Still with me after 9 intense days of working that budget? We’re almost done, I promise.
In case you want to take a look back and see how far we’ve come already, so far we’ve tackled:
- Giving on a Budget (and why this is an important part of the budget)
- Rent and Utilities
- Child Care
- Doctors Visits
- Health Insurance
- Auto/Home/Life and Other Insurance
Now we’re getting into some of the real budget-cutting hotspots, starting with the in-home entertainment budget, which includes cable, internet, and the cell phone bill (admit it, it’s 90% entertainment).
This one is easy breezy. We don’t have it. In fact, we, being the awesome people that you know and love, don’t even have a T.V. Shocking, right?
Don’t worry though, we are not culture deprived hermits- which, by the way, is what people often express when they find out that haven’t joined the flat screen plasma ranks. “A child in the house, and no T.V.? How will she be able to relate to her peers and come out normal??” Well I didn’t have a T.V. growing up either, and I turned out just fine (I think… although this blog might contain evidence to the contrary…)
Anyway, we’re not really missing out on the latest movies and shows, because we’ve found ways to get them for free. It’s called a library card.
Our library stocks the latest major motion pictures and TV shows on DVD (and a whole ton of the not-so-latest ones too) to check out for free and watch on our laptop at home. And any TV show we can’t find at the library we can typically find on hulu.com or tvduck.com.
And in the end, our family spends a lot less time vegging in front of a screen and spends more time engaging each other in conversation, exploring creative outlets, reading, and (now this is a shock), exercising our brains. Not even Baby Einstein can replace that.
We have wireless at our house, but we don’t have to pay for it. It’s part of our rent (sweet!).
Before our landlord installed the internet, though, we used, again, the library. They have computers you can use to get online and check email or pay bills, and they also have wi-fi so you can bring your own laptop to use. We were there a lot before we got the internet at our place!
Even when Olivia came and it wasn’t so easy to just pop over to the library for an hour and surf the web, we figured out ways to make it work. I would go spend an hour on a Saturday afternoon while Mike watched Olivia (a nice break for all!), or I would go after Olivia was in bed for the night. I didn’t do a whole lot of “fun” stuff online, but it was enough to check emails (and maybe a little Facebook too), and manage bills.
However, when we move we will probably get wireless at our new place because Mike has started his own design business and I’m blogging. Because we are (or hopefully will be) making an income off of our internet use, it would be pretty important to have the internet wherever we live! If it wasn’t a money-making deal, though? I wouldn’t get it.
Our cell phone bill is $35 a month. You heard me! Thirty-five dollars a month.
First of all, Mike and I only have one phone. Yep, we share! I have the phone most of the time, though, because I can always call Mike on his work line if I need him during the day, and he otherwise does not need a phone while at work.
For those of you who are freaking out because “What if Mike got into an emergency and he didn’t have a phone?” Relax. Just in case, Mike carries a prepaid, cheapie phone from Wal Mart. We’ve literally never used it.
Besides being a one-phone-family here is a lis of some of the other crazy things we do with our cell phone bill to save money:
- We don’t have the internet. On our cell phone that is. Never have, not sure if we ever will. And it’s one less thing to distract us in our busy days, being instantly alerted to every new email or Facebook comment.
- We don’t have “data” texting. About two years ago we got this ridiculously large cell phone bill (like $600 or something) because somehow when I went to text a picture to someone something happened and my phone was “online” for several hours. Luckily customer service helped us out of that jam, but Mike promptly cut us off from ever being able to send pictures and movies via text again.
- We don’t even have regular texting. Text was the last thing to go on our cell phone plan. We held on to it for a long time thinking there was just no way it would work to not have texting. Guess what? It’s been a month-and-a-half and we’re still alive and well. And so are all of our friends.
Is it hard sometimes? Sure. There are days when Olivia does something extra cute and I wish I could send an instant pic to my mom. But really? I think I’m able to be a whole lot more “in the moment” with my daughter, my husband, my family, and my friends now. And it’s not worth it to me to pay $100 a month for all of those things which, in reality, are not necessary.
How about you?
What do you live without in the name of saving money (or time or brain cells?) Have you found a really cheap way to get cable, internet, or cell phone service that you really love? Leave a comment! I would love to hear what you have to say!
Also- if you are enjoying this blog, tell your friends or leave a link on Facebook! I would really appreciate it!
Go To: My Budget Boot Camp Day 11