Cutting the fat

In more ways than one.

Someone commented to me one day that I’d “lost weight.” I said to them, “Well, not since Thanksgiving.” I thought, for SURE I had gained 8-12 pounds. But as you can see from my ticker, I’ve only gained about 5 pounds since early November. Sure, it’s a gain, but I’m trying to not beat myself up (a favorite task), and say to myself – WOW! it could have been SO much more. I DID carry Weight Watchers around with me, in the back of my head. A bit. I made healthier choices at the gazillion “all-you-can-eat-holiday-parties-and-soires” that we went to this season. And we hosted one this am, a playdate for Malka’s 2 boyfriends from daycare, and we go to Uncle Bobby’s for MORE yummy food tomorrow.

But. I’m back to tracking. And that’s something. Because when I track what I eat, it works.

Speaking of tracking, Narda and I worked on our budget for 2008. Erm. OK – can y’all help convince us that we NEED Cable – we get a bulk discount for our building, and it comes down to about 95 bucks for basic cable, and Internet. It could be WAY more expensive if we didn’t have the “building bulk” discount, but really, we are trying to cut the fiscal fat, too, as we work on our journey to child #2. We just HAVE to save more. So we have to cut the financial fat. We are pretty frugal, but we know we could cut our long distance, cable, be more vigilant about cooking at home, and about comparison shopping for groceries.

I LURVE me some Amy Dacyzyn (and if you don’t know who she is, go google her!), so as far as how to stretch what we have, I’m ALL over it. But I’m also open to ideas about MORE ways to “stretch” those dollars – for example, do any of you have those “green plugs,” and if so, do they REALLY work? We are half fluorescent, and half incandescent – I CANNOT have my bedside lamp as fluorescent – I’d scream. But I’m into hearing about off the wall methods, like caulking inside your outlet boxes. So all of that cool stuff, I’m open – share, share, share.

Because the fat? She needs to be cut this year.

In more ways than one.

Happy 2008, may it bring you joy, love, and all that you are willing to work for.

12 thoughts on “Cutting the fat

  1. Sorry, can’t convince you that you need the cable…are you talking $95/month??? WOW!

    We have not had cable in the 5 years we’ve lived in this house. We get PBS pretty well, and sometimes NBC but that’s sketchy. And it’s enough. We have the $5/mo plan on Netflix which includes 2 videos (one at a time) plus 5 hours of instant watching, in which i might catch up on some TV if it’s available. That’s all we really have time for, anyway…and better for the toddler!

    Sorry, don’t mean to sound self-righteous AT ALL (cuz, well, i’m not righteous, just poor and frugal…)

    And, over that past 5 years, my wife has gotten me 2 presents that although expensive have certainly saved a lot of cash in the long run: an espresso maker and a very special “grind and brew on a timer” drip coffee maker. Now i can have whatever kind of coffee drink i want without spending the $3 or whatever for it. Only problem is, i have to actually make it. It’s sort of like cooking at home vs eating out, though–you sacrifice a little convenience for something much more tasty, satisfying, affordable, and ultimately (again, with toddler) more pleasant.

    Since you asked…

    Happy 2008!

  2. good luck with the cable dilemma…you will know if it is ok to make that expense or not. As for long distance, have you looked into I am loving it. My skype to skype calls are free and my international calls are the merest fraction of the cost of a house phone. You can download it for free and talk straight through the computer! If you and the person on the other end have a camera, you can see each other and talk at the same time. I talked to my brother in Macao this month that way …ALL FOR FREE!!!

    I am back on W. W. as of this coming weekend. I am also setting a monthly mileage goal. I am going to start with walking 20 miles a month. I may move that number up depending on how I do with that goal. Let’s be hopeful!!!

  3. You can get “warm” Flourescents that have the same color and tonality as incandescent lights, we have them in our bedside lamps.

    If you have Con Edison which I’m almost positive you do since you’re a city dweller, you can switch your electric plan to a different supplier through Con Ed, for a discount. We switched to Spark Electric, so instead of paying 21 cents per kilowatt hour, we only pay 14 cents. And they will replace all of your incandescent lightbulbs for free with CFLs. Even during the summer with an Air Conditioner on at night, our electric bills only averaged about 60$ a month.

    Use coupons if you aren’t already, I make it a game for myself to see how much I can save every time I shop, I average about 35$ a trip with my coupons and store card. And when you cook at home, cook in ‘cycles’ like roast a whole chicken, then use the meat of the carcass for chicken pot pie, and then make stock for soup with the carcass.

