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Reducing Your ” Must Have” Expenses

Financial Renovation: Create your 2016 Financial Budget with this FREE 4 video mini-course! Limited Time- Get yours TODAY Finances / Get Organized / Living On Less / Reducing Your " Must Have" Expenses / Resources / Topics

The Financial Renovation Budget Series

Start off 2016 the right way by taking control of your Financial Budget with this Free 4 Video Mini Course, The Financial Renovation!

Are you in debt or maybe you just want help planning and sticking to a budget?  I think everyone can use some help when it comes to planning a financial budget. I have an accounting degree and I have my own 5 year plan to be out of debt, but I will also be signing up for the Financial Renovation to see how many more tips and tricks I can learn! Courses such as the The Financial Renovation not only can help you start a budget from scratch but can also help keep yourself on track with your existing budget to help your and your family gain financial stability!

Lauren from I am That Lady, has been on Dr Oz, the Today show and many other media outlets helping people with strengthening their finances over the last 5 years and now she is offering this FREE 4 video mini-course to help you get started too!
This FREE 4 video mini-course will walk you through how to completely renovate your finances in 2016!

This free e-course is for you if:
You want to learn how to budget and stick to it.
You want to save more money on your bills.
You want to learn how to get your spouse on board with your finances.
You feel like you are stuck and don’t know where to turn.
You want to get out of debt.
or… you just want a refresher on your financial health.

Lauren also gives you an opportunity to go much deeper into learning how to get financial freedom in 2016.

  • Video #1  HOW TO START A BUDGET (available now)
  • Video #2  HOW TO STICK TO A BUDGET WHEN THEY HAVE FAILED IN PAST (available Monday Jan 4)
  • Video #3  A COMPLETE FINANCIAL BLUEPRINT FOR 2016 (available Thurs Jan 7)

This course will begin on January 1st and go until January 6th. I hope you will join us this year. If you are interested in taking the Finanacial Renovation Free 4 video mini course, you can sign up here


Don’t forget to check out our last years 30 day Budget Bootcamp here also!!

30 Day Budget bootcamp


Topic: Create your 2016 Financial budget with the Financial Renovation

Earn Money / Reducing Your " Must Have" Expenses / Ways To Save Money


Right now is the best time to change over to Verizon Fios if you haven’t already!

Verizon Fios is offering bundles as low as $94.99 per month with a 2yr contract PLUS get a $200 Visa Debit card as a sign up gift!!

You can use your $200 Visa Debit card to pay your Verizon bill and this will net out to be only$78 month for the first year!!

What are you waiting for?? See if the Verizon Fios service is in your area here–> Verizon Fios Coupons & Deals

ARCHIVE / Reducing Your " Must Have" Expenses / Uncategorized / Ways To Save Money

Part 2- Phone Cable & Internet

With the rising costs of gas and food, we all have to watch where we are spending!! Keeping a roof over your head, food on the table and everything else in between tends to eat up our hard earned paychecks! By no means am I an expert on finances but there are some things I have done that have saved our household money so we could afford to do some of the fun things we like to do while still paying down our debt and putting some money in the bank. We have adapted our lifestyle by saving on every item we have to purchase with coupons and SAVING ON EVERY HOUSEHOLD BILL WE HAVE TO HAVE rather than cutting out the fun stuff!!

If you missed our first post on How to Reduce your “Must Have” expenses, please visit the post here to learn how to save on your mortgage and utility bills!! This post is the second in the series and is dedicated to reducing your cable, internet and phone bills!!

House Phone, Internet, and Cable Summary

When we first started our mission to reduce our “must have” expenses, there was no such thing as Netflix. We were using Time Warner Cable for Internet , Dish Network for Cable TV and Verizon for our home phone bill. We were paying approximately $250 for these services!! As much as a car payment.. this is going back around 7 years but thinking we were spending that much makes me cringe. Our first step to changing was combining all to Time Warner Cable which reduced the bill to around $195. Then along came Verizon Fios and for 2 years we only paid $145 for all movie channels, 1 DVR Cable box , 4 standard cable boxes for kids room, high speed fiber optic internet service and our phone bill!!. I had tried to get Time Warner to reduce their bill numerous times but they wouldn’t budge….until after I canceled the service. They offered me $90 for all three services-internet, cable and phone. Needless to say I was furious they didn’t offer that to me before I cancelled.

