Smart Financial Decisions: Goodbye ESPN and Costco!
I’ve written in the past about the potential impact seemingly small financial decisions can have over time, as well as how much money can be saved by paying as little as possible for recurring subscriptions.
Today we’ll take a look at how we recently saved some money not by cutting the cost of subscriptions, but by eliminating them entirely.
Over the past month, the ROMT family has said goodbye to both ESPN and Costco as we travel down our path towards financial independence and early retirement.
And you might be surprised to learn that letting go of ESPN was probably harder for me to do than letting go of Costco!
Just to be clear, we haven’t cut the cord on our cable service yet, which still includes the ESPN television channel. We locked in a much lower rate on a two-year triple play renewal after calling Comcast early last year, so our next decision point on truly cutting the cord will be at the beginning of 2019.
But I did recently cancel my longtime subscription to ESPN.com’s Insider service, which for $39.99 a year provides access to premium website content, as well as a subscription to the biweekly ESPN The Magazine.
The price for ESPN Insider was not exorbitant.
And I truly did enjoy some of the premium content. With the NFL draft occurring over the past few days, I have missed out on being able to get a more comprehensive analysis of all of my team’s potential picks!
But sometimes when I consume sports content, I am trying to escape temporarily from the harsh realities of our world in 2018.
And increasingly often in recent years, when I click on an ESPN.com link, read an article in ESPN The Magazine, listen to ESPN radio, or watch the ESPN television channel, I have been bombarded with personal opinions from the talent at ESPN about topics that have nothing to do with sports.
They have every right to have their opinions, and if ESPN is comfortable with them using their platform to share those opinions, more power to them.
But I’ve finally had enough of the political rhetoric over the years from Jemele Hill. And Britt McHenry. And Curt Schilling. And Keith Olbermann.
So my only recourse was to try to express my lack of interest in ESPN’s more politicized content by canceling my ESPN Insider subscription. And given that ESPN seems to be moving away from the type of live sports content I am most interested in on their television channel, it’s going to be a lot easier for me to cut that out next year when my cable contract is up for renewal.
I recognize that $40 a year is not going to bring ESPN to its knees.
And I also recognize that we recently spent thousands of dollars visiting Walt Disney World, which is also owned by ESPN’s parent company!
But there are times when you have to draw a line and vote with your wallet, however meaningless that gesture is in the broader context of a multi-billion dollar organization!
And I finally reached that point with ESPN. Even though I still really enjoy a lot of what they do!
Like ESPN, Costco has been accused by some of supporting a more liberal or progressive agenda.
But Costco’s politics have nothing to do with why we let our membership lapse.
We just didn’t use it frequently enough to justify the cost anymore.
Last year we downgraded from the $120 a year Executive Membership to the $60 a year Gold Star Membership, hoping that move would make more sense for our family.
Given that we live in a suburban/rural area, the closest Costco is not right next door to us.
Making matters worse is the fact that it is located in the opposite direction of the vast majority of our family’s daily travels to work, school, and other engagements.
Last year, we went to Costco only five or six times.
While we did save some money by buying in bulk and stocking up on household staples on those infrequent trips to Costco, we also cost ourselves money on several of those trips.
By purchasing large quantities of perishable food that our family of four was incapable of eating before it went bad, unless we happened to have visitors.
By occasionally being tempted by unique products that were not on our shopping list and we didn’t really need, but still ended up in our shopping cart.
And by the extra time and expense involved in driving past numerous grocery and big box stores with very similar products, and sometimes lower prices, to make the trip to Costco.
I am sure there will be a few times over the next year – likely when we are having visitors or when I need to pay a little more at Wal-Mart or Target for paper towels or tissues – that we’ll miss our Costco membership.
But over the past year and a half, the prices on several things we purchased regularly at Costco had increased relative to their non-Costco alternatives, and going to Costco had started to feel like a chore to me, rather than an opportunity to save a lot of money.
So it seemed like the time was right to cut out that expense, even though it was an expense that on many occasions in the past had helped us save some money!
Hopefully canceling our subscriptions to ESPN Insider and Costco will prove to be Smart Financial Decisions for the ROMT family!
Have you recently cut any recurring expenses out of your life?