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.