Which of Your Actions Fail the “Piggy Bank Test?”

The other day I was looking through some boxes that I hadn’t opened in a few years and I found an old piggy bank that I had from very long ago.  I opened it and there was about $30, all in dimes, inside the piggy bank.  I vaguely recall being a fan of dimes a long time ago.  They are our smallest coins and “pound for pound” give the highest value /size ratio in the world of U.S. coins.  I started to think about the logic behind piggy banks and a few things hit me.
 
Piggy banks aren’t free!  We actually pay money to buy a silly little knickknack to hold more of our money.  I went online and searched for piggy banks.  Some of them cost $20-$30 with the usual price being in the $5-$10 range.  I think I paid about $10 for mine.  After deducting the $10 I paid from the $30 I saved, I didn’t get that great a deal on my piggy bank purchase.  I lost 1/3 of my savings purchasing the savings vehicle!  That’s not a very smart purchase!
 
But why did I buy it?  To protect me from myself?  To organize some loose change?  Either way, I was making a purchase that wasn’t very financially savvy in order to bring about some kind of behavior modification.  Did the behavior get modified?  Probably not, since I found the piggy bank many years later in a closed box. 
 
As you are going about the business of living your life, think about your “piggy bank moments.”  What things are you doing that have a cost that’s completely out of line with the benefits you receive?  What things are you doing to achieve some type of behavioral change and is it working for you?
 
Some examples that immediately come to mind:
·
Your investment accounts.  Are your fees in line with the industry?  Can they be reduced?  Are you getting your money’s worth for those fees?  Take a hard look at your level of fees in your investment accounts and if you are paying too much for too little reward, maybe it’s time to look for a better deal.
·
The same thing applies to your banking relationships.  What exactly do you get for the fees you pay your bank?  In today’s competitive market, I’m relatively certain you can find a bank that will work with you either for free or very close to it.
Subscriptions & recurring monthly fees:  Do you really read all of the things that you subscribe to?  If not, maybe you can save a few dollars there. 
·        
Is your cable, phone and Internet package a little bit of overkill or could you live very happily on a lower priced plan?
·        
Are you paying for a gym membership, but hitting a drive-thru window for dinner on your way home? 
·        
Are you paying $5 to your cable company to rent an On Demand movie when there’s a Redbox right down the street where you can rent a movie for $1?
·        
Have you enrolled with mint.com to help you learn where your money goes, but never log in to actually look at the reports?
·        
Have you signed up with creditkarma.com and creditsesame.com to track your credit score only to not check?
·        
Sure, you’ve ordered a credit report from annualcreditreport.com but what did you do with it?
 
Take a look at your life and see if the things you’re doing pass the “piggy bank test.”  I know when I look at mine, there are a few things that don’t seem like they make sense (and a couple of the items above are from my own life…).  I’d be willing to wager that you have a few of these little things going on in your life that, if you changed them to make them more in line with your goals, would provide incremental help with your budget or your health.  Give it a shot, and if you’d like to add your thoughts or changes that you’re going to make, there’s a comments section below so that you can share.
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