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BellaOnline's Frugal Living Editor

Cancel Your Utilities - the Basics

Are there things you pay for each month that are not actually necessary? Depending on how frugal you need to be, there are plenty of things that can be worked around.

For example, having a land line phone isnít as important as it was not long ago. The hubby and I get along pretty well with cell phones. And we are staring to think that even cell phones are not crucial, since Skype is so cheap.

We donít have cable for TV since we can watch just about everything online. We download older series and we use Hulu.com mostly for new programs.

We donít pay for trash service; I take care of recycling on my own, compost what I can, reduce my waste as much as possible, and trash what is left in various dumpsters or in friendís trash bins. This saves us $18 a month, which does add up. It makes me feel happy to be more self-reliant, and itís a fun game to see how little waste my household can produce.

Weíve changed over all our regular, wasteful lightbulbs to compact florescent bulbs from the dollar store. This will save us hundreds of dollars each year on our electric bills! Iím not off the grid yet, but someday I dream we will power our home completely from solar sources.

We buy used for most of our clothes, shoes, outdoor gear, gardening tools, home decor and books. There are thrift stores, garage sales, craigslist, ebay, etc.

We work out at home and outside rather than having a gym membership, using home equipment, walking and hiking shoes, yoga mats, fitness DVS and a pullup bar.

Since we work at home, we really only use the one car. Weíve lived in many places where we only have one vehicle, halving all kinds of associated fees.

Do you have ways you can lower your monthly bills or eliminate them entirely? Can you ditch cable TV and use Hulu.com to watch your shows? Can you live without a land line (what do you need that for anyway?)? IS there a place you can dump your trash (legally) without paying for trash service? These kind of questions are worth thinking over. Make a list, brainstorm, and see what you come up with!

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