In the past few months I've made quite a few adjustments. What's notable about this is that many of those adjustments were minor, as well as painless. At the same time, these changes have allowed my lifestyle to become a bit more flexible.
What kind of small changes have I made? Well, unlike Bob, I have yet to cut the cable, although that decision is at the front of my mind (and is a discussion worthy of its own post at a later date). What HAVE I done? Well, let's see:
- I lowered my prescription cost by using my insurers prescription by mail service. This was a slap in the head moment. I should have investigated this option as soon as I returned from Germany (where everything, including prescriptions was so affordable insurers dont even ask for pre-certifications). My blood pressure medicine which was costing me $40 a month will now cost $30 for a three month supply. Not only that, but they give me six months at a time!
- I made changes in my car insurance by changing to USAA (now, veterans in the audience will probably think this is another head smacking situation, but while I was in Germany I had Geico military which was VERY cheap). Adding a male driver under 26 and moving to the US changed things, and I finally rectified that. I do so love USAA. I also adjusted my home insurance by half.
- I adjusted my bundle and saved about twenty five percent off what I was paying. Texas has competition amongst cable providers and they know I could go elsewhere. As I mentioned earlier, eliminating cable is still on the table, even with the cancellation fee. I could live happily without TV if I could just see myself at the local sports bar during football and NCAA basketball season.
- I drastically lowered my cell phone bundle contract and saved almost a third. Even with three of us, we use fewer minutes than the lowest option in texting and talking available. I'm considering lowering it more by eliminating my data plan, assuming the navigator in my phone will work without it.
- I eliminated all magazine deliveries. I can't bring myself to eliminate the newspaper, but I have cut it to Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday (which gives me the coupons, Sunday paper and weekend section.
- When I go to the movies (not as often as I used to, also a separate discussion) I go to the first showing of the day for 3.00 instead of going "prime time" and getting all the goodies.
- Instead of my two for one paperback exchange, I use the library exclusively for books.
- I've stopped hitting drive thrus (not just talking about the so called "latte factor" here). On two days I am out for much of the day (now I've cut it to one) and instead of hitting drive thrus and restaurants I now bring my own water, fruit and snacks. This is a health decision as well as I've lost fifty pounds in the past year.
Before I sound too Pollyanna-ish, I've also had to make some changes that were, while not life shattering, certainly a bit more painful (giving up my weekly French restaurant, cutting my quilting fabric purchases). But the impact of little changes like those mentioned cannot be ignored when looking at my overall financial situation and health.
Coming next: Cable-should I live with it or without it?