One of the joys of moving somewhere new is figuring out the best ways to save money. When I'm not shopping or exercising I am practicing extreme frugality:
- One of the Corolla's tires had a nail in it. I passed up every repair shop until I found one that offered to repair my tire for $10.
- I've figured out the best spot in my house to sit to "borrow" Internet from the unsecured connection provided by an anonymous neighbor (thank you, Netgear7). This helps immensely for the short bursts of Internet I need to enter a shop or search the job boards.
- We still haven't succumbed to cable, so DVDs borrowed from the library have become our primary form of family entertainment. I also recently subscribed to the Wall Street Journal by redeeming some airline miles for a 39 week subscription.
- My $99 K-Mart bicycle is paying dividends. I've lost almost 15 pounds in the two months we've been here. I've also eliminated a number of trips in the car including errands and mystery shopping that can be done by bike. It feels so good to shop a convenience store or restaurant and get paid to do it with no out of pocket costs whatsoever.
- Rather than using electricity to charge our phones or computers, we bring the chargers with us when we go to the library.
- With the weather finally moderating (highs in the mid 80s, lows in the 60s), we have shut off the air conditioning and rely on windows and ceiling fans. I expect our future power bills to be much lower than the $99 we spent in our first month here.
- I've diligently worked on reducing our food budget. Last weekend I shopped 7 grocery stores ($70 in free groceries and $49 in fees). I am also doing more reimbursement-only mystery shops if it means scoring a free meal. Right now Food is the budget category I am most focused on reducing.
Overall I think we are making some frugal choices that don't entail sacrifice. Once I have a few months under my belt I can take a quantitative approach to this by examining my budget to see how I am doing.