If you’re looking to save money, one recommendation from many financial experts is to check out your bills and figure out what you don’t need. Are you paying for any services you don’t use? Do you really need that Netflix subscription?
But what if you’ve looked at all of those things and decided that yes, while it’s true that you don’t need a Netflix subscription, you really would like to keep it, and you can’t figure out any other things you can cut. However, maybe you have a busy summer coming up and don’t expect to be watching much – consider canceling your subscription temporarily. Don’t worry, Netflix will always take you back.
Then it’s time to look at how you can reduce what you’re paying on those bills. Unless you’re getting DVDs from Netflix by mail, it’s unlikely you’re going to be able to reduce that bill. But what else do you need to stream Netflix? That’s right, internet access. How much are you paying for that access? Take some time to call your internet company and see if there’s any way you can reduce your bill. Maybe they have a promotion running that they can put you on. If your company also has an online chat option, use that as well. Sometimes the phone reps and the internet reps have different deals they can offer you.
Do you have cable TV? Consider dropping some of those extra channels (or consider dropping pay-TV all together). Consider also bundling your internet and cable television and phone services with one provider for providers who offer it. Click here to learn more about why you should consider bundling your Internet, TV, and phone services.
If you are currently paying for cable television, consider bundling your internet and TV to reduce your monthly costs.
How about your cell phone – what do you pay for your data plan? How much data do you use? Do you pay for an unlimited plan but find yourself using less data than you thought? Could you save by going to a limited plan? A few months ago, I looked into my cell phone plan and realized that my carrier had changed their plans – so for $5 less, I could have more data. Clearly, I switched.
When’s the last time you talked to your insurance agent? Give them a call and see if you can reduce your costs for your home/renters/auto insurance. If you want to take it a step further, do some research into other insurance companies and consider switching to a new company. Just make sure you’re not skimping on coverage.
How about medications? Now this one is not to be taken lightly, but if you’re on a regular prescription that still costs a pretty penny even with insurance coverage, have a chat with your doctor. For example, I was on a medication that cost me $100 each time I filled it – but I could fill it with a 30 day supply or a 90 day supply for the same price. Clearly, I saved money if my doctor prescribed a 90 day supply. Ultimately, I ended up switching to a medication with a much lower copay. Obviously, this isn’t an option for everyone, and you should always listen to your doctor, but it never hurts to have the conversation.
Though it’s not always the most fun, take a look at your recurring bills and see if you can whittle down the costs a bit. Remember, even if you save $10 each month, that’s $120 a year. If you can do that on a few bills, the numbers add up.
Megan is a 30-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.