It seems these days that the size of our grocery packaging isn’t the only thing that is shrinking. Now, we’re experiencing yet another decrease in our income. We had a chunk taken out of my husband’s take home pay at the beginning of the year, then there was another one a couple of month’s ago, and now again another decrease.
This can’t be happening to just our family. My online work has slowed down as well, meaning my contribution to the family finances has gotten smaller. With the price of everything going up, and the net income going down, how do we adjust our family budget this time?
Time to figure out how to cut our expenses, again.
- NetFlix – We originally subscribed to NetFlix for their DVD mail rental services, then changed our service to streaming only when they upped their rental rates. As our family has gotten older, we’ve watched less and less on NetFlix. I can’t say this is going to be a big sacrifice, but it’s $8/month in savings.
Call Waiting – I know a lot of families have gotten rid of their landline phones, and do everything off their cell phones. This is something we don’t feel comfortable doing; however, a couple of the features we had put on our landline years ago aren’t as important to us anymore. Let someone get a busy signal and have to call back. We use our cell phones for long distance, and any family member with an emergency would call us on our cells if it was urgent. Quite honestly, it doesn’t get used often enough to justify the expense, and that’s another $9/month in savings.
Do things a little differently
Cut out bad habits – I’m currently working on transforming some of my bad habits into good ones. Some I’m doing for my health, but also for our budget. So far I’ve cut way down on caffeine, which means less expense on coffee and diet soda. This month I’m working on getting a little better organized, which includes the pantry. When I can see exactly what I have on hand, I can save money by using what’s in there. 😉
Revisit bill payment methods – This is something I’ve been considering for awhile. Being the hands-on type of person that I am (and Hubs feels the same way) I don’t want to pay our bills through our bank. I enjoy the convenience of online bill payment, but a couple of our utilities charge a processing fee $1.80 – $3.50! It would be cheaper to pay by check, just the cost of a stamp. That could save up to $5 or more per month.
Go back to my bag of budgeting tricks
Conserve utilities as much as possible –Right now our utility bills are getting a breather. (insert heavy sigh here) Temperatures here have tickled the 80’s, but it won’t be long before we have to practice creative cooling.
Stick to cooking at home – Hubs and the kids take their lunches every day, which is already a huge savings, but I’m still guilty of occasionally asking Hubs to pick up dinner on the way home. My plan is to get more consistent with menu planning, and take advantage of the resources I have at my fingertips.
A few dollars saved here and there will help make up for some of the decrease in pay this time, but our budget can only be stretched so far.
Has your family been feeling a pinch in the paycheck? What are you doing to stretch your budget?
Budget image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net