In my pursuit to pay off the mortgage, I’ve experimented with cutting a lot of costs. To my delight, I’ve discovered that a ton of these things we didn’t even need! In fact, the free or alternative versions have often been better.
Whether you have a financial goal you need to meet or just don’t like wasting, these are the things you need to stop paying for:
Related post: 10 Things I’m Doing to Pay Off My Mortgage Early (and the 1 Thing I Won’t Do)
It’s been two years since we gave up cable and I can count on one hand how many times I’ve missed it….and I still watch TV regularly! What’s so crazy about paying for cable is that most of us are also paying for premium or alternative options – Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO, Showtime, etc. What you may not realize is that you can get just about everything you want to see by ONLY paying for those alternative options…and it’s way cheaper.
When we cut our cable bill, it instantly saved us $100 a month! In place of that, we signed up for Netflix ($10/month) and Amazon Prime ($9/month). That’s still a ton of savings and those two subscriptions provide more viewing options than you can ever imagine.
An even cooler discovery has been Amazon Prime Channels. HBO ($15/month), Showtime ($12/month), and other premium channels are all available through Amazon Prime for cheaper than cable offers and they can be cancelled at any time. This means that you can pay for a couple months of HBO, watch the last season of Game of Thrones, Veep, and some old throwbacks and then cancel when you’ve got your fill. (If you want to give Amazon Prime or any of these channels a try, you can get a free trial by going here → Amazon Free Trials)
Even with splurging on some premium channels, you can still save yourself almost $1,000 a year by cutting out your cable bill!
Related post: The Ultimate List of Best Documentaries to Watch
Don’t run away! I’m not telling you to give up coffee completely. But I AM telling you to stop paying for it. At least, the completely overpriced kind. This means definitely no more Starbucks and even your local 7/11 or Dunkin Donuts. Even a good deal on coffee at these places is $1 and at Starbucks, you’re likely paying a minimum of $3/cup (and for some of us up to $5/cup!). If you drink 1 cup a day, that’s $365 – $1,825 a year!
If you want to be truly thrifty you need to go back to the good ole days of brewing coffee yourself. But even getting halfway there and exclusively using your Keurig can save you a bundle. I started buying all of our K cups from Amazon where they are 30-50 cents a cup. The variety is way better than a grocery store and Amazon makes life easier for you by including the cost per K cup on every decision (this is the $0.xx/count figure listed under the price). If you find something you like, you may even be able to save more by subscribing to receive the coffee monthly.
If you cut out a pricey Starbucks habit and replace it with Keurig K Cups, you’ll be saving yourself over $1,500 a year!
Oh boy. Unless you’re living in Flint, you really shouldn’t be paying for water. What you should pay for is a halfway decent water filter for your sink and a really great water bottle.
There’s two reasons for this. First off, you’re sending money straight down the drain when you pay for water bottles! This is especially true if you’re out for the day and purchase a single bottle that will most likely cost $1-$3. The water from your sink costs pennies. Second, for most of us, the municipal water that we have has been properly treated and is the same water that is sold to us in a bottle.
What you really end up paying for is the convenience and maybe the taste (which is what a faucet filter will take care of). What you need to do is fill up a big water bottle every morning and drink from that. You’ll not only save yourself a ton of money, but you’ll probably end up drinking more water!
Ahhh!!! This one is the worst. Reading is so important, but if you really love to read, then you will go broke buying books! Not only will the clutter kill you (even if you love the look of books…), but you can get just about every single book imaginable free!
Let’s start with the obvious alternative: your library. But nowadays, you don’t even need to go to the library to get books. Did you know that they know all offer ebooks? So instead, you log onto their website and get on a bunch of wait lists for the bestsellers and then get an email notification when it’s your turn. And here’s the best part – since it’s all electronic, when your loan is over, they will automatically pull the book back. This means you will never be charged a late fee.
Here’s the next great source of free books: BookBub. Sign up for their email list and tell them what you like to read and every day you get an email with a list of free books. You’re probably not going to find any bestsellers here, but you will definitely find some great beach reads. And if you don’t like the book, it doesn’t matter because you didn’t pay for it!
Take-Out and Delivery
I know. I just broke your heart. But I’m telling you, this could save you easily $1,000 a year and you won’t need to suffer nearly as much as you think.
Most likely, the reason you’re really ordering delivery is for the convenience. The easiest way to deal with this is just to anticipate it and be ready with an equally delicious option that takes barely any effort to make: a frozen pizza. I promise, you CAN find a pizza just as good as the local joint and it will save you $25-$30 every time you make the switch (because you know you don’t order just the pizza).
Private Mortgage Insurance
Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) doesn’t apply to all of us, but if you took out an FHA loan in the last ten years or so then it’s likely you are paying extra every month for PMI. This can be up to $100 (a month!), but the kicker is that it will disappear once your loan hits 80% of your home’s purchase price (what you would have borrowed had you put 20% down).
So GET MOVING and pay off that 20%! Not only will those extra principal payments go towards your equity (thus YOUR money), but once you free up that $100/month, you can just keep putting it towards the mortgage, but in the form of extra principal payments instead of the bank’s pocket. This will ultimately cut years off of your mortgage and save you thousands.
Related post: 7 Reasons to Pay Off the Mortgage Early
If you can believe it, by cutting out these options you’ll save enough money to max out an IRA account every year and hopefully retire a little early. 😉