Overcoming Laziness - picture of little girl reaching for bubbles

Overcoming Laziness: How I’m Cutting Costs in August

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As you all know, summer was an expensive season in the Club Thrifty household.  Greg took the entire month of July off in between jobs and we regrettably used that as an excuse to get slightly off track.  From our budget-busting vacation to Mexico to our general lack of oversight in regards to spending, I have to admit that we pretty much sucked.

Fortunately, we put ourselves on FALL FINANCIAL LOCKDOWN starting August 1st and we’re doing really good on our budget so far this month.  We did all the free things with the kids this past weekend – took them to two different parks, filled up the ol’ baby pool in the driveway, and blew bubbles for what seemed like an eternity.  What?  Putting a baby pool in my driveway makes us look like white trash?  Seriously, I’m offended.

Regardless of what you think of me, I have turned over a new leaf and we are determined to stick to our August budget to the penny.  And even though we’re only eight days into the month so far, we’re really rockin’ it!  In fact, I’ve already used a little strategery in order to save a little cash.  Here is how I am overcoming laziness and complacency to save money this month:

I dealt with AT&T

As I mentioned in my August Budget Breakdown post, my internet is was only $35.95 per month.  Ironically, I got my AT&T bill the same day and was shocked to find that my monthly bill had nearly doubled to $67.  AS IF I’m going to pay twice much for the exact same service.  Now, usually, I hate calling AT&T and would rather cut my boob off than call them on purpose.  In the past, the customer service people I’ve dealt with have been downright horrendous.  However, this time I forced myself to call and try to work something out.  After all, their only real competitor in the area is Comcast and there was no chance in hell that I was going to go that route.  So I lied.  Kind’ve.  After talking to a variety of go-bots and yelling things like “representative” and “question about my bill” into an automated service, I got to talk to a real, live human being.  The customer service rep, who sounded suspiciously like Darius Rucker, happily lowered my total bill down to $34 per month…..less than I was paying before!  All I had to say was that I was on Comcast’s website price shopping (which was true).  They also upgraded me to the highest speed that was available “just because I am a valued customer,” said Darius.

We’ve been eating what we have

I swear I have been staring at the same food in my pantry for forever.  Why is it that old food looks “boring,”  And, what’s so exciting about buying “new” food anyway?  In order to keep our grocery spending in check, we’ve made a conscious effort to eat the food that we have.  Like, for instance, the other night when I made a box of Red Lobster cheddar bay biscuit mix to go with the salads we were having.  Sure, it wasn’t quite the same thing as eating at Red Lobster but those biscuits are freaking delicious!  And we’ve been eating a lot of frozen green beans these past few days….just because we had a surplus.  I know that I bought that food to begin with…but it does feel good to finally eat it once and for all.  Eating what we have feels like free money!

We’re not going anywhere

I know, I know.  My strategies are seriously blowing your mind!  But seriously, we had an amazingly adventurous summer season.  We traveled, we went out to eat, we went to parties.  Enough already.  We did have a lot of fun this summer but we wasted a lot of money in the process.  So, this month we’re not going to get a babysitter or go out and do anything too exciting.  Instead, we’re going to stay home and stare at each other.  It’s free!

So, there you have it.  If you were looking for groundbreaking insight on how to save money this month, you’ve found it.  You’re welcome.

How are you saving money this month?  And, who sucks more?  AT&T or Comcast?

 

 

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93 Comments

  1. Well those are certainly some easy ways to keep expenses low this month. One point you talk about is eating what you have. I’ve talked about this on many occasions how people continue to shop and place more food on top of food and it gets to the point where stuff goes out of date. If we focus on eating what we have instead of buying more and more it will certainly keep costs lower and eliminate food waste. Cheers Holly!

  2. Never worked with AT+T, but Comcast is definitely the WORST. I can’t imagine ever giving them another dime unless it’s really the only option I have, and even then I might rather deprive myself of whatever it is we’re talking about than give them any more business.

    1. They will never get a single penny from me again!

  3. Comcast sucks more than AT&T. In fact, I’m calling them tonight and if they don’t lower our bill by $50+ I’m cancelling!

