Wednesday, January 11, 2012
I've been trying forever to find new ways to make our very small fixed income stretch just a little bit farther. I've read every single article I've come across over the years that have anything at all to do with cutting debt and saving pennies. Before we moved from Texas many of these things had already put into place. We've never had credit cards and so have none of those debts that plague many folks. We sold all the vehicles and now have the old faithful Dodge diesel. Mars bought it before we moved from a friend of his and got a great deal on it. With good driving records we have a very small insurance payment. I shop around a couple of times a year to make sure we have the best rates available and only carry the minimum required by law.
We don't go out to eat anymore and cook most everything from scratch. I make our bread and bake our desserts as well. I grocery shop with a list and try to hit the sales for the best deals. I used coupons until the printer croaked and since we don't buy the Sunday paper anymore we don't get those either. I buy in bulk as much as I can. I know folks talk about all the good deals they find at places like Sam's and Costco, but I can't justify the annual expense of being a member. It just wouldn't save us as much as it cost for the membership.
Hopefully the garden will produce well this spring and summer and we will be able to cut back there as well since I plan on canning or dehydrating as much food as possible.
We have a landline phone because after doing all the research it was the cheapest way to go. Neither of us use the dang thing much anyway! If we could get away with it I think I would just disconnect it but with family in other states I just can't do that.
We don't have a TV and so don't have that to pay for although we DO still have our Netflix DVD account. Our internet is our "connection" to the world. Out here there are only a couple of choices for internet and so satellite is what we went with as it is the least expensive here. Unfortunately we have to watch the bandwidth we use. Let me tell you that THAT was the hardest thing to get used to. Until we moved out here I had never been limited to the amount of time spent or things downloaded on the net.
We no longer have a water bill as we are on well water now. Our stove runs on propane and averages out to about $6.00 a month. We go to town 2-3 times a month and so save on diesel that way.
We've pretty much done most everything we can to trim things back. Other than the land payment the biggest bill we run into has been the electric. We've been keeping the thermostat down to around 60 degrees this winter. Which is actually pretty comfortable. I LIKE wearing my winter clothes and don't mind layering them at all. But even with that our electric bill was HIGH.
I don't remember if I've ever said anything about the situation with our electric company. When we moved out here they hooked us up at what they call RV rates which are more than double the rate for regular homes. I was told at the time that once we got the trailer "permanently" on the land they would send someone out. He would then decide if we would be able to have our rates lowered. Well, once we got the trailer skirted in I called the electric company to let them know what we had done so they could send the guy out to check it. Imagine my surprise when I was told that "An RV is an RV no matter what you do to it". At first all I could think of to say was... "BUT...BUT...." YOU SAID...."
Anyway, I almost went into meltdown mode. You would be so proud of me though!! I calmly asked for a Supervisor and waited patiently for the callback. When she finally called that afternoon we had a very long conversation in which I explained to her what we had been told when the electricity was going in. She assured me that "An RV is an RV no matter what you do to it". I wanted to reach through the phone and let the choking begin!!! I explained all the things Mars has done out here to become "permanent" including wiring up the barn and the well. All the sudden she said "The barn? You have electricity in the barn?" Well of course we do, its dark in there.... lol Anyway, long story finally coming to an end now (I bet you're thinking "whew, bout time") They came out, looked at the wiring from the pole to the barn and POOF just like that our rates were cut to less than half of what they had been. Which means that $250.00 bill for last month is now running at right around $120.00. Quite the savings! Once spring gets here we will have that cut down to probably around $25.00. That danged heater is expensive to run....
I'll keep looking for ways to cut more corners but I think they've already been cut so much they are now round !!
~~~~~~ Hey ... I'm Just Sayin' ... ~~~~~~