The New Year is underway, meaning consumers are laser focused on their goals and resolutions. In the past, we discussed the importance of paying yourself first by saving for short term goals using a high interest personal savings account; however, saving more can also mean finding ways to spend less. Monthly expenses like cell phones, cable/internet and car insurance may seem relatively affordable individually, but can add up to much more than you think when you could be saving more than you realize.
Below are 3 monthly expenses that you may want to re-evaluate and shop around for every 2 to 3 years that could potentially save you hundreds of dollars.
According to Insurify, auto insurance companies’ rates change frequently to account for a variety of risk factors, ranging from extreme weather seasons, drivers’ age, driving history and credit score, and even new state legislation, such as minimum liability coverage requirements.
However, one way to potentially save is by bundling your auto and renters or homeowners insurance. CBS Money Watch notes that bundling auto and homeowners insurance typically saves an average of $322 per year (and $84 per year when bundled with renters insurance).
Other easy ways to potentially lower your auto insurance costs include shopping around after you hit a milestone birthday as rates typically decrease with age. You can also check loyalty programs to see if discounts or other benefits are offered. However, before making the jump to a competitor, call your current provider to see if they’re willing to match competitive rates, which could lower your premium payment while boosting your loyalty standing for potential discounts down the road.
CELL PHONE PLANS
First, consider how much data you actually use.
Are you paying a higher rate for ‘unlimited’ data? Cut down on the amount of data you pay for if you aren’t using much as there are more affordable data plans.
Second, most major cell phone carriers (such as Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and others) offer discounts and sign-on promotions. Call around to compare offers and see which carrier provides the most bang for your buck.
Don’t want to leave your current carrier? By calling customer service and showing that you’re shopping around for the best rate, they’ll typically find ways to offer discounts to retain you as a customer. In other words, don’t be afraid to negotiate.
Three more easy ways to save on your cell phone bill:
Most carriers offer a small discount (around $5 to $10) for setting up automatic monthly bill pay.
Save another 15% to 20% off your bill if you’re a state or Federal government employee, active duty military or are a student or teacher.
If you plan to purchase a new phone, consider buying from a third party to avoid paying the full retail price.
CABLE & INTERNET
It’s easy to pay for cable when it seems like a better deal when bundled with internet service. However, if you rarely watch cable TV or spend more time on streaming services like Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime, you can save a few bucks each month by going with the internet-only route.
If you’re committed to cable TV, you can still save by researching your options. Determine which channels are must-haves. Do you just need the basics or consistently watch premium movies and sports channels? From there, spend time doing the math on bundling options to see where you can get the most access for each dollar.
If you’re not ready to make the switch, your cable and internet provider certainly isn’t ready to lose you. Call customer service and share that you’re shopping around. Oftentimes they can help you find small ways to save or throw in additional benefits that align with your monthly rate.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
Everyday life necessities don’t always come with the stated price tag. Take the time to do your research, compare prices and shop around. You’ll likely find a better deal than the last – and keep a few extra dollars in the bank! And remember, don’t be afraid to negotiate with customer service. They want to keep you as a paying customer, so they’re the ones losing out — not you.