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Posts tagged with: internet

Utility Savings…

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My cable company sent me a letter last week. They have a new way for you to monitor your usage. Before I tossed it in the shredder, thinking ‘Why should I care how much I use the internet?’, I noticed the bold print at the bottom that said, ‘Why should you care?’

Gotta give them credit for reading my mind.

Turns out, you should take a look at your internet usage. Some cable companies are introducing limits AND extremely high usage could be a sign of unauthorized usage on your system. Uh Oh! So, being a natural optimist (Haaaaa ha ha ha ha), I ran to my computer, immediately assuming my usage would be high because some wacko had hacked in. A few seconds later, the usage popped up.

2 gigs.

No, not 2 gigs a day or 2 gigs in a week. I’ve used 2 gigs this month. And I’m pretty sure both those gigs are from downloading finance podcasts from iTunes. So much for my hacker. But it’s good to check every once in a while and remember to make sure my firewall is protecting me.

Naturally, I became fascinated with other utilities that let me live out my OCD *er* I mean, ‘monitor my usage to save money’.

Our water company offers ways for you to see how you compare to the average user. Their software allows me to monitor my water usage hour by hour so I can tell if I have a water guzzling washer or if my slab is leaking and I don’t know it.

My electric company uses ‘Smart Meters’ so I can monitor by the minute if I choose. They will also help you figure out where your energy drains are coming from. Old TVs? Energy sucking light bulbs?

OK, so maybe this new found power won’t help free up any time, but it will help cut down my utilities by zeroing in on where the biggest power/water/internet abusers are. And for all the sweet hubby’s out there, maybe you can convince your wife that the old tv is sucking all the power and you could save money if you bought a fancy flat screen.

Or not.


My Husband is Watching…

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Well there went all the fun stories.

My husband called today to inform me that his is now a ‘follower’ of my blog.

His schedule at work prevented him from reading my blog and he is never on the internet at home so I have always had free rein to talk about him – respectfully of course.

Ever since I wrote the baby name blog, he suddenly has an interest in what you all have to say – especially in ‘all those awesome folks who agreed that Cash is a good name’.

Crud. Now I have to filter myself.

It is a sad, sad day in history.


Ways to get by while on unemployment…

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My budget was already threadbare but living with 50% less salary and on unemployment benefits has forced us to find ways to somehow reduce more.

First, we cut our dental and vision insurance. This is something that can easily be re-instated but the $25 a month can help me now.

Second, I cancelled all my appointments health related or otherwise. None of my appointments were an emergency and I requested that my doctor renew my prescriptions without the annual check-up since the last 6 years have been clear of any problems. These appointments and tests run in the neighborhood of $500.

Third, I called my cable company to cancel our cable, reduce our internet speed, and reduce our phone service. I explained our situation and was surprised when they offered reduced internet costs, reduced phone costs, and added free services and free channels for a 12 month period. I would tell you how much I’m paying – but I’m afraid they’ll figure out they made a huge mistake and ‘correct’ the discount… or fire the guy who gave it to me. I would have cut out the internet and phone entirely but my husband needs internet for school purposes and job searching late at night when he gets home (free internet at the library is closed) and I’m uncomfortable without a home phone for emergencies.

Fourth, I contacted my student loan company for a deferment.

Fifth, my husband and I contacted friends and family and let them know we’d be available for odd jobs. Since unemployment doesn’t start for nearly a month after a job loss, my husband has done everything from pulling weeds to insulating walls. I have been helping a company with paperwork at night after work. We use this money for groceries and for the important bills like electric and water. At no time should you feel you are ‘too good’ for any type of job.

Sixth, we cut off all our subscriptions and memberships. If you’re like us, you may not even remember you have some of them since they are automatically billed to your credit card and you may not look at each item on your online statement. Some examples: gym memberships, club memberships, magazine and newspaper subscriptions (some automatically renew unless you cancel). Savings – $50 a month.

Seventh, we’ve been using more public transportation. It takes twice as long to get somewhere, it’s uncomfortable, and it’s far from fun, but it saves $50-$75 a month.

It’s not a lot, but each item buys us a little more time.


Normal by the Numbers?

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I’ve been asked to reveal my actual monthly budget numbers. I was reluctant at first and then realized it may be a learning experience and I should see if I am normal in my expectations of my money.

No, I am not going to reveal my housing costs. Asking a San Diegan to reveal her mortgage payment is like asking a New York housewife to reveal her age. The only thing likely to happen is a giant string of lies.

I’m also not going to reveal our charitable giving amounts. What we decide to give is a very personal decision and it’s not an amount I’m willing to change just to pay more on bills.

Savings: $50
Electricity/Gas: $105
Cell Phones: $100
Cable/Internet/Phone: $100
Grocery: $300
Gas: $260
Laundry: $10
Toiletries: $11
Clothing/House Repairs/Animal Care/Spending Money: $200
Water: $70
Trash: $18

All remaining money is used to pay our mortgage, our credit card, our student loans, and my husband’s truck.

So. Am I normal by the numbers? What does your budget look like?