“It is not the man who has little, but the man who craves more, that is poor”.-Seneca the Younger
Lately I have noticed my monthly expenses creeping up. I decided I had two choices, increase my income or lower my expenses. In order to increase my income I had to either find a few new cleaning accounts for my janitorial business, find more music gigs to play, or create something new. In other words, trade hours for dollars. Since I enjoy my ‘time freedom’ and blogging on topics like contentment, I decided to simplify and lower my monthly expenses.
(photo courtesy of Borman818 @flickr)
In order to do this, I did a review of all my monthly expenses:
- Rent $595,
- electric @ $75,
- cell phone $111,
- car & renters insurance $45
- business insurance $35
- gym membership $30
- Massage Envy membership $50
- internet memberships – Need a Topic $7, Music Mentor $17, A-List Blogger $20 = $44 total
- internet $77
- Aweber newsletter service $20
This comes to a total of monthly fixed expenses of $1,082. In addition I have to figure in food, gas, car maintenance, entertainment, etc. However I wanted to lower some of my fixed costs.
Here is how I saved some money:
First, I lowered my cell phone minutes from the 900 min. plan to the 450 plan, saving $20. I rarely used more than 450 minutes, and I have some ‘roll over’ minutes saved up just in case I do go over.
Then I called Comcast. I don’t watch or even own a tv so I only need internet service. $77 per month for 12mpb of internet is too much. I was ready to cancel when they offered me a packaged of 12mpb internet with basic cable for $45/month. I’ll never use the cable tv but this saved another $32. (It’s funny how the ‘specials’ pop up when you are going to cancel)
Thirdly, I put my monthly Massage Envy on hold (temporarily). This is something I would get another gig or cleaning account for but I can survive a month or two without a massage, I think. That’s $50/ month in my pocket.
Next, my gym, the Franklin Athletic Club, would not let me suspend my account so I cancelled it. It’s summertime, so I’m out biking, hiking and running anyway. This saved me $30/month. I could have been talked into keeping this since I’m there several times a week. Interestingly, the “saleslady” that I talked to didn’t seem to care either way. Since she didn’t care, put another $30 in the tip jar for the month.
Now I had to examine my monthly internet memberships. I found them all valuable and worth the money, unfortunately I was not utilizing them to the fullest. So, I kept two and axed the $17/month one, along with rededicating my attention to blogging.
Finally, I decided to use MailChimp for my newsletter instead of Aweber, which saved me another $20. I am just starting out, and although Aweber may be the cadillac, I only have a beer budget. MailChimp is free for the first 1,000 or so subscribers. It is also used by Dan Miller of 48 Days, which is a good recommendation for me.
One of my core principles is having time. Coming from a time and place when I lost everything, I decided I would never be poor in time again. One of the easiest ways for me to do to keep my expenses low. That frees up my time to do what I love: hiking, writing, reading, running, biking, and hanging out with friends. I can always make more money to spend, but once time is spent, it is gone forever.
I think I’ll go hiking at Radnor Lake now, but first I would like to hear your thoughts or other creative ways you have used to cut your budget. Also, please sign up for my newsletter, found under my photo on my home page. You will be given one wish if you do, and it would help me out.