I like to re-evaluate all our expenses every couple of months to make sure we’re getting the most value for our money. Priorities and interest change over time, and therefore how we choose our money will change over time. Weeding out those monthly expenses that don’t add any enjoyment or use to our life will free up funds for activities that do.
I went through one of these exercises over the weekend, and found several monthly expenses that we will should discuss whether continuing them is in our best interests:
I had a subscription to Runner’s World for years, but cancelled it because I just didn’t have time to read it. A year ago I subscribed again thinking it would be good for a little extra motivation to work on my running goals. Guess who still doesn’t have time to read the magazine?
We pay $20 a month for our home phone service through our cable company. I’ve often wondered if we should drop the service, and just use our cell phones. Our set of home phones recently experienced two of the three handsets fail. We dropped $100 on a new system with 4 handsets that had a nifty feature of being able to connect our cell phones to them as well. The phones didn’t ring for nearly a week after connecting them. When someone finally did call, it was a solicitor. We’re seriously contemplating returning the phones to Costco and dropping our home phone service.
I’m a huge believer that a gym membership is well worth it’s cost, as long as it gets used. I work out every single day. In fact, some days I go to the gym more than once. The rest of my family, however, does not. We pay a lot of money for a family membership, and while I get more than a person’s worth of use out of it, I don’t get a family’s worth of use out of it. I hesitate to drop our membership down to just myself, as I’d like my family to have the option of going. I’d actually like to see my entire family go consistently. When does the high cost of the family membership outweigh my wishful thinking? I struggle with this often.
My wife and I gave our kids three months of Netflix as a Christmas present a few years ago. After the gifted months expired, they were to pay for the service out of their allowance if they wanted to continue it. They use it all the time, but I haven’t collected the fee from them for a very long time. I don’t use the service, so there’s no reason for me to be paying for it. It’s time to have the kids pay for their service, or drop it.
These four monthly expenses vary greatly in individual amounts, but all together represent a significant amount of money. We have yet to make a final decision on any of them, but this is the kind of process I go through frequently to make sure that we’re being wise with our money, and intentional with our spending.
Have you analyzed all your monthly expenses recently? What are you wasting your money on?