Challenge Everything!

Hey guys :) I’m putting together a page here for all updates surrounding our “Challenge Everything” series. That way anyone can follow along here easier and hopefully join in and save too!

If you’re new to the series, it’s my new mentality of challenging the “norm” and getting my expenses as low as possible without sacrificing quality of life. Every month I focus on a new bill or expense that has been status quo for years – or even decades (damn) – to determine what’s truly important now in my life. Things like cable, cell phones, cars, insurance, you name it.

It all started by reading this clip from a friend’s blog post:

“The most important thing to note is that cutting your spending rate is much more powerful than increasing your income. The reason is that every permanent drop in your spending has a double effect: it increases the amount of money you have left over to save each month, and it permanently decreases the amount you’ll need every month for the rest of your life.”

That last line stopped me in my tracks: “it permanently decreases the amount you’ll need every month for the rest of your life.” This hit me hard, especially now that I’ve come to realize retiring early hinges heavily on your monthly expenses. You can attain freedom much quicker if you only need $1,000 a month to live on vs, say, $10,000.

Total [Monthly] Savings Since Starting This Challenge:

  • Cell Phones: $112.58
  • Cable/Internet/Phone: $80.00’ish
  • Car Insurance: $30.59
  • TOTAL: $223.17

All recurring savings EVERY SINGLE MONTH by taking a few simple, and easy, actions (mostly be picking up a phone). And to fully comprehend just how much of a difference this is making, I’ve opened up a new separate savings account that will track it over the next 12 months, along with other “extra” money I find/earn over time.

Here are the monthly balances so far:

*I now have a running tally of everything we’ve sold off Craigslist so far since starting this challenge… You can see all the items and $$$ earned here –> Craigslist Tracker :)


Over $5,000 saved in one year – woo! You can click here for the full breakdown on what made up this pot, but here’s the quick cheat sheet:

challenge everything savings chartHere’s what I’ve learned over the past 12 months doing this:

  • All of this money feels like it was FREE! Because it normally wouldn’t have been saved!
  • It’s really freaking EASY to cut back when you stop and pay attention…
  • You adapt a lot easier than you think you might
  • I’ve realized just how much MORE I still have to go in cutting back my things and my expenses
  • I’ve come to the conclusion that some stuff just takes way longer to make money off of than others
  • And lastly, I learned I need to make it “a thing” in order to hold myself accountable :)

The full wrap up and and details can be found here.

As for the future, well… We’re gonna dump all this money out as it was earmarked for maxing out my Roth IRA, but I’m proud to say WE’RE GOING ANOTHER ROUND, BABY! Why stop now when it’s been so easy? We’re going for the gold and gonna see if we can beat out this measly $5,500 over the next 12 months ;) Wish me luck! And I hope you’ll be joining me too!

Saved so far in Round II:

How We’re Doing All This

Here are all the blog posts from the challenge that go into the details. I’ll continue adding to it as time goes on (it’s amazing how many opportunities there are to save when you stop and pay attention!):

Other related posts:

What others have been saying (and saving) so far!

I hope it motivates you to hit pause and challenge your expenses too!

“I found out the other day that my boyfriend spends $180 on cable each month. ONE HUNDREND AND EIGHTY DOLLARS!! I told him about your challenge, had him call in and he reduced his bill down to $60 a month. That’s $1,440 a year! Thanks for the inspiration, J$!” – Kimberly

“I have already cut $502.79 out of my MONTHLY budget! I’m really shocked to be honest… I think I might get to $1k/month in savings without even cutting cable! Apparently I’m a sucker for the free trials that I don’t end up cancelling… $19/month here, $27/month there, $49.99/month over there… it all adds up… I always tend to focus on making more money than saving money but this exercise have proven to be very profitable and I’ve learned I need to go through my credit card statement with a fine tooth comb to avoid these shifty charges. I actually ended up staying up until 7AM (all nighter baby!) once I started seeing all these expense I could cut and going through 3 years of credit card statements looking for more fraudulent and not-authorized charges.” – B.

