Take stock of how much conveniences are costing you

Money and Life
(Financial Planning Association of Australia)

With weeks, and perhaps months, of self-isolation ahead, many of life’s conveniences like streaming and delivery services will become our essentials. But if you’re used to spending unlimited amounts to make life that little bit easier, now is a good time to look at what you can live without to make your budget go further.

These days it’s easy to order just about anything on demand. With the tap of a button, you can stream the latest music, have food and drinks delivered to your door and choose a new outfit with next-day delivery. But convenience could be costing more than you realise, with serious consequences for your future financial security. And with the growing number of ‘set and forget’ payments for subscriptions and services consumers are often footing the bill for things even when they’re not really using them.

There are also costs to society and the environment that come with the convenience of online shopping. All that packaging and fuel consumption that comes with home deliveries can really add up to big problems for landfill and climate change.

If convenience is troubling your conscience, as well as your hip-pocket, take a closer look at these five areas where it’s easy to overdo it. Also, get these ideas on what you could do to put some sensible limits on your convenience spending.

1. Entertainment

The convenience of online streaming services has made them essential for many people looking to enjoy entertainment at home and on the go. Unfortunately, free trial periods and automated payment schedules make it easy to forget exactly what you’ve signed up for.

To get a handle on your spending, do an audit of your subscriptions. Check your bank account and credit card statements for the last three-months at least to find any automatic payments. Then select the services you want to be using in line with your entertainment budget. If you don’t have a fixed amount in your budget for entertainment, try limiting it to one service per category.

2. Food and beverages

Consumers splurge a whopping $238 a month (or nearly $60 a week) on food delivery services, research shows, with a further $140 a month on takeaway and coffees.

If you find yourself regularly turning to apps to satisfy your hunger pangs, here are some strategies you can try to limit the splurge.

  • Keep healthy snacks with you to curb those cravings when they hit. Things like fresh fruit, nuts and muesli bars can help take the edge off your appetite, so you’re not tempted to hit order when you get too hungry.
  • Plan your meals a couple of days in advance, so you know what you’re going to make and can have the ingredients on hand.
  • Take an online cooking class. Learning a bunch of fun