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Friday, February 8, 2008

How I’ve reduced my bills over the past three months. . . . .

At the end of October, 2007, I decided to make a commitment to lowering my monthly bills---primarily because I finally admitted to myself that I was spending more than I was bringing in. I was slowly inching my way back into substantial debt, after having squandered something of a financial fresh start (I’ll write about this in a later post) before moving to Oregon in 2006.

Cable: first I lowered my premium HD service to basic service, then when I could, I completely cancelled my cable. SAVINGS: $59.99 per month.

Auto insurance: I researched different auto insurance companies, and finally switched from my previous company to GEICO. SAVINGS: $250 a year.

Storage: I drove back to California and emptied out a storage facility I had been using. SAVINGS: $40 a month.

Trash: I decreased my trash pickup to once a month---and I rarely even fill the trash can once a month, because I recycle and compost. SAVINGS: $12 a month.

Electricity: I started paying attention to my electricity usage, switched to CFL bulbs for most lamps, and unplugged appliances and the TV/DVD when not in use. I have consistently received either comparable or lower electric bills over the past three months. SAVINGS this month compared to February 2007 bill: $8.91.

Gas: I have kept my thermostat at about 58-60 degrees when I’m at home (sometimes lower) and I turn it off completely at night and when at work. Although this has necessitated wearing MANY layers (my wool socks are my best friends), it’s been worth it. SAVINGS this month compared to February 2007 bill: $63.87!!

There is more I can do: I can climb under my house and make sure my furnace has a clean filter (I’m pretty sure it doesn’t), and I can check the thermostat on the water heater. I want to call my phone company and see about ordering the very basic phone plan---I’ve already cancelled long distance and use an LD card, but my local plan might need some tweaking. Finally, in May I’m going to cancel my Verizon cell contract (yay!) and go with a pay-as-you-go plan, which should save me at least $20 a month.

I’m excited about all of these savings, and now it’s become something of a challenge to see how much I can shave off my monthly bills each month. Stay tuned!

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