Saving money isn’t easy these days, but in the past year I’ve managed to save nearly $1,000 by focusing on 3 household expenses: insurance, my phone/cable and internet bill and my Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) interest payment. Here’s how I did it.
Insurance – we all need it for our vehicles and our homes. In the past year, I’ve managed to save almost $300 simply by combining our home and auto insurance. In general, combining your home and auto insurance can save you about 15% so it is well worth the effort.
Phone/Cable/Internet. Over the winter months I noticed that my cable bill had increased by nearly $20/month for no apparent reason! I swear these cable companies try to sneak incremental price increases into our monthly bills in the hopes that we’ll just pay it without ever questioning it. In fact, for a while I did just that. I noticed these small increases and, like many others, just ignored them because I was busy doing other things. It was only when I saw a few month after month increases that ended up costing me an extra $20/month that I finally had enough and decided to call my cable company to get a better deal.
It had been nearly 3 years since I last looked at my PCI service so I did some research online to see what packages were offered before calling them. Phone/Cable/Internet is a highly competitive business and these companies are always trying to poach subscribers from each other. The result for the consumer is that we have some negotiating power with our service providers.
When I called my cable company asking for a better deal, they initially told me that their online promotions were for new customers only! When I mentioned that I was considering moving my business over to the competition I was immediately transferred to a customer retention specialist. After explaining to him the various deals that I saw, I was able to keep my service (which I was happy with) and he lowered my monthly bill by $30. That saves me $360/year.
Finally, I saved money on my HELOC interest payment. I researched interest rates for HELOCs and found that a major bank was offering one for 3.5%, while I was paying 4%. I called my bank and asked if they would match that interest rate and they agreed to it. Banking is also a highly competitive business these days and they don’t want to lose customers, so they will usually accommodate requests to match their competitors’ rates. This saves me $316/year.
So overall, my annual savings for about an hour of internet research and making 3 10-minute phone calls is about $1000 or over $80/month. This money provides a nice little boost to my monthly budget. I think it’s important to remember that everything is negotiable. Do your research, be persistent and persuasive, and you’ll most likely get the results you’re looking for.
What about you? Do you have any special ways to save money?