Sep 17 2012

Saving money on fixed expenses

In the last week, I’ve had two friends tell me they shopped their car insurance around and found a better deal. One friend will save $600/year; the other friend will save $850/year. For the same coverage!

All for some phone calls and a little bit of paperwork. What a deal!

Yes, it’s a hassle to take the time to make those calls. But it has huge potential for paying off. Once you get a lower rate, you reap those benefits every month from there on out (until you shop ’em around again later!).

  • Credit card interest rates. If you are carrying a balance, call and ask for a lower rate. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t, but you won’t know unless you try. If you aren’t making headway on your credit card debt due to high interest charges, you could consider a balance transfer. There are fees involved with that and it may not be worth doing a transfer. Use this balance transfer calculator and “what will it take to pay off my credit card?” to have a better idea of what to do.
  • Car insurance
  • Homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance
  • Cable/internet/landline: I am working on the internet portion right now. I’m with Comcast and I have to call every 6 months or so and ask to be on the new promotion. My bill for the same service ranges from $50-$80 depending on if I can get a promo. It’s maddening. I don’t really have a lot of choice with my internet, since we do need a fast speed. But still. I gripe. And I ask for a better deal.
  • Cell: This one is tricky. Sometimes you can reduce your minutes, drop the insurance portion on your plan or roadside assistance, go to  a lower data plan, etc. But it seems like once you upgrade to a certain level of service, it’s hard to reduce it.
  • Netflix/Hulu/etc: We have Netflix streaming and it is worth it for us. We stream straight from our Wii to our TV and can avoid commercials and choose what we want to watch immediately. We are so behind on current TV shows that I don’t care at all. And of course, there’s Hulu and other similar services for more current programming.
  • Loan refinance: You can do this for mortgages, but also for cars if the term is bad enough. Also, student loan consolidation.

Here’s a post I wrote in January 2008 (!!) about how to reduce your fixed expenses. I go into more detail here.

So. I invite you to look over all of your fixed expenses and see if there’s anyone you can call to either drop an aspect of service, ask for a promotional rate, or switch to a different company.

Yeah, it’s work and kind of a hassle, but it pays off immediately.

What else can you add to this list? Have you saved money on a fixed expense recently?


4 Responses to “Saving money on fixed expenses”

  1. careful on balance transfer with credit cards; that will hurt your credit score. I learned the hard way.

  2. Good point, Corey

  3. We’re in the process of switching cell phone plans. We did have a contract with Verizon for just talking and limited texts but are going to pay the same amount without a contract with Virgin Mobile for talk, unlimited text and data. So we’re not necessarily saving money but getting more for the same money. In my research, the pay as you go phones really seem to be a decent deal, depending on how much you use the phone.

  4. I have been reading your blog for a few years now and it has inspired me to make my own. I truly think that keeping this blog will keep me accountable and better able to track the debt and saving that I wish to do. I am a recent college grad with student loans knocking on my door in a few short months, but I want to knock out the high interest payment credit cards first.

    Would you consider sharing my story?

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.

Hey! I'm Kacie, wife to Shane and mother to Jonathan (7), Vivienne (5) and Amelia (2) . I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

I hope I can inspire and encourage you to improve your situation. See disclosure.

I'm adopting a much slower-paced posting schedule, and treating this as a hobby blog now.

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