“Just wanted to let you know I made $1800 this year on a snow day (I’m a teacher) by making 4 phone calls. Cut $220 a year off my car insurance, $55/month off my cell phone bill, and $49 off my cable/internet per month. I also “found” $320 in cash rewards by calling my credit card company and asking them to mail me the rewards check. Thanks for your motivating posts/emails- I’m tackling clutter and Craigslist, next.” – Nicole

“You inspired me to make some calls this past weekend and I saved:

$10 a month on cell phones
$150 a year on car and renter’s insurance
$20 a month on internet

I also signed up for direct deposit at the bank that has my car loan, shaving .25% of the APR. And refinanced my student loans, going from 6.55% interest to 4.8!

And the savings are also going straight to my IRA. Thank you!” – Sara

“I just saved $450 per year thanks to this challenge. I had called my previous insurance company and reviewed line by line just three weeks ago, but when I saw that your wife was at about half my annual premium for a really similar car situation, I called a new insurance company. I got $380 in annual savings for the auto and $70 for homeowners. Amazing!” – Hannah

“Thanks for the awesome article. It is very inspiring, and it convinced me to start challenging everything as well. Since reading this article, I have done the following:

1. Satellite TV – reduced by $15 ($60 down to $45) by switching to a lower package that still has our preferred TV channels, but I am working on convincing the wife to drop completely :)

2. Cell phone – reduced by $90 ($160 down to $70) by switching my phone line to Republic Wireless $10 plan and moving my wife to a single line plan with Verizon ($60) – I am trying my hardest to stick to the $10 Republic plan but may have to go to the $25 plan whenever we go out of town away from my usual wireless networks.

3. Internet – reduced by $25 ($55 down to $30) by doing a quick online chat with a representative to ask them how I can lower my monthly payment because I have noticed another competitor offering lower cost/higher speed. They quickly gave me a monthly bill credit. Maybe I should try this with my satellite bill as well! :-D

Total savings so far: $130 per month” — Jordan

“Thanks for the reminder to constantly check your bills. I just called them and we are now saving $40 a month between home and car insurance. You are my MVP of the week!! :-)” – Shannon

“Saving on car insurance inspired me to do the same with cable. I’m now saving xtra $35/mo ~ Thx 4 inspiration” – @MomCentsPF

“Thanks for posting this. This is a line item I just didn’t pay much attention to – thinking a savings would only be a few dollars…. Holy cow! My rate just dropped from $77/month to $41! Went with esurance for the same coverage versus Allstate. Tried to get the agent to match or reduce but they couldn’t-sooooo…..” – JayP

“Thanks for the kick to do this: I saved $62/year. Now I pay $34/month for TWO cars and drivers. Woo hoo!” – Samantha

“Since reading through your site about a month ago I have been able to put a realistic budget plan in place and started pouring through our monthly expenses and was able to save about $1,030 PER MONTH! My largest single savings achievement was dropping AT&T and going to Republic Wireless (saved $220 per month!) While I still have a lot to learn, I feel like I have better understanding on how I can secure a better future of financial freedom for my family.”

“WhadUP, J Money! Lil Vee from Charlottesville, VA here. Love, LOVE this and your entire challenge series. Wanted to let you know that you have inspired me to go on a serious challenge of my own. I am calling it the $10K challenge and have enlisted the help of my husband, friends and colleagues to meet this goal. I started September 15th after reading your blog. The idea is that, instead of being a spend-machine, I will sock away ten grand by getting rid of crap and doing side gigs from your Side Hustle Series – and I will hit my savings goal by Christmas. A bit ambitious, right? Well, pop-POP, J Money – Lil Vee is up $4100!!!” – Lil Vee

(Check out Vee’s entire comment, along with the awesome article it inspired here!

