Just like our son, the excitement surrounding his birth is growing. We can’t wait for the little guy to get here. At the same time, we are glad we have the time to make sure our finances are in order.
Angela is spending a lot of time listening to podcasts like Birthful to get tips and tricks for having the best birthing experience. She’s put the podcast on for me a few times and I found the episode on saving money on unnecessary hospital expenses particularly interesting.
As for me, I’m doing what I can to make sure that we have the logistics of things handled. Angela will need time off work to recover and introduce this baby to the world. We, unfortunately, live in the United States where things like maternity leave aren’t guaranteed. Some countries have a mandatory 8 weeks, some 24, some even more than that.
The United States has no such thing. So, when the baby is born, we have a short window of time to dedicate our full attention to him. This fact makes us both very sad, but I’m doing everything I can to batten down the budgetary hatches.
Identifying the Money Leaks
Subscription services are another budget creep. Here are just a handful of the ones we’ve been spending money on:
- WWE Network
- Google Drive
- Marvel Unlimited
- Web Hosting
- Adobe Creative Cloud
- Amazon Prime
- Pest Control
- Security System
- Fax Service
- Loot Crate
- Mobile Phone Service
Over the past six months, I’ve cancelled or reduced the fees on most of these services. While I certainly can’t cancel all of them, there were some redundancies and unnecessary items that could be removed without issue.
So far I’ve saved us quite a bit by cancelling services we don’t need. We got rid of HBO because it’s $17.99 per month and that is crazy. That’s a whole big box of diapers for a show that is only on for a few months during the summer. Maybe we’ll renew then… but not right now.
We’re pondering getting rid of our cable altogether and sticking with Hulu and Netflix as our primary means of watching shows. It’s doable, though I will miss being able to stream all of my favorite news networks from my office, live.
Spotify was an interesting solve. Instead of getting rid of it outright, we switched to a family plan that saved us a good percentage of the combined rate. We get to keep Spotify without missing any benefits at a fraction of the price. If we needed to shave that expense down even more we could switch to Amazon Prime music… but its music library is significantly smaller.
Loot Crate is probably the one I’ll miss the most out of what I’ve cancelled. I really enjoy getting those monthly mystery boxes, and have been a member since the very first crate. I even got a numbered wooden membership card. I’ll definitely be back someday.
Pest control, which was a whopping $99 every three months, is now being handled by myself. I’ve successfully kept the critters out of my home for the past six months using bait and solutions found at the local Home Depot for a lot less.
Dropbox and Google Drive are great services. I really love them, and have recommended them in the past. I still maintain a free account on each with bonus space on Dropbox from referrals. For larger files, I decided to go with a WD MyCloud drive. It’s a 4TB hard drive that connects to my network and gives me access to my files wherever I am.
The WWE Network is expendable, but not on the kill list just yet. Angela and I love watching WWE events together. It’s a great way to unwind, and the network has proven to be worth the monthly fee.
In order to save money on our mobile phone service, I purchased my last phone outright so I won’t be beholden to our provider for the next 18-24 months. The other phones on our plan are still under contract, so there isn’t much more we can do to reduce costs right now. Once they are paid off, we’ll likely be moving to a less expensive provider.
Skype, Marvel Unlimited, fax service, and Audible were cancelled without issue. I’ll miss the monthly audiobook, but I have a massive library of over 100 audiobooks right now and many of them are still on my to-read list. It’ll take me awhile to get caught up.
Finances are a pain. They always were, even before the prospect of parenthood. Paying off debt sucks, and so does getting rid of things that you enjoy.
But, at the end of the day, the greatest joy in life will have a beautiful roof over his head, toys in his toy box, and plenty of great people around to keep things fun. That’s worth more than anything.