This week’s Spin Cycle is about Money and Cutting Costs. I find this a very timely post. Not just because our economy sucks BIG time, but it’s something Hubby and I have consciously been trying to get a handle on.
My husband has actually been taking part in a financial planning group sponsored by his employer. It came in just the right time. I had my hours cut back last year where I was working and went to work at a site closer to home. Then in October I was laid off, then they hired me back on a temporary basis and I was let go AGAIN in February. My husband had just started this financial planning course.
It turns out that the man hubby was working with told us that it was perfect that I was not working. The financial planner advised my husband to call our mortgage company and talk to them about loan modification. It worked out wonderfully because to take advantage of the loan modification programs, I could not be working. It seems to me that it would be a lot easier to make payments if both are working but, I guess that’s why they consider the modification. It’s hard to pay everything you used to with only one income. Turns out that modifying our loan cut our monthly payment almost in half! Well worth a few phone calls.
The second thing he had us do, and it seems like such a simple thing, was to start another savings account and by following his instructions, he said we should be able to save close to $2,000 in the first year. He told hubby that for the first month we were supposed to put our change in a jar every night and at the end of the month put it in a savings account. At the end of the first month we had over $100. That’s $100 we would probably have blown had we not cleaned out our pockets and purse ever y night. The second month we were to put our one dollar bills in an envelope every night and at the end of the month, deposit it. We also added in our five dollar bills. Hubby also stopped going by Subway almost every night for his “snack” on the way home and put that money aside rather than have it burn a hole in his pocket. We ended up with over $200 the second month. In two short months we had saved almost $400! Now, that is nothing to sneeze at!
Another item he told us to look at was our insurance, both home and auto. We have used the same insurance agent and company for our vehicles for about 15 years and never questioned it. He told us to shop around since our insurance was up for renewal. We had never questioned it because our insurance company is one of those that advertises about being so low. Well, we shopping around and cur our auto insurance by a couple hundred bucks…. A MONTH! Yeah, we have horrible luck with auto insurance. Four vehicles and two drivers under 25, one of them a teenager, lots of accidents (not always our fault) and tickets so our insurance record looks like an accident waiting to happen, unfortunately. But still, by following his advice we were able to bring it down substantially.
The next month our project was food. The first week we were to make menus and plan our meals ahead and try to go to the grocery story only once that week if possible. The second week we were to eat out and see how cheaply the two of us could eat out. Keep track of every penny you spend on food each week. I feel this project had really opened our eyes to where we were blowing money and what we needed to do to tighten our belts and get a handle on our finances.
In about three months time we have saved over $500. Our next project is to find something we consider a luxury and see how we could do without. Unfortunately, they informed us that what we wanted to consider a luxury, they considered a necessity. We really are pretty boring people and don’t really do a whole lot. They have other managers that are giving up things they really enjoyed doing. Like boating, or collecting expensive wines or extensive travelling. Us, doing the yard ourselves, seemed to be good place to start. I told you we were boring.
Unfortunately, Hubby says about half of the managers taking part in this experiment have already dropped out because it got too hard for them. Can’t get results if you give up, right? Of course, now that we’ve kicked out all our kids (not really – they abandoned us! L) it’s only hubby and I left at home so our expenses have been cut drastically anyway. So, if you REALLY want to save, just kick your kids to the curb!
I think we have done a great job so far and I am really enjoying spending some time at home, trying to get our Spring Cleaning done. I’m hoping this post will help you as much as it has helped US! Good luck and start saving money.