Friday, 5 February 2016

How We Saved Money Jan 31-Feb 06

I have already written about my savings on groceries this week. Using in-store coupons, a rewards card, and buying multiples of items that were on special saved me around $39 that I can think of off the top of my head. Had my kids not noticed that the coupons they took from the coupon wall matched the razors I bought for Husband, we would have paid the full price (even though neither of them can read. What brilliant kids!).  Had I made several smaller trips to the grocery store I would not have spent the required $250 that got me $20 off my future groceries. Had I not stockpiled coffee (for a savings of $16) I would also not have made the limit. This is one instance where spending more saved us money. I am very grateful that we have money to spare so that I can save by stockpiling. When, out of necessity, you must buy smaller portions you are usually paying a higher price and are unable to wait for the specials. It is a vicious cycle to be in.

Image Credit: Pinterest

I also saved money this week by going to my bank to cancel the over-draft protection fee I was being charged, and the life insurance that I had on my account. We have life insurance now and that account is barely ever used. Even though money rarely goes into it, I was losing an extra $10/month in fees for things I didn't want or need. I hate to say how long I have known about these fees--over a year I am sure. So that's $100 at least I could have saved by being more proactive. I was unable to cancel the fees online, and it is hard to get everywhere I want to go in town with the kids along. That said, I have had plenty of days alone in town where I simply forgot or ran out of time. When I went in to do it I was very impressed that they reimbursed me $60 for the overdraft protection without my even asking. I had to call an 800 number to cancel the life insurance but I actually remembered. So in addition to saving $10/week from now on I also have an extra $60 for emergencies, for a total of $70 saved at the bank this week!

Just to pat myself on the back, I tallied up the monthly costs that I was able to eliminate in the last few weeks (these are not one-off savings but rather monthly charges that I was able to reduce or eliminate).

  • cancelled an insurance policy, dropped cell phone bill: $66/mo
  • put satellite TV on seasonal break: $75/mo
  • cancelled overdraft protection and an unneeded life insurance fee: $10/mo
Feel free to double check my math, folks, but by my calculations that is an annual savings of $1812.00, all achieved in less than a few hours and with minimal inconvenience. That is more than an extra mortgage payment that we were allowing to go down the drain. If at all possible, I would like to make a prepayment of $1812.00 on our mortgage this year. Just for giggles I looked it up on my mortgage calculator: a prepayment in that amount would pay off our mortgage 7 weeks faster. We would save $133 in interest this period, but over the entire remaining amortization period we would save $1199.10 in interest--all with money that was being frittered away here and there without our ever realizing it. Doesn't it make sense to patch the holes if your boat is leaking?


  1. It does indeed. The little amounts really mount up over time. CJ xx

    1. Thanks CJ. Part of me feels bad that we had (and still have) money leaking where we don't even realize. But I feel more in control now and I feel very positive about our future. Thanks so much for reading--I'm such a big fan of your blog I'm thrilled you stop by!

  2. Well done! Tell hubby to give you a pat on back because you have really improved the family finances. (Just don't tell him it was easy!)

    Every time you make a mortgage payment, I would add a little something to it - $20, $50, $100 - whatever you have. You won't think about those small amounts but you will be so happy in the future. Alternatively, if you don't have a REALLY good financial cushion to fall back on AND if you are really good with saving and not touching it, then I would save anywhere from 1-3 years worth of expenses and just pay the regular amount on your mortgage. I recommend this because you are a one-income family and given where you live I'm not sure how easy it is to replace that income.

    I'd think about what you want to be prepared for and who you want to help (e.g. your parents as they get older depending on their financial situation) and then determine an amount and throw it in an online savings account and just let it grow.

    Stepping off my soapbox now! But you know how much I love to save! Have a good weekend!

    1. Pru, any time you feel like getting on your soap box I encourage you to do so :) These are all things that I should do and some of them I haven't even thought of! I truly thank you. I know from friends that read my blog that some of what I've done has inspired them to make changes and get in control of their finances. Likewise, many of the changes I've made were inspired by you and Elaine at Mortgage Free in 3 (whom I heard about through you!). So preach on, it's well meaning advice and even if it's not something I'm in a position to do it might help someone who is reading :)

  3. I saved $288a year by taking insurance off our phones. On top of the monthly insurance fee we have a $200 deductible. We have our own brand of insurance. We have older but still usable phones if we ruin a good phone. They don't have great reception because they lack technology but they'll do. Our family plan allows four numbers but we use only three. If we had to we could turn on the fourth number and get the one-cent phone, and not use the number. We don't upgrade just because we can. We have one upgrade that's been available since October. It will sit there until we need it.

    Another phone savings - new customer gets great deal! What about 10 year faithful customer? Ask for the same deal and you'll likely get it.

    Your tips are very helpful!

    1. Robin, we always see offers to "new" customers, especially with our satellite TV company. A few years ago the offer was if you were a new customer they would give you a free PVR (records tv shows). But if you had been supporting them for years it would cost you $400! My husband complained and eventually they gave it to him for about $80. We have since put our satellite on seasonal break, but it does make you wonder when there are no perks for long-time customers. You are right, usually when you ask for the better deal you do get something for your effort. Thanks for commenting!