Eels. Stuck onto you and leaching money from your life. They’re everywhere, especially in the age of online services.
Eels are recurring expenses, usually monthly, that are so low that you might even forget you’re paying for them (which is what those businesses want). Netflix, Spotify, Hulu, iCloud, Amazon Prime, Dropbox, etc. Services where you pay for access but don’t own anything. You’re expected to pay in perpetuity.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with eels. But you get too many stuck to you, and they’ll drag you down. So you need to make sure that you are actually using the services you are paying for. If you aren’t, cancel them. You can always sign up again later.
Your budget is your best friend when it comes to identifying eels. Review your recurring expenses and cut them out. When I first started checking for eels, I shook about $100 of them off. That’s pretty significant. And it’s not difficult to imagine having more.
If you know you absolutely use a recurring service regularly and will continue to use it long into the future, then see if there’s an annual plan available. Since you know you’ll use it, you’ll save money. For Abagail and I, this would be the budgeting and password management apps we use.
Your budget is your best friend for identifying eels and shaking them off. Be diligent about reviewing your recurring expenses.
Credit for the term “eels” comes from episode 134 of my favorite podcast, Roderick on the Line: http://www.merlinmann.com/roderick/ep-134-a-minimum-of-eels.html