I'm a full-time wife and mom of two adorable boys. When I'm not busy trying to keep up with them I enjoy photography, traveling, planning parties and a little bit of reading.

In February of 2008 I was diagnosed with an incurable terminal lung illness, though God promised me a full and complete healing. While we wait for His timing, we're taking it one day at a time, and standing in awe of how God's using all of this for His glory. The tough road we've traveled has given us a new perspective on the fragility of life. Memories are more important to us than ever before. The goal of this blog is to share some of our family life - the ups and downs, the joys and probably some of the pains as well. It's mostly meant as a personal journal of sorts, but you're welcome to share in it. We'd like to take this opportunity to say ...


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Breakdown of our Bills

Along with cutting back we needed to lower (or even eliminate) more bills than just our electric. So, here's a brief (okay, you caught me - it's a "not-so-brief") recap of our monthly bills - the before and the "after." I'm sure you don't really care about any of this, but I seem to have nothing better to blog about than our quest to save.

Sirius - Aaron had this for his car since he drives so much. This has been canceled. He told me that you can get Pandora, Slacker, and Flycast for FREE on your blackberry - for those of you who (unlike me) have one.

Comcast - Aaron had called them and talked them into cutting our bill in half for six months. ... He actually did this three times in a row (but don't tell!). But we decided that even that was too much. Full price was $129 for our Internet and television. Half price was $56 (I know - the math doesn't work on my calculator either!). But we've recently switched to their "economy internet" that's $25 a month - I wasn't able to find this plan on their website, but it DOES exist! And we also dropped our tv to the lowest plan which is only $9. Add taxes, and our bill is only $40 a month. Neither of us are willing to get rid of the internet, and I need a 15 minute daily fix of a real news channel. I don't think the cheapo tv plan is supposed to include FOX, but I'm not complaining that it's still there.

Electric - I already discussed this bill in more detail than you probably ever cared to read about! :)

Water - This bill isn't a huge one for us, so we haven't cut back much in this area. Actually we recently decided that it's going to be necessary for us to run our sprinkler this spring/summer. Long story - this isn't the time or place to go into it. But, this will be an additional drain on this bill.

Verizon Wireless - Since Aaron works for them we have never had a land line - no point. His 12 cell phone lines (yeah - you read that right! Crazy, isn't it!) are all paid for by the company. Thank goodness! That bill alone would be enough to bankrupt us! As for my phone, my mother and I share a family plan, so I only pay for half of the bill (and she pays for the other half). Since we're "employee lines" our bill actually is 50% off, so in essence I only pay a quarter of the bill. Not bad!

Sewage/Trash - Since these are pre-determined amounts, there's nothing to do to save on these bills.

Mortgage - We talked to our Mortgage Advisor, and it's not beneficial for us to refinance at this time. But at least we checked into it!

Association Fee - This is also non-negotiable. But at least they plow snow, cut grass, and cover most of our homeowner's insurance needs.

Car Insurance - Aaron recently did a price comparison of our Progressive rate with All State, Nationwide, Geico, and State Farm. They all seemed pretty much the same - within probably $30/6 months of each other. I'll give it another month or so, then I'll check again. But for now, we're sticking with Progressive.

Gasoline - We aren't "wasteful" when it comes to driving our cars except that both of us drive way too fast, which lowers our gas mileage. I already combine errands and do them in a logical order. But then I don't know any mother of young kids who doesn't! Kids' attention span only lasts so long, so we learn the hard way to be efficient with errand time.

Groceries - This is a topic that I'll get much more specific with later! But 18 months ago I spent an average of $65/week at Giant. This included everything from toilet paper, to Advil, to bread and grapes. The only thing not included in that bill was Alex's diapers. Then I got lazy and stopped taking the time to use my numerous coupon resources and actually wait to buy something when it was on sale with a coupon. Our grocery bill skyrocketed to an average of $85-125/week! I know that the price of food has gone up an average of 4-6% in this past year, but my grocery spending went up much more than that!

Once we decided to cut back, I first tried to get in that $65 target again. I know we are now a family of 4 (or I guess 3.5 since Harrison's only 13 months), but the first two weeks I failed. They were $80 each week. Week three I only spent $20 (on milk, juice, cheese and fabulous trips to coffee shops with girlfriends!) And week four I spent $70. I'm getting closer!

A few months ago I did a purposeful price comparison of Giant, Aldis and Karns. The only thing I could get cheaper at Aldis than Giant (the way I shop with coupons) was white bread. But that stuff is so bad for you, and not worth an extra trip just to buy it. So, I'm staying with Giant. For those Weis shoppers out there - it's a good store too. It's just that the items we buy happen to be slightly cheaper at Giant. It all depends on what you buy. I also like Giant's gas rewards!

Prescriptions - These are necessary and also non-negotiable. But I am doing what I can to make them cheaper. My two big drugs that deal with the PH are mailed to me from a specialty pharmacy - it's the only pharmacy in the whole country that supplies them - one is free, and the other is ... well ... not. But for the past year or so, the other two prescriptions I get are also ordered through the mail. With our insurance this is MUCH cheaper! It used to be that these two were $20 EACH at Rite Aid for a one month supply. But through the mail one is $8 for a three month supply, and the other one is totally free! Yeah baby!

No comments: