Penny Foolish: How 6 Tiny Money Leaks Cost Me $1702 Annually

I hate it when I see people waste food.

I’m not sure why, but I’ve always been that way.   Somebody who believes in reincarnation once told me that I probably starved to death in a past life.   Okay.

Another pet peeve of mine is carelessly wasting money on things that can be easily prevented.   Although I haven’t shared that little characteristic of mine with the reincarnationist, I wonder what she’d say.   Then again, on second thought, I don’t really care.

While I am very diligent about not wasting food, I still have a lot of work to do when it gets down to plugging all of my money leaks.

I recently did a quick audit to see where some of my biggest leaks currently reside and then evaluated my odds of repairing them.   When you’re done checking them out, let me know if: 1) you suffer from some of the same money leaks that I do; and 2) if you have a few others currently plaguing you that I didn’t list.   Thanks.

1. Buying lunch at work.

My (lame) excuse: Hey!   Every once in awhile I get hungry at work.   Besides, who has time to make and pack their own lunch?
Short term impact: A grilled cheese sandwich here, a bag of chips and a cookie there – add it all up and I’m currently averaging about $10 per week at my workplace cafeteria.
Long term impact: $500 annually, assuming my appetite doesn’t get bigger between now and then.
The obvious solution: Pack my own lunch the night before.
Odds of this actually happening: 50/50

2. Over-paying for our satellite television service.

My (lame) excuse: Although I watch the same 25 channels 99.5376 percent of the time, one day I may want to watch something on one of the other 1,746 channels I’m paying for.
Short term impact: I pay about $20 per month extra for the additional satellite channels I watch 0.4624 percent of time.
Long term impact: $240 annually.
The obvious solution: Dump the extra channels and resign myself to the fact that I will miss a show I really really really want to watch 0.4624 percent of time.
Odds of this actually happening: Although this one is a no-brainer, the answer is slim and none.   This is yet more proof that people make irrational decisions about money all the time.

3. Paying almost all of our bills by snail mail instead of the Internet.

My (lame) excuse: As the household CFO the Honeybee pays the bills, and she insists on paying them the old-fashioned way because she “doesn’t trust computers.”   (Don’t say it.   I know.)
Short term impact: On average she writes about 10 checks per month for bills that she could pay online or automatically.
Long term impact: $60 annually, assuming 50 cents per bill (for the price of the stamp, envelope, and check).
The obvious solution: Well, short of finding a second wife – which I still believe is illegal in most states – somehow convince the Honeybee to start “trusting computers” and pay our bills online.
Odds of this actually happening: I stand a better chance of being hired as a back-up singer and off-stage cabana boy for Lady Gaga on her next world tour.

4. Paying to use the express lane when it’s not really necessary.

My (lame) excuse: Even though I am on the road by 5 am when traffic is still relatively light, it’s insurance against getting stuck in an unexpected traffic jam down the road.
Short term impact: Over the past two months, I have “chickened out” and taken the express lane in the wee hours of the morning an average of twice per week.
Long term impact: $402 annually, assuming the toll road rates don’t go up – which they will.
The obvious solution: Look fear in the eye and bypass the express lanes at 5 in the morning.
Odds of this actually happening: A near certainty.   After evaluating the long-term impact, I’m already feeling braver.   Wait; I changed my mind.

5. My insatiable addiction to iTunes.

My (lame) excuse: Why listen to some lame radio station with a puny play list of 400 songs – half of which I don’t like – when I can listen to my own personal music library?
Short term impact: Last month I spent almost $100 – although that is not typical.
Long term impact: I expect to spend about $500 annually, give or take $100.   Okay, okay.   Give $100.
The obvious solution: Limit the monthly growth of my iTunes collection by 80 percent.
Odds of this actually happening: One chance in three.   My intentions are good here so I will try my best, but this is easier said than done.

