Saturday, August 20, 2011

Fat, Dumb and Happy

Like most of the world, SM and I are learning how to make do with less.  Our annual income is much less than we anticipated it would be at our age.  We can blame the Great Resession but the reality is this scaling back could have happened at any given time in our lives.   

Fortunately, because of common sense (or shear dumb luck) we find ourselves continuing to be able to manage our monthly expenses of mortgage payments, utilities, food and gasoline expendatures without having to dip into the savings account very often.  I still wish we could have had the house paid off.  That (and building our savings account) has always been the priority with any excess cash that we had at the end of the month.  Excess cash has gone the way of the dinosaurs around here these past few years.

Instead of week long vacations out of state, we run away to the beach (4 hours away) for a long weekend.   

Instead of buying replacement windows for the whole house, we're planning on only buying one or two as the need arises and repair what can "hold on" for another year.

Our vehicles are becoming a concern.  The Buick needs to be sold.  Ever since the wreck (where SM played bumper cars with a semi) the car just feels off.  It's drivable but it's now been moved up the "priority list" and needs to be replaced ASAP.  We're hoping the Jeep can hold out another year.

SM has been doing a lot of research and competitive shopping lately. 

Our home owners insurance went up 10% with Nationwide.  SM went shopping and found another agency who would cover us for $500 less a year.  He went ahead and switched our auto insurnace too and saved another $1100 a year.

This weekend SM has installed MagicJack and is playing around with that.  He paid $39 for it (which includes the 1st year of service).  We pay about $40 a year for the land line so that's another $480 a year in savings.   I have never owned a cell phone (and probably won't use one very much anyways) but SM wants me to have one for emergencies so he's going to get me a TracFone.

It's football season so the DirecTV has been turned back on at a cost of $95 a month (Boo Hiss) but we still plan on suspending service during the summer months (April-August) so that adds another $500 to the kitty.

Add it all up and that's a $2,500 savings per year.

"You just gave us a pay raise baby!"  I said to SM grinning. 

Notice that we're not really sacrificing anything.  We're just exchanging one service for another.  A company that we've been with forever like Nationwide (who should have been giving us a "loyality" discount) will no longer get our business.  Too bad...So sad.

There's a saying about being "fat, dumb and happy".  When we had enough money, we didn't shop around or look for sales.  The money dries up and we learned (and are STILL learning) about frugality. 

It's been a good lesson.  We've been lazy. 

We're not lazy anymore.


  1. So very true. I look back and think of all the money I could have saved up if I'd even paid attention to something as simple as grocery shopping.
    Great post.

  2. It is amazing that when I had a very well paying job I had the least amount of money. I think how far I have come. I used to get my hair cut every 6 weeks at $100 a pop, now I get it trimmed once a year for $22. It is amazing where the money goes.

  3. How does that saying go? The worst of times brings out the best in people? Or at least I'm hoping so.

    It's great you found ways to save without actually having to deny yourself something, although I suppose there are things we should all really give up. But ya gotta have some "fun" money!

  4. It is truly amazing what you can get by on when you try. One day you suddenly realize that ya just didn't "need" what you thought you did. And then you say things to yourself like "Who cares?" I mean so what if you don't have the most current fashion or tv channels etc. You know what I mean. I think you are smart to move that stuff around seasonally since it obviously works! Good call. Now the cell phone, I vote you get one of those. It can really save you in an emergency. Or if someone else is in one!

  5. When hubby retired , we thought we had enough in savings to cover, but prices have risen DRAMATICALLY in the past couple years. We've cut back here and there, and are doing okay. Like you, we let the cable drop during the summer months...and it's due to turn back on really soon. Rats. I loved it without tv....but, he's a great guy and that's HIS thing.
    I guess I should recheck auto insurance rates--I know we're probably paying too much. We've been with that company FOREVER.....

  6. Living simply really has its rewards. I'll bet you'll get that house paid off in no time! Enjoy your wise decisions!

  7. tami-Thanks for giving me the idea. We revamped our cable/internet package and will be getting the MagicJack for phone this week! We will be saving more than ever! Thanks so much!

  8. Tami - Well done!! $2,500.00 / year is hectic. In our terms it's ZAR17500.00!

    We managed to save ZAR300.00 / month just by changing our internet service provider - unfortunately we don't have MagicJack here :(

  9. Hmm, we've been living this way since we married 4 years ago. Hubby is a union boilermaker - unless he travels, and he doesn't, there is no work in the summer, so we really do enjoy the benefits of our garden.

    Why would anyone NOT want to save money?