Reducing Expenses

The other day I mentioned reducing monthly expenses in my New Year’s Resolutions. Here are a few of the things we’ve done so far:

Last year, we had Cox Cable and DirecTV. I had to have a cable modem, and we needed all of the good channels to watch. So every month we paid about $50 to Cox and $55 to DirecTV.

A few months ago Cox added some channels to their line up. They now have every channel that we actually watch except for one. I did some research and found that the better plan at Cox would cost us about $80 per month.

That means we were paying $25 per month for one channel. Obviously, that’s been taken care of.

Now not only are we saving $25 per month, we don’t have a satellite box taking up space in the entertainment center anymore. That means less electricity being used and less wires tangled up behind the TV.

The next problem was a little more interesting.

A while back, Paige and I got cell phones. We rarely use our home phone anymore, so we considered canceling it. But, we’ve had that same number forever and everyone knows it.

So we kept our $40 per month phone bill from SBC. We could’ve reduced this bill quite a bit, but we really like having Caller ID and Call Waiting.

Lately, I’ve been seeing more and more commercials for Vonage. Finally, something in one of those commercials really caught my attention – “Transfer your current number to Vonage.” That’s just what we were looking for.

Their unlimited plan is only $24.99 per month, but we didn’t really need unlimited minutes. On their website they also have a 500 minute per month plan for $14.99. I think that’ll be more than we’ll ever use.

So as of sometime tomorrow, our old number will be transferred to Vonage and we’ll be saving another $25 per month. This is actually a better deal than SBC since Vonage has all of the nice features we had before (Caller ID, etc.) as well as free long distance anywhere in the US.

I’ve also been looking for other small expenses to get rid of.

At one point last year I was to subscribed to four different magazines. They were all interesting to read, but they mostly just ended up in a pile somewhere. These have all been let go. This means a little extra money each year and fewer things to clutter up my office.

I was also a member of the Scientific American book club and the Columbia House DVD club. Trouble is I rarely watch movies, and I already have more books than I’ll ever be able read. The book club membership has already been canceled, and the DVD club will be canceled as soon as I buy one more.

There’s a certain thrill that goes along with telling someone “I don’t need your services anymore.” DirecTV kept me on hold for about 20 minutes yesterday evening, but I persevered and eventually talked to a rather nice guy who canceled my service.

This seems to be a pretty popular topic for New Year’s Resolutions. Merlin Mann has an article called Modest Change: Cancel something over at 43 Folders dealing with this exact subject.

2 Replies to “Reducing Expenses”

  1. Now, see…the thing to consider doing is to take that money that you were accustomed to spending every month and put it aside somewhere. Make it your vacation fund, or Matthew’s college fund, or your “we’ll pay the credit card completely off when this is big enough” fund. You’re already used to doing without the $$ anyway, and you’ll probably be surprised at how much money you can accumulate rather painlessly!

    I like to pass on the hard-earned bits of wisdom from being around for so many years on whenever I can…

  2. Truer words were never spoken.

    We’re already setting aside some money for Matthew’s future and we plan to increase the amount as soon as possible.

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