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Enjoying your life is important.  The money spent on memberships and subscriptions tells a lot about who you are and what is important to your family.  Sometimes it is good, but hard, to question those services. There is good money to be saved by eliminating or renegotiating your subscriptions and memberships. We saved over $8,000. Below is a proven 3 part process to save money on everyday services.

The three-part process outlined below evaluates your current subscriptions and memberships. The three key steps are:

  1. Make a List (and Check it Twice)
  2. Address Questionable Memberships and Services
  3. Determine which Memberships and Services to Renegotiate

Chapter 4 of our 9-Week Financial Challenge Workbook has templates to help gather the information needed to complete this three-part process. The workbook is free. Please sign up via email to receive the 9-Week Financial Challenge Workbook. Do not worry.  We are pretty no-nonsense.  No spamming of emails from us.  Promise. 

If you are interested in the 9-Week Financial Challenge Series associated with the workbook, the challenges are posted on our website.

girl celebrating getting ahead by implementing these saving money tips #savingmoneytips #savingmoneyeveryday #financialfreedom
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Step 1: Make a list of all services and memberships

Credit card bills are a good place to start looking for those sneaky charges. We discovered that we had some charges that no one could pinpoint what the service was for as it only occurred once per year and was a relatively small charge.

Partial List of Services to Consider

  • gym memberships
  • country club memberships
  • lawn service
  • cleaning service
  • car/property/umbrella insurance
  • movie/tv/sports viewing services
  • computer anti-virus subscription
  • newspapers & magazines
  • sprinkler system service
  • cell phone
  • credit cards with fees
  • internet
  • dry cleaning
  • computer gaming services
  • sports clubs
  • car music services
  • identity thief protection
  • season tickets – sports/performing arts
  • home delivery services
  • warranties especially if automatically renew

Lesson Learned

This list was more difficult than we anticipated to create. Being more organized by capturing the data on a spreadsheet or (gasp) paper would have given us a better sight of our spend over the years.  There is a paper worksheet in the workbook discussed above.

However, your worksheet can only work well if you populate it! 

Bad data in = bad data out.  Take the time to get good data.

How we saved $8,000 in one year by using a simple 3-Part Process to evaluate and save money on everyday services.
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Step 2: Highlight the subscriptions and memberships that are not consistently used

From the list created in Step 1, highlight the services to cancel. Challenge yourself to cancel services that are a luxury. Service costs add up, so any service we can eliminate will improve our financial situation.

Our 1st List to Services to Cancel Included

  • Video gaming memberships ($200/year)
  • Magazines ($30/year)
  • Country Club ($5,000/year)
  • House Cleaning ($3,900/year)
  • Travel Credit Card ($75/year)

Let’s look at a few of these expenses that needed to be stopped. Learn from our mistakes!

Country Club

The big one that stood out was our country club membership.  Our house backs up to the golf course. Everyone is a member.  It is a lifestyle.  Picture it: the family playing golf, lounging by the pool, having a drink at the expansive bar and eating at the club every weekend. 

So obviously this means we are always at the club and taking advantage of the amenities.  Nope.  Only one of us even owned golf clubs. We pay $5,000 per year to be members.  We paid a hefty initiation fee.

Be authentic and don’t join to join.  We fell into this trap.  We painfully acknowledge this poor “keeping up with the Joneses” financial decision.   Don’t keep up with Joneses as they are up to their eyeballs in debt.

House Cleaning

The kids are now teenagers and we can all pitch in and get the house cleaned in a few hours.  This is now just a luxury and not a necessity. When the kids were little, we needed all the help we could afford to try and keep the house clean! 

The point is everyone’s situation changes with time. We were comfortable with keeping a service that became a luxury and not a necessity.

Challenge your norms.

Next Steps

Depending on the length of your list, the task of canceling services may take some time.

We recommend only taking on 3-5 services at a time.  Additionally, prioritize by the biggest savings. Going after everything at once is overwhelming.  Finish a handful, feel the accomplishment and then pick more.

More importantly, take the time to determine why you signed up originally. Canceling services is unpleasant and time-consuming. Preventing the situation in the first place is important.

Step 3: Negotiate better rates or change vendors

There is a reason many public companies report out on memberships and service fees during their quarterly financial calls.  These often-forgotten monthly recurring charges are big bucks for these companies.  

This also means that companies want to keep you as a customer which opens the door to negotiating better rates.

Remember the goal is simply to save money on everyday services. Begin by revisiting the list in Step 1, which services are just too expensive? Most likely, these services can be renegotiated.

Our List of Services to Renegotiate

  • cell phone
  • internet
  • movie/tv/sports viewing services
  • car music services
  • identity thief protection

See how we saved $2,000 by renegotiating insurance, cable, internet, and cell phone bills. Yes, that is above the $8,000 that we discussed here. We recommend reading the article and putting these services at the top of your list to renegotiate.

Next Steps

  • Prioritize the list by dollar amount to be saved and time required to renegotiate.
  • Again, try keeping the list short to 3-5 items. Once you have finished with the first batch, look for other services to renegotiate.
  • Negotiating is a skill. Brush up on your negotiating skills before tackling your list. Here is an article from Cleverism that compares Poker strategies to negotiations strategies.

Save Money on Everyday Services Summary

  • Memberships and services can get out of hand.  The fees add up when you look at everything at one time.  Additionally, companies are sneaky about raising their rates.
  • Renegotiating rates works to reduce costs, but is a hassle and time consuming per design.
  • Take small bites (2-5 services and memberships) to address off your list.  After completing those, look at others.  Go for easy dollars and large dollars first.
  • We saved over $8,000 by re-evaluating what we truly needed versus a luxury. Challenge yourself to do the same.
  • Consider why the list of services is so long. How do you prevent it from growing in the future? Nancy Reagan had it right, “just say no.” Many add on services are just not necessary.
  • Never bow to high-pressure salespeople. Seriously, always tell them “NO”.

If you are interested in more money savings tips, read 50 Savings Tips. Additionally, consider taking the 9-Week Financial Challenge that was discussed above. There are some great tips in the challenge to save and invest money.

We sincerely hope you save money on everyday services. It is our blog’s goal is to provide meaningful savings, investing, and career insights to those who are serious about achieving financial independence.  Please feel free to search our website for more articles.

We always appreciate people sharing our articles and hearing back from our readers. Let us know how you are doing on your financial independence journey. You got this!

Good Luck, Whippersnapper Finance

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