Did I mention that starting this challenge during the holidays wasn’t my best idea ever? Oh yeah. I think I did. Maybe more than once. Oh well. I’m committed at this point and am working through the categories Brian used in his book The $1,000 Challenge. If you are looking to reduce spending I highly recommend his new book. It takes a serious and not fun subject and meets it head on with humor and great advice.
I was excited to see if I could save any money in this category. Transportation costs include auto loans, maintenance, gas expense, and auto insurance.
Auto Loan: My car is paid for so no savings there.
Maintenance: I get a great deal on oil changes and because the car is somewhat new I haven’t had any repairs to speak of. I did just have to buy 4 new tires and that really hurt. It also made me realize that I had not been setting aside any money at all for these kinds of expenses. Which makes total sense doesn’t it? Because in my world nothing will ever go wrong with my car and the tires will last forever. Ahem… In response to this problem I rearranged my monthly budget slightly and am now putting aside about $25 a month into a car maintenance envelope. It isn’t much but it sure will help when a repair or new tires are needed!
Gas Expense: My car gets great mileage and I do try to look around for the best gas prices. That said I am not about to drive all over town trying to save 85 cents to fill up my tank. I also try to plan my errand days efficiently in order to stay off the road as much as possible. No savings here to speak of.
Auto Insurance: I tried to get a better deal earlier in the month and reported on what I found in my last $1,000 column. You can read about my failure HERE.
This category includes cable, internet, phone, water, gas, and electricity. This was a fairly easy one for me.
Cable: Don’t have cable. Haven’t for three years now. While this does mean that Eva and I have never ever seen even one episode of ‘Duck Dynasty’ we seem to have survived.
Internet: We use Clearwire for our internet service and it does have the very best rates available in our area. I have had some trouble with the service recently and so they offered me the same speed for a lower rate which saved about $15 a month. Finally. I have actually saved some money just by making a phone call.
Home Phone: Don’t have one.
Cell Phone: This is the one area where I thought I would really be able to save. We are currently with Verizon. And while they promise the best coverage the rep also proudly proclaimed to me when I called to try and get a better rate that “we are the most expensive cell phone company out there”. I am not lying. She actually said this to me out loud. While I appreciate good coverage, I also appreciate being able to eat and live indoors once I hit retirement age. And my monthly Verizon bill is clearly not going to make that a possibility.
After making many phone calls and scouring the internet for reviews and tips on saving on my cell phone bill I think that I have finally made a decision. At first I thought that I would go with Walmart’s Straight Talk Plan. It is only $45 a month for unlimited talk, text and data. Their rep told me that I would be able to use my Verizon iPhone 4s on their network (which I later found was NOT the case). I also did some digging and found that they have terrible customer reviews because of their almost nonexistent customer service. Hmmmm. That didn’t sound like such a good deal to me. I need to save money but I also need my phone to work because I don’t have a home phone.
I continued to look and think that I will be going with a T-mobile no contract plan. It’s only $50 a month for unlimited everything. Which is half what I am currently paying with Verizon. I have a couple of days left on my billing cycle with Verizon so I will make the switch in a few days.
Water, Electricity: As Brian suggests I called my local electric company and asked them to come out and do an efficiency review of the house. Most utility companies do this for free. They check the windows and doors for drafts, make sure there are no leaking faucets or toilets in your home, check insulation in the attic, etc. and make recommendations on how you can save on these expenses every month. I was happy to find out that the inspector said that there was nothing significant that I could do to improve the efficiency of our home. Which was also a bummer because it meant that there were no monthly savings to be had either.
What does it all add up to so far?
Miscellaneous Savings: $110 on yard maintenance
Transportation Savings: $0
Utilities Savings: $65 ($15 on internet and $50 on cell phone)
TOTAL SAVINGS: $175
Not too bad. I’m not sure that I am going to make the $500 goal but anything is better than nothing. I hope that you are well on your way to reaching your savings goal for 2014! How is it going so far? Have any tips for me on a good no contract cell phone plan before I commit to T-mobile?
All the places that have featured articles from TeensGotCents lately – thanks guys!
Week of December 12th
Carn of MoneyPros at Bite the Bullet Investing
Yakezie Carnival at Fat Guy,Skinny Wallet
Carn Financial Independence at Carnival of Financial Independence
Fin. Carn. for Young Adults at FITnancials
Aspiring Blogger Fin. Carnival at Aspiring Blogger
Week of December 18th