“Just got off the phone with my insurance agent and knocked $30 a month off my rate thanks to this article. I had all of your notes there in front of me and we were able to cut the mileage driven, raise the deductible, and reduce the medical coverage to save some cash! Getting ready to cut the cable cord this week as well” – Barry

“I just started doing this a couple weeks ago, and we’re already at $1,806. Just from getting rid of junk, I haven’t even started trying to haggle the bills (cellphone and internet). Hoping to make some dough on ebay this week too. Thanks for the motivational kick in the ass I’ve been needing. ;)” – AJ

“Over the last several years I’d say we have been very aware of our finances, always budgeting and tracking spending and setting goals. 2015 we felt like we really hit our groove, and I was putting things on autopilot. However, your Challenge Everything series was always in the back of my mind, so in August I opened another savings account (Thanks, Capital One 360!) and deposited a check from Ebates in there. Since August, I haven’t done any bill-challenging… All I’ve done is transfer any unexpected money into the account – Craigslist sales, Ebates, a refund from the city for unknowingly overpaying our water bill, Christmas cash, etc. Most of it has been <$50 increments at a time.

I checked it this morning and realized we’d hit the $1,000 mark…basically without lifting a finger.

First, I wanted to thank you for the inspiration! That’s $1000 that would’ve just unknowingly slipped through our fingers in the last five months, even being pretty hands-on with our finances. Second, I just wanted to encourage anyone who feels like their life is pretty lean and their finances in check… there are always unaccounted for dollars. Don’t get complacent and always hold yourself accountable! I was getting lazy and without the Challenge Everything series, that inattentiveness would’ve cost me a thousand bucks in six months.” – Britt M.

If you’ve been following along and had success too, let me know and I’ll add you up here It’s pretty powerful seeing so many people saving on every day expenses without changing any quality of life. And if you’re banking the difference like we are every month you’ll literally see your efforts paying off!

Now get out there and start pocketing those green backs!

counting money gif

[Money photo up top via @Saigon]


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  1. Tonya@Budget and the Beach October 19, 2014 at 5:06 PM

    I should get on board with this because my cable bill just went up by $10 (and yes, I just check to see if they could lower it & they said no promotions right now but I’ll be hounding them constantly), and my health insurance will go up in Jan by almost $50. Not looking forward to figuring out that one and switching but I don’t want to be paying that much more.

    1. J. Money October 21, 2014 at 4:59 PM

      Yeah, the healthcare one is no joke, ugh… I just got a letter in the mail saying ours will be changing too come Jan – not looking forward to finagling that one either :( If only we had our 9-5’s again! Haha…

      1. Tim October 31, 2014 at 12:39 PM

        I still love my 9-5 for that reason for sure. I pay $0 for my healthcare. Great benefit!!!

      2. Heather December 17, 2014 at 4:05 PM

        Even with a 9-5, sometimes a private plan is the way to go for spouses/dependents. I pay LESS for myself & my daughter to be on a private plan with a lower deductible & coinsurance amount than I would if we were on the plan my husband’s employer offers. (He’s on it because they pay 75% of the premium.)

        1. J. Money December 20, 2014 at 1:04 PM

          For sure – always smart to search around first before assuming you’ve got the best!

  2. Corey November 6, 2014 at 9:06 AM

    Loving this article. A small victory for me – I cancelled our Sugar sync account to go with Google storage, saved a whopping $7! Our cell contract is up in April, so I’m chomping at the bit to slash that bill. Also, I’ve been moving my wife’s overtime money to savings quick fast and in a hurry before we get a chance to spend it. Those are real dollars there. Keep it up J. Money, appreciate all the advice from the blog.

    1. J. Money November 10, 2014 at 2:29 PM

      Good! Keep going man, real dollars for sure.

