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Ok, so if you have been following along on my debt free living series, you saw last week I promised to tell you how we keep our living expenses LOW! And I’m here to do that today😀 But first, you may be wondering exactly what we do spend each month. Here’s a quick rundown of our expenses…
- Electricity-$95(winter)-$175(summer). We have our hot water, air conditioning, washer, dryer, other indoor appliances all electric plus we run our shop building and a freezer.
- Car & life insurance-$46. This includes both of our vehicles and my life insurance policy.
- Internet-$50. This gives us 10gb a month which we use for homeschooling, work and entertainment.
- Phones-$25. This gives us both smartphones with some data, plenty of texts and minutes. It’s no contract and we can change it anytime we need to!
- Gas-$300. This is for both of us. I honestly don’t drive that much but we live an hour from any bigger town and my husband drives to work 4 days a week.
- Groceries-$600-$650. This one is a little variable but it stays right around this since I redid our grocery budget. We do shop twice a month and this helps out ALOT! Read how we stretch our budget!
- Yearly Expenses for us include taxes, house insurance and our heating gas bill (we supplement heat with gas so it’s about $300). Total for these is $1,800/year.
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What you won’t see on my list…
You probably read my list of expenses and thought, but she doesn’t have this or that listed! Where’s it at? Well, there are some things that aren’t on there because we just don’t have them! For example, a mortgage, car payment or cable TV. We also don’t have expensive cell phone plans or subscription services.
#1 Way I keep our expenses low:
Do without some of the “add ons”! Yep, that’s exactly right, this is a HUGE part of saving money. What does that mean for us? Well, we get the lowest internet package we can instead of spending a whole lot more for unlimited. Is it inconvenient at times? Definitely, lol. Could we live without internet? Yes, we could, BUT we do use it for alot of things in our life. I order online, we do part of our homeschooling online, I pay bills online, I bank online, I do direct sales online and of course I run my blog online.
Could I access internet for free? Well, I guess technically “yes” but practically “no”. We live a good distance from any library or hotspot. It simply wouldn’t be practical or efficient to depend on those, not to mention it wouldn’t be cost effective based on the distance! So, internet will probably be sticking around in our budget.
Anyway, we also do without the extras on our cell phone plans (which are no contract, $12.50/month x 2=$25). They work just fine for us and we paid about $25 for each of them on a sale! 🤷. An exception to this for us is Sam’s Club. We do pay for a premium membership because it gives us cash back on our purchases plus free shipping with no minimum amount. We actually make more money than our membership costs plus we save about $800 a year by shopping there!
Check out “Money Saving Mom” for some other great tips!
I shop around. This doesn’t just apply to my groceries though, it applies to my insurance, internet and phone service. The only one I can’t negotiate is my electric lol. About 1-2 times a year I take a peak at the competition of my current service. Sometimes they have a lower price for the same service or perhaps my current provider has come out with a newer, better plan. They won’t usually let you know, you have to ask!
This is HUGE with insurance! Many times your insurance will offer discounts and bundle specials but you have to sign up for them! One giant savings for us was to buy our home and vehicle insurance from the same company. Last I checked, that saves us about $800 a year! I’d just as soon keep that, thank you very much 😉. Do this with ALL your negotiable bills (even your mortgage and car payment if you have one).
Secret saving tip #3
Minimalize as much as possible! Why? It’s pretty simple, the more things you own, the more upkeep you spend on them! Think about it this way (you may be different, this is just a personal example). A big boat is not a practical idea for our family. First, we would have to have a large truck to pull it, a place to store it, license, taxes and insurance fees plus that’s not how we choose to spend our free time. It would be a big money pit for us!
In contrast, we love to spend our leisure time fishing on small streams, quietly paddling so canoes are perfect for us. They are easily and cheaply stored and hauled and super simple and cheap to take care of! We use this same philosophy with our vehicles and other purchases.
Be content, repurpose, reuse, and make your own. How does this pertain to household expenses? So many ways! Do you constantly have to have the newest gadget regardless of what it is? Are your purchases packed away in storage because you don’t have room for them? Honestly, that’s a waste of money! Hey, it’s none of my business if that’s what you want to do, but for me it’s not gonna fly! Do I have things in storage? Yes, actually I do, but it’s because they are seasonal items (clothing, school supplies ect…)or necessities that are used infrequently (for example, tents and backpacks).
Repurpose your things whenever possible. This morning I started working on decluttering my pantry (ugh) and found glass storage Mason jars. They worked perfectly for storing my grains and beans in so I can now stack them on my pantry shelves instead of in my cabinets in loose bags. I was super excited about this!
This concept applies to food, by preparing most foods from scratch you save a TON! I also make my own kombucha for pennies! And I use washable cleaning cloths from Norwex, and concentrated natural cleaners.
Yikes, this post is LONG! Ok, I’m going to have to wrap this up, but I hope it’s been a big help to you and that you’ve gotten some really good, practical ideas to start on! I haven’t even touched on keeping your electric bill in check and tons of other things we do, so I think I’ll have to write another post on this soon! In the meantime, start somewhere, and comment on what you’re working to lower right now!