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Downgrade Your Expenses

Posted By Jim On 10/01/2009 @ 12:10 pm In Frugal Living | 29 Comments

How many fixed expenses do you have each month? We have about half a dozen – mortgage, utilities, cable & internet, Netflix, insurance, and the gym. Of those, three are mostly non-negotiable (mortgage, utilities, insurance). For cable & internet, Netflix, and the gym, we’ve considered downgrading our services to reduce their expense.

Over the last few years, our preferences and our life circumstances have changed the things we enjoy in our free time. When we first moved to the area, we would enjoy going out to bars and clubs to drink and dance the night away. Nowadays, we prefer going to someone’s house or to a lounge for a more casual night out. As our preferences changed, where we chose to spend our time changed.

We didn’t, however, apply this to the things we paid for each month. Here’s a perfect example I see with many young professionals. When you’re younger and have more free time to watch television or movies, the premium Netflix package probably made sense. $16.99 for three DVDs out at a time seems like a good deal if you watch a movie every few days. As your preferences change and your desire to watch movies diminishes, consider downgrading the plan to one that fits your needs and save a little money.

Cable and high speed internet is another service package that may be worth degrading. How important is it for you to have the fastest internet speeds your provider offers? If it’s crucial, then paying for it is worth it. If it’s not, consider reducing it and saving the difference.

Finally, you might want to downgrade your gym membership when you know you won’t take full advantage of it. I generally go to the gym less frequently in the summer than in the winter, instead opting to take our beagle Tobey on a walk. You know your habits, adjust your services to match your needs.

If you have any novel suggestions or want to share your experience, let us know in the comments. I chose the low hanging fruit but there are certainly other services out there we are overpaying for.

(Photo: abraj [3])


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