If there is one thing that following the snowball method of the Dave Ramsey plan taught us, it’s that small changes can quickly snowball into an avalanche over time. When we were in the thick of baby step 2, nothing in our budget was above discussion and possibly cutting. Nothing was off limits, if it could save us money.
Now that we are shooting for 2025 FIRE, we are returning to that mindset.
Here are a few easy changes we have implemented in the last few weeks:
1. Reduced DISH. We were paying around $93/month and we called, reduced our plan and are at $75/month now. Savings: $18/month or $216 per year
2. Aldi’s! Our town JUST got an Aldi’s a few months ago and we are hooked. We were spending probably around $150 per week in household items, dog and cat supplies and groceries. We are averaging $115 per week now, just by switching grocery stores and sticking to a meal plan. Savings: $140/month or $1,680 per year
3. Reducing heat. We heat primarily through a pellet stove. Our house is 2800 square feet and over 100 years old, so not super-efficient. We also have propane. We typically keep our thermostat at 65 degrees and our pellet stove at one down from the highest setting. Now that we are at the end of winter (said slightly tongue in cheek as we got 6” of snow last night), we are dropping the thermostat to 64 degrees and the pellet stove down one more level. Savings: To be determined
4. Unplugging. Our electric bill averages around $120-$130/month in the winter. A good chunk of this obviously comes from our pellet stove which runs 24/7 in the winter, as the auger is electric driven. That being said, we have never been great at unplugging unused items (cell phone chargers, coffee pots, toasters, microwaves, etc). Our new mission is to unplug electric items not in use and see if that makes a discernable difference. Savings: To be determined
5. No more bottled water. I know it’s a waste of plastic and money, but every day, I bring a bottle of water with me and recycle the bottle after. I can easily fill a glass of water at work, so there is no reason for this waste. Savings: $0.50/day or $130 per year
These small changes are not going to change us into overnight millionaires. However, even if reducing the heat and unplugging devices saves us NOTHING, the other three changes will save us over $2,000 per year, with very little effort on our part. Over the next seven years, (a.k.a. - our goal timeline for reaching FIRE), that’s $14,000! Not an insignificant number at all.
It doesn’t stop there, either. If we use that $2,000 effectively, by either reducing debt or investing, it grows further!