Unemployed:9 months and counting.
Income sources during that time:Unemployment benefits, Census work, freelance writing, market research studies, medical research studies, online surveys.
Personal savings spent: $0
Not bad, all things considered, but I'm also looking ahead and wondering what the heck's gonna happen if I'm still out of work by year's end. I'm deferring a variety of expenditures (some routine healthcare and doc visits, plus home maintenance) and I can't do that forever.
Right now, I feel I have more control over my expenses than I do income.
So what's next on the chopping block?
1.Cell phone.The savings aren't as much as you might think since this is a prepaid cell phone that costs me just $100 a year. I regret not ending this back in April before I renewed my minutes, but after having already done so, I'll just go ahead and use it and will lose the cell phone service when I don't renew next April 2011.
2.AAA membership. $90 a year. I've had this for a few years, never used it and since I'm not commuting anywhere, it seems unnecessary to maintain. I can always renew (at a slightly higher rate) when/if I get a job.
The above 2 items are no-brainers which I regret not having already eliminated, but I guess at the time I wasn't feeling a crisis was approaching.
What else can I cut from the budget? These next two would be very hard for me to do, but neither are "essential."
1.Cable TV: At $25 a month, this could save me $300 a year. This would be hard, very hard. I watch TV daily, usually during breakfast to catch the morning news and weather, and then again at night.
I considered ditching cable and getting unlimited Netflix at less than half the price ($9), but I really like my TV shows. Watching movies wouldn't really fill that void.
2. Internet:I pay $20 a month for slow-as-molasses DSL from AT&T, and so I'd save $250 a year if I dropped it and used the computer at the library instead. I doubt I'd do this since it would be hugely inconvenient to conduct a job search, check email or do my freelance work at the library.
What else is there to cut?
Not a whole lot.
Of course, I'll keep trying to be frugal with utilities like electricity, water, sewer and heating oil (there's also my dump permit at $80 and annual sewer loan assessment of $600) but those bills will always remain unless I move into a tent.
I recently looked into refinancing (again) my small mortgage, which I could actually pay off in full if I wanted, but even with ample cash reserves, the credit union I checked with said that my being unemployed could be an issue and couldn't guarantee I'd get the refinance deal, so I'm reluctant to possibly blow $300 to apply.
COBRA is still an affordable $178.50/month through year's end. Still, I've avoided having ANY doctor's visits these past 9 months and have only ordered my 2 current prescriptions. By summer's end I'll be down to just 1 prescription. (And I can't wait!!!)
Obviously things like eating out, entertainment and clothing have been off the table for a while, though I admit I'm not perfect. I'm only getting my hair cut once every 2 months ($19 with tip).
Most of my gardening/yard work expenses have been limited to my vegetable garden, which is providing me with food.
Cat food has been a huge new expense for me, partly becus I now have 2 cats, not one, and also becus I committed myself to feeding them healthier food, meaning canned food, not dry. My other cat ate dry food exclusively and I couldn't get her off it. I did the research and the consensus is clearly that dry food is crap. However, I'm spending a LOT of money on Fancy Feast, about $80 a month, and I've started letting Luther have one of his 3-4 meals daily be dry. Waldo still gets only wet food becus I'm still not sure if he has kidney disease and dry food would aggravate that condition.
I've had no work done on the car and it's due now for at least an oil change. The car's 11 years old and I want to keep it going for several more years since it only has 112,000 miles on it.
My car insurance is pretty cheap ($350/hr) but my homeowner's is not, so I'll DEFINITELY shop around when I get my next premium bill.
Any suggestions for shaving expenses still further?
Next on the Chopping Block
June 17th, 2010 at 01:26 pm