6. Not replacing the weather stripping on my front and back doors.

My (lame) excuse: Look, I live in Los Angeles – not Moscow.   How much energy can I really be wasting?
Short term impact: I’m not sure, but the US Department of Energy says weatherstripping pays for itself within one year via reduced energy costs.
Long term impact: Based upon the data from the Department of Energy, I’m guessing less than $20.
The obvious solution: Get off my butt and weatherstrip my external doors.
Odds of this actually happening: 99 percent.   I know.   It’s ironic that the money leak with the lowest financial impact will be the one most likely to be fixed.

As you can see, if I am successful in plugging all of these money leaks I could conceivably end up saving $1702 per year – or more!   Unfortunately, the odds are I will continue to be penny foolish and let most of these leaks just keep on draining the hard-earned money from my wallet.

Well, that is unless Lady Gaga happens to come a calling.



Comments

  1. 1

    Yokel says

    Perhaps you could remind the Honeybee that once she lets go of the check, most of the processing of the payment is done by the computers she doesn’t trust so it’s not as if she’s bypassing them in any meaningful way.

  2. 2

    Olivia says

    Just a few ideas.
    1) Buy some especially cool things to pack in your lunch once and a while as incentive. (Like a special mustard if that’s your thing.)
    2) Would HULU or fancast work for the oddball programs?
    3) I’m with your wife on this one, but buy my stamps discounted at Henry Gitner thus saving 90% on postage.
    4) No ideas. Don’t have them around here.
    5) Ask for iTunes gift cards for Christmas or look for free downloads at Wisebread Deals.
    6) Good for you. I’m sitting at the computer right now as the cold air puffs around my bare feet. Gotta write myself a note on that one.

  3. 3

    Everyday Tips says

    Hey if you can actually get away with only spending ten dollars for food while working per week, I definitely would not even consider packing a lunch. (Lunch packing is a pain!)

    I have a friend who is just like your wife. However, she is a step further and will drive to the store to pay her bill when it is getting a little too close to the due date. With gas over 3 bucks a gallon now, that is a huge waste of time and money. However, I know she will not change, so I have given up trying.

    Money is made to be enjoyed as long as you are being responsible, so I am glad you are not giving up all that you like to save a few bucks!

  4. 5

    Sandy E. says

    I swithed to Bill Pay when I saw the t.v. commercial where the lady turns on her bath water, to get it ready for a bath, goes to her laptop, pays her bills, then goes back to the bathtub and turns off the water! Could monthly bill paying be that fast? I tried it; it was! Meanwhile, you can always buy envelopes from the $1 store – my checks are free – and she could pay double the amount, then pay every other month or so and the bills would show a credit. (Occasionally I’ll get a neighbor’s mail, so that’s another reason why I like bill pay). I’m in CA too and have never done weather stripping. I rarely need to use my heater, and living close to the ocean, don’t need a/c.

  5. 8

    Briana @ GBR says

    Not laughing AT your wife but it is funny lol! I pay all my bills online, and have chosen paperless for all of my statements as well. Saving money and the environment at the same time! I just never have “time” to go to the post office to do it the old fashion way. I am, however, a slave to the Fresh & Easy and other eating options walking distance from the office. I could pack a lunch, but I like variety. A money sink, I know for sure.

  6. 9

    Norman says

    I think its okay to have a few money leaks. So what if you spend a little here and there on things you enjoy or ways to make your life easier. It is wise to evalate these leaks however to see whether they are worth the money you are spending. Sometimes we spend money mindlessly that can be cut once you really think about its value. For instance, I dropped cable a few months back and missed a few shows that I used to watch, but I’ve replaced those with new ones (over the airwaves) so it was only a temporary loss.

  7. 10

    Evan says

    The TV one is the one that doesn’t make sense me…CANCEL the extra channels OR at least threaten to and see what they offer you

  8. 11

    Budgeting in the Fun Stuff says

    We spend $120 a month on high speed internet, 200 cable channels of which we watch about 10, DVR (which we adore), and HD service (which we also love). I could probably call and get a $20 discount a month, so I’m wasting $240 a year by being lazy right there…

  9. 12

    Squirrelers says

    First off, we’re on the same page with the online bill paying. I hope you can influence things to change over there. I was hesitant to change 3 years ago, and resisted…until I was shown the light, and now I’ll write checks for occasional reasons but not for recurring or standard bills.