    1. I don’t blame you. We have Brighthouse Networks here in Tampa and I’d rather jump off a bridge than use their Internet services. I’ve gone so far as to switch to T-Mobile’s unlimited data and tether my phone to my computer for Internet.

    1. Yeah, pretty much. BUT AT&T was really nice to me yesterday. Maybe they are trying to improve!

  4. Love your common sense tips! Lowering monthly bills, eating what you have, and generally doing less are all ways that I’ve cut expenses in my budget as well.

  5. Glad you lowered your bill with AT&T. I would hate for you to have to cut off your boob! haha

  6. I guess I would have to say Comcast sucks more since I am not with AT&T. I agree with eating food that we have. We always seem to need/want something when we have things in there to cook/eat. Thats a great way to save some dollars.

  7. You should have asked Darius to send an autograph! Also, I’m about to go crazy on our pantry too. Time to eat a ridiculous amount of pasta. 😉

    1. Yep, same here! The kids love it, though, so it shouldn’t be too hard to work our way through the stockpile!

  8. I met Darius once. He was really nice:) I’ve never had comcast, but our ISP royally sucks, but they are the only choice unless I want to buy a satellite for internet or have dial up. My internet was down for over 24 hours yesterday and after two hours on the phone, the representative told me I should look at their website for troubleshooting!

    1. I hear ya. It’s slim pickin’s around here too. We don’t have a lot of choices and all of them suck.

  9. Our monthly savings begins next month when I send my son, the human food pit, to college. Then he’ll be on a food plan where the University of Texas is going to lose money! I gladly signed that contract! Suckers! bwahahahahah!!!!!

  10. I always put off calling customer service centers. It’s so maddening. But the savings are so worth it. Though when you take the time to call and the response is essentially
    “tough shit” (i.e. every call I’ve ever made to Ikea), it makes my head want to explode. Congrats on the savings!

    1. Yes, it’s worth it….just a total pain in the ass!

  11. Personally I hate ATT more than Comcast, but that is because Comcast has actually almost treated me like a human being in the past couple of years. Couple that with the fact that ATTs service in my hood is terrible, like unusable terrible (or at least that is what my neighbors tell me).

    1. Really?

      I have AT&T for Uverse internet only and it is really an awesome service where I live (east of Indy)

  12. I’ve never dealt with AT&T but Verizon was on my shi*t list for awhile…long story. However, the BF insists that we keep FIOS…he’s a frugal one but fast internet is one thing he will spend on.

    1. I think that everyone has some sort of story with Verizon, Comcast, or AT&T!!!!!

  13. Holly! At the risk of sounding rather obvious, overcoming laziness is hard since it comes so naturally to me and perhaps most of us. I’d much rather cut a reproductive organ off than call AT&T, too. Well played over there with Darius. How is he anyhow?

    I never used Comcast, but they scare the daylights out of me and this post is not helping them. We are saving on Friday and Sunday evening eats. We were simply eating too much where ever we went at those times after having a big lunch. We are going to begin sharing meals at those times this week. We estimate it will save between $30-40 a month. That’s significant for us;)

    Have a Jolly one!!!

  14. I like your strategies for August! I know what you mean about old food looking boring and new food looking exciting! We’re trying to eat everything out of the cupboards before going shopping again. Not everything at once mind. But it’s interesting to see what new recipes you can come up with when dealing with sparse ingredients!

    1. Yeah, it really is. I have a ton of pasta and sauce. Time for some spaghetti!

  15. We are buckling down a bit in the SDR household as well, Holly. We went through a move, and had to get some things to fill up the new house, and we took a vacation down to Texas. Now we are buckling down and trying to stable the waters for a bit.

    1. Yes, that is exactly what we are doing. Summer was fun, but it’s over now. Time to tighten our belts! =)

    1. Yeah, it really does. Staying busy always keeps our spending under control.

  16. I do have to tell myself off when I find myself saying ‘We’ve got nothing in for dinner’. Then I open the cupboards to see a mass of food just waiting to be eaten. I might join you in using it up!

  17. I don’t have AT&T for internet but do have it for my cellphone. I called multiple times to try to get text messaging fees reduced because I don’t use that feature often and they made everyone get the unlimited plan. The reps wouldn’t doing anything about it but my contract was up and I told them I would cancel my contract. I was switched to the retentions department where they were a lot friendlier and gave me a $10 monthly reduction.

