In 2016, cable TV companies made $81 billion revenue from subscriptions.
Eighty-one billion dollars in revenue. In a single year.
Believe it or not, that was a bad year. Two years earlier, in 2014, they made $99 billion. They peaked just shy of the hundred mark, then Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and all the others started taking market share away, and the number began to decline.
In 2016, Netflix made an estimated $4.8 billion in North American subscription revenues.
Entertainment is a valuable business. And an expensive cost.
Each of these numbers has another side to it. If the average bill is $1000 per year for cable, then $81 billion is 81 million subscribers, give or take. Each of these people swaps $1000 per year in return for the ability to consume countless hours of their free time watching mostly reruns of shows.
How much do you spend on cable? How much can you save if you cut the cord? What are the alternatives to cable that might save you a ton of money?
One of the most exploitative businesses in the world is the foreign exchange services at airports and on-street booths. The rates they charge are nothing short of robbery. They exploit the ignorance of the general population to charge a fortune for a service that deserves very little margin.
That may sound harsh, but when you look at the options available to everyone for foreign exchange transactions, it’s absolutely shocking that outlets charge what they do to switch your dollars for pounds, or euros for dollars.
In this article I’ll explain the problem and give you a few numerical examples to show you how bad it can get. Then I’ll provide alternative methods for getting foreign currency. Methods that won’t result in spending a ton of cash for a service that shouldn’t cost very much.
If you’ve rented a car from time to time, you’ll be familiar with a decision you have to take every time you pick the car up from the agency.
You get asked if you would like to “buy back the excess”, or “waive the excess for a fee”.
What this means is that you pay an extra amount per day, and they remove the excess on the car insurance. If you do not take this option and you have an accident, or a person steals or vandalises the car, you’ll have to pay the first £400 to £4000 of costs towards that damage before the car rental company’s insurance takes the rest. If you do take this option, that gets reduced to zero and you’re safe.
This option can cost anything between £5 to £45 per day, and if you think that’s a lot to pay to get rid of a risk, you’re right. You can get the same thing for much less money.
One of many things you can do to keep your costs down over time is to ensure that you’re not overpaying for things you subscribe to or purchase on contract.
This includes a long list of things that include
Each of these things can be renegotiated, but often only at a specific moment in time. In some cases, these things auto-renew for an additional year and if you miss the window, it become impossible to alter for yet another year.
Have trouble sticking to a budget?
There are many reasons why we don’t always manage to hit the targets we set ourselves, often despite our best intentions. You may set out to stick to a budget and find yourself challenged by decisions you don’t remember making, or lapses you regret after the fact.
The principal culprits are often bad habits and losing sight of our objectives. We need some tricks and tactics to keep our eye on the prize.
Of course you should ensure that when you set out on a project like this, you are clear about the goals, and why you want to achieve them. If you are not committed up-front, then you’ll have forgotten all about it when then next project idea comes along. There isn’t room in our minds for several large personal projects all at once.
But if you’ve made that decision and you’re afraid you’ll miss your targets, or you’ve experienced difficulty getting this kind of project off the ground in the past, here are five things you should consider.
In my universe, eating out is a special event.
Even if I could afford to eat out in a good restaurant every evening, I wouldn’t.
Aside from the effects on my waistline and my life expectancy, restaurants would lose their appeal. That would be a shame because I really enjoy eating out.
The things that feel like rewards for a job well done or an effort made should be protected. If we overuse these reward systems, we become habituated. That means we don’t notice them anymore, we take them for granted. In addition, if I eat out all the time, eating at home will start to feel like I’m depriving myself of pleasure, when the opposite is true. I love cooking and serving a really good meal around my own table.
That said, when I go out for a meal, I expect to get good value, and there are a number of things I bear in mind before I reserve, and once I’m in the restaurant, to ensure that my money is well spent.
I’ve had a lot of discussions with people who are trying to get a handle on their finances. Most are willing to make significant efforts to change the way they think about spending money, but there are two blind spots that people can have trouble getting around.
The first blind spot is a belief that none of the savings opportunities will work for them.
“Well I’m sure this would save lots of people money, but in my case…”
I can run though a huge list of things and they can respond that it’s just not possible for them because they’ve already looked at this and in their specific situation it’s just not going to help. They apply this to every suggestion and end up trying to convince me that there’s really nothing to be done.
The second blind spot is the set of purchases that your subconscious really wants, that it considers justified and deserved reward. Your mind guides you away from these areas and so you avoid thinking about them too much. Things like cigarettes and alcohol, but also chocolate bars and lattes on the way to work.
Here’s how to think about these savings opportunities…
I mentioned in my last article that supermarkets are some of the most advanced businesses in the world when it comes to manipulating customer behavior to increase sales.
When you walk into a supermarket, you are surrounded by techniques and tactics all of which are designed to get you to buy stuff you don’t need in quantities you’ll never use.
Knowing these techniques is one half of the battle. Forewarned is forearmed. The second half of the battle are the strategies you should employ when shopping in a supermarket to make sure that you only buy what you need.
Let’s take a look at the strategies that work.
One of the most variable budget items is your grocery shopping. It can grow out of control or shrink dramatically depending on the month, your mood and even what time you shop.
Supermarkets encourage spending. Every single aspect of their design is chosen to make shoppers buy more stuff. Shopping when you’re trying to keep to a budget is like walking into the lion’s den. You need a plan to escape unscathed.
In this article, I’ll explain the techniques, strategies and trickery at work when you enter a supermarket.
Once you understand the manipulation it becomes easier to ignore. Follow-up articles will discuss different ways you can dramatically save on your shopping.
Read on for a list of all the supermarket tricks that trick you into buying more than you need.
The one-month detailed spending tracker is the first step in the Spending Diagnosis Toolkit. It is an exercise where, for one month, you monitor every single penny or cent that you spend, regardless of how small. You want to track your spending in every detail to build a picture of how and where you use your money. This will allow you to deliberately adjust your behavior to control your spending.
It’s one of those terms that sounds unambiguously good – of course we would want that! But what is Financial Independence? What does it actually mean? If we’re going to aim for something we should be precise in how it is defined.
Financial Independence typically means having the freedom to not work. It means that if you choose to work, you do so for reasons other than having to pay your bills or fund your lifestyle.
How To Budget course
* required fields