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Patching The Cords: A Budget Exercise

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Revisiting our Entertainment Budget

Nearly a year ago I put up a blog post about cutting our telecommunications bills in an effort to free up some monthly cash flow.  At the time we didn’t mention the specific reason.  Cutting the cords on our cable and slashing down our other telecommunications bills was part of a larger effort to revamp our budget for a new income situation.  I had received a working notice at my job and by the end of 2016 we were looking at potentially going down to 1 income.  Luckily in January I found another job and managed to avoid any interruption in income.  The new job was outside my industry, and ended up lasting only a couple of months.  I managed to get another job fairly quickly, this time in my industry and only missed 1 pay period.

A New Job, A New Beginning

I started my current job at the beginning of April.  We had shifted our budget for us to live off of Sarah’s income only in July of 2016 and had been using the money I was making to build up emergency funds and to help with the arrival of our baby, Ava.  As many jobs do – I started off on a probationary period of 3 months.  Once I had completed the probation period – we figured it was time to reincorporate my pay.  Basically we went from being DINKS (Dual Income No Kids) to SINKS (Single Income No Kids) to SIKS (Single Income with Kid) to DIKS (Dual Income with Kid).  We covered the field pretty well within 1 year.  As challenging as slashing our budget down to 1 income was – it has been a very fun experience to sit down and start adding back.

Prioritizing an Increased Budget

While our budget was increased by adding my income back into the fold – I am making significantly less than I was before so this wasn’t as easy as just reverting to our old budget.  We also viewed our money in a new way so we wanted to focus our money with our new perspectives.  What we did have was a path to revisit some budget categories in the reverse order they were slashed.  The first thing was slashed, was going to be last thing added back in.  When we were cutting we did so based on our priorities so it only made sense to add them back in the same way.  We established our new savings goals – restarting regular contributions to RRSPs and starting up an RESP for our baby.  The last thing on the list was the first thing we cut – telecommunications.

The Cable Discussion

This was a strange discussion for me – I had been so resistant to cutting out cable originally so I figured when there was money available to bring it back I’d be incredibly jazzed.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m on board with getting cable back but I’m having trouble making that leap.  We cancelled cable about a year ago, and I’ve become quite accustomed to not having it.  We entertain ourselves with Netflix, listen to a free music streaming service in the morning while we have our morning coffee and throw on the few channels we get on the antenna when needed (HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA!).  Sarah is completely supportive of bringing it back, and we even had “Call Rogers” on our “to do” list for a couple of weekends in a row.  I have held back though.

Maturity is a Funny Thing

I look back on the different things that I’ve felt were important to spend money on and there is a trend.  They are all extremely important and worth every cent…until they aren’t!  I used to spend all my money on trading cards and video games – until I didn’t.  For a while I spent every dime from my pay on CDs – until I stopped.  I’ve already mentioned my DVD collection and the obsession with buying those.  Again, a dead stop.  Money is finite and even though I’m in my mid-30’s I still feel like I mature over time and my priorities for spending become more refined.  We will still be adding a cable subscription back into our entertainment but it certainly is nowhere near the top of my priorities.

What have you previously spent money on that you suddenly matured out of?

Scott

 

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2 comments

  1. My bf and I have talked many times about getting rid of cable but it’s always sports that’s that problem. We could easily get by without it in the summer as soon as hockey season starts it would be a big problem for both of us…we’d probably end up spending more money going to live games or down to the pub than our cable bill would cost. I’m pretty hardcore about negotiating with our TV/internet provider to ensure we get the best deal so our bill isn’t too bad but it would be nice to eliminate the TV part. Maybe one day there will be a good streaming sports service available.

    • Scott says:

      We have had the exact same conversation. NHL gamecenter live is pretty good for streaming but a lot of blacked out games to deal with. We also bought an antenna which gives us a pretty good signal for Hockey Night in Canada. I’ve found some good streams from the UK broadcasting our local sports as well, not the best signal but you get to see awesome British ads.

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