Archive for the ‘Cait flanders’ Tag

Spending Accountability   Leave a comment

Just wanted to send off a blog about my new spending practices.  One thing I noticed after I posted the original blog is that I hadn’t taken into account subscriptions to things like Netflix, Curiosity Stream, and language apps I use.  I gave it a little thought and I came to this decision.  We all need entertainment and education.  The measure of whether I would keep it or not is whether or not I actually use it.  Netflix I use regularly enough that it’s a keeper.  But I noticed that there were things like iTunes Match I was paying for that I can’t even remember the last time I actually used it.  And with iTunes Match I had the added silliness of paying for Apple Music, which I do use, which duplicates the very features of iTunes Match is use.  You’re welcome, btw, Mr. Cook.

So I went down the list of things I subscribe to and put them in two lists.  Subscriptions I’ve used in the last month, and obviously ones I haven’t.  Anything I was using I feel good about keeping but I’ll keep an eye on my usage.  Does the benefit justify the cost.  Column 2 was way easier to deal with.  Some of the subscriptions I got when I had good intentions and then never used.  So I’m out hundreds of dollars on some of these things with nothing to show.  Those, of course, I got rid of immediately.  On the list there were a few that I hadn’t used but knew I should, like wanting to improve my mind by learning languages.  Those I kept but with the caveat that once their usage goes down again they’re gone.

The final step in regards to keeping the subscription was the frequency at which I paid them.  A number of them I got on the monthly subscription because I wanted to test them out before I committed. But since I never tested them out I had wasted a lot of money I could have been saving by getting the yearly subscription.  So if I kept the app/subscription it was changed to the longest offering, which offered the best price.

The overall final step in this audit was changing how they were paid.  I have three credit cards.  They are all reward cards, one is for Apple, the other an airline, and the newest is Amazon.  I do a lot of business on Amazon so this card pays for itself.  I have let the Apple and airline card sneak up on how much I have on them.  This also costs a lot in interest I could be spending on me (or saving if I were being smarter).  So now all recurring payments and spending go on the Amazon card and that’s getting paid off at the end of the month so I don’t drown in interest.  I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t making progress on my Apple card as I always pay more then the minimum and it was the recurring stuff that was getting me behind my back.

Now that things are better organized lets see how this affects my bottom line.

New area of accountability   Leave a comment

So another area I’ve been working on improving in my life are my finances.  I’ve read a number of books on the subject but the one that resonated the most with me was Cait Flanders “The Year of Less”.  I already reviewed the book before so I won’t do it again here.  I’ll just give the overall gist which is she describes how she drastically reduced her spending habits for a year and how it went.  If you’d like to get a copy for yourself to check it out, here is an Amazon Affiliate link to it (just click on the pic):

I’ve been toying with the idea of doing a similar thing but that’s all I’ve done.  Now I’m ready to commit.  So I will share the rules for me as she did with her rules on her blog.  They’re pretty similar to hers.  The one difference is I’m running my experiment to the end of the year.

The first rule is I can buy any food I want but it has to be something I’ll eat in the next week, with the exception of the Ketolent keto shakes as you have to buy it in month supplies.  This one is pretty straight forward.  I have a bad habit of buying a lot of food and not getting around to eating it before it expires.  This wastes a lot of money, and just karma wise isn’t good as I’m wasting food others would gladly take to survive on.  If I buy something and have to throw it away because it expired I have to share with you on here what it was.

The next rule is I can’t buy a supplement unless I need it.  And need is defined as a supplement that fixes a deficiency in me that isn’t being taken care of by food.  What this pretty much means is I’m only getting electrolytes and multivitamins.  No more BCAAs or extras to “support” mitochondrial function.  I take a lot of supplements that I just can’t prove I need, many of which are very pricey.

Next is no toys, video games, collector’s items, or the like.  These are all wants not needs which drain money and eventually collect dust.

As for clothes, I am going to use the same rule she did.  The amount of clothes I own will stay constant. So if I buy something it has to be because I’m getting rid of another piece of clothing.  Also, it has to be a necessary buy.  So as I lose weight and can’t fit into my old clothes I can buy replacements, but I have to throw the old clothes out.  But I can’t just buy something because I like it, even if I’m willing to throw something away to maintain the balance.

Also, same as her, I’m leaving a cut out for gifts, toiletries, car repairs, or medicine.  But I’ll require myself to be frugal in those purchases.  Buy things on sale where I can, use generic brands instead of pricier name brands, and give gifts such that I’m not overspending to look good with my gift purchase.

The two final exceptions I’m allowing myself are as follows.  First, I use an Amazon credit cards that gets me points I can later use to buy things on Amazon. This doesn’t amount to increased spending as I naturally will get the points from the acceptable purchases.  The caveat is I have to have enough points to purchase the item, no “making up the difference” because I’m close enough.  Second, I can’t possibly know in advance everything that might happen between now and the end of the year.  So if an unforeseen event comes up that could possibly be a violation of the rules but I view it as a necessary exception I can make the purchase.  The catch is I have to come on here and explain my rationale.  If after explaining my rationale you guys think I was actually rationalizing I will accept whatever penance you feel I owe to make up for it.  I don’t foresee myself making use of this one, but figured as a just in case I’ll include it.

So that’s the game plan to see how much improvement I can make between now and the end of the year.  Come January 1st I will re-evaluate the rules and if they’re working I’ll continue but if not I’ll make changes to make them better.  I’ll also give progress reports on how it’s going.  That’s it for now.  I’ll touch base with you soon on how it’s going.  Take care.