      1. Crystal June 11, 2015 at 4:36 AM

        I live in crescent city ca. We got all kinds of crud here. It’s sad to think that they think money is thing the need most but the don’t understand money is power if u work a 9 to 5 or spend money on your bills and take care of priorities. My kids are my priorities! Vacation will be fabulous

        1. J. Money June 12, 2015 at 11:53 AM

          Kids are damn good priority to have :)

  3. Monokerka November 7, 2014 at 4:04 PM

    Dear J.
    You will never believe this; I have an account with Chase Bank for perhaps 7-8 years now. Not only they pay no interest of any kind whatsoever, but they have a practice to charge you a fee if you have money in their account. What kind of bank does not want to have money there? I got charged $4.45 for having over $10K in my account. Have you ever come across such behavior? After challenging everything I went line by line on my statement and hello surprise. Naturally, I contacted them right away, and this is what they said: basically I have too much money on my account. Any thoughts or advise? I am very mad to be honest.

    Also, started on selling on Craig’s list. Slowly, hoping to get rid of too many stuff :)

    Thank you,

    1. J. Money November 10, 2014 at 2:31 PM

      What?? Really?? No, I have never heard of that – so weird… And time to switch or at least open up a new account and just split the $$ in half so you can avoid the fee – what a joke. There’s gotta be something more to that? Id call and ask for a manager to be honest – that seems off…

      Good job on starting with Craigslist – I just sold another item this morning, it works!

  4. Kristi January 9, 2015 at 11:29 AM

    After reading your initial Challenge Everything post, I made a mental note to revisit our homeowners and car insurance since our homeowners premiums have gone up significantly over the past several years. We’d been with USAA for over 20 years and I finally made some calls last week. I only wanted an insurance company that had the same high consumer ratings and quality as USAA, and after a 30-minute phone call, I’m one happy woman. The car insurance rates were a wash, but the homeowners was $1000 cheaper for higher coverage (I wanted higher replacement coverage for the house). So now I’m paying $1000 less per year which blows my mind. We kept several other accounts with USAA and they’ve already sent me the check for the prorated amount of my premiums, so I still have nothing but positive things to say about them, but it pays to shop around. Thanks for these tips!

    1. J. Money January 31, 2015 at 3:10 PM


      Incredible!! That is bad ass – way to make that happen!

    2. Dee April 25, 2015 at 8:48 AM

      I’d check on the amount your house is insured for. If it burns to the ground and it is insured for 300K and costs 100K to rebuild that is what you get it is a waste. Also the way it works is there are different coverages for different areas and things down to removal, replacement, code updates, trees you name it. I had a house burn to the ground, well I wish I actually had to arrange to have it torn down and I acted as my adjuster saves the insurance cost that I got to spend to replace the house. I lowered my moms amounts and switched her insurances around when I took over her finances saving over $1000 per year. She is on a beach in Mexico for the winter and returns today. I had a similar goal. I wanted to have a 1 mil net worth by 30. Did not quite make it I was 31 husband 38. The plan was for him to retire at 47,

      I used real estate bought a house a year with our savings, it was a 15 year plan for my husband to retire early. So we have had 4 house fires, one water damage and a car hit a house all on rental houses in 28 years so I have had to learn the best way to maximize payment from insurance when things happen. Crazy things actually happen.

      1. J. Money April 27, 2015 at 11:43 AM

        Holy crap – what are the odds?? And you STILL became a millionaire at a super young age – way to go. Pretty damn impressive.

      2. Mercedes June 9, 2015 at 5:27 AM

        Our insurance seems to work differently. Here, if your house is insured for actual value, they just pay off your mortgage and give you the balance of the coverage. You’re on your own with rebuilding. If you insure for replacement, then they work out your coverage based on what it would cost to rebuild your exact house in the current market, and then if something happens, they pay the costs directly to the contractor, up to your limit.

        The worst is what my friend is doing, which is insuring only for the mortgage balance, and that only because it’s required by the mortgage terms. They’re below the poverty line so month-to-month is tight, and they’re choosing the biggest gamble I can imagine. IMO, if you can’t afford the insurance, then you can’t afford the house. Don’t mess around with insurance!

