Mark Wenzel is trialling The Hopkins Group’s Money Master program to see if it can help him gain more control over his family’s cash-flow position. Mark’s goal is to free up some of his money to fund family experiences rather than spend them on things that don’t matter as much. He is documenting his progress and key insights in a regular blog series called the “Money Master Diaries”. This blog is the fourth in the series.
Over the past month or so of tracking my expenses with The Hopkins Group’s Money Master program, I’ve managed to save quite a bit of money by reviewing some of the big ticket items coming out of our account. I have been impressed with the progress made so far, but wanted to see if I could squeeze even more savings by reviewing some of the smaller expenses that have been coming out via regular direct debits.
Product and service providers love people signing up to direct debits because they know their cash flow and expect that many subscribers will keep paying regardless if they are using the service or not. And that’s where the danger lies for us as consumers – the set and forget nature that makes things more convenient can mean sometimes we’re paying for things we don’t really need.
We, as a family, have several direct debits set up. They have crept into our spending habits in recent years, so I already had an idea going in that this was an area we could find savings in.
The first area to focus on was pay television subscriptions; for us, that’s Netflix, Disney+ and Kayo (part of Herald Sun subscription). Netflix is the most used among the whole family, so we have decided to keep this. However, we decided to cancel our Disney+ subscription, to save $8.95 per month. While my daughter is disappointed with the decision, paying for a small number shows for one member of the family felt excessive.
We also have a newspaper subscription (which includes Kayo) at $22 per month. This allowed online access and the weekend newspapers. My wife and I both enjoy reading the newspaper, but we think we can live without it. To my mind, looking at the news website is habit you get into, but with many sources of news and information out there that you can access if you want to find out more about any topic, it’s an expense we can probably live without.
Next on the list was Audible. I have been a subscriber to this audio book provider for more than three years and it has allowed me to access one audio book a month for $16.95. I used to love it, but have grown less interested over time and find I can find the information I am looking for elsewhere. I enjoy accessing information audibly, but there are alternatives to audio books for learning such as podcasts, YouTube, webinars and company websites (I even present my own podcast focusing on investment management called Talk Investment with Mark Wenzel).
One of the patterns that was consistent with my Audible purchases was that I would buy books from people that I had heard on podcasts. If I went back and listened to the podcast again would the key messages from the book be conveyed in the podcast? I will forgo my subscription to test this out.
While these subscriptions have value in our lives, we’ve decided that we would try life without them to see if it will work for us. We may choose to re-subscribe to any of these subscriptions in the future if we want to, but in my opinion these are things and, once we get used to the alternatives, we will not miss. Time will tell.
The cancelling of these subscriptions, which I did today, will save us $47.90 per month or $574.80 per year.
I challenge you to review your subscriptions and assess if they are still relevant in your life. Are there alternatives? Can you find something else to do with your time that is more productive, more focused on what you enjoy and at a lesser cost?
This is the fourth entry in a series of articles I’m writing about saving money by reviewing and potentially changing behaviours using The Hopkins Group Money Master program. The savings I’ve reaped so far are:
Which comes to a total savings to date of $2,399.44. When our decision to fix our home loan rate is included in the calculation, this figure tops $5,200 – that’s $100 per week of savings. I am really pleased and surprised by this.
Taking a critical look at what we spend money on, making some important decisions and taking the time to do a few phone calls has saved us a good amount of money – which brings me closer to focusing on the experiences that matter most to me and my family.
Do you think The Hopkins Group’s Money Master program can help you identify savings in your life? Speak to us about getting started today!
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