My husband, Dave and I caved in and upgraded our dumb phones to iPhones in 2012. This change doubled our monthly bill, which made us a little uncomfortable, but we were able to tweak our budget to accommodate the upgrade. At the time I also had a gym membership and went quite often because I loved the group classes that were offered. Fast forward a couple of years and I became a stay-at-home mom.
This didn’t change much for us financially since we’ve always lived off of a portion of Dave’s income and paid off student loans or saved/invested anything I made. Aside from medical bills, we got away with only spending $2,230 on Nora for her first year of life. I canceled my gym membership when Nora was born because the gym didn’t offer childcare for kids under 6 months. I managed to get a good workout in at home until Nora reached the 6-9 month range. I couldn’t do more than one push-up without her climbing on my back. A few seconds in the downward dog position and she was lying under me trying to put those tiny fingers up my nose. One evening at dinner the topic of me getting a gym membership came up, which means we had to review the budget. If I wanted to join a gym we had to figure out where this extra cost would come from so we wouldn’t have a deficit each month.
Exercise is more than looking good to me; it is a mental and physical release that sets me up for a better day. I view the cost of a gym membership to be worth every penny because I go almost every day and actually look forward to that time. We’ve always hated how much we paid for our phone bill so we thought that would be a good place to start so we can accommodate the cost of my gym membership to the budget.
When Dave and I took a look at our data usage we realized we were only using a fraction of the data plan we were paying for. We started researching other options and came across Republic Wireless. We are now set up with a plan that costs us $35/month total and includes unlimited talk/text and wifi plus 3G coverage for my phone. You can bet that going from a bill of $120/month to $35/month welcomed the purchase of my gym membership!
Breakdown of Phone Plans
Instead of paying a massive amount to Verizon each month, we have been able to allocate money a little differently. Check it out:
Previous Verizon phone plan:
New Republic Wireless phone plan:
$35/month; $420/year (Plus a one-time $280 total purchase for our new phones)
New gym membership (includes pool access and group classes) + childcare:
$79 ($44/month for me, $35/month for Nora); $948/year
Total for phone & gym membership:
Total savings: $72/year
Time to Evaluate
Can you think of an area in your budget where you’ve been paying the same amount for years but it could significantly impact your costs if you got rid of it or found a cheaper option? Think about your car insurance or something as simple as the coffee you get at the drive-thru every day. While the money we saved from switching phone plans went to my gym membership it still paid off in our books because we are staying within our budget and I am back to being excited to exercise. We could have stayed comfortable paying $120/month but the change ended up being worthwhile.
How do you allocate money in your household? Does it reflect your priorities?
This post has been written by Jessica from BudgetForHealth.com.
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.