Clip Clip Here, Clip Clip There

by Lindy on September 28, 2011

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I’m remembering the scene from The Wizard of Oz. You know the one…

It popped into my head when I started thinking of ways to cut dollars from our budget.

clip clip here, buzz buzz there, and a couple of tra-la-las

That’s how we [something] the day away…

(that’s how I sing it, anyways)

The other day as I was studying our budget line items to find something, anything that could be cut, I was coming across a lot of untouchables.  Nope, mortgage isn’t going down. Nope, not gonna touch the cell phone plan. Insurance, not changing carriers. This line item ain’t changing. And neither is this one.

Maybe I could shave a little off of this, this, and this, but I can’t see that amounting to very much, so why bother going through all that effort?

[Insert sound of me whining here.]

In the back of my head, I was hearing a mantra commonly spouted all over the personal finance blogosphere: you can always cut more than you think.

[Can you hear that? Yep, still whining.]

So I took a break from the spreadsheet, got into a better state, and came back a week later with a different approach.

Instead of mentally accounting for the things that could potentially be cut, and dismissing them as trite, I put down hard numbers.

$25 per month off the coffee bill if one of us (who shall not be named) could break her (or his) dependence on afternoon caffeine.

$15-ish per month off the power bill with some energy reduction efforts.

$100 could possibly be shaved off the restaurant tab by focusing on coupons, discount gift cards, restaurant.com, etc.

$25 here, $30 there, and so on….

In the end, my potential savings column totaled $300 per month.  And even though some of these items are last resorts and may never be touched, at least they’re there in black and white.

It’s a starting place.

Speaking of, I think I’ll be starting with the energy bill, because I have absolutely no emotional attachment to our energy consumption. Painless budget cuts are the best kinds. Plus, I’d get to finally buy these cool power strips.

Cut cut here, cut cut there…

If I could dye my eyes to match my gown, I'm pretty sure I'd stop whining about budgets.

(Photos courtesy of Parody Files)

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  • http://mikeandmollyshouse.com Molly

    When we’ve gone as far as we ‘feel’ we can go on cutting back we take a 30 day break and see how we do. I do prefer cutting a little here and there. One year we skipped a vacation so we could add more into our savings. It ws painful!

    • Lindy

      Ouch, that does sound painful, but you gotta do what you gotta do. And you’re right, a little here and there is the best way.

  • http://www.halfdozendaily.blog.com Carla

    Good for you! It is hard to cut out (or down) on some of the “fun stuff”, but sometimes it’s necessary.

  • http://www.halfdozendaily.blog.com Carla

    PS – inquiring minds on my blog want to know what you call a “housecoat”? lol! Check out my comments from yesterday… lol!

    • Lindy

      Haha, I’ve gone back and filled everybody in.

  • http://dailymoneyshot.net Jana @ Daily Money Shot

    I have been there and it is exhausting. It’s amazing how much is obligated expenses that just don’t move. But I think you’re doing a great job and power strips make everything better.

    • Lindy

      Yes, they do. :)

  • http://www.newlywedsonabudget.com/ Newlyweds Budget

    I’ve heard of people cutting a big chunk off their electricity bill by unplugging everything when it’s not in use. Worth the effort!

    • Lindy

      I’ve heard the same. The cool power strips shut off your TV components automatically, or by remote control. Drool-worthy I tell you.

  • http://momvesting.com Christa

    I could probably cut quite a bit if I clipped here and there. In fact, to save a little, I’m currently piling on the sweaters rather than turning on the heat — clip clip!

    • Lindy

      Oooh, sweaters. We’re still using our AC. :) But I like playing that game too, it’s fun to see how long you can make it before giving in and turning the heat on.

  • http://lifebeginsatretirement.blogspot.com Jane

    If I wasn’t so damn lazy I’d make some calls and get some bills lowered – cable, internet, home phone like some bloggers I know (Carla) but as I said I’m too damn lazy. I just can’t make the effort. But I have stopped buying coffees, now I buy boxes of 250 teabags and drink tea at work instead of stopping and spending $5.00 on my way there. Works for me.

    • Lindy

      I know what you mean. It’s amazing how a phone call can be such a chore.
      Enjoy that tea!

  • http://www.directbanc.com/about/ monica

    Hi Lindy,
    It’s funny how all the $2.00 here and $5.00 there add up without us realizing it! I think you have the right idea about finding those extra expenses that can be “clipped” and while it may not seem like much at the time, it adds up over the course of a year. And don’t be so hard on yourself about the coffee addiction, because we all like our little treats now and then. (Mine is the $1.00 sweet tea from a certain fast food place!)

  • http://senseofcents.blogspot.com/ Michelle

    If you’re on Restaurant.com’s e-mail list, they just sent out an e-mail for 90% off! I just bought some, they are a great way to save.

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  • http://firstgenamerican.com First Gen American

    I remember reaching that point of diminishing returns myself. It was one of the things that fueled my passion to payoff our house. I was like…I can’t cut my variable expenses much more, I guess it’s time to hit the fixed expenses harder. Luckily we are a dual income household so buckling down in other areas allowed us to pay down the mortgage in 11 years. But I’ll tell you…I’ve spend almost all of this year burnt out from the race to pay it off. I’m buying stuff again. Most of it I need, some of it I don’t.

    It really depends on how badly you need to cut more out of your budget.

  • http://bettermebetterworld.blogspot.com/ Dmarie

    I love it how you stay on top of your money situation. Far less anxiety if you know you can squeeze out a few hundred worth of expenses…if you wanted to or needed to do so. well done!

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