    As far as the $10 in food – Len, that seems extremely inexpensive to me. Are you eating next to nothing? If that’s all you’re spending, which is $2 per day, you’re hardly overspending.

    So go ahead and pat yourself on the back for doing great with spending so little on lunch each day! You’re lucky to have a corporate cafeteria with such inexpensive food. Why waste your own time when you can spend so little and buy it? As long it’s not more unhealthy, of course…

  10. 13

    Len Penzo says

    @Yokel: I’ll do that. Great point! It probably won’t work though.
    @Olivia: 1) I like your thinking here. But mustard – eeww – I *hate* mustard! 2) I don’t know , but it’s worth looking into and another great idea! 3) 90 percent on postage? Wow. I’ll need to look into that too. 4) That’s probably a good thing – that you don’t have toll express lanes, not that you have no idea. Besides, I was getting a real inferiority complex because of all your great answers prior to this one. LOL 5) Oh, iTunes gift cards are ALWAYS on my Christmas list! 6) I’m glad to see I could actually help *you*, Olivia. (One out of six ain’t bad.) Thanks for all the great suggestions! :-)
    @Everyday: I’m human, Kris. I definitely have some guilty pleasures I like to spend a little money on.
    @Bret: I’ll suggest Bill Pay to the Honeybee, but I won’t hold my breath. She’s stubborn.
    @Sandy: Weather stripping is such an easy task too. Even I can do it without my father-in-law’s help!
    @Jenna: We have a few express lanes out here in Southern California that charge motorists to use them. The price fluctuates based on the time of day and traffic volume.
    @Briana: Oh, it most certainly IS funny, Briana! I’m laughing at the Honeybee as I type this. ;-)
    @Norman: I totally agree. The important thing is identifying as many leaks as you can and then evaluating which ones to fix and which ones to ignore. Unfortunately for me, I don’t seem too inclined to fix mine right now. LOL
    @Evan: Those other 1000+ channels are like a security blanky for me. Tough to part with.
    @BIFS: That makes two of us.
    @Squirrelers: I’ll pass on your testimony, Wise Squirrel, but the Honeybee is a tough nut to crack – and I know you can appreciate that. ;-) Here’s the thing on the food. I usually eat one big meal per day – dinner. I nibble on small snacks I bring to work when the urge strikes me, but sometimes I decide I want a little more and so it’s off to the cafeteria. I admit, at $10 or so per week it’s not a big money leak, but it’s one I feel I can avoid if I really wanted to. Does that make sense? Probably not. I don’t think I even understand what I just babbled about.

  11. 15

    FB @ FabulouslyBroke.com says

    Oh that eating out thing for lunch is starting to get me now.

    I am seeing what everyone means!!! :)

    My only defense is a really good offense, and by offense I mean making killer lunches I cannot refuse to eat :)

    I always pay everything online, seeing as I have no real fixed address… but I can see your points :) Surprisingly, I too have run out of cheques. Darn these people who won’t take cards!

  12. 16

    Car Negotiation Coach says

    Len, if you’re only paying $10 a week for lunches you are in great shape! Back when I worked in the city, I would have a very hard time getting by with $10 a DAY for lunch…..of course i eating out and and probably consume more than most.

    So I say eat up!

  13. 17

    Pineview Style says

    In regards to #5, why not grab a jug and washboard, or maybe even a kazoo, and make your own music for free?

    Although, who am I to judge…. to me my XM radio is worth every penny!

  14. 18

    Olivia says

    Re:
    1) Will keep the mustard thing in mind.
    3) OOPS I meant paying 90% on postage (thus saving 10%). We actually do direct pay for some things, but the Sweetie set those up.

