Here at Chez CT, we’ve been whittling away at expenses. There are so many changes in the economy, changing family life, and such. More than ever, I’ve been finding ways to cut down on spending.
There’s daily spending and then there are Major Expenses. We’ve never been ones to purchase $4 coffees on a regular basis. We review our use of cable and entertainment options regularly. You know I keep a handle on grocery costs, and watch gas usage. That leaves mostly Major Expenses for us to address. And we have done just that in the last several months.
Mortgage: If you’ve just crawled out from a rock, mortgage lending rates are historically low, but are starting to inch up. We refinanced at a sweet rate, which brought our monthly payment to half of what it originally was 12 years ago. There was no out of pocket cost to us for the refi, and the additional loan amount went right back into the loan, which actually bumped our equity. We save $200/month over the previous refinance. The one drawback is that our tax deduction for interest payments is much lower, which I can learn to live with.
Health Insurance: I know this is such a powder keg, and there are so many unknown variables. But the monthly premium for DH’s employer’s group plan was incredibly high, and the premiums were pre-tax, so we lost out big time. For the upcoming renewal, DH stayed as a single on his health plan and switched to a $0 premium plan. I moved with the boys to an individual plan at the renewal period. This leaves us options in the future. Our combined coverage is almost identical to the group plan, and we save almost $450/month and will increase to almost $500/month savings in August. These premiums are not pre-tax, so (fingers crossed) may be tax-deductible for this year. Take-home pay is higher!
Graduation: Talk about your rites of passage! Not just for #1, but also for us as parents. #1 attended a private high school, and even with scholarships, the monthly (year-round) tuition was a sacrifice (which we willingly made). The final monthly payment is due today (the day after graduation!). Anyway, we’ll be saving $480/month.
Vehicle: The clunker for #1 has been laid to rest. We put so much into repairs, I could cry. For less than the cost of those repairs averaged monthly, we are paying a new vehicle loan (1.9% interest) on a 2010 reliable vehicle for me, and #1 had to get over it and learn to drive a stick. When he is off to his new world in August, we will shift vehicles around and use the better-mileage ones for daily use. Our insurance has actually gone down, and will go down substantially further in August. Estimated savings right now is $100/month (plus gas savings); estimated savings in August could be $200/month.
Utilities: Buh-bye, phone company! We’ve had enough of your shenanigans. New phone provider, and a $25/month savings, locked in for two years. Plus, we will likely get entire house rewiring (may or may not be needed) included as part of the new service.
When you add that up, it’s almost like saving $1,250/month! Wow. Just… wow.
I’m still pinching every Lincoln till it screams, and doing grocery deals like a mad woman. I promise to get back in the swing of blogging about those. I’m thinking that trip to Hawaii may be in the cards, after all.
How are you saving on the Major Expenses these days? What has this strange economy done to your monthly savings?