Author Topic: Places to reduce bills?  (Read 7935 times)

S0VERE1GN

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Places to reduce bills?
« on: July 15, 2014, 08:39:03 AM »
Hey all: not really ready for a full case study, but I wanted to run this all by you guys. so here are my bills....what d you think we can cut backon easiest?

Mortgage/ins/tax: 1100
Electric: highest was $78 before whole hose exhaust fan was wired and we had an AC running, no more AC now.
Cable: $70 for highest speed internet.
Heat: converting to a super high efficency boiler (nat gas) so expecting $100/month of less over 12 month period.
Life insurances:$60
Cars/Motorcycles (insurance): $300 total (3 cars, motorcycle...its our thing)
Gas: $200/month, both have 30+minute commutes, but will be shorter as work/daycares change.
Food: $200/month. mostly because my wife has Celiac Disease, as does my daughter....gluten free food is expensive!
Daycare: $800/month
STUDENT LOANS:$800/month.



Now, I left those two at the bottom because they're a) our largest non-house expense and b) they're the ones I have the biggest questions on

now we get $14k/year in Gifts from my wife's parents (wealthy folks) and we use that to simply invest in the broader stock market. I'm not too worried about the volatility, especially over and 8 year period (the time it would take to pay off student loans on regular payment schedule) average interest (effective) rate is 5% for them...To us it makes more sense to keep the 14k liquid (more liquid than paying it all into a student loan) and investing it. Should we look to consolidate them as a "joint" student loan perhaps? we've already consolidated under fedloan to lower interest rates just 2 years ago any ideas on consolidation/movement to lower interest rates would be appreciated.

DAYCARE: anyone have creative options for daycare that cost less than this? I live in Massachusetts, one of the most expensive daycare states in the union....


Thanks!

DMoney

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Re: Places to reduce bills?
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2014, 09:53:44 AM »
Your daycare sounds cheap!  In my area, in a suburb of DC, it's about $2000/month for a baby…

Center daycares tend to be more expensive than in-home.  But also seem to be more regulated. 

S0VERE1GN

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Re: Places to reduce bills?
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2014, 10:10:48 AM »
Is your car insurance $300/month? That sounds crazy high. Ours is $89/mo for two cars/two drivers (full coverage $1k deductible).

Yeah and we've shopped. its a vintage porsche (100/year, not the pricey one) a hyundai daily driver at 75/month, a mercury at 50...and a Ducati Monster 696 which makes up the difference. we're selling it, but gotta keep the beast insured for now. Super luxury sport bikes are crazy expensive to insure.

LibrarIan

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Re: Places to reduce bills?
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2014, 10:37:28 AM »
There are always ways to lower electricity bills. CFLs/LEDs everywhere? Hang drying that laundry? No heat-dry for dishes? Being badass about weather? The list goes on.

Unless you're operating nukes from your laptop, there is no reason to have the highest speed internet possible. Netflix will run fine at 1.5mbps at lowest. I have no cable TV, but I do have 10mbps Internet for $34.98/month. This took some negotiating though.

Not being a "car guy" I'd say to ditch the third car. It sounds like you already plan to get rid of the bike, so kudos there. Everyone is different, but I could care less what people think of my car, so I just drive a Cav when I'm not biking.

I would also recommend throwing all the money you save from the suggestions you get here into those student loans.

I think you're doing a good job overall on those bills, but you have a bit of fluff for sure. It sounds like your head is in the right place in terms of looking for alternative methods, so I say bravo!

Hugerat

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Re: Places to reduce bills?
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2014, 12:02:59 PM »
You're spending considerably more to insure your fleet of vehicles than to nourish your family...

boarder42

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Re: Places to reduce bills?
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2014, 12:14:46 PM »
200 a month for food is not high your biggest problem is your vehicles.

PloddingInsight

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Re: Places to reduce bills?
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2014, 12:23:31 PM »
I'd pay down the student loan before investing.  With the possible exception of the minimum required to get the 401k company match.

Le0

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Re: Places to reduce bills?
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2014, 12:28:48 PM »
Mortgage/ins/tax: 1100
Electric: highest was $78 before whole hose exhaust fan was wired and we had an AC running, no more AC now.
Cable: $70 for highest speed internet.
Heat: converting to a super high efficency boiler (nat gas) so expecting $100/month of less over 12 month period.
Life insurances:$60
Cars/Motorcycles (insurance): $300 total (3 cars, motorcycle...its our thing)
Gas: $200/month, both have 30+minute commutes, but will be shorter as work/daycares change.
Food: $200/month. mostly because my wife has Celiac Disease, as does my daughter....gluten free food is expensive!
Daycare: $800/month
STUDENT LOANS:$800/month.

