Almost anyone would argue that we grossly overpay on many of our regular expenses. Sadly, what most people do not realize is that you do not have to pay as much as you have probably been doing for years. Most of the time, all that is required is a phone call and perhaps a little paperwork. You do not have to be a master of negotiation, bartering or manipulation. A kind voice and polite demeanor can and will save money.
Your cable or satellite company always has some sort of “special offer” going on for new customers. If they are so anxious to get new business, what would they be willing to do to keep their current customers? They should at the very least offer you a comparable counteroffer.
Shop around and see what kinds of deals are making what you pay look outlandish, then place the call. Here’s the best part: You do not have to threaten to give up your services or report them to a consumer activist group. All you need to do is ask them to offer you the same price that the new customers are getting. Unless you get a customer service rep who thinks he/she runs the company, they will be more than happy to offer you the same deal that the new recruits are getting. If you do get the bad seed of the company, just ask for a supervisor and let them know how poorly you were treated, they may even overcompensate for their unruly employees and totally hook you up.
If you have a land line, just ditch it already. How much do you actually use it anyway? There. One bill completely gone, now for that pesky cell phone bill. When is the last time you went through your monthly bill and looked for a place to trim the fat? I’m willing to bet that you can get a minimum of $20 dollars per month taken off with a new plan. If you have done this recently, good for you. If not, give it a once-over and see where you are spending unnecessarily. You may even be unpleasantly surprised at what you are paying currently.
This one is far trickier than the rest. You may benefit greatly by refinancing your mortgage, especially with rates lower now than they have been in my whole lifetime. There is a lot of work and thought that goes into refinancing, so think long and hard before deciding to do so. While the mortgage may be tricky to lower, if you rent, it may be even more difficult. It is not common for property managers, apartment complexes, or private landlords to reduce rent prices. While it is definitely worth a shot to have a conversation that can save you some dough, the best way to save on rent is simply to move. As long as you can keep the moving expenses at a minimum, it can benefit you greatly to pick up and find a new place to lie your head at night. Shop around for a new place and the chances of finding a sweet new pad increase immensely. Moving is a total pain in the ass, so weigh this decision heavily before taking the plunge.
Every month, your precious salary is sucked away by the modern conveniences we all enjoy. Central air, lights, water…they all cost money. Fortunately, utilities are by far the easiest monthly expense to reduce. Almost every utility company will be happy to send someone (or send you a kit) to conduct an energy audit on your home. These are priceless. You will definitely save a considerable amount after an energy audit has been conducted at your house. It will also point out a number of places you are probably overlooking, more than the computer you leave on 24 hours a day.
Another simple fix for savings here. First of all, make sure you are not behind on your card. That will cost more than you can possibly imagine, especially if it happens frequently. If you can help it, do not carry a balance at all, then you are only paying for what you have purchased and avoiding all kinds of crazy interest. If you are one of the large number of customers who do carry a balance, but have a good track record with payment history and staying within your limits, it is time to make a phone call. While it is not a given, customer service is often willing to give you a break on the interest rate. You do not have to be in peril, and you do not have to beg. Just plead your case with a kind and firm conviction. Do not get irritated and do not get testy with your service rep. It will get you nowhere. Technically, they do not owe you a thing, so it may take some sweet-talk to get what you want.
If some of these methods do not work, that is okay. Especially since you can easily repeat these ideas over and over again until it works for you. There is no reason to get discouraged if unsuccessful. After all, you are holding most of the cards in the deck…it is not as if you are desperate or on the verge of financial chaos here. Now go for broke and save some money. Every Month!