How I Couldn’t Find $10,000 Per Year If I Had To

by Andy Hough on June 17, 2008

JLP at All Financial Matters posted how he could “find” an extra $13,000 per year if he had to and Flexo at Consumerism Commentary followed up with how he could find $10,000 per year if necessary. This led me to analyze how their “money-finding” techniques would work for me.

Since I only made slightly under $13,000 last year I obviously don’t have nearly the discretionary expenses they do. I’m always a little surprised at how much some personal finance bloggers spend on these kind of thing when they’re usually reminding people to control their spending. Of course, what seems an extravagant expense to someone making $13,000 can be a quite reasonable expense for someone several times as much. Let’s go ahead and compare expenses anyway.

Cable and Movies

I don’t have cable so I can’t save any money there. The only money I spend on this category is in going to the movies. By taking advantage of different promotions I can often go for free or for a low price. If I completely cut out going to the movies and limited my movie viewing to free rentals from Redbox I could save maybe $200 a year.

Meals and Dining Out

I only spend about $100 a month on food making it hard to cut much here but there are some changes that could be made. I could take home more free food from work, reduce or eliminate my soda consumption, eat even cheaper food than now, and eat less of it. I could save another $200 a year here.

Communication

I use a cell phone as my only phone. There is no land line to get rid of to save money. My monthly bill comes to about $36 with taxes. I could discontinue this and go back to my $7.08 a month phone plan but since I’m making more calls now it would probably cost me about $20 a month now if I limited my call time. This would be another $200 saved.

Live Entertainment

This is something I currently spend $0 on because I don’t particularly enjoy it. No money to be saved here.

Vacation

I spent a lot on vacation this year but don’t usually take a real vacation.  Still, I could probably save $200 on vacation or other entertainment expenses.

Cds,DVDs, and Books

This is another category I spend little or no money on.  When it comes to music I’m content to listen to whatever is on the radio.  I can get DVDs and books for free from the library or elsewhere.  In the vast majority of cases once I’ve watched a DVD or read a book I don’t feel a need to own it. If I want to read it or watch it again I’ll just borrow it again.

That makes a total of $800 for these categories.  Maybe I could save another $200 somewhere to get the total up to $1,000 but I’m not sure where.  There just isn’t much excess in my budget.  Making these cuts would be difficult.  I’m quite happy with my current expenditure level but if I were to reduce it much I think my life would be much less enjoyable.

1 Blake June 19, 2008 at 5:53 pm

I feel like I’m in the same boat you are in. I’m going to be a sophomore at college this fall, so naturally my income is quite low. Like you said, it’s hard to cut back when our budgets are already tiny and further cutbacks will severely reduce the enjoyment in our lives.

We just got a RedBox in our town, and it’s a handy little booger. $1.07 for one night’s entertainment- not bad.

2 Jerry June 19, 2008 at 10:06 pm

If your city is anything like mine your path doesn’t need to lead to the RedBox OR the movie rental place to get entertainment… you can simply hit the library! They have a surprising number of new releases as well as older classics, and can give you some insurance for a night of good movies for NO money out of pocket.
Jerry

3 Tight Fisted Miser June 20, 2008 at 8:59 pm

The library here charges a $1 to check out movies so it isn’t better than Redbox. I usually get my Redbox rentals free. They have a promo now where you can get free rentals on Mondays and Wednesdays. Details are on the website. You can also curently get a free rental with purchase of a $1 large sweet tea or soda at McD’s. Otherwise just google “redbox free promo codes” and you’ll find some free codes. There is no need to pay for a Redbox rental.

4 Anne June 24, 2008 at 3:25 pm

To the college students: you may be surprised at your university library’s collection of movies. Recently I’ve checked out or requested from my college library: The Golden Compass, Juno, Supersize Me, Atonement, Into the Wild… and more. For FREE! Just sayin’ 🙂

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