Things I Pay Monthly For

I just recently started paying AT&T an extra $20 a month so I could have WiFi at Starbucks. I like the “local” coffeshop much more, but it’s so popular there is never a table to sit at and the WiFi is suck slow. Then, just a month later, I decided I was going to try Sprint’s 4G portable WiFi thingy, which is $60 some dollars a month but gives me WiFi to all my devices whereever I go (4G in big markets, 3G most other places). The big idea is that I could “save money” by buying the WiFi-only iPad but still basically have internet anywhere for it. Then I could cancel the AT&T/Starbucks WiFi as well as not pay for the 3G iPad plan.

It’s all too easy to just start chucking stuff on to the pile of things that I get billed monthly for. I’ve decided to take stock in the things that I pay on a monthly basis. I’m breaking it down into categories. I’m not including things like food and gas because 1) those aren’t optional and 2) they aren’t fixed cost.


$15 TiVo
$10 Netflix
$125 Comcast Cable/Internet
$40 + $15 Simutronics (game I used to play)
$205 Total

I also go see movies sometimes, buy DVDs & BluRay movies sometimes, buy things off iTunes on the AppleTV sometimes, and download torrents sometimes. Of all the things I feel ridiculously oversaturated with, it’s the number of video entertainment options I have. I think if I lived alone I would cancel cable, but with two of us and the variety of stuff we watch, we might as well keep it. And if you have that, you might as well have the TiVo. And Netflix is only ten bucks, so might as well keep that, since it works so good with the TiVo anyway. Oh yeah plus we have a PS3. Cripes.

Home / Life

$80 Maid Service
$80 AT&T – Cell service
$20 AT&T – Starbucks WiFi
$63 Sprint 4G/3G WiFi Thingy
$690 Rent
$39 XSport (gym membership)
$80 Car Insurance
$1,052 Total

I also pay for health and dental insurance, but it’s taken directly from my paycheck so I don’t really notice and don’t consider either of them optional.


$180 Student Loan
$180 Total

Just a few months ago, I was very fortunate to be able to be able to pay off all debts I had other than my student loan. No credit card debt, no car payment, no mortgage, nothing. It’s an awesome feeling and the first time I’ve been that way since leaving for college.


$205 Entertainment
$1,052 Home/Life
$180 Loans
$1,437 Total

What I was hoping for by writing all this up is that I could guilt trip myself into canceling some of it or reducing it somehow. But now looking at it all together it’s really not that bad. I just gotta look over it all like this once in a while and make sure it’s not getting out of control.

Business Things

I’m not going to factor all the business stuff into this, but there is a bunch of stuff that has monthly fees that I pay for that are purely business related:

$30 E-Junkie accounts
$15 FoxyCart account
$130 Slicehost hosting
$20 Media Temple (gs) hosting
$15 Joyent hosting
$30 Wufoo
$15 Freshbooks

16 responses to “Things I Pay Monthly For”

  1. Laura says:

    $40 + $15 Simutronics (game I used to play)
    WoW cost a lot less

  2. Peever says:

    I have an excel spreadsheet where I track all these expenses as well as income. That way at the beginning of the month I know what is coming in compared to what is going out. I been searching for a nice app that would do it for me instead of creating a new tab every month but there doesn’t seem to be much out there. I have tried all the ones on Bodega. If I find something nice and simple like this I will let you know.

    Last week I got a $300 speeding ticket…not sure if I should make a column for that…!

  3. Matt says:

    It’s amazing how it all adds up isn’t it?
    Some banks (like Wells Fargo) have some great tracking applications that breakout your expenses by category and then allow you to set goals and budgets. Mint does something similar, but not as good of a job in my opinion.

    Wells Fargo link:

  4. Sean Pisano says:

    I think a lot about my entertainment expenses. Since I work an average of 8 hours a day working that means I have about 4 hours of entertainment use a day and maybe 12 hours on the weekends if I park myself on the couch all day on the weekends. That gives me about 116 hours of entertainment time. If I was spending $205 on my entertainment needs I would be spending more than $1.70 for every hour I have available to use that entertainment.

    Is it worth it?

  5. Andrew Champ says:

    What kind of phone do you use, iPhone? I’m not sure if it supports usb tethering, but my Android does & it saves me that $60 a month for wireless anywhere. 3G is so popular & fast that it’s a godsend. FYI, maybe you could look into iPhone doing that & save some green.

  6. John Sostak says:

    Chris, good post. I need to do this, but I am in denial. Did you forget your domain names? Thanks for all your help with wordpress. You guys are brilliant, John

  7. Jera says:

    What a great idea – complete transparency with your budget will keep you accountable and responsible. I agree with the fellow who mentioned Wells Fargo’s online tracking and budgeting service – it really is helpful. Being able to “see” where things are actually going can be quite a kick in the pants.

  8. Scott Earl says:

    You might be interested in signing up for a free account on I’m sure you’ve probably heard of it but if you haven’t it’s definitely worth a look. Great web app for keeping your budget in check. it also has an iPhone counterpart that will send you push updates when you hit certain budget ‘milestones’ each month. cool stuff

  9. Scott Earl says:

    Oops, just saw Matt mentioned it above. Sorry, I’m lazy and read the other comments AFTER I post :) Still worth a look IMO!

  10. Chris Coyier says:

    I actually use Quicken for Mac that has very similar features to both the Wells Fargo stuff described and the stuff. Graphs, spending analysis, etc. I’ve only recently started using it and it feels good to be so financially organized.

  11. I am amazed how expensive we have become in Europe. I live in a <40m2 apartment in Madrid, Spain. My rent is €850 and, since the apartment is so tiny, I have to pay an extra €100 monthly for storage. My gym, the cheapest that I managed to find nearby is €50 monthly. So, at a 1.35$/€ exchange rate today, my costs are almost twice as yours for the "same" stuff. The only item which I find paying a bit less is Car Insurance… but I am driving a Renault Clio!!! :(

  12. Chris, just wondering what you use your 3 hosting accounts for?

    I assume you use your grid-server account to CSS-Tricks, etc. What are your Joyent and Slicehost accounts for, especially your Slicehost, since you spend a lot on it per month?

  13. Chris Coyier says:

    CSS-Tricks = (dv, sponsored)
    Lots of little sites = (gs)
    AMSU = 2 Joyent accelerators (sponsored) + Slicehost

  14. Zervas says:

    Damn, you pay less in Rent than me? I really need to find a new place.

  15. Jamal Diven says:

    I like the detailed content that you discuss on here. Keep up the terrific work you do in maintaining this blog as edu domains are normally a target for spam comments. Have you ever considered submitting your blog to hubpages ?

  16. you have to pay for wufoo even though you work there?

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