So then after our 2 years were up with Fios, we had to rebundle our deal and it was back up at 200 again!! We are limited with Fios because we are paying monthly charges for the 5 cable boxes which totals around $60 with no discounts! We couldn’t go back to Satelite service because we have too many trees around our house and would lose service often. Thankfully, a few months later Netflix came around and although our kids were not happy to lose all the cable movie channels in their rooms, I canceled all premium movie channels which dropped our bill by $35. I signed up for Netflix for only $8.99 month and we have been using that for the last year. Netflix is great because we use the kids video consoles(xbox 360, playstation 3 or Wii to connect to the internet wirelessly and get instant streamed movies. You can also use a Blue Ray player or purchase a device called Roku that will stream the Netflix movies from the internet.  We also get a DVD in the mail and once we watch it, we send it back and Netflix chooses another movie on our list. We can do this as many times a month as we want. I am amazed at how fast the movies get back to Netflix and how fast the new are sent out. I sent movie back on Tues of this week, received an email Weds am it was received and they are shipping out another that will be delivered Thurs!! Our bill now is around $175 to Verizon and Netflix and I still think that is too much…but at least we have saved

Cell Phones

This category is hard for us to manage because all 6 of us have a cell phone. Thankfully my cell is paid for by work. Verizon Wireless has been the preferred wireless service in our house. Service is great and rates are competitive.We have the cell phones on one bill and take advantage of the free cell to cell calls, family share program and monitor the allowed minutes so we will not go over. We pay around $150 month as long as we do not go over the minutes.


-Call or shop online for all of the internet and cable providers in your area and get the best monthly rates by calling each one.
-Don’t be afraid to share the competitive quotes with your internet/cable company. This should force them to give you better deal.
-Check out all the newest promos online and then call to see if they will give you an even better deal.

Here are a few links that could help you get started saving. If these services are not available in your area, then search for your providers promos online before calling!

Verizon Broadband/Fios/homephone -bundled  rates as low as $69.99
Verizon Wireless– get a free texting phone when signing a 2 yr contract
Time Warner Cable-TV and internet for $33 month
Dish Network– rates as low as $25 a month

I hope you can save on your monthly expense with a few of these suggestions! Stay tuned for our part 3 in the series – Food – gardening, cooking

How to Decrease Your Must Have Expenses Intro: Mortgage & Utilities ARCHIVE / Online Savings Articles / Reducing Your " Must Have" Expenses / Topics / Uncategorized / Ways To Save Money

Reducing Must Have Expenses

How to Decrease Your Must Have Expense: Mortgage and Utilities

With the rising costs of gas and food, we all have to watch where we are spending!! Keeping a roof over your head, food on the table and everything else in between tends to eat up our hard earned paychecks! By no means am I an expert on finances but there are some things I have done that have saved our household money so we could afford to do some of the fun things we like to do while still paying down our debt and putting some money in the bank. We have adapted our lifestyle by saving on every item we have to purchase with coupons and SAVING ON EVERY HOUSEHOLD BILL WE HAVE TO HAVE rather than cutting out the fun stuff!!

The first place we started was our largest expense- MORTGAGE!!

The most important thing we have done was refinance our mortgage to lower our interest rate and incorporate our Home Equity loan into the payment. Mortgage Rates are very low right now and may even be the lowest ever. When we refinanced. our mortgage payment stayed the same but we lost the $300 Home Equity payment. That $300 month payed off one of our credit card bills last year. We refinanced the end of 2009 and it was a great feeling to pay off that credit card!! Like I said, I am not a financial expert so will not recommend where to go to get the best rates and service for your mortgage. We searched the internet so we knew where the rates should be, talked with our local bank and then ended up running into a long time friend we trusted but hadn’t seen in a while and he happened to be a mortgage specialist at a local bank!

Right now Mortgage Rates are anywhere from 3.92%-5.29% and of course will fluctuate with individual banks, location and credit scores. Here is what I was able to find in one google search:
Do some research and make some calls!! I bet you are surprised at how much you could be saving per month!!

The second place we started to reduce was- UTILITIES!

A few years back, states started to DEREGULATE natural gas supply and electric supply in order to give consumers like ourselves a CHOICE to where we wanted to purchase our natural gas and electric rather than being forced to pay one price that was managed by the government. Most of do not even pay attention to what we pay per watt for energy or what we pay per cubic foot or therm for natural gas. We look at the total bill and say we need to use less to reduce our bill. We do try to reduce our usage but we took one more step and changed our SUPPLY PORTION of our electric and gas bill. When you choose your own ESCO (Energy Service Company) supplier you usually still receive the bill from the same company you always have and you still call the same company if there is an outage or for line repairs.

Here is a map of which states are deregulated:

Our Choices Living in New York
To reduce our Gas bill, we did two things. Back in 2003, we invested in a $900 woodburner and then changed our gas supplier to Natural Fuel Resources. Back when we switched, we were guaranteed savings for the first 2 years with a $50 cancellation fee. We now only pay approx $1000 year to heat a 2700 sf house and we use gas to cook and dry our clothes for a family of 6!!