  5. Jan January 27, 2015 at 8:56 AM

    Inspired by your challenge 2015 will be my challenge everything year.
    Late 2014 i made a deposit on my mortgage as a start for this challenge.
    This month my insurance has been changed so i save EUR10,- each month (yes i’m from europe)
    Next month it’s time for the utilities bill.

    All the extra money will go to my mortgage payments as a goal to be debt free in 10 years.

    1. J. Money January 31, 2015 at 3:10 PM

      YES YES YES!!!!

      Love that idea. Simple and effective goal – rock it!

  6. Lucinda January 29, 2015 at 11:42 AM

    Just have to tell you how thankful I am to have found your site. In the 6-7 months I’ve been following…it’s been most beneficial. Most all of our IRA’s and investment accounts are at Vanguard now including our new Roths-maxed out of course! So, that alone is huge! But a cable bill decrease of $28/month-same services. $250. income from Craig’s list type thing. And best of all, we cut our auto insurance from $2854. down to $720./year!!!

    Looking forward to what else I can learn from you and take action on. Thank you!!

    1. J. Money January 31, 2015 at 3:22 PM

      Holy $hit – you’re wooping me in this challenge! Haha… way to go! :)

  7. Dawn February 16, 2015 at 1:30 AM

    I have already gone to prepaid cell phones through MetroPCS, unlimited two lines for $70/mo. Then got a nasty cable surprise this month, they upped it from $220 to $245!. Called them right away and now it is $200/mo. Yes it’s a triple package and no I was out voted by other adults in the house to reduce services on it. So I am very happy they dropped package price but i had to lock in for two years at that price/package.
    I am now ‘interviewing’ new car insurance companies. So far I found out Geico is over charging around $200-$300/yr with much less coverage. Unfortunately one unscrupulous company didn’t put a driver on properly and gave an unreasonably low quote. So watch out. If it is too good to be true, ask more questions!
    I hope to find more with this challenge!!!

    1. J. Money February 18, 2015 at 4:43 PM

      I hope you do too Dawn! And if you get stuck, take a break, put a reminder on the calendar a few months from now, and then try again later :) And even if you get a win now – do the same and try again as well! Pretty amazing what asking does over time.

  8. Brian @ Debtless in Texas February 20, 2015 at 2:26 PM

    This really works…and should be done often. Canceling gym memberships, threatening to cancel cable makes them drop it constantly, shopping around for insurance each year makes a huge difference too.

    This is brilliant, I wish I would have thought of putting all those savings aside and seeing how much they were…I just threw the extra into my Vanguard funds.

    1. J. Money February 23, 2015 at 7:51 AM

      You’re probably making a lot more money off them than in my savings account ;) But the motivation/epiphany I’m now getting is well worth the wait… I’m 99% certain it’ll all be dumped into Vanguard as well when it’s time.

  9. Elaine April 1, 2015 at 2:45 PM

    I stopped paying cash or debit when I have to make big-ticket purchases. For example, when my husband and I bought a washer and dryer after buying our house–we shopped around and waited for a sale to get the best price, then we saved an extra 7% buy buying up remaining balances on gift card resale sites (CardPool, GiftCardGranny, PlasticJungle, etc.). We had to get 3-5 cards to add up to the total, and call in our order to apply so many cards since the website had a cap on how many gift cards you can apply, but considering new washer and dryer sets cost around $1000 to $1500, it was worth it! Now I try not to buy any item over $100 without using a discounted gift card.

