Monday, June 24, 2024

Pruning Season is Here (For Finances)

April 8, 2022 by  
Filed under Highlights

BY CRAIG KIRKLAND, EVP/Director of Retail Banking, Nevada State Bank

Craig Kirkland

Have you ever considered how gardening tips can also apply to finances? I learned about gardening as a kid growing up in Las Vegas. I built a robust little lawn business on my block, cutting at least five yards a week in the summer. All my business was word of mouth. In retrospect, I am not sure if I got all those lawns because I was good or because I was relatively cheap labor. I would like to think I was good! 

Naturally, I was responsible for doing my own yard, and that included taking care of the roses my mom loved. From my mom, I learned that the best time to get out and prune most trees, bushes, roses and other foliage is in late winter through early spring. It’s a good time to cut away overgrowth, damaged and or diseased parts. 

Pruning helps to create a healthier plant, it can help it bear more flowers and fruit, and it can help ensure a longer life. 

The same pruning principle is true for finances. The spring season is a good time to evaluate your spending and cut away bad habits and unnecessary expenses in order to improve your financial health. 

Let’s do an exercise: list all your recurring monthly payments, like streaming services, cell phone bills, gym memberships. Call everyone on your list and tell them you are planning to leave. Give them an opportunity to retain your business by lowering your payment and/or providing more service for the same payment you currently make. 

Here are some other “pruning” tips: 

Break the food delivery habit (this is a killer)! 

If you have Netflix, Disney Plus, and Hulu, chances are you are paying for too many streaming services. Choose just one. 

If you have overlapping cable services, cut something out. Do you need both pro sports and premium movie channels? 

See how your insurance bill changes if you pay the annual premium up front, raise your deductible, or change coverage. 

Over time, we tend to add more and more services and incremental expenses — and prices continually increase. Prune the things you don’t need or seldom use. 

Negotiate for lower fees under the auspices of going to another provider. If you did that a year or two ago, do it again. Like pruning your shrubs, pruning your expenses should be an annual practice — with the goal of providing better financial health and wellbeing.

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