I was listening to an old episode of the Afford Anything podcast, and one of the FI strategies discussed by J Money (blogger of budgetsaresexy.com fame) was CHALLENGE ALL THE EXPENSES! Essentially, challenge every expense you have. Mortgage – Can you get a better interest rate? Insurance – have you checked around annually for better premiums? Electric – have you done all you can to reduce your consumption? Cable – do you actually need it? And so on. I’ve started to challenge my expenses (read my post about some improvements we have made in the month of October) but I still have a significant amount of work to do in this area.
Areas that need to be challenged:
-Life insurance. Are we getting the best rates we can for the coverage we have?
-Electricity bill. We’ve done some optimizations in this area recently including more efficient heating (Ductless split heat pumps. We got these awesome Daikin ones…so far so good!) and increased insulation. What else can we do?
-Cable/Home Phone/Internet – do we even need those first 2 things?
-Groceries. We’ve tried to reduce this but the number went back up a bit in November. What permanent changes can we make?
-Bank fees. I hate ’em. I am paying them now with one of my banks. It will be some work to switch but it would save me $126 per year minimum…
-Vacations. 2018 was pricey. I abandoned hubs and the kiddo for 2 weeks in Italy. Probably won’t be doing that next year. What other vacation hacks can I organize to save in this area?
-Gifting. We probably don’t need to attend an average of 2 kid’s birthday parties per month plus other birthdays, anniversaries, housewarming gifts, get well gifts, Christmas, Easter, yada yada yada.
-Roadside assistance. I’m currently a member of CAA. I pay some money every year to have the peace of mind of good roadside assistance. That said, you can obtain this service from other places. For example, I could pay a small premium on car insurance to get the service for less money. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.
Upon reflection, some of these will have a much bigger impact than others. I will try to start with the biggest possible savings and try not to lose steam! I’m going to say groceries and the cable bill will be the first targets. Even just optimizing one thing a month will help. We must keep taking small steps to achieve a bigger goal.
Have you challenged all of your expenses? Where did you have your biggest gains? Let me know in the comments!