Blog Update!
For those of you not following me on Facebook, as of the Summer of 2019 I've moved to Central WA, to a tiny mountain town of less than 1,000 people.

I will be covering my exploits here in the Cascades, as I try to further reduce my impact on the environment. With the same attitude, just at a higher altitude!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Saving even more money by chopping services

As another follow-up to my recent money savings from removing or decreasing some unnecessary services, I wanted to add a few more things that we've done in the last week.

As you may remember, last week we cancelled our home phone and long distance and reduced our cell phone and cable services. We also cancelled our NY Times subscription. All told, that was over $2,000 a year in savings.

Well, this week I got rid of our dedicated IP address (from our Internet service). And, because of your comments, I also reduced the size of our garbage can and got a smaller yard waste bin since the chickens eat much of our food and garden waste now. It turned out we didn't have the smallest garbage can possible. So, we switched from a mini-can to a micro-can.

Next up, I did something about that Netflix account. New members pay $7.99 a month. We've been paying $26.27 a month. Bastards. I just cancelled my account and will be looking into Amazon OnDemand through our Prime Account.

Finally, I downgraded our account with an online sitter service to their free service. I had signed up for premium services for over the summer and we don't really need it anymore. It was $60 a quarter.

With these changes we are now saving an additional $815 a year! All told that's $2,800+ a year savings just from the last few weeks of nitpicking through our bills.

By the way, our credit card number was stolen last week and some a*hole charged up several thousand dollars. The fraud department called and we got it all settled out, but the end result is that our card was cancelled and will be reissued with a new number. Since we had a number of things on auto-pay (Netflix being one of them), it will force us to rethink some additional services. Which is a good thing. I'll report back if I find other things to cut.

Any other suggestions? Things you've been able to live without?


Beth said...

I had a similar issue with my credit card - but it was more insidious... they only charged 4.99. I could have missed a small charge like that and that's what they depend on - tons of people missing tiny charges.

But I think it was a real benefit to have a new number. Just as you say - you have to be active in choosing which, if any, of those recurring subscriptions you're going to give the new number to.

It made me think I should just do that as part of my annual financial planning - ask my credit card company for a new number. It's so easy to forget to cancel them, and then after they've been charged, do you really want to bother to get the refund? Anyway, sorry about the a*hole charging your old card, but the new card is a good thing.

Erica/Northwest Edible Life said...

Good for you. It's amazing how those little things add up. Netflix is really on my shit list right now but I'm holding out on canceling until I research the streaming depth of some competitors like Amazon. Because I'm anal, I'd further calculate how many hours it look you to rake in those savings and find out how much you just "made" per hour. Nice work, very inspiring.

Kate said...

It's nice that you have some options in your garbage service. Good for you for switching! We don't, and we pay $72/quarter. This gets on my nerves, because we don't even put our garbage can out for collection most weeks. If I had lots of time and energy to spare, I'd try to convince my township to adopt a pay-as-you-throw system.

We do without cable or even tv; and don't have any print subscriptions or Netflix. We use the library pretty heavily and will occasionally swallow a small fee to put a book or movie on hold. It's chump change compared to regular subscription service, and the money goes to support a community resource.

koolchicken said...

I would one to cut back on some things, but I'm not really sure where I would start. Cable, internet, trash, water, and a bunch of other things are included in my home owners fees so I would save nothing by getting rid of them. Obviously I try to save water and not be too wasteful in terms of the trash but it saves me nothing.

I do have Netflix though and I'm pretty angry with them so Boy Wonder and I have talked about cutting back on the number of disks we can have out. And we're talking about ways to cut back on the cell phone bill, but we haven't done anything yet. The plan for the new year is to go over the bills though and see if there's anywhere we could cut back. I'll be interested to see any new services you opt out of. I may be copying you.

Anonymous said...

I just dropped NetFlix and signed up for Amazon Prime. I've never been a renter of DVDs...too much running around. I'm only interested in a streaming service, so NetFlix doesn't work for me.

Amazon Prime is a much better deal and only $6.58 per month. Unlimited free streaming on nearly everything. Some TV shows require a little more money, but for me it's still worth it. With free 2 day shipping, this service will easily pay for itself over the year.

One other thing I have done to save money is to drop my curbside garbage service at nearly $100 for 3 months. We are fortunate to have a great county waste-to-energy facility and for $5, I can take my garbage to them. Recycling is free. This has really made me more careful about what I'm throwing away...and what I purchase. I go about once every 2-3months.

Our curbside haulers switched to 80gallon monster garbage & recycling bins which I have no place to store. Bins that large only encourage more waste. There is no smaller option, so I cancelled my service.

