Wednesday, December 31

Ways I am Reducing Expenses (my Personal Burn Rate) in 2015

One of my 2015 goals is to reduce monthly spending, net of vacation and home repairs, to $1,250.  In order to do this, I need to look at costs I can control (such as eating out) as well as those that are relatively fixed (like insurance).  Some thoughts:

  • I've already reduced my health insurance costs by shopping for a new plan.  Last year I did not take advantage of the new plans being offered under the Affordable Care Act.  I spent Monday afternoon evaluating my eligibility and my options.  While I will have to change doctors, I found an HMO plan that has a lower deductible and lower out of pocket fees for things like doctor visits and prescriptions.  I qualify for a voucher that gets me this better plan for $105/month less than I paid in 2014.
  • In 2014 I reduced auto expenses by replacing the S-10 with an Aveo.  Another, unanticipated, savings came from moving to a new house a few miles away.  I'm in a more central location, so I drive less.  In 2015 I will save money by reducing the amount I drive.  Between the bicycle and my 2012 Piaggio Fly 50 scooter, my driving will mostly be limited to income-generating activities including mystery shopping, hospitality work, and tending to my rental properties.
  • While it isn't included in monthly spending, and I don't regularly post the expenses associated with my rental properties, I plan to shop my property insurance needs for the first time.  I spent over $7,000 on insurance in 2014, and that's with $5,000 deductibles on every property and no claims history.  It's time to find savings and I am confident that investing some effort here will be worthwhile. 
  • Finally, there's food.  While eating out is a simple pleasure, it costs so much more than cooking at home, which is also usually healthier.  I think one of the reasons we eat out is because we don't have food available at the house that appeals to me.  By spending a bit more on groceries to add variety, I hope to reduce the amount we spend in restaurants.  Overall, this should reduce the amount we spend on food.

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