Saving money while trying to maintain a certain lifestyle can prove to be difficult for even the most financially responsible individual.
Should I say no to going out to eat with my friends? Should I skip out on the annual family vacation? Should I take back the new pair of shoes I just purchased?
All of these questions and more may run through your mind as you try to assess what does and doesn't fit into your budget. But, before you go cancelling dinner plans and vacations, remember that sometimes the best and easiest way to cut back on spending is to eliminate some of your less than necessary monthly expenses.
Below are four monthly expenses that I've now vowed to take out of my budget permanently.
I'm not a big television watcher and, when I do have downtime to watch TV, there are very specific shows that I like to watch. So, for me, cable was the first thing to go.
I've been without cable for nearly four years now, and, thanks to a $9.99 Netflix subscription and the Internet, I don't feel like I'm missing out on much. Plus, I'm saving over $64 per month.
For some people, going to the gym is a daily routine that can't be missed, but I can honestly and unashamedly say that my fitness regimen is a work-in-progress and has not reached that level.
I've tried the Planet Fitness $10-a-month deal, and after three months I found myself falling off and eventually skipping the gym altogether. I kept saying I was going to go back, and, before I knew it, I had spent a full year and a half paying for a gym membership that I did not use. I wasted $180.
In place of the gym, I've opted to sign up for Groupon deals on fitness classes. This way, I'm forced to stick to a schedule, which makes it harder for me to skip a workout and lose money. I've also set up workout dates with my friends where we meet up at a local track when the weather is nice outside.
30-day trial subscriptions
While almost all trial subscriptions start out free, it's easy to lose track of when your 30 days is up and your card will get charged. I fell into this trap when I signed up for a 30-day trial subscription to HBO NOW just to catch up on one show. After bingeing, I forgot that the $14.99 monthly subscription payments would kick in and ended up having an unused HBO account that I paid for for three months. Total wasted: $45.
If there is a 30-day free trial service that you feel you have to sign up for, create a countdown reminder in your phone that notifies you a few days before your trial's expiration date and then the day of its expiration, too, so that you can cancel your subscription before the payments kick in.
30-day metro pass during the holidays
While MTA's 30-day metro pass seemed like the best year-round option when I moved to New York nearly four years ago, I've realized over time that investing in a $32 weekly unlimited pass rather than a $121 30-day unlimited pass works best for me during the holiday season or when I know I'm going to be traveling.
Since I work far from home, I found myself spending a good portion of November and December out of town. For me, then, paying for a 30-day unlimited pass didn't make a lot of sense.
From splitting the check to DIY adventures, "Young Money" helps you navigate tricky financial situations.
Check out more in the series:
- A couples therapist says this is the best way to talk about money with your friends
- How I spent $1,230 on convenience in just two months
- 5 things you should never pay full price for
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