Normally, I already fall in the category of ‘conscious spender’ or some may say cheap. However, I’ve become even more conscious since leaving the job. The first and most important step I took was cutting my living expense in half by moving in with roommates. This week I decide to make another extreme move and dump the mobile phone. With Sprint, having unlimited voice and data, I pay roughly $70 per month. Yes, it’s only $70 per month, and still, it is still $70 a month. Plus, I’m no longer interested in being tied to a mobile phone. So the goal is to use a combination of Google Voice and Skype to handle my communications. I’ve been experimenting the last month with these two options. I mainly use text through Google Voice’s web application, and if I need to call someone (and if they have Skype) I can Skype them for free. However, if they do not have Skype, then Google Voice offers a cheaper option for making domestic calls at 2 cents per connection. Many of friends aren’t too pleased with this selection, as it sometimes appear as if I’m unresponsive when I’m away from the computer. But I’m on the computer roughly 10 hours a day, so that’s plenty of responsiveness for me.
Here are some tips for extreme saving tips, if you can handle the lifestyle.
1. Sell the car and bike or use public transportation — Recommended if you live in a city with a good transportation system. It may take you a little longer to get places, but in exchange you’re giving up car notes, high gas, insurance, and maintenance. You’re also giving of the stress of traffic to use the time to rest, read, or people watch (yes, people watching on public transportation is one of my favorites). Last year, I sold my old toyota for $7000, and am saving roughly $4000 that I paid a year in insurance, gas, and maintenance.
2. Get roommates and/or move to a cheaper place — Moving in with roommates was a bold move for me because I haven’t had a roommate since college. I was pretty lucky in college and got a good match my freshman year, so we roomed all though out college. However, I was scared of having bad roommates, I often hear horror stories. So, its been a couple of months, and so far, its a great experience. And I love being able save on my rent.
3. Stop eating out — Errrhh, I’m still working on this one. I love food, and some reason I love expensive food cooked by other people. But, I’m working on it.
4. Dump the cell phone — No, you don’t have to step into the stone age for this one. Try using a combination of Skype and Google Voice. Most people have a psychological dependency with their mobile smart phones. If you can get over this, you not can save some money, but you may increase your productivity. Without a mobile phone, I have less interruptions, and I’m more productive during the day. I manage my schedule by only making and returning phone calls during a certain time of the day. But it is also best to carry a cheap prepaid with you in case of emergency.
Feel free to comment and share some of your tips for bootstrapping entrepreneurs.