Spending… Never a fun thing to think about

Mike Cashion, MFF Director of Operation

By: Mike Cashion, MFF Director of Operations

Cutting spending is the point that finance people in the world of money belabor. It is an easy target, and there is usually some cost that can be trimmed. This is never a fun activity or discussion, but it is an important part of keeping your finances in check and ensuring that you are on track to reach your financial goals.

In the last three months, have you evaluated your spending habits? Where are you noticing trends, recurring subscriptions, and new types of spending? If you have not, you may want to consider taking a look. You might be surprised.

Review your bank statements and spending every quarter (previous three months)

It is likely that you have signed up for new products or services, been paying for things that you are not using, or your situation has changed. I am not going to tell you what you should or should not do here. My only ask is for you to review your spending, think about what is providing value, think about what you are not using, and how could you get creative to further improve your financial situation or better use your money on things that matter to you.

I recently went through this quarterly exercise. I thought about my activity and reflected on what is important to me. Then, I made some changes that work well with my current situation and where I want to focus my attention in the near future. Below are the questions that I asked myself as I reviewed my spending habits over the past three months and the changes I decided to make.

Where is my spending increasing?

  • Subscriptions: Online, digital, content, fitness, and exercise

What is important to me?

  • Meal prep, exercise, health, wellness, martial arts, and learning

Where am I not getting value?

  • Video content services, parking, eating out, business services, news providers, traditional gym membership, driving, buying books (value? yes. cheaper alternatives? yes.), and laundry

What changes am I making?

  • Cancelling memberships with multiple publications that I am not seeing value or not utilizing. The NY Times is one example.
  • Canceling streaming services. They are a huge waste of time and designed to consume your time that you will never get back. This is better served by a good book, an experience, or time spent with people with whom you enjoy spending time.
  • Committing to eating or drinking out only if meeting with other people for work or pleasure.
  • Drying my clothes with a drying rack instead of paying to dry them in the dryer
  • Eliminating software subscriptions that are not getting enough use to justify the expense
  • Canceling my monthly permit for the parking garage. This was great in the winter, but not useful in the non-winter months.

Your spending and your responses to the above questions may look radically different than mine. That is 100% cool. We are all unique, and we all value different things. Now, go get yourself a nice warm cup of coffee, sit down with your computer or physical statements, review, reflect and decide on what changes you want to make. Good luck!

April is National Financial Literacy Month

This month-long campaign highlights the importance of financial literacy and reminds citizens how to establish and maintain healthy financial habits. 

Morgan Franklin Fellowship’s signature program, Standards of Financial Literacy, has helped hundreds to learn the concepts, rules and vocabulary of money, finance and banking. This robust curriculum is adapted from the National Standards for Financial Literacy, developed by the Council for Economic Education. This free curriculum is available to both individuals and to organizations wishing to empower those with whom they work. 

Upon successful completion of the Standards of Financial Literacy program, participants become MFF Fellows. MFF Fellows have access to additional MFF courses and opportunities for mentoring, networking, internships and participation in real-world projects. These are the opportunities which support MFF Fellows as they continue on their personal financial success journey.

If you would like to learn more about our programs, please email us.

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