It’s a Conspiracy, I Tell Ya. A Conspiracy

As most of you know, I make a piss-poor living as a book editor. So it stands to reason that I’m looking into ways to cut expenses while I search for another job.

I started with the car, and without further thought, the decision was made: I KEEP THE CAR. I have to. Even though I live in the big bad city, there is no bus stop near me and light rail is miles away. Also, half the year, you freeze your ass off if you’re outside for more than five minutes so walking is out. That payment has to be made and there is no way to make it less.

Along with the car comes expensive insurance, about $100 a month. I comparison-shopped and it was the cheapest I could find. Why? Because I live in MN. If I lived in WI (where there are lots of cows and no jobs), insurance would cost about half that much but I’d have to commute and we all know what gas costs these days.

Internet? Gotta have it for the job. Gotta have it anyway. Writing requires research and the internet excels at that. That stays as well.

Food: This is kind of necessary. Can’t go without food, so unfortunately, must continue buying it. However, can cut back. I don’t really need that many veggies, right? And I can slice that pizza up and eat it over several meals instead of pigging out during one.

Boxed Merlot. Give this up? Fuggetaboutit. If worse comes to worse, I’ll ask AJ to buy it. ;/

Netflix? Well, I guess I could go without movies and rent from Red Box. Not as convenient but certainly cheaper. I will consider this, though it only saves me $18 a month.

Amazon Prime: Not giving this up. Free shipping on everything I order, and while that’s not a lot, it adds up. Also, lots of free movie streaming, which I enjoy. One free Kindle book loan a month, anything I like. It works out to $6.66 a month; very affordable and well worth the cost.

Electric: Right. I can see myself writing with a quill on parchment by lantern light. Sounds romantic but isn’t at all practical. And the stove’s electric.

Phone: I’m starting to wonder if this is required. No matter how I cut it, basic phone service, whether cell or land line, costs around $50 a month. Why do land lines cost so much? Why are they offering ‘plans’? This is the conspiracy I refer to in the title. You can’t take a land line with you yet they feel justified in charging as much for that as cell phone providers? Jesus.

Fifty bucks or more a month may seem reasonable to those of you who use your phones for everything under the sun, but I have two computers and like them. I don’t want to use internet on a phone, nor do I need the built-in camera, games, text, whatever. A phone is just a phone to me, a way to make and receive calls. I stupidly thought I could find a service that provided that, but no, after talking ad nauseum to Verizon and TMobile, I realized people like me are far outnumbered. Apparently, not only does everyone want 4G capability and a phone to match, but they can afford it.

Frustrated as hell, I researched alternative phone services and discovered there are a few but they all have drawbacks. Something called Magicjack has a lot of negative feedback online. That led me to ooma, Skype, Vonage, and others, all of which reported negative customer feedback of one kind or another.

Finally, I found Google Voice. It’s absolutely free in the US and Canada and all I need to make it work is my computer, an internet connection, and a microphone. Need to get the mike, but otherwise, I’m set! I’m gonna give this a try and see how it works. If it does, I save $50 a month. I’ll buy more veggies. 🙂

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About Fenraven

Fenraven happily lives in south Florida, where it is really hot most of the year. Find him on Twitter, Google +, and Facebook by searching on 'fenraven'.
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13 Responses to It’s a Conspiracy, I Tell Ya. A Conspiracy

  1. Hey, you know you get some (not a ton, but some) movies with your Amazon Prime subscription? You could at least drop 1/2 of your Netflix subscription. I do think the free shipping makes Amazon Prime awesome.

    Is there Zip Car in your area or any car sharing services? I did public transportation for years, and yes it blows, but if you can go grocery shopping with a Zip Car it’s doable.

    Also, there’s some wine called 2 buck Chuck people get from Trader Joe’s, which I hear is good. I dunno, I’m more of a beer drinker myself.

    • I’ll look into Trader Joe’s. I really don’t want to give up the wine. ;/

      Never heard of Zip Car. May not exist here, but I’ll check.

      • Nor should you. When I was unemployed, the worst thing was not being able to do anything (like buy beer). I had a friend with money, and I would go shopping with her, and it was awful. I ended buying a few things anyways (not a lot mind you) because I couldn’t stand it.

        I was listening to something on NPR talking about some other type of service where people let you rent their cars, so even if Zip Car isn’t in your area, that could be an option.

        • Considering how little editing work I’ve been given lately, I might as well be unemployed. I’m looking, but there isn’t a lot out there. At least I have time to write, and I’m taking advantage of that when not involved in property mgmt stuff (which lately seems to be sucking up far too much time). I’m two-thirds finished with the sequel to Three of Swords and my mind is already beginning to lay out the third book, which I see as the last in this initial series. Whether or not I revisit Gray and Cooper’s world after that is up in the air.

          • Well, it’s good you have time to write. I’m generally good at getting that done, and then I get all grumpy for a month because all I have to do is edit. God I hate editing.

            I think trilogies are a nice a length for a series. No reason why you couldn’t put out a new book a few years later or anything for that matter.

          • AJ and I are once again talking about writing something together. The idea just won’t go away. Once the series is finished, I think I’d like that.

          • You guys should put together some short stories! Then they can be all over the place, from erotica to horror to mystery.

  2. A.M.B. says:

    More money to spend on veggies sounds like a great plan. I use a phone only as a phone (while my cell phone is “smart,” it may as well not be), but I need it to keep track of my kiddos. We have a land line, too, but only for our alarm system, and we use Google Voice when we’re at home and need to call clients. My husband uses it more than I do, but it seems to work well for our limited purpose.

  3. AJ Rose says:

    I won’t let you go without wine. I wouldn’t be able to stand you then. *snicker* Mwah!

  4. Isa says:

    I’m glad you have more time to write but it does suck not being able to pay your bills. I’m in the same situation you where in a couple weeks ago with vacation.

    Have you thought about getting a part time job for the holidays? I’ve picked up part time work over the years when things get tight and then once I get caught up financially I quit. Depending on the employer you could work 20 hours a week and only work a couple days a week or work a couple hours for 5-6 days a week. This would still leave you time to write and do your property management job.

    Also if your property management job is taking up more time than you originally agreed to should you be getting paid more or reimbursed for extra things you do? I stopped doing some things at my job because I never got reimbused for it.

    Look at refinancing your car. I refinanced through a credit union and got a great deal. I cut my payment by $40 a month. Not a huge amount but it helps. If you and AJ were living together you could save on the cell phone, Internet, electricity, etc. 😊

    Also loved Phoenix Rising and Three of Swords. Can’t wait for Knight of Wands.

    • I have to move again in two or three months; the agreement my boss had with the owner of my building fell through. At that time, AJ and I will look at living together. Let’s face it: he has a great place and I, well, live in an average place with no amenities. But living in an apt provided by my boss is a must, so AJ will have to decide if he’s ready to trade down. Heh. We shall see.

      I’m glad you loved my last two books! Thanks for letting me know. Knight of Wands is two thirds of the way completed. Look for it in November. 🙂

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