Today's Focus

Current Goal: Eliminate Mortgage on Rental Property

January 1, 2019: $59,592
March 20, 2020: $52,982
2/14/20 paid $750 towards principal
3/20/20 paid $1000 towards principal
4/17/20 paid $1000 towards principal
5/5/20 paid $2000 towards principal

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Sunday, April 12

Cutting Costs 'Cause of COVID-19

While some of us practice frugality all the time, others may just be learning the ropes.  Never in our lives has practically the entire economy shut down.  There's no better time than today to make some small changes to reduce your ongoing expenses.

Here's what we did in March and early April:

Cancelling Accounts:  $751 refunded

  • Since my industry is shut down, there's no need for me to carry commercial liability insurance.  I called Hiscox and am receiving a $301 refund.
  • Last month I paid the $450 annual fee for my Marriott Bonvoy card.  Why do I need a hotel credit card if I can't travel?  I cancelled that and will be refunded $450.

Consumable Items

  • We're going to start using our supply of paper and plastic bags from retailers.  We spend $.14 per kitchen garbage bag, which gets emptied 2-3 times per week.  
  • We are saving on laundry detergent, water and electricity by doing less laundry.  There's no reason to wash pants every time you wear them, especially if you are quarantined at home.  They aren't dirty.
  • We are removing things instead of replacing them.  It feels normal to simply replace something when it breaks or wears out.  At the Airbnb, if a rug becomes permanently stained, I won't immediately replace it (we will wait for clearance sales for a deal).  If a piece of furniture breaks, we'll decide if it is even necessary.  At our home, I'm similarly not replacing clothes that are ripped or stained.  I've got plenty of clothes, and there will probably be some incredible clearance sales in the next year due to the slowing economy.

Phone Plan:  Saving $120/month

We switched from Google Fi to Sprint's Unlimited Kickstart plan.  Each line is $35/month for unlimited everything, plus they are offering a $300 prepaid gift card.  Basically you can get free phone service for 8 months.  In March I paid off the balance owed for our Pixel 3 phones and sold one of them on ebay.  The other phone has a cracked screen, with virtually no resale value.

In the months of March and April, I've trimmed $1,000 from the budget.  This was painless, no sacrifices at all.  It may become necessary to do more hardcore cost-cutting, depending on how deep this recession becomes.  What are you doing to control costs during COVID-19?

9 comments:

  1. SAles? Try Belk's now. Men's pants were on B1G3 Yes, buy one pair and get three for $28 or thereabout. I waited one day and the sale was gone. Shipping is free if over $25. Our car insurance will refund 15% in April and another 15% for May.

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    1. Wow... that's a great price for pants. I think apparel is going to be hit hard. All these clothes sitting in empty stores might be out of season when the stores reopen. Plus people aren't wearing out their work clothes if they are working from home.

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  2. I am using giftcards/points from credit cards/ibotta to buy things when possible. Making use of stuff I already have like a Harry & David metal gift container now holds leftover potting soil and some veggie seeds. Looking through the pantry to make creative meals. To keep busy, found unfinished crafts to work on. Keeping eyes open for free things to do/learn - like 3 months of on-line guitar lessons from Fender.

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    1. These are wonderful ideas. I've started doing crossword puzzles, basically for the first time, from the newspaper. The other day we used a gift card that had been laying around for a couple years to order a nice restaurant meal.

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    2. Don't know if this will help on your Airbnb - but this was information sent by our rental management. Said to check with your lawyer/accountant: https://www.uschamber.com/sites/default/files/uscc_covid19_sb-economic-injury-disaster-loans.pdf

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  3. There wasn't much to reduce, but COVID-19 has reduced my monthly expenses. The movie theaters are closed so I'm no longer paying for my Regal Movie Pass or buying overpriced concession. My job is now work-at-home so I no longer have a commute or anywhere to go. That combined with the lower gas prices will lead much lower monthly spending on gas. Restaurants being closed for dine-in has reduced my food bill since I'm having fewer restaurant meals. When I do get some fast food there are incredible deals now. Wendy's has a deal on their app for a free Dave's single burger with any purchase. I get the 99 cent fries, getting me a burger and fries meal for $1.08.

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    1. We are saving on our AMC A List memberships, too. I might download the Wendy's app. I've been getting a lot of emails from restaurants offering discounts. We have cut way back on restaurant meals though.

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  4. I spent nothing on gas, dining out, and random shopping last month.

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    1. That's great! A little bit easier during a quarantine, huh!?!

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