We all know that small costs add up, but it can be difficult for the average Joe to visualize them enough to cut back on unnecessary spending. Those who are looking for quick ways to save more money each year, look no further. Below I’ve detailed seven ways to kill the extraneous billings in your life—just by making a quick and easy phone call!
- For anyone who still keeps the old TV on from time to time: call your cable company. Get the retentions department on the line and tell them you just can’t afford the high cable rates anymore, and that you’re considering signing up for streaming services like Netflix or Amazon. Companies hate losing subscriptions, so if you ring them up like this, most of the time they’ll offer to reduce your bill just to keep you with them. When I made this phone call, my cable company reduced my $90 rate to $62 on the spot. Even with that reduced rate, however, we’ve kept most of our channels, and still watch TV just the way we like it. Who said you need 940 channels to be happy in life?
Annual Savings $300+
- If you have credit card debt and are paying high interest rates (15% or more), call your credit card companies. According to statistics on creditcards.com, with a simple phone call 82% of users are eligible to have their annual fees waived, 87% will get a late payment fee forgiven, and as many as two-thirds of all card holders can get a reduced interest rate—again, just with a single phone call. When I first married my wife, her credit card debt mounted to a higher amount than we had planned for. After a few quick calls to her credit card companies, we were able to get all of them to reduce her interest rates. You’re not only saving money on your credit card, you’re doing so for free.
Average annual savings $300 or more
- Raise the deductibles on your automobile and homeowners policies. To prevent a premium increase that can really add up over years, most people will opt to pay a small amount themselves instead of allowing their insurance companies to pay. Raising your car insurance deductibles from $250 to $500 will save you 5-8%, and raising it from $500 to $2,000 will save you 15-18%. Raising your homeowner deductible from $1,000 to $5,000 will save you as much as 20%. All said and done, that’s a lot more cash a year you get to keep in your pocket.
Average annual savings $300-$500
- Cancel gym memberships you’re not using. Most of us make the new year’s resolution to get fit and lose weight, and most of us fail. By the time spring rolls by, gym memberships have gone from shiny symbols of a new year’s hope to a metaphor for your willpower, abandoned in the corner. (No shame, everyone’s done it.) If you’re not using them, they’re a drain to think about and a drain on your wallet to keep around. Cancel them and try again next year. (If you still exercise, but not super frequently, check with your local recreation centers if you can reduce the cost of your gym membership. My wife can still go to the YMCA for free classes from time to time thanks to this arrangement.)
Average annual savings $200-$500
- Keep your automobiles running in good shape. Making sure tires are properly inflated not only extends the tread life, but also increases gas mileage by up to 3%. Changing your air filter regularly can improve gas mileage by as much as 10%. Keep in mind, however, that dealers or shops charge over $50 for an air filter change, but buying your own filter at the auto parts store for $10 means that stores typically change them for free. It’s amazing how much you can save just by keeping your car in a respectable state.
Average annual savings $300-$500
- Unplug small appliances when not in use. Whether it’s coffee makers, toasters, televisions, laptops or cellphone chargers, coffee grinders (I have a healthy relationship with coffee, thank you very much), leaving them plugged in makes them “phantom power users”. For example, if your laptop’s fully charged, keeping it plugged in only wastes electricity. Remembering to unplug is good for your electrical bill and the environment. Talk about going green!
Annual savings $200
- Turn down your water heater’s temperature from 140 to 120. Most water heaters average around 140, and that’s their default setting. Turning it down just slightly can save you up to 20% on energy costs. If you’re willing to spend a little to save a lot, buy a wrap/blanket for your water heater to save as much as 20% of energy costs from day to day. You can also stop drafts by buying electrical socket gaskets for switch plates, and save 10% on heating costs. All these seemingly little costs can really add up over a year, so go ahead and make these little changes, and rejoice in the power of low-effort savings!
Average annual savings $100-$300.
If you’re a shy type or for whatever other reason can’t make calls for yourself, Billshark.com can call your providers for you to lower all your monthly bills, whether it’s electricity, Internet, cable/satellite TV, cellphone fees, house payments, insurance, printing services, trash/disposal services, and more. All in all, you’ll be able to save up to $3,000 per year on monthly bills. Not too shabby at all.