  15. 19

    Len Penzo says

    @Leslie: Oh it is awesome! Expensive, but awesome. As I told Jenna, on some freeways here, there are certain low volume lanes that motorists can use to save time and avoid traffic. The price fluctuates based on the time of day and traffic volume.
    @FB: Your killer chicken soup recipe is definitely worth bringing to work! I’m glad winter is around the corner, so I can make more of it!
    @Coach: Yeah, ten bucks per week is pretty cheap. Still, if I was smart I could eliminate it completely. That would pretty much pay for my iTunes addiction.
    @Style: Great idea! Unfortunately, I tried your suggestion this afternoon and almost crashed the car trying to play a jug and washboard on the way home. Any other ideas? ;-)
    @Olivia: Darn. I thought 90% off sounded a little *too* good to be true.

  16. 20

    Darwin's Money says

    I go through this exercise now and then and fall prey to the “I deserve it” syndrome. Today, I bought an overpriced cafe mocha because I had a crazy day, a crap lunch and I was tired. It was 3 bucks. I don’t do it every day. But I “justified it to myself”. I think in order to not have this guilt it’s important to take inventory of your entire financial situation – are you out of debt, saving for retirement, putting away for the kid’s college? Then buy the mocha!

    These were good leaks you pointed out though; gives me a few ideas to check on.

  17. 22

    Khaleef @ KNS Financial says

    I think that if you make all of these changes right now, and give yourself a month to miss them, you may not want to go back. It doesn’t sound like you’re going to have a lot of success with Honeybee, but maybe she can give online billpay a go for a month or two and give the computers a chance to gain her trust.

  18. 24

    Tom | Oral Answers says

    Hey Len,

    I overcame my iTunes addiction when I joined SwapaCD.com. Just having a CD in my Wish List makes me feel like I own it for some odd reason…

    Anyways, I picked up ~150 old CDs on Craigslist for pretty cheap and listed them. About 20 or 30 got requested in the first week, and then I had my choice of 20 or 30 CDs to get on the site. It ends up costing me about $1.50 per CD, nearly 90% off the iTunes price, and I can rip them in any format/quality I want.

    Just a suggestion.

  19. 25

    Len Penzo says

    @Darwin: I’m like you, bro! I, too, will break down sometimes and splurge on a nice coffee from Starbucks – or a couple of chili cheese dogs from Weinerschnitzel – because I deserve it. LOL
    @Olivia: I’ll have to try that. I actually have one of those shoulder harness thingies.
    @Khaleef: I talked to the Honeybee again today and she is adamant that she will not be deviating from the stamps and envelopes anytime soon. :-(
    @Forest: I used to do that at times too – me and a colleague would have weekly meetings at the coffee shop. I enjoyed it, but the meetings were costing me $5 – $7 bucks a week because I found it impossible to be there and NOT buy a coffee and pastry.
    @Tom: Thanks for the tip. I’ll check it out, although I hate dealing with CDs anymore. I have over 400 of them now and I rarely use them anymore.

    • 26

      Tom | Oral Answers says

      I hate dealing with CDs too, and I just store the away. The advantage is that I always have a physical backup of my music and it is full CD quality, unlike the compressed files that iTunes and Amazon sell.

      • 27

        Len Penzo says

        I have one of those 400 CD changer/players that I use to store my CDs. You’re right, the CDs do provide nice back-ups of my music. Unfortunately, some of my CDs are so old, the music files won’t copy over to my computer. :-(

  20. 28

    Amy k says

    I get most of my music at the library for free! I also get audiobooks for my long commute. I just found your site, thanks for the good ideas!

  21. 30

    Harry says

    If you have a Mac get PandoraJam and then you can record songs off of your Pandora radio stations. It saves the songs to iTunes and before you know it you have built up a big library of music.

    • 31

      Tom | Oral Answers says

      That is nice, because you get free music, but the artists don’t get anything for their hard work. It is kind of an ethical and legal gray area. On one hand, it is legal to record programs for your own personal use, but when you signed up for Pandora, you agreed not to record music through their service.

