I’m going to be honest with you; you’ve got a problem. And I’m not talking about your social issue of thinking it’s acceptable to nuke salmon in the workplace microwave. For that one, your co-workers will eventually forgive you (but I won’t). I’m talking about a few expensive habits that you’ve let continue for far too long. These are habits that when combined together drain $7,800 per year from the account that you promised me you were going to use toward buying t-shirts with little kittens on them that read “hang in there” for needy sherpas.
So I’ve decided to put my foot down. You can’t continue to do this to yourself (or the sherpas!). Let’s talk about a few changes you’re going to make starting tomorrow:
CANCEL YOUR GYM MEMBERSHIP
Can we be honest? Do you even remember the name of one person at the check-in counter at the gym you’re a member of? If not, you need to seriously consider showing up one last time to give them your cancelation notice, or at the very least, you should learn to lie and say her name is Karen. Because who really knows? Maybe she was adopted and her parents haven’t told her that her real name is Moana.
The fact of the matter is that a gym membership can be a leech on your finances and it’s only made worse when you realize that most people don’t even go enough to make them worth the money they’re paying each month. You can admit it. You just signed up on a good ol’ New Years resolution, set it to autopay (because every gym gives you an incentive to do this), and forgot about it after the first two workouts left you feeling like a tired iguana. Heck, in our area alone, the average gym membership costs $40 per month. That means there’s an annual cost of $2,080 that you’re spending to not even show up and thank them for basically robbing you of your money without providing you any real service.
I mean, come on! Let’s get real. If you live at the gym and it’s your everyday stomping ground, that’s one thing. But if I’m striking a home run with any of these prior points, it may be a good idea to take back your $2,080 per year and use it for something more useful. And if you’re really still set on staying in shape but you don’t use the gym enough because you hate leaving your house (or maybe you’re just too lazy), you can buy a CAP barbell set, EVA foam floor mats, and a flat bench for your own home and still only spend $305. And that way you have a home gym that can provide all you need for a good work out and you would still save $1,775 in your first year by not having a gym membership.
STOP GOING OUT TO LUNCH
Ever stop to think about how much money you’re burning on your lunch breaks at work? If not, you’ll want to listen up. The average American who goes out to eat at work spends $20 a week on this expensive habit. That’s $1,040 annually – enough to buy yourself a custom built new computer! Or maybe you’d choose to pass up the computer and instead use those funds on a fun vacation to reward yourself for not buying an extra inch on your waist?
But maybe I’m the only one worrying about how fat I’ll look in my new pink mankini.
What? Only women can be part of the body positive movement? My wife told me I can pull it off.
DITCH CABLE TELEVISION
Can we agree that this isn’t the first time you’re hearing this? In a day and age where the internet is rapidly bleeding into every household in America and even your weird neighbor Doris has 79G internet on her phone, cable TV is hanging on by a thread. And who can say they’re surprised?
The average cable television package in our area charges $150 per month for the lowest package above basic when you go beyond your introductory rate (that they oh so graciously only give you for a year before jacking your price up to infinity). But if you choose to call them and nix your cable down to only high-speed internet, your maximum rate drops to only $60 per month. And that’s if you don’t price shop for a better competitor that may offer even higher speeds for a lower fixed price!
If that doesn’t sound like a big enough price difference to make you switch, I’ll do the math for you to show you what you’ll save per year and then you’ll see what I’m talking about. If we only assume that you’ll see the price drop from $150 to $60 per month (per my earlier example), you’ll save $4,680 per year.
Those savings could literally buy you a car. A car! Or, invested over a few years with the power of compound interest and regular additional deposits, it could turn into a downpayment for a house. You could ditch the rental life and own your own slice of heaven in just a few years.
But maybe you just want to continue burning an extra $7,800 a year on a gym you never go to, a lunch that never seems to come out with enough time to finish, and a show that has already agreed to also stream on Hulu. It’s your call. I just wanted to make sure you knew how much each of these habits equates to if you add them all together and put it in big bold writing on a blog about finance.
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Until next time,
And if you’re interested in saving even more money, check out our article on ways to get better gas mileage with your vehicle.