School levy passage means more belt-tightening

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I'm all for public education, but yesterday's local school operating and capital improvement levy passage means my wife and I will have to come up with another $800 a year, or $66 a month, to cover the increase in taxes. This means it's time to look for fat to trim from our monthly budget. I'm sure the same process is taking place in millions of households across the country this morning, including, perhaps, yours.

Where will we find $800?

The prime candidate is our cable bill. We've bundled Internet, phone and cable TV, and the total is now over $160 a month. For that, I watch very few TV shows. Following the advice of WalletPopper Tracey Coenen, I'll revisit my service. After being inundated by political phone calls on our landline, I'm willing to consider dropping the phone component altogether. We're lucky enough to have a choice between three hard-wired services (Time Warner, WOW, and AT&T) in addition to satellite, so some comparison shopping here could pay off in savings without sacrificing my precious, precious internet access.

Another place that we might trim our expenses is our cell phone. While I use my Blackberry as a backup access avenue to my online work, I don't know that this service is essential. Cutting back to conventional cell phone service could cut our bill $50 a month.

We usually keep our thermostat at 68 degrees in the winter, 76 in the summer. Dropping the winter heat a couple of degrees, raising it a couple in the summer, could trim some bucks from our energy bills.

For years, we've shared dinner out with our friends on Friday night. We could cut out one meal a month, banking $10-15 to help cover our bills.

I might also hustle up some more freelance work, though with the growing unemployment rate work is harder to come by.

Did yesterday's elections raise your local tax obligation? How much? Where will YOU find the money? Please share.

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