Budgeting Better

In November of last year, I started thinking about things I would like to accomplish or do differently in 2017. I started to think about the way I was spending money particularly when it came to entertainment related purchases. That is when I decided to cut my cable down to the bare minimum and slash my SiriusXM package down to just the music channels. Those two things alone saved me about $110 a month.

Mind you, I didn’t do it because I was in financial distress or anything. I just felt like I could get more out of the money that I was spending if I did things a little different. So I sat down with a spreadsheet and ran some numbers and came up with a plan for 2017.

The plan was pretty straight forward. Identify the things I pay for on a month-to-month basis and when possible, switch them to yearly plans. Most people know why this is a good idea. A month of amazon prime costs $10.99 and a year costs $99 and the difference between the 2 is a little over $20. Well, $20 isn’t a lot of money but when you have several subscriptions that offersavings like that, the money can add up quickly.

So I sat down with a spreadsheet and ran some numbers. Since I budget monthly, I it upon a schedule of when to switch each monthly payment to an annual one. I altered the plan when January hit because a friend offered to share the cost of an amazon prime subscription which would save me $50 upon the $20+ I was going to save for switching from monthly to yearly. So that one ended up being the first to be switched.

In my interview on Talking Audiobooks I talked about what was coming this month. I am switching my audible membership from monthly to yearly. The cost will be $229.50 for a year and 24 credits. This is $45.90 less than paying $22.95 a month for 12 months $275.40. However, it goes beyond that because of the fact that I purchase extra credits. Now when I buy an extra credit it costs me $11.47 a credit. Switching over, that cost will drop to $9.56. Since I buy extra credits regularly even saving a dollar or two will be beneficial. I picked Audible for February because it is the most expensive of the anual packages I could pay for and February is the shortest month by 2 days.

As I was working all of this out, I realized that thanks mostly to the reduction of my cable bill, I could add in services that I had in the past but dropped for financial reasons. In March, I will sign up for MLB.TV again. I haven’t decided if I will go with the single team package or the full league. But it will be nice to have that back in my life.

Where the biggest difference will be felt is in November and December. According to my current plan,
I will have switched all of my monthly subscriptions to yearly by the end of October. So in the last 2 months of the year, I will
only be paying my rent, Internet, Netflix, Hulu and WWE Network. This will free up extra funds for holiday shopping.

And depending on what the Hulu streaming service looks like, I may be able to cut my cable entirely and save another $30 a month.

You’ll notice I didn’t mention food or clothing or anything else in my budget. This is because try as I might, I have never been able to fix a food budget. What I spend on food each month depends a lot on what is on sale. I only focused on entertainment expenses because those are fixed prices and even if they increase, I will have advanced warning and now exactly by how much they will go up.

Did I really need to do any of this? No, to be honest if I changed nothing I could have gotten by just fine. Even making all the changes I have planned out isn’t going to amount in seriously significant savings. But it will be more efficient, it will be slightly more cost effective and I’m not losing anything this way and am actually going to be able to add things back in like MLB.TV. It seems like a good idea with few drawbacks.