Guess what my husband and I spent all Friday afternoon doing?
Our taxes. Ugh. As two self-employed people who are better at earning money than handling it, filing with the IRS – even with the help of “foolproof” (ha!) software – is a major chore. But it also serves as a useful yearly reminder to take a good hard look at our finances and see where we could tighten up.
Food and bills are two of the things we have the most control over – but also tend to be the things that get out of control when we get lax. Some of the areas I’ll be honing in this week:
- Our awesome introductory cable deal has expired, leaving us with a bloated package full of channels we never watch and services we don’t need. Plus, summer’s coming. I think it might be a good idea to pull the plug again (though I might have to wait until Mad Men is over.) Either way, it’s time to take a closer look at the bill and make a plan.
- Jon scoured our cell phone package and cut about $50 a month, just by looking at what our plan offered compared to what we were actually spending. Since our new text plan is much more limited, he installed Google+ on our phones and we use the messenger service to keep in touch during the day.
- Electricity. It’s crept up over the last few months, and I think some of us (cough teenagers cough) have become lazy about turning off electronics, lights, etc when not in use. Time to reinforce those habits and watch my own behavior, too.
- My food bill has been creeping up, too, and I’m not sure if it’s due to rising food prices (though I think that’s some of it) or lax shopping habits. I’ve been eating differently lately, but I haven’t adjusted my shopping list well enough. Time to get focused on meal planning and watch out for food waste.
- Eating out: way too much of this happening lately. It’s easy to under-estimate how quickly even lower-cost restaurant tabs add up. I have some thoughts about why I’ve been eating out a lot more lately, which I’ll share in another post this week. But for now, just admitting it’s a problem is the first step.
Is anyone else needing a financial tune-up? Please tell me about your Mindful Monday intention in the comments!