In January I got a nice raise which gives me about $300 extra per month, after taxes. We had been discussing in the past year getting me a new car. My car was 7 yrs old and nearing 125,000 miles - more than likely to soon be needing costly repairs. Mom offered to loan the money and I was considering a mid-size 4 door car in the $20k range. We sat on the offer for close to a year (as I really didn't want a car payment for as long as possible). Then dh and I made a very good decision and decided we would buy something used, not more than 2-3 years old! I was so proud of dh! He's finally becoming a tad frugal! With cash available and time to look to our advantage we figured we could come up with a pretty decent deal on something nicely used. We ended up with the deal of our lifetime! We got a 2011 car, with less than 5,000 miles on it for half what it had been new 6 months ago! We paid $12,600. Dh had also been wanting to buy a used SUV type truck - something we could all fit in (kids, their friends, dog, etc) and something that would haul our trailer. Dh was able to find something perfect for $5k. So we combined our purchases as one loan from my Mom for $19,000 (to include sales tax/licensing). All in all - less than I originally thought of paying for ONE new car. We still are trying to sell my old car, so when that happens we will be able to reduce the loan balance, hopefully by $5-6k. I'm currently paying her $250/mo, but plan to increase whenever I get a raise (usually every year or two). With all the change in cars and the addition of another one, of course our auto insurance went up - but it went up a lot more than I would have expected. I was paying $240 a month and it went up to $360 and that was without even adding the extra truck! I did some online shopping around and changed insurance companies. I am now paying $278/mo for everything. So, figured I saved at least $1000 per year by switching (to Progressive, by the way)
I also was able to make some changes to our cell phone plan as my contract for the phones Ds and I had expired. We were paying about $130/mo for 3 phones (Dd is on my mom's plan as a 2nd phone was no cost to her). Dd got on my mom's plan too, for $10/mo and I changed to T-mobile prepaid plan. I purchased a phone for $30 and a $100/1 yr card. In 3 months I have only used about $20 so far. I so rarely use a cell phone that is the perfect plan for me! I just have it for emergencies and quick calls when Dd needs to be picked or or something like that. I then dropped Dh's plan down to a basic one phone plan for $30/mo ($35 with taxes) until his contract runs out (a little over a year more now left). So we have reduced our cell phone bill by about $75 per month. When dh runs I will switch him to a prepaid plan like I have. He rarely uses his phone either.
With the warmer weather upon us my electricity/heating bill will go down significantly. Our April bill was $345 - - - May is now down to $207 and June - Sept will probably be closer to $130/mo. That will give a nice boost to the monthly budget and help give a little breathing room for a few months.