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Ways I Cut Costs &... how do YOU cut costs?

June 24th, 2009 at 02:53 am

I have always tried to get the best deals for everyday things. A lot of the time getting a good deal means locking into some type of contract. I've never had a problem with this, but at the same time, you have to weigh up whether a better deal will come up halfway through your 'lock in' phase. And then, you must be prepared to pounce once your lock in period expires, to avoid falling into the lazy trap and paying a higher price for an old product.

Over a year ago I locked into a 24 month contract for our internet. At the time, there were 3 of us sharing the cost, so we had a reasonable amount of downloads to go with that. (It was $75 a month for line rental and 5gb of downloads).
The plan expires around January 2010, so while I've still got a while to wait, it's a good opportunity for me to see whats out there. Also, I have to take into consideration that being just myself and DF, we only use about 1-2gb of downloads a month now. After only a little searching, I was able to find a plan for 3gb downloads for $68 a month, including line rental. I could probably go a step further and get the best separate deals on line rental and internet; but usually there's a bundle discount, which would probably cancel out any savings.

We don't 'do' cable television, and probably never will. I just don't see the point, I'm sorry. (And here we only have 7-10 channels, depending on whether you have HD or not - and we don't). So that's a monthly expense saved.

Gas - well, we are probably a while away from getting a refill for those. We have two massive bottles that the previous tenants filled before vacating, and in the near-four months we've been living here, we haven't even used one whole one yet. I have considered when the time comes, ringing different gas companies and seeing what type of deal they can give us if we signed some type of contract with them. My boss told me that his wife signed up with one and they gave them 2 free bottles (they cost $100 each, so that's a good saving!).

Electricity - It's probably the one thing I would be hesitant signing a contract for. Electricity prices are getting higher by the second, and there are so many clauses in their sneaky contracts, so much fine writing to read, and the fact that energy has been privatised recently has lead to a lot of disgruntled people I've spoken to who've been dealing with the new 'energy' salesmen. So, I might leave that one for now, and simply try to save money the old fashioned way: turninng things off at the switch, switching off the lights, making sure we ONLY switch the second fridge on for parties etc.

Bank Fees - something some people don't consider when cutting costs. We are fortunate to be 'good' with our credit cards, and pay off the balance each month. Also, we only have one fee for our banking, which comes yearly. It's hefty, at $395, but with a bit of planning I am hoping to offset it against our credit card rewards and interest earnings/savings. Also, if either of us incur a withdrawl fee for using another banks ATM, there's hell to pay! We keep on each others backs about that.

Heating/Cooling Costs - We don't have any! So that's a plus. However, DF hopes to get an airconditioner next summer. So we have about 6 months to find a good deal, and 6 months to prepare ourselves for the astronomical electricity bill. And 6 months to decide what constitutes an appropriate temperature to turn it on in the first place (to lower the before mentioned electricity bill).

Entertainment - It's one of the few things you can find coupons for in Australia. That, and car tinting! So we always try to use a coupon when bowling, to save ourselves a couple of bucks per game. We are members of a movie club, and try to see movies either on cheap Tuesdays ($9.50 tickets) or the movie of the week ($8.50 tickets). Now and again we will pay full price for a movie, but not very often at all. At $15.20 a pop, we'd be broke in seconds if we paid full price every time we went to the movies!

Groceries - I have to admit I am not as savvy a shopper as some of you are here. We also don't have such a large scale coupon culture here either. But I do try to take advantage of good deals, and shop around. Another confession I have is: I don't mean to, and certainly don't want to come off as a snob, but I turn up my nose at a lot of the junk that DOES sell for incredibly cheap prices at the supermarkets. I just can't fathom paying money, however small the amount is, for something like premade mac and cheese (just an example) and putting it into my body for fuel. I just can't do it. So while I realise those are two big money losses on my account, I do try to make up atleast a small amount of savings by buying extra of an item I normally buy when it is on sale. DF is also getting in on this. He found the coffee we normally buy, an organic rainforest brand that sells normally for $9 for 250g, on special for $5 a pack, so he bought three packs. I found Extra Virgin Olive Oil, normally $9.99 for 1L, on special for $2.99 and bought three bottles.
So we do cut costs sometimes with grocery shopping.


What are some ways that you cut costs on every day items?

3 Responses to “Ways I Cut Costs &... how do YOU cut costs?”

  1. Blue Eyes Says:

    I use coupons + mail in several rebates each month, mainly on personal care items (shampoo, liquid soap, toothpaste, etc.)

    On gasoline, I use a separate CC to purchase auto-related items each month. I get a certain percentage for those items converted to cash-back. So that minimally cuts back on gas & auto maintenance costs.

  2. smiley2009 Says:

    Here where I am Whitestripe it is much cheaper for me to have my telephone, cable and internet together its $89 a month and would you believe that regular tv the channels your speaking of cost $25 a month the internet is $45 on a regular rate and the telephone is $40 as well. When my "promotion" ends I just call in and complain to the company and they usually give me whatever promotion deal they have going on to avoid loosing a customer.

  3. north georgia gal Says:

    I was able to bundle my internet and home phone...when all is said and done, I pay $5 a month for the home phone and $40 a month for the internet. It is a huge saving!

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