    1. J. Money April 6, 2015 at 2:11 PM

      Brilliant! Especially if you don’t mind the time it takes to go get all those cards and what not. I feel like it wouldn’t be worth it for smaller amounts but certainly for large ones like a washer/dryer. Way to go :)

  10. Carrie April 24, 2015 at 5:18 PM

    I just listened to your republic wireless interview. CUT THE CABLE!!! Trust me! My husband was so resistant to that and once he agreed to it we realized how crazy it was. We were surfing through 400 channels saying “Man..theres nothing on”. Now we watch exactly what we want, whenever we want. Netflix has just about anything you could want and we have a subscription to Amazon prime. Between the two we can pretty much find the show we want to watch for very little money in comparison to a monthly cable bill and we are not stuck sitting passively by while the different channels choose what they want me to watch and what time they want me to watch it. The way we transitioned was to get Netflix, hook up the playstation, get Amazon along with Hulu and started watching only that while we still had cable to see if we would like it. We NEVER missed it! It was so empowering and freeing. Take the leap. You will never be sorry. I promise you! Just like you don’t remember using an iphone, you will also feel that way about cable…Good Luck. May the force be with you! Join the cord cutters of America! :o)

    1. J. Money April 27, 2015 at 11:24 AM

      Haha, I believe it! And actually already on Netflix now and LOVING it :) But after weighing all the options and realizing it’s only a handful of dollars more than what we’d have to pay anyways for internet, we’re totally cool w/ the slimmed down package of basic channels we now get. Football season can get a bit dicey since we lost a lot of those stations, but overall we’re pretty happy :) The trick is now challenging our new setup going forward and making sure we’re still okay with it all as the years pass! That’s what get’s most people – locking something in once and then letting it ride for years and years and years without re-thinking. Which is exactly what had happened to us.

  11. Kalie April 27, 2015 at 2:06 PM

    I love the idea of challenging everything, one expense at a time. It’s frustrating when people write off reducing lifestyle expenses as a waste of time or “the latte effect,” that skipping the daily coffee will not make you rich. It won’t, but a mindset of continually challenging and reducing your expenses, while investing the difference, really can! Thanks for the quote and the great examples.

    1. J. Money May 25, 2015 at 12:28 PM

      Indeed! It’s really all about the mindset in the end. And cutting back + earning more only helps accelerate your goals that much more. I feel like I had an epiphany when starting this last year, and that’s after blogging about money for 6 years! Which is proof that we all still have areas to improve on no matter what stage we’re in.

  12. EJ May 23, 2015 at 2:24 AM

    I am kind of doing this at the moment although the other half has a whinge about all the money should be going in our offset account to offset the interest on our mortgage. I had a solution, transfer the balance of the savings account a couple of days before the interest is paid on the offset account at the end of the month and then transfer it right back! :) ( no fees involved) Its way more interesting watching your “little bit” increase a lot rather than just add to your main account and risk spending it. We recently realised that we were direct debiting too much for our council rates, $1600 over in fact because I set the internet banking to pay them fortnightly rather than monthly…ooops. Admittedly its an alternate way to save but I’m loving seeing that in my savings account now :)

    1. J. Money May 25, 2015 at 12:29 PM

      Haha, I bet. Separating it all out though is def. the way to go – I’m glad you’re seeing success from it too :)

  13. Mercedes June 9, 2015 at 4:29 AM

    I do this on a regular basis, it’s a great idea. I’ve recently cut about $200/mo off our home insurance and landlord insurance. When the student plan ended for the summer on my internet, I sweet talked them into giving me some other deal (still went up, the student deal was pretty sweet, but it’s lower than it would have been if I hadn’t called). I recently sold one of our 3 Nexus 5 phones on kijiji (which is like Craigslist but awesomer) — we’d acquired 2 extras by renewing cell contracts to get the free phone, and then just kept using our perfectly good phones anyway, keeping the new ones as spares and being that much closer to the next renewal. Or in this case, $200 richer! That’s pretty much all we have for services. I try to keep utilities low by turning off lights, using windows and fans instead of a/c, etc… I bike or walk instead of drive whenever practical… I switched my sugaring practitioner to someone who works out of her home and charges $20 less per session.

