Becoming Debt Free in 2009

March 16, 2009

Keeping the lawn service

Filed under: Budget,Journey to Debt Freedom,Weekly Budget Cuts — ambercouric @ 8:16 am

Over the last few months we have been looking to cut expenses.  There are several reasons to cut expenses 1) husband had to take a pay cut 2) the uncertainty of the economy 3) prices on everything seem to be going up 4) A SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT later this week ( I hope).

In our discussions we had decided to cut our beloved lawn service.  The service we use is a small town business.  The owner and two workers.  These guys all work hard and do a beautiful job.  I hadn’t mentioned to the owner that we were considering stopping the service.  But when I talked to him I could tell that quite a few of his customers had to cut his service from there expenses.

So we looked at the reasons to keep the service.  1) I don’t have to worry with the yard. 2) They do excellent work above and beyond what we actually pay. 3) There are three people that depend on people like me to keep my lawn service.

Saving money is important but helping others during these crazy times is a little more important to me right now.


February 9, 2009

Weekly Budget Cut #3

Filed under: Budget,Journey to Debt Freedom,Weekly Budget Cuts — ambercouric @ 10:34 am

This has been a great week for weekly budget cut ideas.  We have come up with three that are easily implemented.  I am only going to give one today because I need to get the calculations right for the others.  One will be for next week because that is when the actual cut will take place.

So the budget cut for this week is to reduce the use of the clothes dryer.  We will hang out at least 5 loads of laundry each week or at least average a total of 20 loads per month.  One thing that is important for us is that the clothes don’t feel stiff.  So, I have found that if I dry the clothes for 10 minutes I don’t have this problem.

Using this great calculator I estimate I will save about $9 per month.

Total monthly savings to date – $46.  Only $354 to go.

February 6, 2009

Weekly Budget Cut #2 -Mail Order Rx

Filed under: Budget,Journey to Debt Freedom,Weekly Budget Cuts — ambercouric @ 11:13 am
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Sorry, I forgot to post this on Monday.  We have made our second weekly budget cut.  This cut is easy it just takes a little effort on my part to get things ordered.  There are two of us that take a daily medication.  I usually use our RX plan and get the prescriptions from the local pharmacy and only pay the co-pay.  Our insurance company also has a mail order plan.  If I order a three month supply I will save $40 over the three month period.  An added bonus is that I won’t be running to the pharmacy all the time.

This is so simple.  I could have been doing this for years.  Better late than never.

Monthly savings so far – $37.  Only $363 to go.

January 26, 2009

Weekly Budget Cut #1

Filed under: Budget,Debt,Food,Goals,Weekly Budget Cuts — ambercouric @ 10:19 am
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In an effort to make $400 worth of cuts to our monthly budget, we have decided to find one item each week to cut.  We have only one rule – if for some reason the “cut” doesn’t work we can replace it with another cut for the week.  We do have to have at least one cut each week that will stick.

So now for the cut of the week.  Sara Lee bread.  We normally go through 2 loaves of bread each week.  We only buy Sara Lee bread because that is all my older son would eat as a child.  He thinks bread has a smell and Sara Lee didn’t.  So, this cut was replacing Sara Lee bread with store brand.  With the total savings per month being about $12.  I will say this was Kennedy’s idea.  Well, it didn’t work.  Half way through the first loaf of store brand bread DH and Kennedy both said they just couldn’t eat it.  It had a funny taste and the ends were hard.  For the record, I am allergic to wheat so I can’t eat it so I can’t speak for the taste. 

So, how did we make up for the failed budget cut?  We changed what we put on the bread.  I normally spend at $12 – $15 on deli lunch meat each week.  I buy turkey, salami and roast beef.  We have decided to buy only one lunch meat per week and buy no more than $6 (usually a pound of one of the items on sale).  Once the meat is gone the rest of the week will result in peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  We expect to save $24 per month with this change.

We decided to be very specific with each cut.  Instead of cutting the grocery budget, we have to list exactly what we will cut and how it will affect the budget. 

Only $376 more to cut.

January 21, 2009

The Weekly Budget Cut

Filed under: Budget,Debt,Journey to Debt Freedom,Weekly Budget Cuts — ambercouric @ 1:13 pm
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We had the “family meeting” to talk about the mandatory pay cut my husband has to take.    While we didn’t go into specifics as to the total amount we came up with the idea of making a weekly budget cut.

The goal is to eventually cut the budget by $400 per month.  But instead of doing it all at one time we will decide on one cut per week and implement it.  No “cut” is to large or to small.  It just depends on what we agree to as a family.  Ashby won’t get a big say in this since he is not here much.  Of course, when he is here during the summers he will feel the effects of whatever we decide.

We decided to do this as a slow process for two reasons -1) to make it a game 2) to make it an easy transition so no one feels deprived.

I realize that we could go all “gazelle” but since we do have a good emergency fund we feel like the cuts are more likely to stick with us having to put effort into making decisions based on our priorities as a family.

Each Monday I will post our “Weekly Budget Cut”.  Give an idea of how we decided on the particular cut and post an update of the total we will save per month.

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