      “3. RESTRICTIONS

      You agree that you will not:

      3.1 use the Pandora Services to reproduce copyrighted materials;”

      • 32

        Harry says

        These recordings are not of course the same quality as CD’s or the songs you can buy from iTunes for one. I still purchase work from those artists I like as well as go to their shows when they are around. As for item 3. in the EULA, that is questionable in light of Sony Corporation of America v. Universal City Studios and RIAA v. Diamond Multimedia.
        It is for me a way to try songs before I buy. I like to get whole albums when I find artists I like and doing that by recording through Pandora would be tough. By doing it this way I find I can avoid wasting money with impulse purchases and still support artists I like. If I kept going like I was with iTunes previously, the money that any artist would be able to get from me would soon dry up.

  22. 33

    Donna says

    1) Why pack a lunch if you mostly eat snacks at work (even when you’re hitting the cafeteria)? Why not just keep a stash of your favorite snacks? Chips are a lot cheaper at the grocery store than the cafeteria. I keep a stash of peanut butter, crackers, roasted almonds, carrot sticks, yogurt, and everything I need to make hot tea at work and just bring in more when I run low.
    2) Calling the cable company and asking them to match whatever deal their competitors advertise might be worth your time, even if you have no intent of switching. They don’t always match the deal, but I’ve had my rates dropped several times over the years.
    3) $5 a month is way less than the cost of a single late payment fee. Just get the best deals you can on envelopes and checks.
    4) don’t have these anywhere near here
    5) Have you tried pandora?
    6) For some reason I always forget this when I winterize

  23. 34

    Sara says

    I don’t have any of these money leaks except possibly #6. I bought a brand new townhouse 2 years ago and was extremely dismayed to find out that the windows are drafty. I never expected that in a brand new home! I even got the window company to come over while the windows were still under warranty, but when winter came along I discovered they were still drafty. I gave in and bought some weatherstripping this year, but I have only applied it on two windows. I hope I get around to finishing so maybe my heating bills will be lower this year.

    As for yours, my suggestion for #1 (buying lunch at work) is to keep easy-to-pack food around the house so that if you forget the night before or just don’t feel like putting in a lot of effort, you have something you can throw in your lunch box in a hurry. Mine is peanut butter and jelly. I actually just put a jar of peanut butter, a jar of jelly, and two slices of bread in my lunch box and assemble the sandwich at lunch time so it doesn’t get soggy. Another idea, if you have access to a microwave at work, is to make extra dinner the night before so you can bring leftovers.

    For #2 (satellite TV), I suggest you try a trial unsubscription. Promise yourself that you will unsubscribe from the extra channels for, say, 3 months, and if you really miss them, you can resubscribe and not feel guilty about it. Chances are, at the end of the 3 months, you’ll realize how little you actually want to watch those channels.

    For #3 (snail mail bills), why don’t YOU offer to show your wife how to pay the bills online? A lot of them are one-shot deals where you can just set up the accounts to be paid automatically.

  24. 35

    Len Penzo says

    @Amyk: Great suggestions, thanks! Glad you enjoy the site too. :-)
    @Harry: Oh yes, the Penzo’s are a Mac family. I’ll definitely look into PandoraJam. Thanks for the tip.
    @Donna: 1) I do indeed have a stash of my fave snacks at work, but I still get tempted by the cafeteria a couple times a week! 2) I might just try that. Thanks for the idea! I got nothing to lose, right? 3) The Honeybee thanks you for that statement. 5) Going to check it out.
    @Sara: Love love love the idea about PB&J! I am going to give it a go! I like the trial unsubscription idea too, but I’m going to need a little courage to implement it. I could offer to show the Honeybee how easy it is, but I’m not sure she’d go for it anyway. I know. Don’t get me in trouble now, Sara. LOL

  25. 36

    John says

    “3. Paying almost all of our bills by snail …”

    I found a way to cut the cost by 66% -
    For example, lets say u have a monthly bill for $50 -
    January – get bill for $ 50, don’t pay
    February – get bill for $100, MAIL $150 payment
    March – get bill for $0

    April – get bill for $ 50, don’t pay
    May – get bill for $100, MAIL $150 payment
    June – get bill for $0
    etc.
    Basically, you pay 1 out of 3 bills you get, but send in 3 times the payment. This is offset by not paying the bill 2 months in a row.

