February 28th, 2009
Like everyone else, I’m looking for ways to shave expenses. Dinners, presents, movies out, and tickets for live music are now few and far between. If I need clothes, I buy used as much as possible (I’ll break for new undees, sneakers, and socks though). If I play with friends, one of us suggests eating in or going to a free event, like a book reading or a talk. European vacation plans with the boyfriend are on hold. You know the drill — the frugal freelance budget, only on steroids.
I’m especially psyched that this insurance agent helped me pick a healthcare plan that costs $1500 less a year but still covers the stuff I need covered. (By dropping maternity, pharmacy, and vision bennies, I save money — who knew!?) And I made the switch from cable TV to Netflix a little while back. Together, these changes save me $200 a month, which ain’t too shabby.
Still, each time I revisit the “Where I can save?” question, two monthly expenses that I don’t really need to be incurring jump out at me:
(1) The money I pay to have my house cleaned every 4 to 6 weeks (about $100, depending on how dirty the house is). This is a total guilty pleasure for me. But I hate to clean and rarely have time to anyway. Besides, I look forward to that one day a month when I sit on the freshly vacuumed couch, survey the tidy, dog-hair-free living room, and think “Ahhhhhh.”
(2) The money I pay to have a 40-pound bag of Buddy‘s food delivered every 4 to 6 weeks (about $10 delivery charge each time). For some reason, picking up the dog food is an errand I’ve always hated. Usually I realize I’m out of kibble when the dog needs breakfast and an editor needs the article I’m working on. Also, those bags are dang heavy. So when I heard about a local delivery service, I was all over it.
Although I aspire to live leanly as possible — even if it means sucking it up and picking up my own mutt chow and mopping my own damn floors – I have a hard time letting either service go because these people are independent business owners. It’s a total thrill to not have to pay Comcast $60 extra a month or to tell LifeWise Health Plan where they can stick their stupid, plundering rate increases. But it does not feel good at all to take business away from another self-employed person. So I’ve decided that I’m keeping both services, depression be damned. Unless I have to start dipping into the dog’s food myself, I’m getting my house cleaned and my kibble delivered to my doorstep.
How about you? Are there expenses you feel you should cut back on but can’t bear to dump because you’d be contributing to another small business owner losing income?