Being a one income family who is saving for an approaching retirement (December, yay!), budgeting is a high priority. To avoid cutting too much into things I love, I have tried cutting deep into things I don't care about. Take trash, for instance. It's trash. As long as I get it out of my house, I'm not especially particular about the whole business. Living in the country means we have to contract with a private company if we want our trash collected. Our trash collection rates recently increased. I don't know what this service goes for in town, but the service here now goes for $32/month. I know that doesn't sound like a huge amount, but it comes out to $384 for the year. However, did you know that you can drop off a 33-gallon bag of trash at a collection station for $1? Because we recycle, we only fill one of those each week. That's $52 for the year if we are willing to drop it off ourselves instead of having the truck come to our house, saving us $332 for the year.
My cell phone is my next big save. As I've said, I get no real signal where I live, so the cell phone is simply something to use when I'm out. I was paying $34/month for the cheapest plan I could get. I downgraded that to a pay-as-you-go plan which charges me $2 for each day I use the phone. That $2 gets me unlimited calling and texting. Since I'm only really out 2 days a week and don't need to use my phone everytime I'm out, this has turned out very well. Instead of that $34, my phone is now costing me about $10/month. That's $288 for the year.
And just to show that I'm crazy (and because this post could not get more boring), I have to throw in my doggie savings. We have a goldendoodle. Goldendoodles are great because they don't shed, but their coats do require a lot more maintenance than the lab we used to have. To have a full grooming on my dog costs over $100 and has to be done 2 or 3 times each year. So I got myself a $40 electric dog clipper and did it myself. I'm not putting up a picture of the results, because my technique could use some . . . er . . . refinement. But my neighbors are too far away to see him, he's happy, and my $40 investment is going to save me around $300/year.
For just a few cuts that do not affect my life in any profound way, I am putting over $900 in my pocket every year. That's more than enough to buy a very nice doggie sweater, in case you were wondering.