Cutting back without much ouch!

I talked a bit about this here but I’m checking in to update the progress I’ve actually made.

1)  Efax and — I totally blanked on canceling them but it’s on my to-do list for today.  I e-mailed Efax’s customer support several times about the double-billing, even sending them statement copies, and they no longer reply to me.  I’m honestly dreading the phone call but am hoping I can get them to credit back a few months of the double-billing!  This will be $55 savings once done.

2) YMCA, canceled and done.  I didn’t do it early enough to apply to June but it won’t re-bill in July.  That’s $67 saved.

3) Changing from cable internet and phone to DSL.  Hubby reluctantly agreed and for that reason, I’m hoping the DSL performance is as good as Qwest says it will be.  We will be cutting our bill for internet and phone from $110 per month to $60 per month, for a $50 per month savings.  If we aren’t happy with the speed of the DSL, we can go up to the highest tier for another $10 per month, which would still net us a savings of $40 per month.

4) We spend over $100 per month on bottled water.  This includes my liter bottles of Smartwater and also the smaller bottles that our daughter (who has Crohn’s and in senstive to poorly-filtered water) to drink all the time and for the other kids to take in the car.  We also have two Pur containers–a 144oz fridge container and a 56oz pitcher.  I really regret buying these because I spent $35 on one and $20 on the other, and I’m spending about $12/month on the filters.  Plus, they filter the water very slowly and the large one is hard to get back to the fridge without spilling.  The largest Pur container doesn’t even hold enough for me to fill my big pot to boil pasta (and takes a half an hour to refill) and when using the smaller one for coffee/tea, it runs out of water after just a few mugs (and takes a good 10-15 minutes to refill).  See #5 for the solution! 🙂

5) I purchased a Berkey water purifier.  It was a big purchase and something I’ve been mulling over for a few years.  We did an r/o with a UV filter at our last home but we’re renting this one so it didn’t make sense to buy or lease an r/o system here (the lease is $40/mo plus a $300 install fee which includes the run to the ice-maker)..  I got 25% off the Royal Berkey and free shipping, making it $212.  I will need to purchase two 3-packs of Contigo water bottles at Costco next week (for about $38 including tax) which brings the total for the Berkey and bottles to $250, which means it will completely pay for itself in about two months.  The Royal Berkey can filter 4 gallons in an hour (there is a $100 upgrade that doubles that) and the storage container has a THREE gallon capacity.

6)  Ice–we’ve been paying $65 plus tax for GE Smartfilters for the fridge and they only last anywhere from a couple weeks to a couple months here.  I plan to make ice from the Berkey water when we’re actually going to be *using* the ice in beverages and save the ice-maker ice for filling our cooler.  I did puchase 6 stacking ice cube trays for that purpose and they were $18 and should last years…and we’ve eliminated another $35 per month expense.

7) Auto insurance–this is a BIGGIE!  We have had Progressive for close to 8 years and we were paying $140/month just for dh’s 2002 (and paid for) van.  With two married thirty-seven year old drivers, that seemed steep but we don’t have perfect credit, so I just thought we were stuck with that rate.  I had my SUV on a joint policy my dad and I own, and that was $75 per month or $450 every 6 months.  I decided to switch that vehicle to Progressive in order to eliminate the need to juggle policies, payments, documents, etc. and to hopefully save a little $$ in the process because we’d get a multi-car discount on dh’s car too.  I was horrified to find out that while this move lowered hubby’s 6-month rate from $824 to $668, it raised the rate on my vehicle from $450 to $719!  I decided enough was enough and got a quote from Geico.  For the same exact coverage PLUS accident forgiveness (which we didn’t have before) we are now paying $105 per month vs. Progressive’s proposed rate of $289 per month!  That’s $185/month (or a 50%) savings.

8)  AAA – This one is $150 per year for both of us and includes extended towing coverage.  Our new Geico polocy has the option of adding Emergency Roadside Service for $30 per YEAR and it includes 100 miles of towing for a disable vehicle plus lock-out coverage.  I have a few things to verify but if it checks out, we likely will not be renewing AAA and will instead opt for Geico’s ERS which will save us $120 per year or $10 per month.

Total monthly savings once all changes are complete:  $502 per MONTH!

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