Remember the chunk of time in 2020 when we were debating the true villains of “Tiger King” and lockdowns had just started?
Remember those early weeks when we baked lots bread and Zoom happy hours were still kinda fun?
Remember when we ran out of activities and started doing deep dives of Netflix until we realized we needed more options?
If you’re like me, you have Netflix. And Prime. And Disney+. Oh, and Hulu, HBO, Showtime, and something called FXX? I don’t know..it was for the show “Archer” and it’s $7.99 so it’s baaaaaa-a-a-sically free.
Those little subscriptions here and there are quietly adding up; because they’re all under $20/month, it’s easy to justify. Soon you have more than five of these subscriptions and that’s just for television. Chances are you probably also have:
- A gym membership
- A monthly skin-care regimen/essential oil/hair care product
- A food delivery service
- An editing app or software
- A magazine subscription
You get the picture.
To get an accurate snapshot of how much you’re spending, you will first have to remind yourself of all the things you added to the cart in the last 12 months. This audit may take an hour or two, and it does require you do some gathering, but I promise you’ll find some extra cash (without having to dig through the gross center console of the car.)
Step 1: Print statements, save them as PDF’s, create yourself an Excel spreadsheet…whatever makes the most sense to your brain, just get your bills in front of you.
Step 2: Grab a highlighter and start color coding your expenses. GREEN for any recurring fee that is absolutely necessary: mortgage/rent, utilities, insurance, etc. BLUE for recurring fee that is nice to have, but technically a luxury. RED for anything you forgot that you’re paying for.
Step 3: Take a deep breath and add everything up. Does it make you cringe? It’s ok if it does! The good news is you have items marked in red that you clearly haven’t touched in months that need to go, ASAP.
If you’ve cleared the red from your totals and you’re still worried the amount you’re spending, revisit everything in blue. Do you NEED to support your friend’s skin care business? Do you actually use your meditation app? When was the last time you went to Anytime Fitness? If these sound real, it’s because I had to have a real heart-to-heart with my own credit card.
Ok. You have your homework. Complete this audit and then we can talk about guilt-free spending.