Sunday, November 29, 2009

Some financial changes

With temporary pay reductions starting in January, I am trying to institute some cost-cutting measures. I've made changes over the past year - like refinancing my house and trying to pay off my car quicker - but it's now time to start cutting smaller things. So, here's what I'm going to do:

1) start drinking chai at home instead of on my way to work - save maybe $10/week
2) start bringing lunches from home more often - eat out only once or twice/week - save maybe $15-20/week
3) switch from Comcast to Direct TV - save $20/month
4) start buying my herbs and supplements online - I save 50%, which is about $10-12/month
5) decrease how much I contribute to the Charitable Fund Drive at work - $25/month; I don't really like to do this, on the other hand, I help my family out each month to help them make ends meet. They say "charity begins at home" and I figure that I need to help my family before I help others. They help me a lot - they babysit Eddie frequently and dad helps me with yard work; he's coming over today to help me with the leaves.

That is about $150/month in savings. These are probably changes I could've instituted awhile back. I don't sacrifice much - I still have luxuries that a lot of people don't have. I sacrifice convenience, but that's okay. I'm also using coupons more.

Hopefully I can keep instituting small changes like this and make paying off the home equity line of credit a priority. I had to use that to make ends meet two years ago when I was on sabbatical. At the time, I didn't want to worry about finances and wanted to put them off into the future. Well, it's the "future" now.

Plan B is to maybe fix the house up enough to sell it this summer and use the equity to pay off all the bills and buy a smaller place. As it is, I don't use one big room and we don't really use the yard. A smaller place would make life easier. It's like starting with a clean slate. We'll see!

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