    Speaking as a college student who pays rent on her own. I have found every way possible to penny pinch.

  4. I think one of the biggest things to attack when cutting the budget is food. Both going out to eat (which we never did!) and regular groceries. Our grocery budget during my husband’s college years was $125 a week. The best way to keep to it was to make a list and don’t buy anything extra. Really watch those prices! Oh, and my husband lost 30lbs while on our fanancial induced diet, as well.

    Get MS Money or Quicken and track your expenses. That should help.

  5. I love to find ways to save money…but NOT by cutting the cable. Think of all the money you save by not going out to the movies or other forms of entertainment!! and a bulk discount should never be turned up. 🙂

    I second the coupon/store card comment. I find a surprising number of coupons for things we buy anyway. Store cards are also helpful (I looove my CVS card and it produces excellent discounts).

    Also cooking at home, of course, particularly the bringing-lunch thing; buying lunch every day really adds up. One of the financially advantageous things about being a teacher is that I am motivated to bring my lunch, since I never have *time* to go buy it anyway!

    I’ll think about other things…

  6. We are switching to CFL’s this week. There is new legislation in Ireland which will make the sale of incandescent lightbulbs illegal. I am not sure if they will make that much difference to our electricity bill but we have no choice in the end.

    I like to batch cook and tend to do it coming up to each IVF cycle so that I don’t have to cook during the cycle.

    I find it really hard to keep an eye on money because M works in cash so there is no consistency to what he brings home.

    Are you paying $95 a year or a month for cable? If it is a month then drop it, if it is a year then keep it. We pay €26 a month and I really need to look at what I am paying for.

  7. no budgeting/saving $$ tips, but wanted to say that we are working on the same two goals this year. gotta get healthier financially and in the gut/butt areas, both for the kiddos and our future as a family. so, right on to you guys and good luck!

  8. Is there a smaller cable plan you can get? We’ve saved a bundle by going for the most basic cable plan here. We get the pbs stations, major network channels, c-span, local access channels and the weather channel. This way we get some TV but we aren’t shelling out $50 a month. We also saved by going to the absolute most basic local landline phone plan we could. We use our cells so much and pay for that – so why have all the extras on the landline?

    We also save by getting maintenance prescriptions mail-order. Check out if your insurance company does this – we get 3 months for a 1 month co-pay – but only through mail order. It ends up saving us quite a bit of cash.

  9. Do you want to be convinced that you NEED cable or that you DON’T NEED it? I wasn’t sure if you left out “don’t” by mistake.

    Anyway, I think you *don’t* need it. TV is a big timesuck. If you don’t have cable, you’ll probably find even more time to read, craft, and do things together as a family, especially as Malka gets older. Some studies have linked TV and ADHD. And it’s a BIG expense – dropping it would IMMEDIATELY save you over one grand.

    If you want to watch something, there’s always DVDs from the library, borrowed from friends, or even Netflix at a third the price of cable — with no commercials. A lot of shows are streamed on the web now, and if there’s something you really have to see, maybe you can see it at a friend’s or have a friend tape it. If you want Malka to be able to watch things occasionally, DVDs give you a lot more control over what she sees, and again, no commercials. Plus, you’ll still have your gaming system and all the blogs in the world.

    There are a lot of ways to keep yourself entertained without spending $95/month. We moved our TV into the closet when Natalie started crawling and we haven’t really noticed its absence.

  10. We just got cable in August for the first time in five years. I didn’t miss it at all – not one little bit (though I let out a small squee upon learning we get LOGO). Beth missed it terribly and pined for it. We got it because we were upgrading our internet – which had to be done. The package was $12 more than the internet alone. Beth adores her 300 channels and I have to be disciplined enough to walk away or I will catch up on Pr*ject Runw*y instead of writing and editing.

    I say – you don’t need it at all. You will enjoy your free time doing other things and a little spare cash from the $95 you aren’t dropping on cable!

  11. I just want to send you some WW love — hang in there and keep tracking. I am doing it too, and every time I think about the weight I have lost I feel so much better. I think it is awesome that you have already lost what you have and I know that you will be able to make your goal!

    Esti in Philadelphia

  12. I personally think digital cable is necessary for parents of young children. That may make me a shallow person, but so be it, lol. We actually watch way less TV now, but we watch the TV we want. We always wrote off our cable as a business expense being in theatre. What does your accountant say?


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