  18. Where do you get Red Lobster biscuit mix at? I *love* those. Sometimes I try to whip up my own cheesy garlic biscuits but it’s never the same.

    1. Actually, I found it in an elevator. I swear. I couldn’t make that up if I tried.

      When we were on vacation in May, a new box of the Red Lobster biscuit mix was in a grocery bag in an elevator at the condo we were staying at. It looked like someone had gone to the grocery store, bought their groceries up to the condo, but forgot the one bag in the elevator. I made sure that it hadn’t been opened and brought it home with me =)

  19. Tara @ Streets Ahead Living says:

    great tip on the internet thing! our internet just doubled too after we expired out of the 12 month promotion rate but I never thought of price comparing to other companies when on the phone with my current company– GENIUS.

    Also, I’m in the eat what’s in the fridge/cupboard as well. Outside of things that run out like milk and coffee creamer, we’re eating what we have.

    1. Yes, totally. This months menu includes a lot of rice and pasta!

  20. Nice job with Darius, I do it every year, usually the special offer last 12 months so I keep a calendar note not to forget.

  21. I am actually going to dump Comcast for DirectTV. Its going to save up $75 per month for the first two years. Maybe by that point their will be ala carte cable channels available.

    1. Have you considered cancelling cable altogether?

  22. Holly, glad to know the customer service rep. was kind enough to give you price lower than expected. Yeah staying at home is free… Hehehe i can imaging after the blast at Mexico, you need to start cutting down in coming months to balance it … Good luck

    1. He was actually super nice. It was quite refreshing!

  23. I’d have to say Time Warner sucks more than both. I think pretty much all cable companies suck to some degree. This month is going to be just a little expensive for me because I’m doing some organizational kind of stuff and need to invest in a few things. I decided to get my apartment cleaned by someone else this week because I try to do that twice a year just to get the deep cleaning done. But the good news is I’m not really going anywhere like I did last month, and I’m happy to just be chilling out in August. Hope this month continues to go well for you!

    1. Never used Time Warner! I find it hard to believe that they could suck as much as Comcast!

      1. Time Warner’s customer service is atrocious! So glad we don’t have them anymore!

        I hear ya about buckling down. Why do we spend so much money during the summer? Also, I’m glad you didn’t have to cut off your boob, Holly! 🙂

  24. Good job getting back on track, but remember, laziness isn’t all that bad!

  25. AT&T! *shakes fist at the heavens*

    The ratio of how much money I pay them to the quality of service I receive is too $#%# high!

  26. Did ATT at least give you a reason for the price increase? Wow, good thing you didn’t use that knife!!

    When I’m forcing my way through Automated Phone systems I sometimes just start pressing as many numbers as I can. Sometimes that doesn’t work…Having directed a Call Center in a the past (in which you always reached a live person after just one prompt!) I learned that many places have what’s called a “silent 6” (as the HMO Kaiser would call it).

    Basically, whatever the last number is in the prompt, let’s say “5”, just hit the next number. Or “0”. You can even try zero haha.

    1. Yes, my 12 month introductory offer had ended. But, still. Paying double? Seriously not gonna happen.

      They were surprisingly nice about it, though!

  27. I would say that Comcast sucks more. Though maybe that is because they are still in my life while AT&T is not. 🙂

  28. I am really tired of all the sales gimmicks! 12 month guarantee of prices and then double! I guess most people do not call and just accept it. I wish I could do that.

    1. I know! What is up with that business model? Why would you want your customers out looking for a better deal every 12 months?

  29. Very good breakdown. I have been thinking about that latly too and one of the best pointers you have there is eating what you have. It is amazing how many time I find myself buying stuff for meals, with full meals potentially sitting in my freezer. I think it is a good thing to do once and a while. mass purging!

