View Full Version : Good news on the frugality front

4-4-11, 4:45pm
In attempt to reconcile a newly signed lease of $1475 a month (city living is expensive), I've managed to cut out the following in costs:

Car insurance from $1500 a year to $1100 a year
Reduced Parking from $150 a month to $125 a month
Dropped cable television and home phone, bringing Comcast bill from $189 a month to $65 a month
Dropped gym membership (free gym equipment in neighborhood common room for $15 key deposit) saved $68 a month
Renters insurance dropped from $200 a year to $110 a year
No longer have to pay electricity ~ $70 a month
Reduced cell phone plan from $110 a month to $85 a month
Planned work commute to save $4 a day in tolls (40 saved a month compared to old place)
Gave up buying coffee at coffee shop during the work week (saved ~60 a month)
No longer have to pay cooking gas (~15 a month)
Set monthly food budget to $300 (down from 400)

With those changes, I will move to my new place and pay $125 less that what I'm currently paying. The coffee and food budget were two LONG overdue changes.

Not bad when you think about moving from the suburbs to the heart of the city.

Edit: My new apartment is half the size of my old place. That's bound to save some money in cleaning supplies ;-) Also, given the locale I will be doing much more walking on the weekend which is always great. Walk to groceries will save some gas money.

4-4-11, 5:27pm
Wow! That is great! :-) I hope you are happy in your new place!

4-4-11, 11:38pm
Great step and money analysis with good benefits!

Float On
4-5-11, 8:34am
Great job. My only problem would be my food cost would probably increase because I'd be walking to all the great downtown restaurants to eat.
Enjoy your new apartment, it sounds great!

4-5-11, 10:07pm
Very impressive, rjs. I'd be interested in a follow-up after you've been in the city for a while about your experiences there vs. the suburbs, and the pros and cons.

4-5-11, 10:08pm
Isn't it fun to look back at alllllll the changes and see just how far you've come?

4-7-11, 8:12pm
impressed with you getting free electricity.

4-9-11, 11:40am
Excellent! Having moved to the city from the suburbs in May 2009, I was surprised by how such a move affected my budget. I drive much less and shop at nearby Bottom Dollar and DEAL$ stores for 90+% of my groceries, paper products, utilities, etc. these days, which has significantly decreased my grocery bill. I cook and eat mostly vegetarian meals that are heavy vegetable protein from beans and legumes, rice, pasta, whole grains, oatmeal and homemade bread (the N.Y. Times recipe from Simple Living Forum). I live near an Entenmann's outlet and a Pepperidge Farm outlet, so I can get 30 bagels for $5.00 at Pepperidge Farm and occasionally can get a bag of 6 bagels for $.75 at Entenmann's outlet. I enjoy a variety of hot sauces and seasonings to keep things interesting. Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce and Crystal's Hot Sauce, onions, garlic and garlic powder, etc. help me to avoid boredom food-wise. I eat in restaurants only twice per month when I travel to visit my daughter at college and typically choose inexpensive restaurants for those meals. I buy good coffee and tea and skip Starbucks, as it's a huge waste of money for me. I typically bake 1 cake per week, so I have something for dessert, to offer guests or if I need to satisfy a craving for something sweet. I found cake mixes at DEAL$ recently for $1, so I stocked up.

I don't feel deprived if I have a piece of cake and coffee for dessert occasionally. I also don't feel like I'm skimping/sacrificing because I enjoy butter, cream cheese and olive oil on occasion, which I get for a very good price at Bottom Dollar, on bread and bagels. I've found that choosing where to skimp/sacrifice and where not to is a big part of living a happy frugal life. My food budget for 2 (+ 2 inexpensive restaurant meals per month) is $400, but I typically come in around $300 to $350 per month.

I hope you enjoy your new apartment!

4-9-11, 2:31pm
I know breads, grains, cereals, etc etc are the cheapest things you can buy, but I'd advise caution against a longterm diet heavily weighed towards those food items. Do some google searching on people who have cut out wheat, gluten etc etc and you may be surprised at the research. Robb Wolf is a good place to start.

4-13-11, 1:34pm
Very impressive, rjs. I'd be interested in a follow-up after you've been in the city for a while about your experiences there vs. the suburbs, and the pros and cons.

I'm not in the suburbs right now, per say. I'm at the end of the subway line. Still, the area I'm in requires I use my car to go anywhere unless I want to spend an hour and a half getting into the city.

One benefit is going to be commute. The previous commute was 35 miles (shortest time). The new shortest time is 25 miles. That extra 20 miles a day saved is going to add up.

4-13-11, 1:44pm

While I would agree, I do prefer having more meat in my diet. During the summer, I find if I get to Boston's Haymarket either on Friday evening or Saturday morning I can get some pretty solid and fresh seafood at a low cost. I also will be parking above a supermarket (Wholefoods) where the cost of higher quality meats is pretty reasonable - focusing more on chicken and pork.

When all else fails, I find shopping at Super 88 (Asian Supermarket) offers cheap alternatives to the heavily processed American food brands.

My diet usually consists of the following staples:
Jasmine rice
Italian pastas (usually ziti or penne)
Pork tenderloin
Boneless/Skinless chicken
Haddock or other white fish
Smoked salmon
Brussels sprouts (YUM)
Peanut butter (or cashew or almond or any kind of .... nutty butter)

I'm also a growing boy :-) (meh... not really... I'm 27, 5'10, 165lbs)

I'm currently at around $300 a month, but the ability to walk to the grocery around the corner will save me some money. I currently have to do one-hit shopping, which can lead to unnecessary purchases and waste. With my new location, I can do need-based shopping on a daily basis from either Super 88, Wholefoods, Trader Joes, or Shaws Supermarkets with the option of Haymarket on the weekend.

I also enjoy the following:

Free breakfast foods at work
Free lunch at work approximately three times a week
A sister who cooks for me in exchange for seeing her brother ;-)

4-13-11, 4:15pm
Why do you still have a $65/mo cable bill? I gave up cable swearing I'd be back once a few debts were paid. I watched cable recently at a friends and OMG it has gone downhill! Nothing is on anymore that I used to watch and it is all garbage now! Wow. I love network bunny ear TV. Plus, I get My Network TV, The CW, and a movie channel, all for free and in HD just with rabbit ears.

Why not drop the cell and get a landline for 15 a month? If you do not have internet through your phone company, you can get a metered service for like 5 bucks. You do not pay for incoming calls. You get a certain amount for outgoing calls (like 6 hours a month) after that it is like 2 cents a minute.....probably less than the 15 unlimited version in the end.

How much does 300 in food feed? I have had great success in capping my grocery amount to 40 bucks a week. I eat just as much as before, when I was spending 60 a week, but i prioritize now and tend to buy less junk.

4-13-11, 9:28pm
> How much does 300 in food feed? I have had great success in capping my grocery amount to 40 bucks a week. I eat just as much as before, when I was spending 60 a week, but i prioritize now and tend to buy less junk.

Interesting! I'm halfway through a 3-month "envelope system" trial run, and it's been going well so far, but I've been using a monthly amount for groceries. I used a weekly amount (*52/12) for dining out, and purposefully chose a smaller-than-average amount as a way to trim ... I bet I could do the same for groceries! I think I'll finish out April with my current allocations, and then tweak it a bit for May. Thanks for giving me an "ah hah!" moment. :)