    • 37

      Len Penzo says

      Clever! You just need to make sure you don’t delay paying bills that accrue interest or other finance charges for late payments, like credit cards and other loans. The late payments for those bills will also negatively affect your credit score.

  26. 38

    Lisa says

    Good Morning!

    1. Tell Honeybee – I am also afraid of the internet, but when my check go “lost in the mail” someone stole my name, account number for where the check as going (let’s say cable), then has my checking account number and routing number and paid for things online and it took a month before I saw it all on the bank statement! Believe it or not, it is SAFER to use the internet and to not be afraid. I use to work for Fraud for a bank and know what people are capable of when they get their hand on “real” checks. (This doesn’t even take into the fact of automatic bill pay so she doesn’t have to worry about certain bills which go to one credit card to earn “points” and that’s the one she pays also online, one time once a month so it’s one bill she pays) – or let her have her one vice of sending out 1 check a month via snail mail! : )

    2. You should be able to get those old CD’s regardless of age on the computer – that has me puzzled. Unless you mean to get it on itunes – but even there all the old CD’s can be matched and found to show their original titles and song tracks. – Or is it the device you are trying to move them to?

    2. Anything you have not used or worn in 1 year – make it two for Honeybee – goes on Ebay even if you sell something for $25 and it costs $10 to ground ship (obviously it can be too heavy to cost $10) after fees (and you can set up UPS so they come right to your house so not extra gas charge) that is FOUND money which goes right into savings – or credit card debt – not for spending.

    3. I need to get return a cable box that has been used 4 times in 5 years – that’s $8.00 a month! What was I thinking????

    Last but not least, how do I keep finding you to see more suggestions from you and other viewers???

    • 39

      Melissa says

      My mom says the same thing about BillPay! She’s had her identity stolen at least twice and swears entering any account information on the computer is just begging for someone to hack into her account and not only mess up her credit and steal her identity, but leave her completely destitute. I swear by BillPay, especially automatic payments I set up where I designate what amount to pay per bill and for how long, such as $50 each Friday to my car insurance company and once it’s paid off, the money no longer comes out of my account. It’s great! I highly recommend using it! Since my mom uses the old fashioned snail mail way, she has repeatedly had checks take weeks to clear or had to call her bill companies to ask them IF they received her payment, why it hasn’t been received yet, to cancel the check which then also meant she had to contact the bank (resulting obviously in spending more money to cancel the check). It’s just a pain in the butt and takes way too much time when it’s so simple to use the BillPay.

  27. 40

    Kay says

    For music I really like PANDORA. $30.00 a YEAR to tap into a huge library of music I really like and some music I didn’t know I would like. I use my IPod when I have to, but it bores me now that I have Pandora and it supply of fresh music.

  28. 41

    maggie says

    I believe in keeping the postal service going. I support your honey’s way of paying bills. Please read or watch the movie “The Postman”

  29. 43

    Pete says

    I take my lunch to work on corelle…usually something I can nuke, but it has eye appeal and tastes good. I prefer not to eat sandwiches or anything on a paper plate. Yes, I gotta take it back home, but rinsing it saves serious scrubbing later. I don’t count the $$ saved by not using disposableware – I wouldn’t use it anyway. Carried to/from work in a reused plastic shopping bag that gets recycled after no longer usable. Just on food alone this saves me a good $15-25/wk…

    No express/HO

    • 44

      Len Penzo says

      I think you make a good point about the eye appeal, Mike. And $15-$25 per week really adds up fast. Thanks for sharing that with us!

  30. 45

    Seth says

    Our money leaks are varied from month to month. We ate out a ton a few months ago, so that cost us way more than normal, but then the last month we’ve eaten out once or twice. So it is tough to pin down our actual leaks. We did cut out cable over the last year and added streaming on netflix and catch up on plenty of shows we normally wouldn’t have watched. But it is still cheaper than cable. We have to mail a few bills out because they won’t accept payment other than from a check, all the rest is online bill pay.

    I suppose the biggest money leak is me driving home for lunch everyday instead of bringing my lunch to work. But I’d much rather see my wife and daughter everyday to help break up the work day instead of sitting here indefinitely.