Lisa in MN

Wendy said...

Sorry to hear about your credit card. That would totally suck!

What I love about this series that you're doing here ... and what you do all of the time, actually ... is the challenge to get people to make conscious choices, and not simply do what they do as a knee-jerk reaction. Like the whole cable thing. How many people just get a cable hook-up, whether they really want television or not, because that's just what we do when we move into a new house? When my husband and I bought our house, one of the first places I called was the cable company, and never, really, thought once about whether or not I really wanted the television.

We've made a lot of the changes you're making, and we've realized the same thing you're saying - that not only have these changes enriched our lives in immeasurable ways, but we've also saved a LOT of money. In fact, we look forward to getting the electric bill every month so that we can see if we've managed to get it lower, and we're getting more creative every day with the little things to save a watt here or a watt there ;).

I love it! And it feels so good to know that we really are in control, and we don't have to be slaves to the fluctuations of the market.

JessE @ LoveLifeFromScratch said...

I'm curious; what do you mean by an online sitter service? Thanks!

The Haphazard Countryman said...

Since moving from "the city" in Phoenix to "the country" in Virginia, I have become lean as far as bills. I didn't continue my DirecTv, now using free HD digital airwaves, no more city water, sewer and trash bill, have a well, septic and garbage pickup isn't even offered here, drop off at the collection center. My only issue is that instead of my cable internet, I now have to use cellular Internet. That has download limits and has been costing me more. If I can contain the kids downloads, I can keep it at $50/month, which is cheaper, but I had family with multiple kids and iPads, iPhones and i-whatevers and I ended up with a $120 Internet bill that month. No cable, DSL or anything else available. Aargh! If anyone has suggestions for this, let me know.

I find myself just spending more time outside since it isn't sweltering hot all the time. So I don't miss the satellite tv, until now, with football season. Oh well.

Dogs or Dollars said...

Crunchy - You and I operate on the same wavelength. I just downgraded to the tiniest little 10 gallon garbage bin. Its really quite cute. And save me $20 a month. Plus I love the fact that I have visual confirmation that we throw away significantly less than most of the population. Definitely less than we used too.

Mama Mama Quite Contrary said...

I saved several hundred dollars a year by switching my auto insurance. It turns out we were super-insured which was ridiculous because my husband commutes by bike and I barely drive anything but a stroller. I think it pays to shop around every couple of years even if you keep your level of coverage the same.

I also have a credit card that pays at least 1%- 5% cash back. I put all our groceries and gas on that, pay it off every month, and I usually can cash in $500 or more by the end of the year. THis only works if you can be disciplined with credit, of course.

Adrienne said...

I think I should sign up for some things just so I can cancel them. I've already cut everything that can be cut... well I could cut Netflix entirely but as I already cut cable I use it all the time. Trash service is a fixed fee regardless of how much less I throw out than all my neighbors. There's just nothing left.

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

I didn't resign for our CSA. I loved it, especially the delivery but it was A LOT of food for two veggie loving people to eat/find room to freeze before it spoiled. We spent the fee on knee surgery for our dog. We do better at the farm market money and quantity wise. We grew some veggies for the first time too. I don't have Netflix but we do occasionally rent a movie via cable. Our cable TV is bundled with our Internet service.

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

I always get a recipt for my donation when I drop off a donation to Goodwill, the dog shelter, Habitat Restore, etc. It takes longer to write the lists, keep track of the receipts and do that part of our taxes (my husband and I split tax filing tasks) but it makes a difference in the end.

emmer said...

here's another little known way to cut trash costs. some trash haulers allow sn on call trash service. for example, where i live, a 20 gal trsh can picked up once a week is $19.50 per month. a $35 gallon can on call is $9.50 per month plus $4 per pick up. you call when you want your trash picked up, and they haul the next regular day. the only version of this plan where i live is this 35 gallon deal. we easily go a month, so this plan saved $72 s year and involves less dragging of trash to curb. you have to call your hauler and ask lots of questions. they don't advertise these things.
i would love to share with a neighbor, but by the looks of it, they all fill their cans.

robbie @ going green mama said...

Sorry to hear about the CC. What a headache.

We've tried to hold on some unneccesary expenses given a family trip and some things we wanted to do (like pre-purchase tickets for a Christmas gift, etc.) Our big thing right now is to minimize costs - especially the grocery store. Living off a new pantry/freezer challenge has certainly helped!

robbie @ going green mama said...

Also, totally agree with Condo Blues. Itemize everything. And throw it into itsdeductible once in a while. You'd be amazed on how quickly it adds up!