One of the reasons we decided to embark on this homesteading journey (How we started Homesteading) was to cut back on expenses so we can retire on less. I’m always looking for ways to cut back. Trust me, it’s a struggle. Sometimes I swear I have a split personality. One loves to save and one loves to spend. I just have to keep the spending urge in check and not go crazy.
Here are some of the things we have done to cut back on expenses.
- Cable/Satellite- We cut the cord this past fall and went to an antenna. I miss the DVR the most. We did sign up for Netflix and Hulu though. We were paying $130/month on satellite and now we pay $20/month total for the two services. Now Netflix has this option of downloading shows and then you can watch them later without using data. So, I download shows to my tablet while we’re out and can use wifi from somewhere else. Now we can watch some movies at home and not use up our internet data.
- Telephone landline- Does anyone still have one of these? We dropped this years ago!
- Cell phone bill – This one kills me! I know we pay way too much, but I’m kinda stuck here. Since we live in the country, the service isn’t great and I have to watch what provider we use as not all of them reach out here. I watch the data usage and have cut back our monthly bill as much as I can. I’d love to hear your suggestions on cutting back this bill.
- Heating- Our main source of heat is propane. We have a wood burning stove that we use when it gets really cold and on the weekends to help stretch the propane.
- Cooking- We used to be really bad about eating out all the time! We still eat out from time to time, but nothing like we used to.
- Cooking from scratch- The next step is to stop buying all the prepackaged food and cook from scratch. It’s better for your wallet and your health.
- Brown bagging it- I used to eat out for lunch quite often. Not anymore. I take my lunch everyday. That $5-$8 several times a week really adds up.
How about doing services yourself instead of paying someone else. Have you ever stopped to think about all the things you do yourself instead of paying to have it done? What else could you do yourself to help cut back on expenses?
Here are some of things that we do ourselves.
- Haircuts – This is something that I’ve only been doing for about the last 9 months. The lady that cut our hair changed professions and I didn’t have the energy to find someone else. I’ve always cut my own bangs in between visits, but now I’m trimming the length as well and cutting my husband’s hair. He would go about every 6 weeks and it would cost $20. I would go about 5 times a year. That’s a savings of about $275/yr.
- Car Maintenance- My husband is a mechanic by trade. He does all of the maintenance on our cars and equipment with the exception of our main car’s oil changes. We take that in only because of the warranty. We want to make sure we have a really good paper trail in case there is ever an issue. He put new brakes and rotors on the car last weekend. We estimate this DIY saved us at least $150 between labor and parts up-charge. I have no idea how money he saves us by doing the maintenance on all the mowers, tillers, tractor, etc.
- Home maintenance- My husband does a lot of home maintenance. There’s plumbing and electrical. A few weekends ago he replaced the garage door opener and put new seals on the doors. All of this adds up quickly.
- Taxes – I started doing our taxes a few years ago. Our taxes are fairly straightforward. We do itemize, but the programs out there walk you through it. This saves us about $125/year.
I know I’m probably missing something, but this is a pretty good list. Please share some of the things that you do to save money and cut back on expenses.