Friday, April 25, 2014

Penny Pinching

While the vast majority of the US is just now coming out of the worst/longest winter - ever - CA has seemingly avoided the season all together. Okay, so we had this random couple weeks of SUPER cold weather, but then it was right back into the 50's & 60's.  It was like Ca got all of Winter in 2 weeks!

Now, here we are in mid April and we're already in the 80s! Crazy, right?! Even for us!

As much as I love Spring & Summer activities, I do NOT like the higher energy bills. Especially after getting a kick in the gut letter from our provider saying our duplex used 88% MORE energy than the average unit our size. EIGHTY EIGHT percent!!! Checking the graph, it is quite clear the culprit is our heating and air conditioning unit. Now, the Hubbs will take the info to our land lady (who is super nice) and she'll I'm sure get right on that. BUT! What do we do in the meantime? Even if we're paying the average, it's still going to be rough to add the extra expense with the extra mouth we're feeding. And diapering.

The obvious answer is:  Spend less.

But, how?

We are *already* living on a strict budget. How in the world am I gonna squeeze any more out of it?!

After doing some serious brain storming and praying, Hubbs & I came up with a few solutions.

The first cutback was drastic.

We both realized...okay, I realized the horrible truth.

It was time to cut cable.

I'm such a tv junkie. This is an accurate representation of what I was feeling when we made the decision. 

When we sat down and really went over what we watch, we realized the only thing we couldn't get via Netflix, Amazon Prime or Hulu Plus, was my favorite news channel. As much as it killllls me to give up my portal to the outside world and current events, it's just not worth the expense.

Netflix and Hulu Plus are each only $7.99 a month, and Amazon Prime is $99 a year. Even with all three - AND with paying for new episodes of Doctor Who (offered next day at $2.99 each episode in HD.) we're still going to be paying less than half of what we paid for cable.

Cable is such a rip off and everyone knows it. WHY are we still giving them our money?!

Seriously, I'll get over it and get my news on line.

Once we (or rather I) gave up cable, I started to wonder where else we could save some money, and came up with a huge list (thank you Pinterest!) of little things that will help make a difference in our bottom line.

Guess what?! I'm going to share them with you! Every Friday (well, until I run out of ideas. lol), I'll be posting a DIY that can help you stretch your budget just a wee bit farther. I'll even do the math to show you how much you can save! I'm such a giver. ;0)

Before I get into the series, I'm going to quickly share with you one of things that I've been doing for the past few years that has greatly reduced our overhead.

Believe it or not, my number two budget saver (after meal planning) was to switch as many house hold items as possible to generic. When my 2 middle children were both in diapers, I was spending about $400 a month on our household supplies and diapers/wipes/baby food/etc. Yup, $400 a month. It was crazy! Right around that time, Target with nutz with their Up & Up brand, and seemingly over night had a generic of most of the products in the store- it was a Godsend! I have found that most are identical in quality and up to half the cost of their name brand competitors. We switched everything from window cleaner to diapers. The savings has been incredible!

Recently we discovered the Cartwheel app & RedCard (debit). They have saved us nearly $200 in the only last 6 months!! Just while purchasing our every day stuffs. (yes, that's a word. lol) If you shop there on a regular basis, I highly recommend getting both. I'm so mad at myself for not doing it sooner!

(Nearly everything Up & Up is almost always at least 5% off with Cartwheel. Not only are you saving by buying their generic, you can save even more by using the app & card!)

Cutting back in an already tight budget isn't easy. Finding ways to make a dollar stretch takes sacrifice, a bit of extra effort and some out of the box thinking.

Please come back for my Frugal Friday posts!

I hope I can be a help to you.

Oh, and I did NOT get paid in ANY way from any of the companies I listed. All of the views expressed in this post are mine. 

Thanks for stopping by & don't forget you can follow my crazy life on facebook, Instagram & Pinterest.


  1. Thanks for sharing your tips Amy! We live in a tiny apartment right now and are looking for a house so you better believe we're pinching the pennies! We started couponing and we use Cartwheel and Ibotta. Our next step is giving up cable too but I love watching HGTV and the Food Network which you can't find on Hulu or Netflix so that's why I haven't given it up yet haha. Can't wait to see your other tips!!


    1. I have Ibotta also, but can't for the life of me figure out how to use it! lol!! Good luck with house hunting!

  2. This is a great post, Amy! Looking forward to Frugal Fridays!

  3. Awesome tips to save some money!... I've heard a lot of things of Netflix, but I haven't really take a look at it. A friend of mine told me that for the kids is awesome. I guess I'll have to go and check it out! Thanks for this info!


    1. Between Netflix & Amazon Prime, my kids get every single one of their favorite shows - and a ton of classics! It's worth the look!