How to Stop Wasting Money
Inspired by my colleague Erin Burt's column Cut the Cable Cord, I called my cable company to cancel my subscription. As a result, I'll be saving nearly $80 a month. That's more than $950 a year. My only regret is that I didn't do it sooner.
The only people who watch TV in my house regularly are my kids, who are allowed to watch half an hour a day of Dora the Explorer or some other children's show. My husband watches sports occasionally, but not enough to justify an $80 drain on our budget each month. So why didn't I cut the cord sooner? Inertia. Habit.
Often when we look for ways to trim the fat from our budgets, we target frivolous spending on small things (the daily latte, bottled water -- see 10 Things We Overpay For). But we fail to scrutinize regular monthly expenses for things we don't need, such as cable TV, because we pay for many of these things out of habit -- often by an automatic draft from our accounts.
Think about all the other services or items you pay for out of habit. When was the last time you reshopped your insurance policies to see if you could get a better rate? If, for example, you quit smoking or lost a lot of weight, you should let your life-insurance company know (or search for a new policy) because your rate could drop substantially (see Get the Best Rate on Life Insurance and Get the Best Rate on Health Insurance.)
I shaved $40 to $50 a month from my budget by actually listening to a pitch from the cable company for its phone service. I signed up and now pay a flat $25 a month for local and long-distance calling. See 20 Ways to Waste Your Money to learn more about what you can do to plug your financial leaks and put more money back in your pocket.