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After I left my last full time gig about a year and a half ago, (read more here) I found a strong desire to be vigilant in managing my monthly recurring costs. I achieved this 2 ways. First by closely monitoring my monthly credit card statements and second, by creating recurring reminders on my calendar. I've read a lot recently about the core ways of increasing Net worth. The obvious holy trinity seems to be:
Boost side hustle income
I've always been very good at reducing expenses. That's probably because I grew up with depression era parents. However, when it becomes your habit, it comes naturally.
Create calendar reminders
The first step in eliminating recurring charges, is to create a system that makes it easy for you to catch them, end them or pause them. Now, as soon as I subscribe to something, I mark the expiration date of the trial down on my calendar, with a reminder, a few days before. With all the turmoil in politics, I wanted to subscribe to a reliable news source. The New York Times always offers deals, and when a new one arrived in my mailbox, I decided to go with it.
Great deal at $2.50 per week for a physical Fri, Sat, Sun delivery and online access. (Yay! No more "you've read your 10 articles for the month pay wall) This deal is for the first 12 weeks, so that will take me up through most of October.
What I did immediately after signing up, was to mark each month, with a calendar reminder, and the dollar amount. Since the charge of $10 will hit my card each month. After that period expires, it's $10 per week or $40 per month! You bet I'll want a reminder to cancel that. So I marked on my calendar October 20th, "Remember to cancel NYT's". Simple. You can use any calendar program you like. I've found recent efficiency in using Asana which I found out about through this reasonably priced tutorial. (Check it here)
Don't get fat & happy
One problem with growing wealth and busy schedules is it's easy to get "fat & happy", and just letting them roll on. Then 6 or 10 months go by, and you're into them for a years subscription.
It's funny how when we really focus, we can find a lot of ways to either save, or generate more income. (watch for my next article on saving by not wasting food) This is a true case of "Necessity being the Mother of invention." Cutting expenses was actually a big way that I had achieved some financial independence over time, but it drifted by the wayside as our salaries went up. Now that we're back here, I feel a great feeling of cleansing, and when I resume a bigger income stream, that this will only add to my wealth. Basically, it's a great wake up call, and something that you should try to review at least once per year.
Here's the quick list of what I've trimmed over the past 6 months.
Audible subscription - 16.95
Kindle Unlimited - 9.95
Washington Post - 9.99
Adobe Photoshop - 9.99 (Didn't even launch it for about 10 months)
CBS - unlimited app - 4.99 (Wife's addiction to Blue Bloods)
Freedom Pop - Cell overage 9.99
Lumosity - Brain games app. 15
Checking account with recurring $7 fee.
Triple AAA auto club - $52 per year ($4 per month)
Costco - $5 per month (redundant w/ Prime, but might consider returning for the hot dogs)
Life Coach - 180 per month (needed an accountability partner for a few months)
Totaling all that up comes to a whopping $270.86. That's each month, every month or $3,250 per year! Even without the coaching expense, it's still $90.86 for stuff I was either not using, or could probably get through a different channel.
Calculate the annual cost and Review regularly
A lot of subscriptions are in the 8.95 to 9.95 range. That doesn't seem like a lot of money each month, but when you extrapolate it out, and view it as $120 per year, it's nice to keep that money in your pocket, if possible.
I'm on the fence about Netflix, but there are a few shows we're still bingeing, and I'm also on the fence with my Microsoft office subscription. Other candidates are my photo hosting site, and my landline phone bill. I could probably squeeze out another $50 per month in savings. It's funny that I just received an email yesterday from Microsoft, touting the growing benefits of their subscription. I'm thinking they better do better than that. There's no problem in starting a trial, but make sure you have a safety net to turn it off when you want.