good phones even though they are nowhere near new so I don't want to buy new ones.

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Originally Posted by BSWmama View Post
What is your income? 2200-3000 depending on hours What are your other expenses? Child care/activities none, travel none, life insurance don't have it, entertainment we don't do anything bc we don't have the money? Do you both work full time? DW does, I work about 30 hours a week Who has the student loans - you or wife? both have student loansAre they federal loans on income based repayment- how many years have you been paying on them? hers is on IBR and we just started paying on it, mine is not and I've been paying for a couple years (They may get forgiven after 25 years of payment). Do you find that you're running a deficit? no, this is the first time the numbers haven't worked out because my MIL moved outAre you able to make additional debt payments to make headway? we were able to make additional payments until my MIL moved out because she paid us "rent", we just paid off the last CC and my small student loan with tax money, before we were paying extra on the CC Have you any emergency or long term savings? we do have our BEFAre these actual historical budget figures? yes, if we go out to eat we will take the 20 or whatever and not spend a dime over thatLike I know exactly what I spend on rent, but I would say we "rarely" eat in restaurants, but then when I really Track spending and average it out, I'm pretty shocked and annoyed with myself. Editt - Are you legally married? If your wife is expecting career growth, pension, etc while you are mostly holding down the home front, I'd definitely want to be entitled to a piece of that no matter what. yes, we are legally married but it is not recognized in our home state yet

The good news is that your spending seems reasonable. And you only have one child who is in school full time so no childcare expenses? The bad news is that means it will be hard to cut significantly.

- I know you say rhapsody is non-negotiable, but if your wife really needs it for work, work should pay for it. Or see what services are offered through the library - I know ours has a couple of music download services. Or listen to the radio? Edit - just seeing your other thread that wife is a mail carrier, I was picturing that she was a music producer needing to stay current or something. She just needs something interesting to listen to. Definitely download or stream for free.

- is that auto insurance for one car or two? If two, that's not bad. If one, that seems really high (we pay just under 100/mo for two cars, fortunately our cars are not worth much) but I know there are a lot of regional differences. Do you pay it all for 6+ months - we save more than $200/yr by paying insurance 2x per year vs monthly. 2 cars, full coverage on mine and just liability on hers, she wrecked her moms car in september so that's why it's a touch high, i would prefer to pay 6 months at a time but we haven't had the money for that

-$113/mo is a lot for phone service. DH and I pay $75/mo with virgin mobile with no contract. I did have to buy my phone, it was $100. I know there are even cheaper services that I mean to look into - republic, ting, etc I addressed this up above, we both love our phones so I'm not sure either of us would be willing to get diff phones to take our services down, we have iphones

-I would probably do a contract for internet if it'll save you money. I mean, you'll still want Internet in 10 months, right?

- If one or both of you are using the gym regularly and are healthier for it, that does seem worth it. But can you take 3-6 months off when the weather is not bad and just be active outside? Edit - okay if wife is walking all day, this is only for you? Can you also walk or exercise free? gym is on a one year contract, yeah I'm kicking myself for this, and I know myself well enough to know that I won't walk outside when its 100 degrees, I'm 300lbs and HAVE to get in shape

- I understand not rehomingyour pets, but I'd strongly consider not replacing them when they die if money is tight. Pets are pricey, and can limit rental options.

- how much of the $110 a month is related to the thanksgiving travel, and how much on "stuff" for your daughter or others? I think you could probably cut here, and possibly stop gifting to everyone in your life except very modestly for dd and little things for her friends' bday parties. looking at my notes I have a $350 pegged down for Thanksgiving, the only thing we are doing for Thanksgiving is traveling to family so it's just gas cost plus a little cushion, we will be staying with them and hopefully they won't wanna do anything that costs a lot...that sounds like a lot even to me so I need to see how I came up with $350

- $40 is not a lot for restaurants, that's like one real restaurant meal for 3 or 2 fast food meals? Still, if it's not realistic for your budget, cut it out. Get your cooking break from a big frozen pizza or some other convenience food that you all like... we usually do 2 restaurants but share a meal and appetizer and can come in under $20 with a coupon, we don't do fast food
Quote:
Originally Posted by Southernbelle View Post
The only ideas I have are quitting TV, gym, haircut and eating out. I realize the gym is listed as non-negotiable and everyone needs a few luxuries. My 2 cents, fwiw. gym is a contract so it will cost more money to quit than to ride it out

We quit TV 2 years ago and we love it. We use an antennae and subscribe to Netflix. The kids don't miss it one bit. Any non-prime time shows DH and I miss, we just buy a season pass from Amazon for about $20-$30 for the season. Still much cheaper than cable.

DH quit the gym after regularly using it for years and bought workout DVDs. He lost 50lbs and looks better than I've ever seen him. The DVDs were more effective than the gym.

I just don't cut my hair, but I know that's not for everyone. I grow it for 2-3 years, then donate it to locks of love whenever I have a baby. I pay 15 every 3 months or so for a hair cut, I think that's very reasonable

We do eat out and spend more than you do on it, it's one of my weaknesses, so I can't fault you for keeping the luxury. But if things were tight, eating out would have to go.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BSWmama View Post
For those of you saying cut the Internet/tv that is $65/mo, do you have Internet service at home? What do you pay per month? I've not been able to find Internet for less than $55 or so per month (that's what we pay currently with 12 mo contract) but maybe I'm missing some better option...
^ this...we only have TV because it's bundled with the internet and was cheaper. We have literally never watched the TV since we moved here last June. If I could get rid of it I would. Since we do stream Netflix and hulu (paid for by MIL) we have to have internet that would support it. 19.99 3mbps internet isn't going to stream very well.
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Old 02-13-2015, 03:50 PM   #9
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Re: DR people..help with our monthly bills

Okay we canceled Rhapsody...my wife about had a come apart but she agreed that she listens to books more than anything and can get those threw the library.

Now to figure out how we can make our phones cheaper..it's so dang confusing.
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Old 02-13-2015, 03:52 PM   #10
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Re: DR people..help with our monthly bills

Okay, so income is $2200-3000 per month. If I did the math right, the expenses you described above are about $2120, and that doesn't include gas, pets, medication, which I'm sure adds up to another couple hundred at least. This doesn't include debt payments above minimum or any savings contributions. And I know you say there are no expenses for dd activities, but on the other thread you talk about gymnastics (but maybe grandma kicks in for that?)

It would be awesome if you could get your basic expenses equal to $2200, including gas and everything, then you'd have a 0-$800 snowball monthly. I think you could get there if you made a lot of these small cuts and I don't think they'd impact quality of life too drastically. Like I'm not saying to live without a cell phone or even a smartphone, just maybe not an iPhone with sprint service. (I think you're really thrifty overall, but still, to me having an iPhone and a pricey phone plan is spendy. Same with a music streaming service when music and audiobooks and npr can be had for free. But I have plenty of my own luxuries). At that point, you would not be going to a restaurant at all in a lean month, but maybe you'd reward yourself with a meal out in a very good month by taking it out of your snowball. You'd go from 24 restaurant meals a year to maybe six or seven. When your gym contract is over, ditch it, etc.

This is a little confusing to me, but suggests you can use your sprint phone with ting or boost pretty easily
http://www.whistleout.com/CellPhones...nother-carrier
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