There are bills that we pay with a grudge, even knowing though we know how important they are. For me, it’s that pesky student loan payment. Every month, I’m forking over that money with nothing but negativity in my fingertips as I click through the website portal. I’m not even really sure why: I can see clearly the value of education, and I believe wholeheartedly that my time and financial investment in higher ed was worthwhile.
I’ve got the perspective, but I still hate to pay the bill.
Then, there are other things I’m quite happy to pay because I see their value with clarity. My online news subscription is a mere $5/week, and I always feel like I’ve sucked every last bit of value out of that. I’m very happy to pay for what I consider a valuable collection of thoughts, ideas, and reliable news with minimal advertising. So worth the $.
There must be a small bill with big payoff for you: Netflix, maybe, which provides hundreds of hours of entertainment for just a few bucks? Is it an experience that brings you joy? Whatever it is, I think we should be moving toward making every little bit you spend feel equally as worthwhile.
Think back: what was the best money you spent all month? What was its value to you, beyond a dollar amount?
Bills can be tied to this feeling of obligation, necessity, and resentment. Maybe you think rent is too high in your city, and you’re loath to give a check to a negligent landlord every month. Maybe you truly feel that you were tricked into pursuing higher education by your parents’ generation, and if you had understood the financial consequences, you would have taken an alternative route.
Let’s be real: we can’t eliminate some of these expenses without sacrificing other goals. I mean, deciding that your principles don’t line up with paying your student loan would mean defaulting, wrecking your credit score, and potentially ruining a life goal that’s farther down the line, like buying a car or a house.
What we can do is to eliminate monthly expenses and other spending that doesn’t hold that same value. What in your life is expendable and isn’t living up to the value test? I’m not going to tell you to hold each bill in your hand and see if you feel a “spark of joy,” because I can already see how you would roll your eyes at me, but you could think of this as a kind of Marie-Kondo-method for your financial life.
Cinch is not about telling you how to live your life; it’s about helping you live your best life with the resources you’ve got. Eliminating unnecessary expenses, or ones that don’t add value to your life, is a great start.
Not all spending is created equal. We’ve all spent money, even sometimes month after month, holding onto an idea of ourselves that isn’t true (I’m looking at you, gym membership). But if we move in the direction of making all our purchases worthwhile, we can feel good about the colors we see reflected in the circle graph of our monthly budgeting apps.