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. 🙂