Monday, May 6, 2019
15 Things to Ditch Before Summer… You might not like #12
As the calendar turned to May so to do my thoughts of summer. While I gear up for my busy season, I also think of what I need to leave behind from the winter. Spring cleaning for me also includes budget hacks as the clutter has built up over the past 6 months. I bring you 15 things you can get rid of before we hit the summer season to save you time and money. It’s time to cleanse our minds, bodies, and wallets of the winter junk pile up.
1) That Unused Gym Membership
Sure, your intentions were good. Aren’t all of ours? Let’s face it, you are not getting your money’s worth from it. Let’s also face this: The things you are doing when you do go to the gym you could probably do on your own time. Treadmills are great, but you can run in the park. That ab roller is nice too, but so are sit-ups in your living room. The weather is getting nice and enjoying the great outdoors is the perfect remedy to get fit and lively up your spirit. 70% of gym memberships go unused. That to me is absolutely disgusting.
2) Cable TV
This is one I struggle with. I love the convenience of news and sports at my fingertips when I want it, which isn’t much these days. The cable TV racket is a thick one, with millions coming into the big media companies every year and service going down the toilet. Maybe taking this summer as a trial run with no Cable TV is right up your alley. Who knows, you might even discover a new relationship that will kill your TV addiction, with your spouse perhaps….
3) The Car
With warmer weather brings nasty heat logged traffic jams that make our minds, souls and the environment cringe. If it is possible, try ditching the car a few days a week and walking to work, cycling to work, or even taking transit. I get it, the bus sucks. Do you want to know why the bus sucks? It sucks because we all think it sucks. If we all took the bus, it wouldn’t suck anymore. It’s like 2 kids in the remedial class calling each other stupid, you aren’t making much sense. I urn for the day where a suburban city like London, Ontario has businessmen and women on the bus commuting to work. Maybe then it won’t take 30 minutes to drive 4 city blocks during rush hour.
4) The Air Conditioning
As I sit and write this post, I have all the windows in my pad open, finally getting some fresh air into my home. I am guilty of being an air conditioning hog during the hot summer months. Knocking down the temperature a few degrees in the winter and up a few degrees in the summer is a sure-fire way to save money on hydro. One added bonus is the cuddling that would be necessary during the winter months, but also the lack of clothes that will help out in the summer months. Both very good things.
5) Expensive Hotels
The pricey hotel suite is going the way of the powdered wig and the newspaper. There are so many alternatives with the proliferation of Air B n B. You can stay in the heart of a major city for a fraction of what a hotel would cost you. I can honestly say that the hotel business is going to need a drastic overhaul over the next few years or they will continue to see business dwindle. Staying with friends is also a solid alternative. The food is probably better as well.
6) Your Credit Card
Trying an all-cash diet over the course of the summer might be what ails your failing monthly budget. Let’s face it, summer can be expensive with nights out, friends coming over, and buckets of sangria. Putting the card away for the summer is a solid idea to save you money on interest and prevent you from spending money that you just don’t have. If you have credit card debt, developing a summer savings/debt elimination plan would be a prudent task. You may think you are broke and fabulous. You are actually just broke.
7) Amusement Parks
What a money pit these places are. First off, Marine Land you should be shut down. African Lion Safari can go away as well. We have the internet; we don’t need you anymore. Secondly, theme parks like Canada’s Wonderland are absolute wallet killers. $13 slice of pizza, $9 Coca Cola, $15 picture with Spider-Man. If you decide to make the amusement park a destination for your family this year, do it the smart way. There are discounted tickets online all the time. Also, don’t be ashamed to bring a picnic. All those families eating sandwiches on the side of the hill by the parking lot have more money than you, just saying.
8) The Movie Theatre
I am still amazed at the turnouts that movie premieres get. I have not seen a movie in the theatres in more than a decade. Why you might ask? I counter with this: Why would I watch a movie in the theatre? I have a big TV at home and a nice sound system. I have snacks at home if I want, and refreshments, better ones than the theatre. I have more comfortable seats and a washroom than doesn’t smell like a port-a-potty. There is not one movie in the past 15 years that was released that I thought I MUST see at a theatre. Given that the cost of the theatre has gotten out of hand, I think this tradition should go the way of the powdered wig as well.
