Similar to gardening, there are times when your growing expenses can be trimmed. I like to do this at least twice a year and do so by looking over all recurring financial choices to see if any optimization is needed. How do I do this? First, I make a list of all ongoing payments for services such as internet, video service, gym, auto-loan, etc. Once I have my list, and have collected the monthly payment amounts from my account, I then begin to research competitors. I look for deals - signing bonuses, no-pay starting months, reward points, etc. These deals can be short-term. Let’s say Amazon streaming service offers the first three months free - cancel anytime with no fee. I may sign up for Amazon and cancel Netflix until the first three free months are over. Then, I may switch back to Netflix.
My techniques and strategies will be discussed further in step 2. In order to move on to this second step, step 1 needs to be done properly. Your monthly service list is the key to completing step 1. It is not crucial, but if you start to think of the priority of your list, it will help in the next step. For example, my priorities are paying rent, auto-loan, insurance, school-loans, internet, etc. Monthly budgets for things like Starbucks, eating-out, or going to the movies are also important to add to the list. Could you survive with a Starbucks coffee only on Friday? How about your gym pass? Could you go without it?