  31. 46

    Oscar says

    #1 – You DO realize, don’t you, that while you may be setting yourself back $500 a year on lunches at work, taking your own lunch is not going to save you that exact same amount. You still have to pay for the food that you pack and bring.

  32. 48

    Melissa says

    As for making lunches, if you feel ever so inspired, you can watch the Food Network once in awhile or check out their website for some tasty, fast, and easy lunches to make (I made an awesome Spinach & Salmon sandwich with a lemon & dill mayo I created – delicious). I like the idea though of purchasing something like a different mustard or jam (instead of always buying Grape, try a different flavor and get Blueberry or Apricot preserves). Or some weekend, make a huge batch of a homemade soup, separate it in containers, stow it in the freezer and take it out as you want, thaw it in the fridge the night before and by the time it’s lunch time, it should be all thawed and you have a great lunch! And if you like to garden, you can even grow your own food (thereby being extremely green and helping the environment) and use those ingredients (even if it’s different herbs like thyme or basil) to make your lunch. It’s something you can look forward to and enjoy that you worked hard for.

    Netflix could be cheaper than satellite or cable, but the only downfall is that they have raised their prices and their selection for television shows is usually a season behind. Then again, I like the idea of the library. You can get anything there – movies, tv shows, music, books. Of course I want to go over and look at my local library’s selection, I just haven’t bothered.

    Now you have me thinking about the express lane thing. Our household has an express lane pass, but I’ve never actually looked into how much it costs annually. The account is linked to a credit card, so I suppose that in effect more is being spent for that $1.25 toll (just because I want to get through highway traffic faster) with having to pay interest to the credit card company to pay that $1.25 toll and also for the privilege of using the express lane.

    Now you reminded me I have to put weatherstrips around the windows of the house. I keep intending to, but somehow it slips my mind! Don’t forget to also insulate the pipes and the walls to keep the heat and cool air in the house.

    You’re giving me some good ideas about how to cut some costs I hadn’t even thought of! Keep up the great ideas!

  33. 49

    Jerry says

    I do not have cable or even a TV. It’s been insurance for our budget and if I want to see something I just watch it online. It leads to more deliberate viewing which is good for me.

  34. 50

    Jessica says

    I really have been trying to cut out my spending got my cable bill down to basic only channels 2-21 and internet runs me $50/month go my cell down as low as it can get at a whooping $78/month I already cut my netflix and use redbox if I want to rent a movie… Next is my Sirius radio at $15/month but I don’t really want to give it up. I have between $200-$400 of loans and ccs other that the house and car I really want to cut that out I shouldn’t spend what I dont have….told myself I could use the credit card to track my gas expenses but I have never used it for gas….at least I’m old enough now to realize the benefit of paying everything ontime, whew!

  35. 51

    CD says

    Paying for traditional cable or sat TV service is a tremendous waste. Put up a roof-top antenna, subscribe to a streaming service when necessary, and borrow DVDs from the library. Your tax dollars pay for that service. iTunes music purchases are even more ridiculous: record streaming audio on a computer for free. This is legal (just like recording from FM radio) and offers a huge plethora of sources. Making your lunch is a great idea too, but tough for some to justify.

  36. 53

    Summer says

    1) Don’t pack a lunch every day. Pack five lunches on Monday and bring them to work. I bring five cans of soup (stock up on Campbell’s Chunky or Progresso when it goes on sale), five apples, and five granola bars on Monday morning and put them in a cupboard. It’s one less thing to remember on the way out the door.
    2) Drop your TV subscription and just get addicted to Facebook like the rest of us. Better yet, fall in love with your library card all over again.
    3) Facepalm. No ideas.
    4) My equivalent here is driving even though I have an employer-sponsored transit pass. My only suggestion is the 21-days-to-a-habit approach, even though that hasn’t worked for me either. Good luck to both of us.
    5) Again with the library card. Or, take your debit card out of your iTunes account and buy yourself an iTunes gift card in the amount of your budget instead, so you won’t go over budget without thinking about it.
    6) No help here. I’m a renter.

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