Our monthly budget doesn't have much wiggle room to decrease costs, but there are some possible areas that we could look at...
Rent - $1375
This could be decreased if we move to a smaller location or further away. Since my fiance and I carpool together and we both detest driving too far to work, moving further away isn't really an option. Although moving again would royally suck... we're open to moving to a smaller location. We've passively looked at new places and haven't been successful. Perhaps this will be on the 2011 goal list as a way to cut costs. My goal would be to get something closer to $1000 per month. That would definitely help things!
Electricity - $100
I am determined to get this lowered! For some reason when we moved from a one bedroom apartment to a two bedroom condo, our monthly electricity doubled! We have the same lamps, don't use heat and have no A/C... so I'm stumped here. I even called the electric company previously to see why it would have increased so much but they weren't much help. The only suggestion they had was to shut off the switch for the heat in the breaker box, because it's possible some heat could still come up, even though the temp was set to zero. I've done that and nothing has changed. I've even changed all of our light bulbs to energy efficient ones, but haven't seen any difference. I'm thinking maybe it has something to do with our hot water heater, but I'm not sure. One day I'll figure this out!
Cell Phone - $150
I currently cover 5 people on my cell phone plan: my parents, my fiance, my niece and myself. I enrolled in a 1400 minutes a month plan, with unlimited texting. The plan below this one is 700 minutes - which is closer to what we actually use. My only fear here is that I'll lower the monthly minutes and we'll go over and be stuck with the high cost of overages. Plus, my niece is a teenager, who actively sends texts and there would be a per text charge, so I'm thinking in the long run, it's probably cheaper to just stay with this plan until my parents and my niece get on their own.
Cable & Internet - $120
I'd love to be able to lower this one. We actually lowered it once before, by removing HBO. We tend to watch TV a lot... and when I say "a lot", I mean A LOT. (Please don't judge us, it's just how we like to relax after a day of work.) The only premium channel that we have now is Showtime and there are a good number of shows (Dexter, Weeds, The United States of Tara and The Big C) that we watch on there, so we'd like to keep it.
I've considered lowering our internet speed if it would get us a cheaper rate, but our internet is already soooooo slow. We can't image a slower speed than we currently have! So, unless we start to look into other cable and internet providers, it looks like this area is fixed for now as well. Perhaps another area to look into for 2011...
NetFlix - $9
Although this is not a necessity... we've enjoyed it and I'd say we've gotten our monthly cost worth. Sure, I could go to RedBox and rent a movie for $1 a night, but the selection is less than desirable and we can't watch some of the TV series that we are able to get from NetFlix.
Wrestling Show - $4
This is another thing that isn't a necessity, but my fiance loves watching the old days of wrestling! So it's well worth the $4 per month for the amount of joy he gets from watching these old shows.
Sirius - $197.04 Annually or $16.42 Monthly
I've been a loyal Sirius subscriber since Howard Stern joined way back when. I tend to pay for an annual subscription to Sirius every year. There are two reasons why I think I'll let my subscription lapse which will enable me to save a few bucks: 1) Sadly, Howard's contract expires at the end of this year and he may be leaving Sirius for good and 2) Our car that had satellite radio installed was recently donated, so we don't even have the capability to listen in the car anymore. Although we loved listening to it while driving (nothing beats a road trip without having to change the station!), since it's gone now, we're getting used to just using the iPod instead.
Question : Where do you cut costs in your monthly budget? Any suggestions for me?