If you don’t buy a $5 coffee once, you only save $5 one time, total = $5. You have to not buy a cup of coffee over and over in order for it to add up to a significant amount of money. Every $5 saved is a battle. You must make the same, possibly difficult decision, to not buy an item such as a cup of coffee over and over again for it to really matter.
If deciding to resist making that purchase is difficult, you might have to face that situation several times a week, and that isn’t very fun. If you cancel several monthly subscription services, you “keep” that money over and over and over and you only had to make that (possibly difficult) decision one time. That one decision adds up forever as long as you don’t cave. That one decision has a large ROI attached to it. That one decision pays you back multiple times, not just the once.
Most of this stuff is worthless anyway. Continuing to stay plugged in is like begging for the people providing these services to take your money in exchange for the worthless service. I don’t know about you, but I worked pretty hard for my money, I’m not going to hand it over to the cable company or a gym that I never go to. I’m not going to sign up for cable TV like a robot that is just doing whatever everyone else is doing. A lot of the items listed below fall into one of the following categories, but I’m not here to tell you how to live your life.
- Poor use of time
- Not worth the money
- Easily replaced with other free or cheap methods.
On a blank sheet of paper, list all of your monthly bills, recurring payments, memberships and subscriptions. List everything that is set up to be paid automatically each month. List only the things that you have to actually cancel in order to get rid of. All of the stuff that you must make a phone call, send in a written request, email or take an active part in canceling.
Here is a short list, before you claim to have nothing at all you can cancel, make sure you can check off everything on this list. I am not saying you should cancel all of these things. If you use them and get your monies worth and can actually afford them, spend on! But remember, just because you can afford something, does not mean you have to buy it. Just because you have the money, doesn’t mean you have to spend it. Think about all the other things you could do with that money and then make your decision whether to cancel it or not.
- Cable TV (its evil, trust me)
- Paying for Internet speed that you don’t need. Request a downgrade in service, bandwidth or speed if you don’t need it.
- Cable/TV/Phone “bundle” service. Is it cheaper to purchase Internet service only if you don’t need the phone and cable TV? Don’t let that salesperson lie to you.
- Magazine & newspaper subscriptions.
- Say goodbye to the Alumni Association for a few years. They will be fine, remember all the money the school got from you the first time around?
- Gym or YMCA membership. How often do you actually go? Can you find other ways to work out?
- Unnecessary online computer protection. Notice I said “unnecessary.” Sometimes it is a smart idea, we do Carbonite.
- Water treatment equipment service. Yeah, I don’t know what that is either, someone told me they used to have it and cancelled it, they are still alive last time I checked on them.
- Auto-renewing warranties and memberships of all kinds.
- Online music & movie subscriptions.
- Excessive text messaging payment plan.
- Excessive cell phone data plan.
- Club and group membership dues for clubs you don’t attend anymore.
- Home phone, if the cell phone will work anyway.
- Cell phone, if the home phone still works (ahh, the good old days)
- Any service that charges you even if you don’t use it.
- Storage unit payment! Cancel it and sell all the junk that’s in there!
- Find your own thing to get rid of and let me know what it was. Derek@beatnikbudget.com
- Home security system, locks & bright motion sensor lights work pretty well.
- Memberships of all kinds that you don’t use.
List as many subscription/membership items as you can think of. List the action needed to get rid of the item. It can be as simple as “log into the account and cancel.” Write down the date that the item was canceled. Make sure you write the date in AFTER it was actually canceled. (Actually do this)
What else could you do with the total amount saved?
Let me know what you unplugged and what you did with the savings in the comments below.