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Reviewing Spending Habits

Dec 03, 2021


As we approach the end of the year, now is a great time to review your spending habits over the past year, and see where you can make changes to your budget to help you save more.


Monthly Subscriptions

Keep track of your monthly subscriptions, and evaluate if you need these products/services, and use them enough to justify keeping your subscription.

  • Have any of the costs increased?
  • Do you still find the value of it? 
  • Are there any streaming services that you haven’t watched in months or forgot you subscribed too?

If the answer is yes, it may be time for you to cancel. If a new show comes out that you want to watch, you can always renew your subscription for a month and then cancel after you are finished.  Most streaming services do offer free trial periods, but be careful, as these subscriptions typically automatically start billing you if you do not cancel at the end of the free trial. Some people may be paying for subscriptions they are not even aware of, which is why it is important to review these every once and a while.


Monthly subscriptions and recurring charges don’t only include streaming services for entertainment. Over the past year and a half, a lot of habits have changed due to the pandemic. Are you working out from home more often? Maybe it is time to ditch that gym membership.  There are many subscription options for pet services, clothing, personal hygiene, and more. Make sure you are getting your money’s worth!


How can you track your spending?

Online banking and mobile apps make it easy to keep an eye on your money.  In addition to your credit union online banking, there are a variety of budgeting apps available to help track spending and budgeting.  If writing things down helps you to understand your spending, a simple notebook can help you track both your budget and your transactions. This also helps you to be more attentive to the amount of money you are spending.  While budgeting can seem like an overwhelming process to start, once you have a system, it can really help you manage your money.  If you do not want to log each purchase in real time, make a schedule to log purchases. This could be every night, once a week, or even once per month- whatever will work best for you.


Categorize your spending

Take a look at your transaction history and spending over the last few months.  Does what you have budgeted for each month match what you’re actually spending? Make sure to look at everything, including rent/mortgage, bills and utilities, transportation costs, investments, groceries, dining out, entertainment, etc. You can consolidate these categories, or even go more specific.  What you ‘think’ you spend vs what you actually spend, may be quite different. By splitting your spending into categories, you will further your understanding of your spending habits and see where your money is actually going. This will allow you to evaluate where you can cut spending and save money!