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Shearing the Budget




You know, cutting some fluff...

The small stuff will be easy. We have a "bills" checking account with its own debit card that all the regular recurring stuff charges out of. From that we are most definitely chopping a small monthly charitable contribution and a quarterly winery club membership. (At least we will have a large bag of wine waiting for us next visit from the last couple of quarters.. And that will be a nice consolation..)


Our internet spiked from about $32 monthly to $66. OUCH. The 12-month promotional period expired and this month was our first month paying the new amount. I contacted Centurylink to see if there were other promo offers going on that I could switch to, but they kept feeding me BS offers (bundle with cable TV or long distance phone etc, all the offers wind up with me paying an even larger bill than the original $66). Is my only option to call around other providers for quotes and tell CTL (whose service I have no issues with, just the price) that I will be switching if they don't meet the competitor's price? How do you do this?

(Oh, and I REALLY don't want to pay any new customer fees or for new modems or any device rentals, so I do not actually want to switch).


This is the latest Utility Checking Account breakdown.

Car Ins. $112

PUD $99

Verizon $89

Water $60

FrontPoint $43

Internet $66

Coffee Oasis $15 - emailed to cut

Winery $12 - emailed to cut

Netflix $9

Total $505 = $127/week to Utility Checking


In 2016 we will be sinking for the Car insurance premium. So ideally it will be the last year that we make monthly payments. It covers my Juke and DH's SUV


PUD is our electric on a set budget billing amount. This gets re-evaluated in June. Averages the costs of all winter + summer months. We got a heat pump installed last month so we are hoping to see our power bill go down or stay the same.


Verizon is DH's iPhone 4. My employer discount applies so this price is post-discount. Nothing fancy here. I should check to see if we are paying insurance on the phone though, and if so, drop it.


Water is an overestimate for the most part. Some months is only $40 but I'd rather overshoot it than come up short.


Frontpoint is home security system. We have what we call tweakers, or people who use meth and other drugs, that live in the same (but older/trashier areas of) this HOA, and they are well known for stealing mail, breaking in to homes and cars, and in general being a nuisance to society. We live down a quiet cul-de-sac & you can't even see our home from the road. I attribute this to our never having had any incidents personally. Thank God.



Off to make some changes!



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I'd check with Verizon to see if you may be eligible for a better plan. You may be able to get more data/another line for less than what you pay now.

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I just spent a good half hour on Verizon website. Cut the $10/mo insurance, cut data down to 1GB. so that all goes into effect in a few days for the next bill cycle. We just used the insurance recently to replace DH's phone as he was having issues with it. so fingers crossed that we've utilized the insurance well, and will not need it between now and July when the contract expires!

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How about rent, electricity, car payments, and credit card payments? Wouldn't those be considered "utility" bills that have to be paid each month?

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I switched from Verizon to Total Wireless, which is really Verizon. I now pay $35 a month for one line-they have multi-line rates-and it is unlimited talk and text, 2.5 gig a month. Can buy more, but I don't even use that.


I agree, see if you can get the cell down. Seems like those days of the high cell phone costs are sunsetting.

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Total Wireless. Looking that up. Does it have the same coverage/service as what Verizon offers? I'll look into this :)


Nicole, the way our budget is setup, certain things come out of my paycheck biweekly and certain things come out of DH's weekly. So I cover the mortgage & car payment (bigger ticket items) in my biweeklies. DH's weekly contribution to this "Utility Checking" covers everything else (originally intended for "the small stuff" as he is paid less). The CC payments are more than covered by our snowballs, so we just transfer whatever our snowball amount is directly to the Visa to get chipping on that. But I can see how those items appear to be missing, I forget sometimes how our bill paying setup may look different from another person's.

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OOF, I had to race back in here to rave - thanks for suggesting Total Wireless! It looks amazing, and the coverage appears to be same as what DH already has. I am going to be running his phone's serial # through the website tonight to see if his phone will transfer. If it doesn't, I have an older smartphone in the box that I'll run through as a backup option. WOO!

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OK, I ran my spare phone under Total Wireless' check and it won't qualify. such a bummer! Still need to run DH's actual phone though. Just not sure where to get his phone's code if we don't still have the box it came with.

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