We’ve now reached the point (just a few months in) where I’ve completely replaced my previous work-outside-the-home income with my mobile notary business and my freelance writing. By implementing the tips I’ve been outlining here–even post-layoff our family is coming out ahead of where we were six months ago financially, as well as in peace of mind.
Here’s a brief list of what we’ve done so far, and where it’s getting us. Remember, my layoff was December 7th, and today is April 2nd.
- Called all lenders and negotiated lower interest rates. Followed up by shredding all credit cards. Value: Priceless!
- Learned to cost-cut around the house: home-made laundry detergent. Saves $7/mo.
- Budget and track all expenses with Mint.com.
- Renegotiated and repriced insurance, dropped the gap coverage on our paid-off/high-mileage cars. Saves $4/mo.
- Used the library more. Estimated savings $20/mo
- Developed passive income streams (adding advertising on this web site and others, as well as Lending Club interest). Earns $1.10/mo.
- Rolled-over my fee-intensive 401K into a more affordable IRA Savings TBD
- Found tax advantages to starting my mobile-notary and freelance writing business.
- “Re bundled” our cable-TV package to the same service and same company at a lower introductory price. Saves $25/mo.
- Received our tax refund and paid off an adoption loan ($150/mo, a credit card $100/mo and a student loan $110/mo). We have just one credit card left. Saves $360/mo in debt payments.
- Refinanced our 30-year fixed mortgage, and rolled in our home equity loan ($329/mo). We put both into a 15-year fixed mortgage and will be paying just $89 more than we were paying on our old mortgage payment. (We used Smarthippo.com to find a better rate). Saves $240 per month and 15 years off the life of our mortgage.
- Testing out some meat-free recipes for dinner. Last night the kids loved eggplant parmesan (they thought it was pizza!). Saves $24/mo.
- Renegotiated cell-phone plan (due to new business). Saves $100/mo.
- The layoff reduced our household’s commuting cost. Saves $200/mo in fuel.
These tricks save us $981.10 per month, but we’ve noticed that now that all expenses are tracked, our household expenses have been reduced by about $1300 per month.
Here’s a few things that we’re not doing.
- Working more than 45-50 hours per week.
- Missing out on time with our kids.
- Cutting our daughter’s preschool (we may do this to ‘snowball’ an extra $660 per month, but she’s having so much fun, we’re having her stay for now).
- Clipping coupons.
- Stuffing envelopes or participating in “get rich quick schemes” and “pyramid sales.”