This is a guest post from Sheryl in Ontario, who is 40 years old with a grown daughter, and is trying to rebuild her retirement dream just 20 years too late for early retirement.
There always seems to be another layer to reducing expenses, and right now I’ve reached a really good one.
Most of my journey to date has been about reducing expenses. Some have been easier than others. Some things, I’ve had no control over due to being in contracts or other responsibilities.
My cell phone contract expired at the end of April, and I was excited to change that. The plan I got 3 years ago served me well at the time. Iphones were a new thing and I heard scary tales of their monthly bills, and as I was going through a separation and all that entails, I needed something that got reception virtually anywhere, and that I could communicate instantly via email or text for various reasons. I signed up for a Blackberry (this was just before wi-fi was pretty much standard on cell phones). After I moved into a basement apartment for a while, I was glad I had it, I had reception there when no other phone seemed to. The monthly bill was approximately $75 (including the features I needed and data).
Yet the more time went on, the more expensive that seemed as my life changed and I realized I didn’t use most of the features I was contracted into paying for. I tried to change the contract, but I’d have to lose the features I liked and used in order to reduce my bill. When my contract was finally up, I did extensive research to find the best plan and deal that would fill my needs at the least cost possible. Getting a new phone wasn’t important to me, and I had to keep my existing number. Turns out, I did end up getting a new phone. My new plan is $30 a month, and that includes unlimited long distance in Canada, free airtime after 7pm, call display, voice mail and unlimited texts. The new phone has wi-fi so I can still check email while I’m out as long as I’m around an establishment that provides a signal (which is most places that I go). That’s $45 a month in my pocket.
Another change is my benefits at work, my daughter is now on her boyfriends benefits (she would have been too old in September to stay on mine anyway) and my boyfriend has his own benefits, so I was able to switch from family coverage to single, which will save me another $75 per month.
At this point I’m waiting for August to arrive as that will be the end of my contract for my cable (which will be cancelled), my land line and my internet, both of which will be moved to another provider that may not be cheaper, but I will get more for the money I pay.
Some expenses reductions have been unpleasant but tolerable while necessary, others changes have been for the better and will be continued even when I don’t “have” to.
For now, I’m going to enjoy this layer for a short time, and then look for more ways to increase income or reduce expenses, implement them until it hurts, then back off a little into comfort.