    1. Yes, mass purging into your belly. Get to work.

  30. Nice job on lowering your internet costs. Sometimes it’s worth a ring. I make sure to call my internet/cable/phone provider at least twice a year to ask for any promotions. You’d think they would’ve clued in by now and discount my bill with new promotions automatically, without me having to ask every time. Ah, I’d probably call anyway 🙂

  31. Comcast = satan. End of Story.

    I used to feel bad, because it must not be fun to have people call and complain all day. But after spending a lovely 24+ hrs on the phone with Comcast in less than 10 days once, in which I was explained things like ‘you need to have cable wires in the wall for service to work” (um… I had cable for months previously, and I haven’t been living under a rock- of course cable needs a wire to come into the house), and I feel no pity. I tried to pay my Comcast bill last month- the online payment center wouldn’t work, the phone payment wouldn’t work, and no one answered the phone. I had to drive an hour out of the way to pay they bill and the service rep was like “yeah, those haven’t been working lately”… um thanks?

    1. I think EVERYONE has a Comcast horror story. Damn!

      After the last time when they set up DSL at my house that never worked then tried to make me pay for it for three months, I will NEVER EVER do business with them again. I don’t care if they buy up the U.S. food supply.

  32. I did something similar with my mother’s internet bill: I called to say that we want to stop using their services and they said they understand and in maximum 48 hours they will stop providing them. After three minutes, somebody from the company called and offered a discount, which was exactly what we wanted 🙂

    Regarding the “eating what we have” part… I always say that we’ll do something like that too. I think we have a few months’ worth of cans and frozen stuff, but just like you say, something new always sounds better…

    1. Sounds like it’s time to make some creative meals with canned corn and pancake mix at your house=)

  33. “We’re going to stay home and stare at each other. It’s free!” I had to laugh, this is hilarious! Great job on being able to negotiate an even cheaper rate for your internet. Luckily, my internet is included in my rent (and so is everything else), so I don’t have to worry about bills at all. Good luck with your FFL! 😉

    1. Hey, that’s definitely one of the perks of renting!

  34. Great job with working AT&T – I noticed that when I would try to leave, cable and internet companies would try to make cheaper offers. It was like breaking up with someone, though at least there’s a benefit in doing so. I’m craving those cheddar biscuits now!

    1. Mmmmm…..me too. I have a few left but they’re probably a little crusty by now.

  35. We don’t have Comcast or AT&T so I can’t answer to that. We have Cox and those idiots tried pulling the same crazy thing on us a few months ago. They had been upping our price by a dollar or two every once in a while and then, all of a sudden, they nearly doubled it. I set my wife on them and now our bill is down below our original price, at the highest speed and a rate guarantee for like the next 3 years. Just another reason why I love my wife. 😉

  36. I’ve found that posting our budget is providing a little extra motivation to do well and stay accountable. BTW, I’m sure you probably heard it already, but Darius Rucker’s cover of Wagon Wheel is my sometimes favorite…

    1. I really like how you took the time to post a video in the comments. Shows initiative. Well done, sir.

  37. I have dealt with AT&T on behalf of my bosses and it was horrible every single time. They could never give me the correct phone number for the correct department I was supposed to be talking to, I was on hold for at least a half hour, and everyone I spoke to seemed clueless. I’m glad it went smoothly for you! I can also relate to yelling “representative!!” in the phone and mashing 0. I have heard horror stories about Comcast too, though.

    I wholeheartedly concur with the “eat what we have.” I have resigned us to doing the same until we seriously run out of food.

  38. Nice! I hate that Comcast has no competition in our area. Except Verizon Fios. But they know that we can’t get Fios in our area. So they know we’re screwed if we want internet.

    1. Ugh, I hate how so many big companies have a monopoly!

  39. Jim Lloyd Espiritu says:

    I have worked with AT&T especially in the customer service part of their billing department. I am glad that you we’re able to lower down when the representative helped you out. They normally extend additional freebies if you are either irate or had a really had a bad experience with them.

    1. They were actually really nice! I was impressed.

  40. I just told Time Warner to eat their damn modem rental fee, but now I have to call them and work out a better internet deal. I just found out that I can get FIOS in my home, so now I have a bargaining chip. Time to bring the heat!

  41. We love Darius Rucker. 🙂 We are having the same kind of an August as you guys, so know that you’re not the only family sitting in the house staring at each other. Is it a bit sad to say we’re quite enjoying ourselves?

    1. We’re having fun too. My kids love the park and we love watching them at the park….free fun! We’ve gone nearly every day!

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