9) Date Night Out
Speaking of wastes of money, the traditional date night out is kind of passé. Dinner, drinks, parking, it all adds up to a nasty bill. Getting creative with date nights in my mind is the best bet. Maybe Cook a meal together and then stroll for an ice cream cone after. Maybe bring a cheese/veggie platter to the park along with a hidden bottle of wine. Believe me, I love nights out with friends. One thing is for sure though, it has gotten out of hand with how expensive it is now. Use your imagination and make your couples night more fun, less pretentious and better on your bank account.
10) The Cottage
When I was growing up, there was no cottage for my family. That is not to say that we didn’t have fun. I never knew the appeal of the cottage until I got older. A nice relaxing week with family and friends by the lake is just what the doctor ordered for most of us. The problem is that cottage trips are not cheap. If you are renting one, you are more than likely getting killed. If you own one, you know how costly that is. Furthermore, all the added things like food, booze, activities, and the time off work add up. While we all strive to have that work/life balance that cottage trips add to, if you are tackling debt or getting started saving, a cottage vacation might not be in the cards for you this summer. There is nothing wrong with “staycationing” until you get your financial house in order.
11) Your Weekends
What do you mean ditch my weekends? I am talking about a side hustle. There is only one way to get out of debt and that is to attack it with all the power, and determination you have. What that usually includes is working more and spending less. One added bonus about working more is that it gives you less opportunity to spend money. Taking one summer of your life to attack your debts will pay off huge. You may think about it as losing all the good times this summer will bring. I would look at it as gaining all the good times every summer for the rest of your life will bring. Even working one extra day a week can add up to an extra $3,000 or more in your pocket come October.
12) Your Significant Other
Uh oh. I think it is time we all look at the usefulness of our relationships. If someone isn’t bringing joy to your life, why have them around? Now, this sounds very trite and mean, but I am speaking about this in a strictly business sense. I see it every day, literally every day. Couples are miserable with their partners. Life is far too short to be miserable all the time. Furthermore, being in a relationship is not cheap. While dual incomes are nice, if one person is not pulling their weight you have accomplished nothing. This may seem like I am anti-relationship. That could not be further from the truth. What I am is anti-bad relationships that cost us time, money and heartache. Be open, frank and serious about your concerns to your partner. Communication solves everything. Either the issues will get addressed, or the lack of action makes the next move much easier. Rant over.
What’s better than an ice-cold adult beverage on a warm summer day? I can’t think of much. The problem is that we are paying a hefty premium for this privilege. If you have budget issues, taking a summer off the patio season might be in order. A magnum of wine is much cheaper than a few glasses of sangria at the local pub. You can make enough at home to keep you fuzzy all night. I personally love time with friends at home. Those nights can be accomplished for very little money whereas a Friday night Downtown can run you a hefty bill.
Watching how much electricity you consume should be a goal of all of ours. The cost to run the meter has gotten out of hand and the environmental consequences should now be apparent to all of us. Not using AC when you aren’t home is important. Doing laundry in the evening helps as well. Unplugging unused appliances can drop the bill too. It all adds up to a better bill for you and a better world for everyone else.
15) Purge Monthly Costs
This past week I help an amazing couple save $300 a month on their monthly insurance bill. How did I do that? I took 10 minutes with them and explained how they were wasting money on costly, ineffective life insurance. One week later the old policies were canceled, and new cheaper ones put in place. They now have better coverage at a cheaper price. There are so many areas in our financial lives where we waste money. What is the biggest culprit? Usually, anything to do with the bank. Mortgage/Creditor insurance, overdraft protection, high-interest debt, miscellaneous fees, they all add up. Also look at recurring monthly subscriptions, cell phone protection, auto insurance, and much more. Finally, look at what you are paying your investment advisor. This number should be known by everyone and if you don’t know, the cost might surprise you.
The goal is to save money. I guarantee we all can find ways to shave money from our monthly costs and that, over the course of the year, can add up to immense savings. Just think, you might not be as broke as you thought you were!
“He is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature.” – Socrates
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