Last month my wife and I finally got rid of our final budget killer – our DirecTV subscription. At $105 per month, I’m glad to see that bill go by the wayside and am dreaming of the ways we can better use that savings each month.
We can all be guilty of budget leaks on occasion though this was a budget killer. Although the number of cord cutters is on the rise, a recent study reveals that 83 percent of American homes still have some form of pay television. As has been our experience over the past month, you don’t need to spend much to enjoy quality content. The benefit of cutting the cord on cable TV for us is that it brings our family one step closer to a major goal we want to reach.
How Much We’re Saving
As I mentioned, our monthly DirecTV plan was $105. We did have a number of price reductions but eventually those all ran out. We also have Netflix at roughly $10 per month. The grand total…$115 for television programming each month!
We now spend $25 per month since cutting the cord, or a savings of $90 per month. We kept our Netflix plan and added HBO Now so we can still see some of our favorite shows.
The Behavior is the Issue
A savings of $90 per month may seem like nothing, especially given the fact that we can “afford” the expense. However, how many times have you wondered at the end of a month why you don’t have the money you’d like to do something?
The problem? It’s our behavior. We’re guilty of short-term thinking, which hurts our financial livelihoods in the long run. We don’t stop to realize that aimless spending on items that return no value holds us back. Aimless spending may make us feel good; maybe that’s why we do it. It allows us to keep up with the Joneses. But the sad result is that aimless spending holds us back from accomplishing the things we really want in life.
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Spend on What Returns Value
Since I’ve become debt free, I’ve had the conviction of spending on items that only return value. Any other spending holds you back. You do need to have balance, of course, but a careful analysis is needed to make sure your spending is on things that provide value.
Personally speaking, we want to buy a new home in the next year. By analyzing our budget, we discovered two significant budget killers that were holding us back from that goal – our cell phone and DirecTV subscriptions. We were hemorrhaging $190 per month we had no business spending. Thus, we switched to a cheap cell phone plan and got rid of the pay TV subscription. The extra savings will go towards our house fund each month.
Your situation will likely be different, but the value aspect is just as important. If you’re paying off debt, for example, the value in cutting is debt freedom. That should be motivation enough.
The Purpose of Cord Cutting
Streamlining a budget has one clear goal in mind – financial independence. Financial independence means lots of things to different people. It might mean the ability to retire in your 60s and travel around the world. For some it may mean early retirement or starting a business.
To me financial independence means the ability to take opportunities when I want and as they present themselves. It also means being free from financial worry. It’s exercises like killing off needless expenses that get us one step closer to that goal.
We can all be guilty of having budget killers. It pays, literally and figuratively, to be cognizant of the value your spending creates so as to not be wasting money you shouldn’t be.