Each spring many of us make a ritual of spring cleaning, hauling out the junk in the recesses of our closets or garages and making some hard choices about what to keep and what to throw away. This spring, do some Financial Spring Cleaning. Trash the hidden spending that lurks in corners on autopilot and is never analyzed. Haul out all your hidden spending into the light of day and give it an airing and decide whether you can throw it in the trash.
Evaluate Big Recurring Expenses
Start with your obvious big recurring expenses and see how they do in the bright light of spring:
- Cable TV
- Mobile phones
- Home phone
- Gym memberships
- Netflix and other subscriptions
- Wine clubs
- Country club and other memberships
You can easily spend $400 to $500 per month on these expenses. Take radical action and cancel everything if you haven’t used it in the last two weeks. Take radical action even on “essentials” like cable TV and mobile phones by downgrading to a lower plan. Try living without them for a month and then add back if you find you absolutely can’t live without it. Most people find they never miss most of them or can live with a lower level of service.
Get New Quotes, Ask For Lower Rates
While you’re doing your financial cleaning, take a look at your other hidden spending
- Auto insurance
- Home / renters insurance
- Valuable property insurance
- Health insurance
- Lawn care
- RV / boat / ATVs
Consider switching to lower coverage or higher deductible on your property insurance or at the very least, call two or three other companies to comparison shop. Evaluate your health insurance by looking at your employee contribution toward your insurance and consider whether you’re in the right plan.
Look for other hidden expenses in your budget. It’s a good time to evaluate things like child care, housecleaning, lawn care and other recurring service providers. Ask for lower rates, find a different provider, or do the work yourself.
By pulling your hidden expenses to light at least once a year to give them a good dusting off, you’ll address a major source of your spending and you’ll feel less pressure to scrounge for ten cent off coupons.
Ahh, you can almost smell that fresh scent of clean finances.