In today’s day and age, there are certain services and items that we can all stop paying for right now. Technology and access to the internet have completely changed the way we communicate and find entertainment. Some of these resources are even free! So, if you need to tighten the purse strings a bit, take a look at how much you spend on the following things each month. Chances are that you could eliminate many of these expenses and save yourself a ton of money.
5 Things You Can Stop Paying For Today
Music is one of my greatest passions. I love finding new music, supporting local artists, going to concerts, and organizing my playlists. Although I don’t spend nearly as much on live music these days, I am constantly looking for ways to support my addiction without breaking the bank.
There are a MILLION options to explore new music: Spotify (my personal favorite), Pandora, YouTube, Grooveshark, 8tracks, and Soundcloud just to name a few. By all means, continue to buy albums and support these people. But also remember that when you play their songs to completion on sites like Spotify or Pandora, these artists are receiving money through royalties. You can still support your favorite bands and singers using these convenient apps.
Can you remember the last time you physically went into a library? Yes, they still exist. Libraries are amazing and full of amazing resources. One cool trend popping up in Atlanta is roadside libraries. If you have seen them, they look like birdhouses, but they are full of books! You drive up, drop off your books, and pick one to read. It is a great idea and definitely builds a sense of community. If you don’t have these available in your neighborhood, you can create your own. If you don’t want to build a roadside library, that’s fine. You can set up a book exchange in your office, neighborhood, or social circles instead.
If you are more interested in e-books, there are also a ton of free resources online. This list not only directs towards the best sites but can even help you choose titles tailored to your tastes.
3. Fast Food
This is a convenience for which you pay a premium. Fast food is usually more expensive than cooking at home, and very rarely healthy. Furthermore, you pay even higher prices if you order through food delivery services. A little foresight and meal planning will help you cut this unnecessary convenience out of your life for good. Do yourself and your wallet a favor and make fast food one of the things you can stop paying for.
I was once the type of person who religiously watched my favorite TV shows each week, anxiously waiting for new ones to be released. However, after cutting the cord, I’ve found a million other uses for my time. I can honestly say I’m a much happier person because of it. Instead of going home from work and vegging out on the couch, I do more meaningful tasks such as cooking, walking my dog, gardening, or catching up with friends. It is so simple and so fulfilling. I do not miss the tube at all. However, I still subscribe to Netflix, I can get my fix of TV if need be. For $8.99 a month, the basic membership gives me access rather than spending $100+ for cable packages.
5. Gym Membership
This has been the hardest for me, but the extra work I’ve put in so far has been worth the savings. Not only do I save on membership fees, but also on the commute time and gas money. I am fortunate to have a gym at my office, but without this, I would still be able to stay fit. There are so many resources and free exercise routines available online that you can still get a full workout at home. Simply look up your favorite activity on YouTube. I bet you will find a dozen free channels to get you started. Whether you enjoy yoga, jazzercise, or free weight training, there is certain to be something out there for you.
The Budget Breakdown
My savings this year from the changes I’ve made: (January – March)
Cable ($360) – Netflix ($36) savings = $324
Spotify Subscription savings = $30
Books (I was a frequent Amazon book buyer) savings = roughly $50
Fast Food = roughly $40
Gym membership savings = $180
That is over $600 in savings for almost three months. The savings speak for themselves, but I am also living a much more fulfilling and healthier lifestyle. However, it can be a struggle to get started. But, the only way to get a handle on your finances is to tackle the problem head-on. First, you need to collect all your financial information and sit down to balance your books. This means calculating your total take-home income after taxes. Then, you need to add up all your monthly expenses and subtract them from your income. Creating a budget does not need to be another tedious task. You may be surprised when you look at your daily expenditures and find even more things you can stop paying for.