February 3, 2010

Plugging the Leaks in My Budget

This morning I saved myself $12.50 a month.   It took me maybe 30 minutes total.   That adds up to $150 a year in after tax savings.   Not bad for half an hour of effort.   How did I do this?   I finally went and canceled two services that I should have canceled months ago.  I didn't really 'save' money but I instead stopped wasting it. 

I removed two "leaks" in my budget.    These expenses were minor compared to most of my spending and thats a big part of why I hadn't cancelled them before.   The items in question are my Angies List membership and a web site hosting service.   I hadn't used either for months.  I'm thinking of these as "leaks" because they seem like a dripping faucet.  A small amount of money being dripped off once a month on a regular basis.   The expenses are small enough to not really be noticed much, or at least small enough to let me procrastinate taking action on them.  But while the leaks seem small the impact adds up over time.  

I signed up for Angie's list back in August.   I signed up for a one month membership and decided to give it a try.   I found the service to be a good one but I didn't end up really using it for anything much.   So it sat unused since then.  That was 6 months ago.   If I'd cancelled it after the 1st month then I would have saved $7.50 x 5 months = $37.50.

The website host service that I had I originally signed up for about 2.5 years ago.   I had the site setup so I could learn (play around with) web programming tools.   I actually used it for around a year so initially I put it to good use.   But after that I stopped using the website and it just sat there.  But the $5.00 a month bill kept coming in automatically.   I sat on the account for a while.  Initially I figured I'd use the site more in the future.  But eventually I realized I wasn't using it and that I was just wasting $5.00 a month.  Even after that it still took me a few months to stop procrastinating and simply log in and cancel the account.  Total money wasted is approximately $90 for 18 months of service at $5 a pop.

Cancel stuff as soon as you stop using it.   Don't delay.   Procrastination can cost you money.   This is a bad habit that I have that I need to fight.  

You may have some "leaks" in your budget too.  Possibly a Netflix membership which you haven't used for a few weeks.   You could have a gym membership for a gym you never visit.  Maybe you signed up for World of Warcraft but you haven't played it for a couple months.    Whatever you might be spending money on if you are not using the good or service then you should cancel it. 

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