- Cancel your Netflix subscriptions and other monthly bills that you never use.
- Why you should avoid that $9 salad everyday at lunch.
- Save big by not eating out an extra night a week.
Spring is the perfect time to declutter your home and, I’d wager, your finances too. Much like the bizarre amounts of dust I unearth from beneath our furniture when I deep clean, there’s always a hidden expense lurking in our budget that previously went unchecked. I find that by dedicating time to spring clean my accounts, I’m able to discover new opportunities for saving even more money every month.
Of course we all know it’s important to track our expenses on a regular basis—my husband and I use Personal Capital for this monthly task—but, it’s easy to get lax about actually changing our spending patterns. To combat this, I’m proposing a thorough clean-out this spring! For added motivation, I’ve outlined just how much you could potentially save by giving your finances a good old-fashioned scrubbing.
I’m an amateur personal finance geek.
Your tools have helped me become a smarter investor.
Personal Capital Dashboard User, February 2021
Let’s get started:
1. Get rid of any subscriptions you’re not seriously using.
Are you honestly listening to a ton of books on Audible or are they instead becoming more of a forgotten item on your to-do list? What about your monthly Bark Box—is your pup enjoying these random treats or is last month’s box sitting unopened in the foyer? Or your own Birch Box – are you really using all of those tiny makeup samples each month? Take a hard look at anything you’re subscribed to and don’t be afraid to calculate how much its costing you on an annual basis. Sometimes seeing the total amount you’re spending for a full year of a subscription is motivation enough to cancel.
2. Cancel recurring monthly payments.
I find that some of the worst spending culprits are those pesky auto-renewing payments. They’re so pesky in fact that my husband and I made the decision to eliminate everything on auto-renew, except for our internet (since we definitely use that on a daily basis). It was altogether too easy to forget we even had them in the first place. Sometimes it’s best to go old school and un-automate your expenses.
I think cable is one of the most egregious offenders in this category. There’s so much content available through cheaper services like Hulu and Netflix that having a cable subscription feels like a pricey relic of the past. So if you’re not legitimately watching it, ditch cable this spring!
Potential savings: $99 (the average monthly cable bill in America)
3. Take your lunch to work.
This is one of my all-time favorite ways to save serious dough. It’s so easy to get lulled into the habit of buying lunch at work every single day—I certainly used to. Getting into the swing of preparing lunch at home instead, though, is such a great way to suddenly pocket your own lunch money.
My husband and I typically cook up a huge batch of something on Sunday nights, which we then tote to work all week. By cooking in advance, we no longer have the excuse of running out of time mid-week to make lunch. Each day’s meal is already portioned out and ready to go in the refrigerator—all we have to do is grab it and go.
Potential savings: $200 ($10 per lunch every weekday of the month)
4. Eliminate one take-out or delivery meal a week (or more!)
Food again! My husband and I used to fall victim to the delivery and take-out trap way too often. It’s just so tempting to pick something up on the way home from work, especially those delicious build-your-own salads… but I digress.
Despite the ease and tastiness of take-out, we had to put an end to it for the betterment of our finances. And so, we started thoughtfully meal-planning each week and established a rotation of homemade dinners for every night of the week. One of the keys for us in staying on track with cooking at home is ensuring that our weekday suppers are pretty quick and simple to cook. We don’t try to pull off filet mignon on a Monday, rather, we opt for a homemade salad with a salmon burger on the side. It’s delicious, nutritious, and far less expensive than anything from a restaurant.
Potential savings: $120 ($30 for one take-out or delivery meal for two per week, every week of the month)
The Grand Total
By making these four alterations to your budget, you could save up to $462.95 every month, which is a whopping $5,555.40 per year!
Plus, I find that by conducting this comprehensive exercise of combing through every single expenditure, I always uncover even more ways to save.
With each of these spring cleaning efforts, the underlying truth is that it’s all about developing long-term frugal habits. Once you get into the routine of, say, making your weekday lunches, it becomes your new normal and the commensurate savings will suddenly be on autopilot. That’s the beauty of doing a complete spring cleaning—you can change your spending behaviors for the long-haul and reap the benefits of added savings for years to come!