Last week I wrote about Amy Daczczyn (a.k.a. The Frugal Zealot) and the numerous recent interviews that I found with her on the web. What I found most inspiring was the following recent quote from her:

“Most people think they’re thrifty, but they’re probably not…They do some things, … and because they clip coupons, in their mind they’re thrifty. But it’s not in a holistic way through their whole budget” (qtd. in Gardner).

Ouch! That is me to a tee. So, I decided to look at my budget as I thought Amy Daczczyn might. Here are the problem areas I see:

Eating out
We spend about $100-200 monthly for this unnecessary expenditure.

We are on a $17.99 a month plan that gives us three movies at a time, unlimited store exchanges, and two free store movie rentals a month. It is a great plan, but we have not used it to its full capacity since last summer when I was pregnant. Now we watch about 2 movies a month. Renting two a month from Blockbuster would save us roughly $10.

DS’s preschool
We spend $790 a month on this. My son attends a bilingual school as my husband speaks Japanese as his first language. It is important to both of us that our kids learn Japanese, which is why we are suffering through this expense. (It takes quite a toll on our budget.) But I want to believe in the long run it is worth it. Every time DS speaks to his Japanese grandmother (who speaks no English) on the phone, he is able to say a little more to her.

Until recently we have been spending $350 to $400 a month. I am trying to whittle us down to $280. Honestly, though, we still buy many items that aren’t essentials such as soda, ice cream, Nutella, chocolate chips, potato chips, etc.

Cable TV
We used to have the most basic cable that you could get only for the reception (we wouldn’t see a picture otherwise), but after I had my daughter and had to sit down to breastfeed her more times a day than I could count, we upgraded to the next basic package (which only includes about 6 cable channels). We could do without this now that my daughter is older, but I love the Food Network and get so many recipe ideas from there.

If we were willing to do without all of these extras, we could save $990 to 1090 a month. Wow.

However, I am not willing to give up my son’s preschool or our basic cable (yet). If I gave up eating out, our Blockbuster subscription and I could successfully reduce our grocery budget we could still save $170 to $270 a month.

Try it. Look at your budget and see what else you can shave. Even when you feel like you have whittled it down, there is still another place you can cut. (Obviously we have several more places to cut!)

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