Cutbacks aren’t exactly fun but sometimes they are necessary. We had to make cutbacks as a family when I was diagnosed with cancer and could no longer do the same type of work I had before.
Cutback Number One
The first thing to go in our house was cable. I really don’t even miss it. There are so many cheap alternatives like Netflix and Hulu, reading, and outdoor activities. We really don’t watch very much television even when we have cable. My cable bill was around ninety dollars per month and I now pay fourteen dollars for instant streaming services. That change alone saves seventy-four dollars per month and almost nine hundred dollars per year.
Cutback Number Two
Name brand groceries are always more expensive than the store brand and most things taste the same. There are some items that I still buy at the more expensive price but most items I buy at a discount. I also started growing my own vegetables and even planted fruit trees for the future. I used to spend thirty dollars per week on produce alone. Now I only buy fruit and have a ten dollar budget for that. Between growing my own produce and buying cheaper brands, I estimate that I save about one hundred and eighty dollars per month. That’s a little over two thousand dollars per year.
Cutback Number Three
We still have cellphones but I very carefully went over my contract and it turns out I was being overcharged by about one hundred dollars per month. I noticed that I was paying twenty dollars per line for unlimited internet use. However, when I looked at the bill and each persons use; no one ever went over the amount that we could have for free. That saved sixty dollars per month. I was also paying for unlimited talk and text. For some reason, even though we had this, I was being charged forty dollars per month for something called even more talk. How silly is that? Good thing I checked. I definitely didn’t need even more talk when I already had unlimited talk. The phone company refused to refund what I felt I had been overcharged but my phone bill has gone down dramatically. This saved around one thousand two hundred dollars per year.
Cutback Number Four
This cutback wasn’t just about money for me. It was also about my family’s health. I completely cut out junk food at home and fast food. I still dine out but no burgers or fries for me. At home, if it can be frozen and then microwaved or is a meal in a box, I don’t buy it. Yes, it takes longer to prepare fresh food but it’s delicious and good for you. I’m sure my children get enough pizza rolls and chips at their friends houses. In fact, my son who is thirteen in two months prefers fruit to candy or soda. My daughter is another story. It’s like pulling teeth to get her to eat a salad. I used to eat fast food one or two times per week. I easily spent twenty to forty dollars on junk food each week and another thirty dollars on junk food from the grocery store; frozen pizza, hot pockets, and frozen pastas. This cutback saves around two hundred dollars per month. That’s another two thousand four hundred dollars per year.
When I think about the cutbacks we made I’m really very happy about them. Not only are we saving money but most of the things we cut out weren’t good for us; television, junk food, fast food, and overpaying for cellphone use. If you choose just one of these items to eliminate you’ll see savings immediately.