Mortgage/ins/tax: Seems Good.
Electric: Seems Good.
Cable: We get the 6mbs works for streaming, if that options cheaper change it.
Heat: Seems Good.
Life insurances:Seems Good.
Cars/Motorcycles (insurance): 3 Cars and a motorcycle is a lot, you did mention you are selling one.
Gas: Pretty Good
Food: To Be Honest - Seems Cheap? I think this is good.
Daycare: You didn't mention your income - But I have done the mental math with coworkers if you and your wife both work it is sometimes better if one stays at home with the children, you have to look at the difference
STUDENT LOANS: I would really consider using that 14k you get to pay this off as soon as possible.

Hope that helps.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2014, 12:30:44 PM by Le0 »

S0VERE1GN

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Re: Places to reduce bills?
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2014, 01:46:09 PM »
There are always ways to lower electricity bills. CFLs/LEDs everywhere? Hang drying that laundry? No heat-dry for dishes? Being badass about weather? The list goes on.

Unless you're operating nukes from your laptop, there is no reason to have the highest speed internet possible. Netflix will run fine at 1.5mbps at lowest. I have no cable TV, but I do have 10mbps Internet for $34.98/month. This took some negotiating though.

Not being a "car guy" I'd say to ditch the third car. It sounds like you already plan to get rid of the bike, so kudos there. Everyone is different, but I could care less what people think of my car, so I just drive a Cav when I'm not biking.

I would also recommend throwing all the money you save from the suggestions you get here into those student loans.

I think you're doing a good job overall on those bills, but you have a bit of fluff for sure. It sounds like your head is in the right place in terms of looking for alternative methods, so I say bravo!

We Use a high efficiency dryer, have no dishwasher, and all LEDs in the house.

Highest speed internet we have because I love my online games, and my wife will often watch movies in HD at the same time, plus websurfing. net neutralitty forced our hand because TWC will kill our bandwidth if we try and do all things at once, made it unbearable. I complained, and they said paying an extra $10/month for maximum service would fix it. welcome to hell.

S0VERE1GN

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Re: Places to reduce bills?
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2014, 01:51:16 PM »
to clarify the car situation: the Hyundai will be going soon once the Porsche is complete (total investment including purchase and insurance is $4000 to make it my daily driver!) and then we'll only have mercury and Porsche...and probably a Cruiser for my wife which will be much cheaper to insure. all in all It wouldn't surprise me if we went into the black on vehicles at the end of this year. fingers crossed.

MillenialMustache

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Re: Places to reduce bills?
« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2014, 02:22:32 PM »
I am not sure why no one else mentioned this - but what about the $60 for life insurance? My DH and I get our salary in life insurance for free from our employers, and if we didn't we would not have any. To quote MMM: "My wife and I have never carried life insurance on ourselves, and we consider it a compliment to each other: 'I believe you would do Just Fine if I wasn’t around, because you’re a capable and independent person”'. Do you need it at all? Do you need as much as you have? Here is the MMM article: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/06/02/insurance-a-tax-on-people-who-are-bad-at-math/

DollarBill

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Re: Places to reduce bills?
« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2014, 07:58:54 PM »
Only thing I see is daycare will go away with time. Work on student loans and Mortgage. When I was don with Mortgage I figured out I was FI...it's a big jump!

S0VERE1GN

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Re: Places to reduce bills?
« Reply #12 on: July 16, 2014, 02:53:01 PM »
Yeah in about 10 years we figure student loans will be gone, no school cost for the little one, and mortgage will be low.... Hoping to see incomes increase ( we bring in about 85k together currently) and hopefully I can start looking into purchasing some investment properties as well. I hear that its a great way to speed up early retirement by supplement income as a land lord.

JPier

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Re: Places to reduce bills?
« Reply #13 on: July 16, 2014, 03:30:17 PM »
Let me know if u selling the monster :)

Cassie

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Re: Places to reduce bills?
« Reply #14 on: July 16, 2014, 03:39:17 PM »
WE had term life insurance until our kids were gone because we wanted each parent to be secure in raising the kids no matter what happened (job loss of remaining parent), etc.  Make sure you have term and not whole.

allergic2average

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Re: Places to reduce bills?
« Reply #15 on: July 16, 2014, 06:23:15 PM »
I say start with the motorcycle and at least one car.  I understand its your 'thing' but your thing costs A LOT in terms of insurance and gas.  Develop a new hobby that isn't so expensive.  My brother just sold his motorcycle today because it was not a need for him.  After your sell the bike and the car, put it towards your student loan.  Also call up your cable company and ask for a money off your bill or call other companies to see how much they charge.

