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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Cutting Down to Gear Up

I'm about five weeks away from starting the worst 90 days of my career.  Bar Review.  The two most dreaded words for any 3L.  Aside from the obviously intense stress levels that come with that which will not be named, comes lifestyle difficulties.  Haunted by the looming six figure debt that awaits me, I will not be taking out a personal loan to get me through the three months of studying.  That means we have to make the loans for this term s t r e t c h until August. 

No iPad for me :(
(From: http://www.apple.com/ipad/features/)

As a result, we've started trimming the excess and scrutinizing what we really "need. We've cancelled the cable for starters.  Best. Decision. Ever.  (FYI, when we told the cable company that we want to cancel, they offered to cut the price in half.  You might want to try that if you're fed up with high cable prices!)  We now watch Netflix on the Wii and our weekly shows on the network websites.  No to limited commercials is awesome! Since we already paid for a TiVo subscription, we loaned out the DVR to a friend so it doesn't get wasted. 
(From http://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/hbo-says-no-to-netflix-streaming/)

We got a big surprise when we inquired into getting faster internet.  Turns out AT&T is offering internet at double the speed for a little over half the price we are currently paying.  So look into your current internet providers and make sure you are taking advantage of their deals!

The biggest switch was closing our account with Chase.  If you don't get direct deposit or have some qualifying minimum balance, they charge you a monthly fee.  Seriously?!  You're better off keeping your money under your bed! Although the $0.03 I was earning in interest every month was enticing, the $6 monthly fee was a deal-breaker.  Basically, Chase wants you to pay them for borrowing your money.  No thanks!  Taking all our money out  and holding a thick wad of hundreds is one of the greatest feelings, you should try it.  Now we bank with a credit union which is tied directly to our main bank accounts with ING.  We get substantially more interest for both our checking a savings accounts at ING.  With this setup, we have the physical convenience of making deposits and withdrawals at the credit union located just behind our house and transferring to ING online is really easy, so we earn a higher interest rate.  Charlie Sheen would agree with me that I'm WINNING!


Our last step (well actually, this something I've been doing since college) is meticulously accounting for every dollar spent so we know where we can cut back. Yeah, it's a lot to look at, but I know if I've been charged twice for something, and I know when I need to really tighten up.

 All in all, with this streamlining process, my home is becoming more distraction free and all my worries can be saved for the bar and not money. Yippee?

2 comments:

Olga says:
at: March 20, 2011 at 6:37 PM said...

I've been using Mint.com to keep track of my spending, since I'm too lazy to do that myself. It links to my credit union account and sends me weekly updates on how I'm doing.

That's pretty clever about AT&T. I'll check that out!

SurelyMaeby says:
at: March 20, 2011 at 6:59 PM said...

Good tip about mint.com. I'll check it out. I spend everything on the credit cards to earn miles then pay the full balance monthly from the bank accounts. So I like to see where all the money is coming and going from.

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