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Where to start saving money can be overwhelming? We recommend starting with the highest return for the least amount of work. Start cutting household expenses by addressing 3 everyday bills that can easily get out of control. We renegotiated these bills to save $2,000/year with less than 8 hours of our time. Saving $250/hour for 8 hours….yes, please.
Memberships and services are now our enemies. We have and spend a lot of memberships and services. The three bills we tackled to saved a bundle on money were: home & auto insurance, cable/landline/internet bundle, and cell phone bill. Yes, we really did save over $2,000/year by re-evaluating just these three services.
Insurance (Home, Auto & Umbrella)
We are not insurance experts. We cannot explain why insurance cost goes up even when there has not been an accident or a claim filed. It had been a few years, so we thought it was time to bid out the insurance.
Naively, we expected to save $200/annually by getting a bid from another well-known insurance company and our current insurance company would match the savings.
We did not expect the same coverage from a reputable insurance company would save us $950/per year. SERIOUSLY? Nine hundred and fifty dollars! WOW!
Where were the savings? Over 95% of the savings were in auto insurance for the same coverage. This is an easy target if you are serious about cutting household expenses.
|Time Spent on Task|| Less Than 2 Hours |
|Time Spent Complaining About |
Our Previous Insurance Company
|Pain Level to Switch||Low|
- Everyone should bid out their insurance annually.
- Don’t worry about being loyal. We called our insurance company of 5 years to cancel and they did not even ask why?
- Ask prospective insurance companies what insurance is recommended. It is free advice and coverage needs do change over time. It also allows you to judge how much the different companies are trying to upsell you.
- Our new insurance agent mentioned that each insurance company has its niche, and targets a different customer base. Shop around!
Home Bundle (cable/internet/phone)
This had to be reviewed as our 2-year agreement was coming up and we knew from experience that our bill would go up outrageously. We wondered what should be in the new contract?
This was an easy one. We needed high-speed internet and our current supplier is really the only game in town.
The landline was free with the original home bundle. Today, the landline is an extra charge from our carrier. We cut the cord and went cell.
The only annoyance that we experienced with eliminating the landline was changing phone numbers for all our contact information.
This was a tough decision. There are so many services out there and more coming as Disney, ATT (Time Warner) and others are actively working to enter the Netflix, YouTube service space.
We felt this media space had not evolved enough to cost-effectively service the four very vocal and different viewing requirements needed in our house. Teenagers….enough said! There is a price to pay for basic sanity.
For singles or smaller households, the more cost-effective method is probably purchasing the non-cable options. The media offerings will change dramatically in the next two years as more providers enter this space.
Ultimately, we decided to sign another two-year agreement with reduced channels cable (getting rid of the ones we never watched anyway), high-speed internet and no landline.
In two years, we will seriously think about shedding the cable, but one step at a time. We are currently estimating we will save another $40/month by cutting cable when our contract is up.
We did finally get rid of the landline!
|Time Spent on Task||About 1 Hour|
|Pain Level to Switch||Low|
- Internet entertainment space is getting competitive. There are a lot of opportunities to reduce your costs, some without an agreement.
- As your old contracts come up, negotiate a lower rate. Pricing is coming down. It is a buyer’s market.
- If you live in an area with good cell phone coverage, get rid of the landline. You will not miss it.
- Monthly service fees are a big income source for companies. Companies are hoping that we overlook the fees and will not question. Take the time at least every two years to question what services you are buying and if there is a better deal.
Our 2-year agreement was coming up on paying off the cell phones and we had the standard unlimited plan. We were finally going to own the phones! Of course,
we wanted the kids wanted new phones.
The phones work and the recently released new iPhone generation was uninspiring, so we decided to wait on buying new phones. Not buying new phones is saving us roughly $50/month ($600/year).
We did not count the phone purchase as saving as we will need to buy new phones at some point.
We bid out our service to two large providers and our cable company who partners with a major carrier. Our current provider only offered us a $10/month reduction when we called to try and renegotiate.
Our cable company saved us the most money on an unlimited service at $40/month savings. We also got a $200 gift card for changing, which we have not included in the savings. Since we own the phones, there is no binding service contract!
It is less difficult to change phone services when you own your phones and you do not have a contract. Changing the service does several boring hours. Dragging around my teenagers with no carrot of a new phone to get their service changed was not a joy.
This was the most annoying of the three services to address in our quest to save $2,000 in just 8 hours.
|Savings||$480/annually ($40/month) + $200 Visa Gift Card|
|Time Spent on Task||4 hours|
|Pain Level to Switch||Medium|
- Wait to upgrade. New phones are getting more and more expensive! The longer you can stand not having the most updated phone, the more money you are going to keep in your pocket even if it just a few months!
- Consider a phone different brand. I know…I know…the switch is not easy. There are more “real” options other than iPhone and Samsung being introduced into the market. It may save you money and give you more features if you are willing to spend time on the new phone learning curve.
- Keeping looking for a deal. The cell phone companies seem to have deals throughout the year. If you don’t have a contract, it may be time to move carriers.
- This is another market where new competition is entering the market space and prices are falling. Be on the lookout for the deals as new competition enters your area.
Cutting Household Expenses Summary
All three of these cost-saving opportunities are good weekend projects. Take one service/bill per week and do some competitive bidding.
Our savings grand total from cutting household expenses was $2,030 per year not including the gift card and delaying our cell phone purchases, so maybe we saved a little more. We truly hope you find similar savings.
It is time to focus on cutting household expenses to save some serious money. Questioning your subscriptions and memberships is smart. These are three quick wins, but there are more out there. Read the article the Save Money on Everyday Services to see how we saved an additional $8,000 per year.
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Good Luck, Whippersnapper Finance