Three years ago, Lacey and I were sitting on a restaurant patio in downtown Boise, eating breakfast, sipping coffee, enjoying a beautiful summer morning. What started as a simple conversation on how awesome this particular moment was, turned into a bigger discussion as to why we weren’t doing things like this more often. That snowballed into the hour-ish long back and forth about what else we weren’t doing in our lives that we wished we were doing.
After finishing a stack of pancakes and 4 large cups of coffee, it all came down to this…we wanted to travel, see more live events, and be more social with our friends and family. So, ok…cool. We knew what we wanted in life (big first step). The bigger question now was, what was stopping us from living the way we wanted? Bills! That’s right. We had too many mother f***ing bills.
I’m going to tell you how we fumbled through the downsizing process, so hopefully it’s a little more efficient for you. Take 5 minutes and run through this checklist and you’ll more than likely find an area where you could save some dough.
A good starting point is to take a look at where you live. Do you need all of that house? When was the last time anyone slept in that guest room? When was the last time anyone hung out in that yard that you hate mowing and are paying out the ass to water? Lacey and I owned a 3 bedroom, 3 full bathroom (2040 sq ft) home with an upstairs bonus room, a front and back yard and a 3 car garage. Not to mention our house was a 20 minute drive from downtown Boise. And yes, you heard me right, it was JUST Lacey and I living there. Once we snapped out of the societal brainwashing idea that “this is the type of home where people our age should be living”, we were able to identify what an incredible waste of money it was. We sold that place as fast as we could and bought a 1 bedroom, 900 sq ft, condo in downtown Boise. Our monthly mortgage (including utilities) went from about $1500 a month to less than $700. Good enough right? Wrong, there was still money to be saved in other areas.
Still have a cable bill? Most people have wised up at this point with the worldwide love of Netflix taking over and all, but as of about 1 year ago, Lacey and I were still paying $120 a month for our cable bill. That was a quick fix. I called the cable company and cancelled that shit and signed us up for Netflix at $11 per month. Took 10 mins to start saving over $100 a month.
Next stop, cell phone bill. How much are you paying? How many calls do you actually get now days? It’s all texts now right? Maybe that’s just me….and the rest of the world. I was paying $93 a month to AT&T for a cell phone that I used maybe 100 minutes of talk time on per month. For 12 years I paid this ridiculous bill. I never stopped to think there might be a cheaper option. Guess what? If you only need your phone to text, talk a little bit, and to hop on social media, there are cheaper options. Virgin Mobile has unlimited talk/text plans starting at $35 a month! That’s another $60 a month to put towards traveling with Lace.
How much are you spending on food? Do you go out to eat a couple times a week? Are you getting Starbucks every morning? Do you go out drinking with friends on weekends? This is a super obvious tip, but start cooking for yourself. Start drinking your own coffee. Start pre-funking at your home before you head out on the town with friends. These small adjustments could end up saving you hundreds of dollars a month. The next time you stop at Subway for lunch, just think of how with that $9 you’re about to spend, you could have purchased a loaf of bread and a pound of sliced deli meat at the grocery store next door. Don’t get me wrong, Lacey and I still go out to eat and drink with friends often, but we typically eat at home and have a couple drinks at home before heading out. This way, we’re more than satisfied with splitting an appetizer and each having A drink at dinner rather than dropping $60 on meals and drinks. The fun part for us meeting friends out for dinner is being social, not necessarily the eating part.
How can you travel for cheaper? The answer is short and simple if you’re responsible financially and have decent credit. …travel for free with credit card reward points. Stay in hotels for free with these rewards. Get rental cars for free. The list goes on. I talk a little more about how to do this in a previous post but the main idea is that you can pay your normal monthly bills with a credit card…when you reach the spending minimum to achieve the sign up bonus for that card you will receive a bunch of points that you can exchange for free travel. This is literally the only way Lacey and I can afford to travel as often as we do. Make sure to educate yourself on how this process works before you jump in. A good starting point is ThePointsGuy.com
That’s the basics on how Lacey and I got started saving some extra cash. It’s been a long road to get to this point (with a long way to go) but so far these adjustments are helping us achieve the original 3 goals we set for our lives that summer morning eating breakfast.
This is the brief story of how we ditched our bills. If you have any additional tips or stories you’d like to share, please message us or post a comment below!4 Peeps liked this so far.