Everybody Wants Some

With shout out to Van Halen and their 1980 hit, Everybody Wants Some. Van Halen (with David Lee Roth) one of the greatest rock bands.

First lesson to be learned when you enter the work force, and begin supporting yourself is everybody does want some. Everybody wants a piece of your pay cheque. It was the case in the 1990s when I first started working and its only gotten worse.

Think all of the services you pay with a monthly fee. Basic utilities – gas, electric, water. Next level of utilities – mobile phone, Internet. Entertainment services – cable, Netflix, Disney+. Music streaming services (Apple Music, Spotify). Amazon Prime offers free 2 days shipping, Prime music, and Prime Video.

If you are a home owner look out for monthly condo fees, hot water tank rentals, furnace service agreements, and home phone lines, which nobody ever uses. And, of course, home mortgages. Lowest interest rates in a generation have lead to increased house prices, negating any savings to mortgage payments.

Every company is trying to hitch a ride on the subscription train. Automobile companies encourage leases over buying. And when you do buy, they offer to amortize payments over 7 or 8 years, effectively creating a subscription. Microsoft Office is only sold via annual subscription to family users. Then we get into financing purchases. I recall other grads in the 1990s financing furniture purchases – couches, TVs, appliances.

This adds up quickly. How much of your pay cheque is pre-destined to monthly payments? I’ve seen budgets well over 50% or 60% allocated to payment streams. How do you get ahead in that scenario? The answer is you don’t.

If you are too lazy to follow a monthly budget, you should at least twice a year track your spending for 6 to 8 weeks to see where your funds go. Take a scalpel to your budget and cut out those subscriptions you have live without. Payout that hot water tank rental. Lose the home phone. Cancel cable.

If you live in a larger metro area look into getting a digital antennae. Withing the GTA you can receive all Canadian networks and American networks out of Buffalo. The transmission is high-definition digital and the quality is as good as cable. I have a family of 4 kids, when I cut the cable, nobody complained. nobody complained because nobody noticed! They were all on Netflix or the Internet. For sports programming you can subscribe to TSN and Sportnet for less than half the price of cable sports package. Another benefit of digital antennae is getting the American broadcast of the Super Bowl with the American adds.

In life, your family has to get ahead financially. You always need to have enough in your budget to save for retirement, kids schooling, and your next big purchase. Track your spending. Cut the unnecessary (and even the mildly necessary) and make space in your budget.

Van Halen with Sammy Hagar as lead singer sold more albums and had more success than with David Lee Roth. But the music was over-produced and too pop-focused. They lost their garage-band edge. Love me some 1984.

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