To reduce our Electric bill, we also did 2 things. We changed our light bulbs to ENERGY STAR Qualified Compact Fluorescent Light bulb (CFL) and we chose to switch to an ESCO company that a personal friend recommended. We were guaranteed to save money and gave us an option to earn FREE energy so we tried the service from Ambit Energy. Electricity rates are variable but you receive a written guarantee you will save money when compared to the incumbent provider in your area and in NY there is no contract to sign or cancellation fee. If you refer 15 customers to Ambit Energy, then you will receive a credit to your bill for the average of those 15 customers bills  (supply portion) every month for as long as you have 15 referrals!!(referrals also must pay bill on time for you to receive credit) We are now only paying the delivery and tax portions which has been between $30-$40 month for our house compared to $110-$130!! I can’t wait to see the savings in the summer!!

For more info on saving on electric and gas, you can email or

The adjustments we have made on our mortgage and utilities is saving us more than $500 month!! As soon as Ambit Energy begins to supply gas to our area we will also be able to earn FREE GAS!!! I can’t wait to save more!!

Stay tuned for Part 2- How to Reduce your Phone, Cable & Internet bills

This post is a first in a 3 part series, How to Decrease Your “Must Have” Expenses.

Part 1- Intro , Mortgage & Utilities
Part 2- Phone, Cable & Internet
Part 3- Food – coupons, gardening, cooking 

ARCHIVE / Cooking / Gardening / Reducing Your " Must Have" Expenses / Resources / Uncategorized / Ways To Save Money

More ways to Save on Groceries: Can Fresh Tomatoes

Part of our “Reducing Your Must Have Expenses” Series

We have had a vegetable garden for about 4 years now and every year we make our own tomato sauce and can it for the winter time. It really used to be a chore until we perfected our system!! Now it is not difficult or even all that time consuming!!

1)First get your tomatoes from your garden:
can fresh tomatoes

Suggestion:We only use Roma tomatoes to can fresh tomatoes. They have less water in the center so thicker sauce.

2)Cut tomatoes into quarters:
can fresh tomatoes

3)We purchased a tomato puree maker a few years back. It was the best $69 I ever spent.(Go here or see below- Amazon has for $58.95) This machine takes the skins and seeds out. You just put the cut tomatoes in top of machine and turn crank.
can fresh tomatoes can fresh tomatoes

(Method without machine is –soak tomatoes in boiling water in sink, then transfer to ice cold water on other side of sink. Skins start to peel themselves. Manually peel rest of skin and squeeze excess water from tomato and take seeds out. Put in blender on puree setting. )

4)We cook our sauce for hours and hours in our 18 quart Crockpot to make thicker just as comes in jar from store. We add 2 large cans of tomato paste to help thicken sauce and season. We also add seasonings and meat (pork, sausage or beef) while cooking along with oregano, basil, garlic and onion to flavor.

can fresh tomatoes

5)We cool the sauce and refrigerate overnight as to make thicker and next day cook in crockpot for few more hours. While cooking, we prepare quart size canning jars by washing lids and jars in dishwasher and setting on heat dry-not cool dry. Boil canning lids with seal in pan on stove when sauce is ready. When jars are finished in dishwasher, they are extremely hot. Immediately take a few jars out at time, fill with hot sauce, clean rim of jar from any drips, and put sealing lid from boiling water on top of jar and put on screw on lid to seal. Place upside down and leave to seal. Sometimes you will actually hear the popping sound!
can fresh tomatoes

Label your jars and store in cool place!!! When ready for use just heat and serve with pasta!

Many times you can get Spaghetti Sauce for $1 -$2 jar but it is much less expensive to grow your own tomatoes and make your own! Plus there are no preservatives in the sauce.

Please share ideas and recipes!

Do you like to Can Fresh Tomatoes?

ARCHIVE / Gardening / Online Savings Articles / Reducing Your " Must Have" Expenses / Resources / Ways To Save Money

Part 3 – How to Reduce Your “Must Have” Expenses

Growing your garden can offer many advantages from saving money on produce, to convenience of not going to store for fresh veggies and also eating healthier foods. I love having a garden even though it is a lot of work. This is our third year and I think we finally got a system down to growing from seed. Last year our plants were healthy but they when we put them in the ground they were a little spindly and the stems were not as strong as we thought they should be. This year they should be much stronger because we have a new set up. For those of you that missed my first post when we planted the seeds… Check out what my hubby did with plywood and fluorescent lights that were being thrown out by one of his buddies.

He made shelves out of plywood that can be pulled out for easy watering and can be adjusted as they grow to keep them from reaching toward the light, therefore making the stems stronger!!. We had more plants than we expected so he had to build the one high towards the ceiling(not moveable).

We only spent approximately $35 to make this and get the dirt and seeds from Home Depot. Home Depot has a great Garden Club and Orange Insider Club that sends you tips about gardening and best of all they send you COUPONS. I received a $3 off Miracle Grow potting soil that I will use when some of these plants need to be transplanted. Sign up below for Home Depots Orange Insider club so you can get your own coupons and tips!

You may also want to check out this great post that Deal Seeking Mom had a few weeks ago: “Growing Your Own Produce: Does It Really Save Money?”