    It’s the volume game. You’re unlikely to find any single major recurring expense that you don’t need — you would have noticed it by now. It’s the nickel and dimes that add up.

    1. J. Money June 12, 2015 at 12:03 PM

      Rock on! You’re killing it!

      I actually have a sticky note here reminding me that it’s time again to call up our cable company to do the whole negotiating dance :) Gotta suck it up every handful of months to always keep those rates down…

      I’ve never used Kijiji but I’m always hearing good things… I’m addicted to CL for some reason. I even have a running tally of everything I’ve sold since starting this challenge so far, haha…

  14. Debbi June 15, 2015 at 8:32 PM

    3 years ago our cable box quit. They charged $100 to diagnose it & install a new one. A year later, it quit again. They said it would be $100 to again diagnose, etc. That’s when we made the decision to cut the cord. When I called to cancel service, the rep. said “Oh, I’m qualified to waive that $100 fee if you remain with us”. What a scam! Too little, too late. At the same time we cancelled our land line with the same company. No regrets.

    Also, we cut $255 off our house insurance by increasing the deductible. Granted it’s high now but the savings adds up year after year, especially since I’ve only had one claim in my life back in 1976. (Hubby had a claim 15 years ago before we met).

    I’m new to this site but already picked up a few great ideas including the one from Elaine above when she purchased her washer/dryer with discounted gift cards. Thanx JMoney & posters for some great suggestions.

    1. J. Money June 16, 2015 at 2:57 PM

      Glad to have you here, Debbie! Thanks for chiming in and commenting around the site – it all keeps the discussions going :)

  15. Lavinia September 26, 2015 at 8:13 AM

    OMG, J Money, I can not believe I came across this resource. I recently thought about challenging all my bills, but I did not have a roadmap to how I should do it. Now, I have.

    My AHA moment was when I noticed a 1 USD fee on a ATM transaction that never occurred because the ATM machine did not have enough cash.

    So, thanks again. I will make sure to follow your blog regularly!

    Do you podcast, by any chance?

    1. J. Money September 28, 2015 at 12:46 PM

      Yikes – glad you caught that!

      And interestingly enough I’m about to launch a podcast, so stay tuned ;)

  16. Chris October 8, 2015 at 9:52 AM

    I got a Republic Wireless phone earlier this year. I had a pay-as-you go flip phone, so my cell phone wasn’t that expensive. My husband still uses his and we also canceled our home phone. After recouping the cost of the new phone, we’re saving about $700 a year. Yesterday I called our internet service and gym to see if they gave a discount for paying in annually instead of monthly. I scored with the gym – they give a free month’s membership for paying a year at once! I love to save money anywhere I can. I already pay my garbage pick up bill once a year to save 10%. I wanted to cancel it but I’m not allowed to. We have never had cable. I think our car insurance rates are already probably pretty low.

  17. Jeanine October 11, 2015 at 6:47 PM

    Thank you for telling me about Digit! It’s my favorite app ever. I have saved almost $700 with no pain or effort, since I started 6 months ago. I plan to use it for Christmas shopping and then I won’t start the new year with credit card bills! My husband thanks you for that.

    We made great savings on car insurance, house insurance and student loans. On those, we switched from an income contingent plan to an income based plan (which sound the same, but they are not!) that saved $300 a month.

    I’d love to hear ideas on saving for teen age kids. New expenses are popping up, like braces, car insurance increases, etc.


    1. J. Money October 12, 2015 at 1:12 PM

      Congrats!!! You are killing it with Digit!

