Soooo, I’m about to walk into 2011 with nearly $9,000 less in annual expenses. And even though I’m happy about this development, it also makes me feel rather pathetic. Since when is $9k a big deal??! There was a time when saving or spending a few grand didn’t matter. But that was then. These days, cutting costs is the new getting ahead.
After my divorce in 2000, downsizing was the new getting ahead. The square footage of the houses that I’ve owned shrunk from 6,400 to 2,400 to 2,000. I drove out of my marriage in a silver Lexus, traded it in for a Suburu and currently own a Toyota. It’s been ages since I shopped at Saks; I’m a Kohl’s and Target girl now!
Walking into 2011, I can see that downsizing is no longer enough. The cash flow is more like a trickle. It’s steady, though. For that, I’m thankful. But to stretch my dollars, I’ve had to make a few new, strategic moves:
I want to enter 2011 feeling as financially secure as possible. Even though the nation is supposed to be in recovery mood, things still look pretty shaky to me. So looking forward to next year, my key words are “safe” and “stable.”
Here are a few more things I’m doing to save money:
I hope writing about my search for savings isn’t too boring. I just have a hunch that in 2011, the issue of trying to make money is going to be more of a concern than ever. Maybe I should just end this post by saying, happy holidays and….see you next year! xoxox.
P.S. — Don’t you just love the caption on the cartoon? It’s from The New Yorker, the only print magazine that I still subscribe to. I like getting it in the mail and ripping out cartoons that make me laugh. Of course, sometimes I read the articles and save them too. ;-)
Update on Dec. 31: I just remembered something important I learned earlier this year. This lesson deals specifically with those darned fixed costs — like insurance and utility bills. The revelation was that it’s possible to reduce these too. Just call the company and ask customer service if there’s anything you can do to cut down on your bill.
When I asked my home insurance carrier that question, it knocked my annual bill down by a few hundred dollars. I was entitled to the discount for good behavior — there haven’t been any claims against my house or property.
And over the summer, I eliminated my $90 Cablevision cable TV bill by signing up for Verizon’s competing FIOS service. As the new player, Verizon is offering all kinds of package deals. Now, I get Verizon landline service, high speed Internet service and cable — all for a little over $100 per month. On a separate occasion, I called to to complain about my bill and I was given some kind of “courtesy discount.” It means that an additional $15 was taken off of my bill every month for a full year!