Making a Budget, Part 1: Fixed Expenses

budget_pie.jpgOk, I’m slowly getting my transactions all categorized, one by one, into personal finance software, but I’m going to take a break and look at what fixed expenses, or bills that I get every single month, and see if there is any fat to cut. Using my last post as a guide:

Phone (Landline) – Used to be about $40/month for local + long distance. Switched to VoIP with SunRocket, and so far it’s been great. Now it’s only $199/yr = $17/month including taxes. Don’t think I can get much cheaper, unless I go without, but I need fax send/receive capability. Even MyFax costs $10/month for online faxing. Realized Savings: $23.40/month.

Cell Phone – $80/month for two lines. Tons of minutes, but I use a lot for work, and am partially reimbursed. Net result: $50/month. I’m about 1 year into a 2-year contract, so not much to do here. In the future, we can probably make do with less minutes and a cheaper plan. Possible future savings: ~$20/month.

Cable TV / TiVo – $50/month for Cable + $12.95/month for TiVo = $63/month. I don’t want to hassle with satellite, we could save money here, but I think it’s worth it. I can watch PTI, wife gets American Idol.

Internet Access$46/month for Cable Internet. We save $10/mo for bundling with TV. 1.5 Mbps DLS is about $50/month too. Could steal bandwidth from neighbor with open WiFi router, but… nah. (It’s a good backup) ;)

ATM Withdrawals – none, Bank of America ATMs as far as the eye can see ’round here…

Home Upkeep / Kids / Pets – maid? yeah, right. pool? I wish. kids? nope. pets? none yet, maybe in near future.

Insurance – Currently, $115/month for 1 car, renter’s, jewelry, and umbrella insurance. Need to re-examine this.

Rent – $1250/month. We are on a month-to-month lease, I’m not sure how increases work over time… But we like our place and our neighborhood, so we’re staying put for the foreseeable future.

So far, that’s $1391/month in fixed expenses. It looks like insurance is the real area that I should look more into out of these fixed expenses. As usual, I’m open to any suggestions. Next, I’ll look at more variable expenses, like electricity, food, entertainment, gas, etc.

Comments

  1. Johnie says:

    First time poster…

    Anyways, there are ways to drop the prices on your Tivo and cable.
    Check out this thread:
    http://www.fatwallet.com/forum.....word1=tivo
    And this one:
    http://www.fatwallet.com/forum.....ord1=cable

  2. Budgeting & Personal Finance says:

    Yes, for satellite it may be cheaper. I have Direct TV and it costs only $5 a month for tivo.

    Insurance – here a few other companies

    Liberty Mutual and Costco (Go to the online site and click on services) I saved a ton of money. You should check even without a membership now. I know some who signed up with a membership just because the auto insurance was so low.

    Thought… I don’t know where you live, but in many places you can at least get a condo or a starter home for what you pay in rent. As you probably know there are more benefits. Based on your goals, you may save more from Uncle Sam from the interest and insurance deductions. I do see that you may not be geographically stable. I guess I am just blogging.

  3. Budgeting & Personal Finance says:

    Yes, for satellite it may be cheaper. I have Direct TV and it costs only $5 a month for tivo.

    Insurance – here a few other companies

    Liberty Mutual and Costco (Go to the online site and click on services) I saved a ton of money. You should check even without a membership now. I know some who signed up with a membership just because the auto insurance was so low.

    Thought… I don’t know where you live, but in many places you can at least get a condo or a starter home for what you pay in rent. As you probably know there are more benefits. Based on your goals, you may save more from Uncle Sam from the interest and insurance deductions. I do see that you may not be geographically stable. I guess I am just blogging.

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