Day 24 of the January Money Diet – Cancel Something

Rotary telephone at Happy Simple Living blog

Photo: WickerFurniture

The expenses we pay month after month, year after year, can really add up. Evaluate your ongoing monthly expenses and ask yourself whether you’re truly getting your money’s worth from your hard-earned dollars. Could you eliminate something and pocket the savings each month?

By now you probably know many people who have cancelled their home telephone service, and simply use their mobile phone for calls. How much do you  spend each month for a land line? How many quality calls do you receive, and how many telemarketing calls do you receive? Can you still justify the cost?

Are you happy with your cable or satellite TV bill? Some people don’t pay a nickle for cable TV yet still enjoy dozens of free stations. Here’s a great article about how to get (nearly) free TV. Many of your favorite programs are probably online, too. Sites like Hulu and Crackle feature hundreds of movies and free TV shows available on demand. You may even be able to connect your laptop to your TV and watch shows from your favorite networks right on the big screen. I’m not a techie, but I purchased a cable at my local Radio Shack for less than $20, and we were enjoying online TV within minutes.

Speaking of entertainment, do you subscribe to Netflix or another service with a monthly fee? Could you get movies from the library or Redbox instead? And what about subscriptions to periodicals? If you find you’re regularly recycling the newspaper without reading it or letting the magazines stack up, perhaps it’s time to do your reading online or check out publications free from the library.

Does your dog go to the groomer regularly? Learn how to do it yourself, and save both time and money.

Could you cut your own lawn and fire the lawn service? (What about eliminating your lawn altogether and replacing it with hardy clover, xeriscaping — or edible plants?)

Are you regularly using that gym membership, or could you jog, walk and work out at home?

Homework assignment #24:  Go through your expenses with a ruthless eye, and see if you can find anything to cancel. Or if you’ve recently found a monthly expense to eliminate, be sure to let us know about it.

P.S. In case you’ve just joined us, the January Money Diet is a challenge to take a 31-day break from nonessential spending. You can learn more about the money diet here — and jump right in!

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Win a Deluxe Happy Simple Living Gift Basket

In honor of the January Money Diet, I’ll be giving away a gift basket chock-full of home and garden goodies plus several books at the end of the month. On January 31, 2013, I’ll draw one random name from everyone who commented during the month and that lucky person will win the gift basket. I hope you’ll stop by often this month and share your own ideas, thoughts and experiences about taking a 31-day break from nonessential spending.

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About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of six books about home design and food. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

7 comments to Day 24 of the January Money Diet – Cancel Something

  • ElainieMay

    Yes, we could certainly give up the landline.

  • Mariah

    We cancelled the DVD rental from Netflix and just stream shows.

  • Cynthia

    I have a question about getting rid of the landline. Really I just am looking for good ways of fixing one of the issues with doing that. In our case, we have had the same number for 30 years. On top of that, we each have our own cell phone and number. The number we have used for so long represents our whole family and is used by many, many people. If we cancel the landline I know that one of us can take the number as our cell number. But doesn’t that turn one of us into the family secretary wherever we go? It will ring constantly during our day wherever we are, if we answer it we will have to grab a pen and paper at the store to write down the info and then pass it on. If we let it go to message we still have to get our family member to listen to our cell to get the message. Now the landline takes a message, we all see the red light flashing and can listen at our convenience when we are home. Is this a problem for anyone else?

  • Deborah Gore

    I checked with our phone company and I was able to “bundle” my land line, internet and cable TV. It will save me about $30 a month. Out phone company was running the promotion due to some many people wanting to drop their land line. The only difference is that my land line has a limited amount of long distance minutes. This works out for me because I use my cell phone for all long distance calls. Thank you for the suggestion to check!

  • I’ve been threatening to cancel cable for ages, but I can’t seem to pull the plug for my family’s sake. ;=)

    I’ll give myself a few more days to say goodbye…
    Lena @ WhatMommyDoes recently posted..Spring Playdate Ideas for 2- to 5-Year-Olds

  • Martha

    Contemplating ditching the landline–but then I would have to have a cell phone?!! Not sure that is the way to go yet.

  • JoAnn

    Installed a HD Antenna and TiVo and cancelled cable – saved $100 a month – we get Netflix and Hulu through TiVo for much less. Cancelled the landline and got a MagicJack – saved hundreds every year. Before I cancelled, I monitored our inbound calls for a few months and we got our family in the habit of calling our cell phones. Once we found that the only calls on the landline were solicitors for a 2 month period, we cancelled it. Also cancelled our gym membership – that’s been the hardest, although walking the dog every morning has allowed me to meet some great neighbors that I would never have met if I hadn’t been walking him consistently, rain, cold and all.

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