      I’ll have some teenage money tips soon enough, as my boys continue to grow as I feed them :) Funny how that works…

  18. Ruth February 14, 2016 at 1:09 PM

    I have only seen a few people mention ebates in the comments but it is GREAT! ANY time I shop, I just go to ebates first and click on the link (Amazon, ebay, and tons of others!) from ebates and that’s it! I save 1-10% of what I buy! If you posted a link, I think you get credit for people using your link…. :)

    1. Ruth February 14, 2016 at 1:18 PM

      OH!! I just clicked on a link and you DO already use Ebates! :) The other thing I haven’t seen mention is NCP online. It’s National Consumer Opinion – you get an app on your phone and when you buy stuff (mostly groceries), you scan the UPC’s and then give your total at the end. EASY and I find it fun. They then enter you in sweepstakes if you scan every week AND I get 20% of my AT&T phone bill!! My single person iPhone bill with unlimited data is $57.

      1. J. Money February 29, 2016 at 5:06 PM

        Cool! Way to work the system :)

  19. Grace April 14, 2016 at 3:18 PM

    Great article , fun to read and your writing is great. I like the idea of putting the savings in a different savings account.
    At this time a day I am doing the 365 Penny Challenge and this money is going into one of our savings account. This money comes out of my purse from grocery and entertainment envelope budget.
    I also signed up for checkout 51 , Walmart Savings and just signed up for Ibotta. These are all new and I have not drawn out the money but when I do I will put into savings.
    For the winter we are in Nevada renting a small apartment. Once we return to Minnesota we will be redoing our budget and downsizing our belongings.

    1. J. Money April 14, 2016 at 4:22 PM

      Rock on – sounds like you’re doing a lot of fun experimenting over there! Going now to google the 365 Penny Challenge :)

  20. Michele Cadogan May 8, 2017 at 2:11 PM

    Just stopping by to let you know that I’ve started to “challenge-everything” and so far i’ll be saving $1488 for the year on my (cellphone, car insurance and internet) . Thanks for inspiring us to get on board . More money saved will increase our journey to having more funds to “work” toward our passive income

    1. J. Money May 8, 2017 at 4:17 PM

      Beautiful!! You’re killing it!

  21. Debora August 29, 2017 at 6:12 PM

    Hey, just wondering if anything new is going on with the Challenge Everything series…I’ll be starting soon. I have loads to cut..Thx for a great idea.

    1. J. Money August 30, 2017 at 6:11 AM

      Nice! You’ll have to let us know how it goes over time – do it!!

      We cut out cable completely last year which saved us an additional $50/mo, but other than that just been going with the flow and watching the savings add up :) That’s the nice thing with this challenge – you only have to do things *once* for recurring savings to happen! It’s pretty sweet!

  22. Cindy H August 28, 2018 at 8:39 AM

    I love the Challenge Everything concept, it’s so refreshing! So, here’s one I’m challenging right now, the Home Warranty. I’ve had two (separate houses) in my life and both times I’ve experienced nothing but headaches and hassles. Home warranties are generally $500 for a year and seems to be a big home selling feature giving the buyers piece of mind that if anything breaks, it will only cost a small service fee and you’re back up and running. Easy Peasy!
    However,it has never worked that way for me, I’ve been denied a claim until I pointed out that my policy did cover the issue. When I asked why the associate denied my claim I was told he was new (uh huh). Then had to write letters to God and everyone in an attempt to get the warranty company to make good on the contract. Seems only then did they comply with the contract.
    With my new contract, I’ve been waiting over 2-months for a washer to be repaired. Ugh! Next time, I’m just going to ask for $500 cash and I’ll deal with any issue myself.
    So, I’m challenging this norm of home warranties as a selling feature – they are a total waste of money.

    1. J. Money August 28, 2018 at 5:49 PM

      Ack – yes, good job!!! You crack me up with that God comment, haha… I find it’s hit or miss with most warranties for sure. I personally like them at times depending on what we’re dealing with, but if you poll the financial community here they’ll def. say it’s a rip off ;)

      Keep challenging everything, though!

  23. linda February 12, 2019 at 5:05 PM

    I switched gardening services and pocketed $45.00 extra dollars.

    1. J. Money February 12, 2019 at 6:07 PM

      Rock on! Congrats!


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