Trudie

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Re: Places to reduce bills?
« Reply #16 on: July 17, 2014, 11:53:20 AM »
I am not sure why no one else mentioned this - but what about the $60 for life insurance? My DH and I get our salary in life insurance for free from our employers, and if we didn't we would not have any. To quote MMM: "My wife and I have never carried life insurance on ourselves, and we consider it a compliment to each other: 'I believe you would do Just Fine if I wasn’t around, because you’re a capable and independent person”'. Do you need it at all? Do you need as much as you have? Here is the MMM article: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/06/02/insurance-a-tax-on-people-who-are-bad-at-math/

There are different ways of looking at this and I appreciate your perspective.  To me the life insurance question is one in which there's a mix of rational thinking and emotion.  My husband carries a small life insurance policy, even though we have no dependents.  In our case, we should ax it.  My opinion would totally change, though, if we had kids.  A colleague of mine tragically and unexpectedly lost her husband at a young age and had to take a few months off work, just to function.  It's just hard enough to know where you'd be at emotionally (god forbid) if you were in that circumstance.

S0VERE1GN

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Re: Places to reduce bills?
« Reply #17 on: July 21, 2014, 02:53:18 PM »
I am not sure why no one else mentioned this - but what about the $60 for life insurance? My DH and I get our salary in life insurance for free from our employers, and if we didn't we would not have any. To quote MMM: "My wife and I have never carried life insurance on ourselves, and we consider it a compliment to each other: 'I believe you would do Just Fine if I wasn’t around, because you’re a capable and independent person”'. Do you need it at all? Do you need as much as you have? Here is the MMM article: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/06/02/insurance-a-tax-on-people-who-are-bad-at-math/

There are different ways of looking at this and I appreciate your perspective.  To me the life insurance question is one in which there's a mix of rational thinking and emotion.  My husband carries a small life insurance policy, even though we have no dependents.  In our case, we should ax it.  My opinion would totally change, though, if we had kids.  A colleague of mine tragically and unexpectedly lost her husband at a young age and had to take a few months off work, just to function.  It's just hard enough to know where you'd be at emotionally (god forbid) if you were in that circumstance.

in honesty: a great point. I got thelife insurance policies for us ($250k each) before I knew that my wife had very wealthy parents. the thought behind them was that if one of us passes, you can pay off all major debts (house, student loans) and then live fairly easily off of a single income. Perhaps we should cancel it.

Thanks!

Cassie

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Re: Places to reduce bills?
« Reply #18 on: July 21, 2014, 02:56:25 PM »
If your wife dies her parents may not be willing to help you. I would keep it.

S0VERE1GN

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Re: Places to reduce bills?
« Reply #19 on: July 21, 2014, 02:59:53 PM »
Eh. they're more of a family to me than my own ever has been. I'm very blessed in that way.

S0VERE1GN

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Re: Places to reduce bills?
« Reply #20 on: July 21, 2014, 03:04:26 PM »
Let me know if u selling the monster :)

we are! she's a beaute! just a touch too tall (and too scary) for my wife.

link: http://westernmass.craigslist.org/mcy/4556613963.html


S0VERE1GN

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Re: Places to reduce bills?
« Reply #21 on: July 21, 2014, 03:05:35 PM »
WE had term life insurance until our kids were gone because we wanted each parent to be secure in raising the kids no matter what happened (job loss of remaining parent), etc.  Make sure you have term and not whole.

yep. 30 year term...because who knows I might get a gambling problem. Once we're closer to FIRE I'll probably get a new policy with a shorter term.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Places to reduce bills?
« Reply #22 on: July 21, 2014, 09:04:24 PM »
The food bill actually seems really low to me. You might want to start a thread, because I've seen other posters justify much higher food spending with celiac in the house.

Honestly I think you're in great shape other than the vehicles, which you're fixing already.

In regards to the loans, are you maxing out registered accounts? If not, keep investing. If you are maxed out on those already, I'd split the difference and 50/50 debt/investment.

S0VERE1GN

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Re: Places to reduce bills?
« Reply #23 on: July 22, 2014, 02:04:48 PM »
The food bill actually seems really low to me. You might want to start a thread, because I've seen other posters justify much higher food spending with celiac in the house.

Honestly I think you're in great shape other than the vehicles, which you're fixing already.

In regards to the loans, are you maxing out registered accounts? If not, keep investing. If you are maxed out on those already, I'd split the difference and 50/50 debt/investment.

Lol there's really not a lot to our cheap food. we buy stuff in bulk at a wholesale place nearby. (cheese, sandwich makings, burger meat, sausages etc)  and we have a lot of pasta and rice and beans....  (more rice and beans than pasta, obviously a cheaper gluten free option) besides that we'll "splurge" from time to time on all organic locally harvested meats (maybe once every other month) and have a nice dinner/breakfast or something.