We have been reminded throughout this financial crisis and housing market meltdown that one giant purchase can really hurt you badly. Many people have seen their home purchase from 5 or 6 years ago affect them in more negative ways than they ever thought possible. That reality has certainly affected the home-buying generation of today. Doing some intense soul searching and number crunching before making a purchase of that magnitude seems pretty fundamental now.
Even after saying that, I still believe that your monthly bills are where you sink or swim. Most of us focus on our big expenses: the mortgage and the car note. While those are almost always your biggest bills, they aren’t necessarily the ones that matter the most and there usually isn’t much wiggle room there..
Consider the average family cable bill at $128 a month. I’m not sure what you think when you see that number but it freaks me out. How could a family pay over $1500 a year for television? The average home internet bill is $39 a month. If you have one of the “triple play” services and have outdated home phone service your monthly bill could easily be over $200 a month. Some other monthly bills that you could be paying too much for are alarm service, cell phone service (with one of giant providers), pest control, banking accounts, and insurance.
I have some good news for you though. You can lower all of those bills really easily! I was talking with a friend recently who was paying way too much for internet service. I told her to call that company and ask to speak to the customer retention department. Tell them that you are going to leave them if they can’t match the current promotional rate. Almost always they will cut you a deal if you will just stick around (it costs them money in advertising and promotions to attract new customers). 20 minutes really could save you $20 a month. It worked for me.
When my homeowner’s insurance went up $400 a year for no apparent reason I shopped around. Get quotes from 3-5 other companies and you could save a small fortune. Just make sure you check out where they are rated by JD Power and Consumer reports to make sure you don’t end up with a crummy company.
Do you even need TV? Is it worth that giant cost? Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon prime provide some great entertainment value. Those services could be the key to you saving $120 a month. Go for a walk or play a board game instead of chilling out in front of the tube. Not only do those things save you money, they are better for you!
I could go through all of these services one by one, but you get the idea. First, reassess your needs. Maybe you can cut the cord or start providing one of those services for yourself. Second, if you really want that monthly in your life and it is worth getting that bill every month, lower your bill. Maybe get rid of the premium channels, or at least call the company and see if they have a better rate they can offer you.
Paring those monthly bills down and creating more wiggle room in your life is an incredibly freeing exercise.