As a barber, I have a lot of dope and in-depth conversations with my clients. It’s an amazing exchange of laughs and knowledge. During one conversation, my client and I discussed a new author named Ramit Sethi who has a no-nonsense approach to saving money and building the life you want. I actually listened to his episode on Impact theory (BTW, it’s one of my favorite podcasts to listen to while running) and was very surprised by his easy going and very simple approach to money. I look at money differently now and I thought I’d compile a list with four easy ways I changed my spending habits that really helped me to save money.
1. Getting a credit card with rewards.
To be honest, I never struggled with understanding credit cards. I know a lot of people personally who have. If you have payments under control and know how to pay them off responsibly, building your credit is important and getting rewarded while doing it is the best way to go. The best way to establish a credit history is with a credit card. I use mine predominately to charge my monthly bills—the things I know are recurring and I’m sure I’ll have money for. I use my credit cards to pay my cable bill, cellphone, subscriptions etc. Credit card companies make a lot of money just from us swiping our cards, making online purchases, and paying our bills. Why not get a piece of it? Enter reward points! Each credit card is different but many offer cash back based on a percentage of your purchases, airline miles, gift cards and so much more. Personally, the Disney card has the perks that work for and my family and I.
2. Break up with your cable company.
One of my clients introduced me to “cable company dating”. Yeah, it’s a thing. He told me to avoid getting too comfortable with my cable company. There are other deals out there that are better. Yeah, calling and trying to negotiate can be a pain or switching companies isn’t always fun, but you’re cheating yourself if you just stay with a company who’s prices keep increasing yet you’re getting way less than what you are paying for. A lot of companies seem to give new customers great deals and once that first contract is up, your price goes up drastically. Fear not, getting a reduced price isn’t as complicated or difficult as you may think. Giving your current cable company a call and letting them know you are thinking of switching to another company for a better deal, will sometimes get them to match that deal or do one better. If not, companies now offer buyout options if you want to switch from your old cable company to them instead and they make the process of switching easier than it was years ago. I was able to cut my bill from $175 to $140 by switching from one carrier to the another and ended up getting a better package.
3. Can you hear me now?
Nowadays, when it comes to cellphones at least, the consumer finally has the upper hand. I am showing my age here a little, but I remember when cell carriers charged for each text message and minutes were counted too. Also everyone had to wait until 8 or 9PM sometimes to make free calls. Ah, how times have changed. You kids have no idea how easy you have it, again I know, I’m showing my age. Luckily there are way more carrier options than when I first got a cellphone. That means more competition and better deals for customers. Back in the day, certain companies had the worst service and that was the only reason they were cheaper. But nowadays, a lot of carriers–even smaller companies— share the same towers as bigger companies and have more reliable service or the same service as their competitors. I went from paying $175 for two lines to less than $100 for three lines! Plus, with my new plan, I received Amazon Prime for FREE!
4. Be realistic with your subscriptions.
At one point I had cable, Netflix, Hulu, and HBO. I work full time, I run a lot, participate in marathons, and try to spend my free time with my family. I definitely didn’t have time for all of those streaming services yet I kept paying for them anyway. Although I had favorite shows on most of them, I didn’t need all of those subscriptions at all times. For example, I had HBO for Game of Thrones and cancelled it when it was over. I permanently canceled the ones I didn’t use. And ended up getting Amazon Prime for free like I mentioned earlier through my cellphone provider. I only can spare an average of one hour a night to watch a show and to unwind, there was no way I needed that many options. I was wasting money. This can be true for all subscription services as well. A lot of people are signing up for subscription boxes that send out makeup or skincare products yet they rarely use what is provided. Make sure you’re actually using the products and services you are paying for. Remember, you can always pause subscriptions, too.
I am a fan of spending money on the things that make you happy. But I’m not a fan of wasting money. You can always find a better deal if you just make an effort and you can save money if you just take the time to consider what your spending your money on versus what you’re actually using or need.