Recycling an old post but know that my newer readers might like this and of course this will refresh you to try to ASK again as I do this every 6 months..
As part of my Ways To Save Series I wanted to write about spring cleaning your bills.
My husband and I are doing great, we both have great jobs, however, every month when the bills come in I'm astounded by how much goes out the door. I feverishly save on my groceries, clothes and gifts through coupons, deals and of course freebies yet feel I'm still not saving enough because of these ever growing bills that seem to be a neccessity in our lives. With a mortgage, two kids in private daycare, health, car & house insurance, taxes, Verizon triple package, cell phone, electricity and gas bills plus sundries it soon adds up tremendously. Here are some ways to shave some money off those bills so you can divert the money saved into a savings account. Yes don't spend that money, save it!
Recently, I looked at my Verizon bill, we have the Triple Play Package plus numerous boxes and as you all know thats a pretty penny! I hate paying so much but TV is part of our lives whether we like it or not, the kids enjoy their children's program, hubby loves his sports and me I love my sunday night Shameless show. Of course, I need internet and well we don't need a landline but with two kids I feel secure knowing the kids can call 911 on a regular landline rather than hunt down a cell phone and figure out how to operate a cell. So how can I shave some money off this bad boy?
One option is to switch providers - afraid this is not going to happen for us as we're never going back to dish - Comcast may be an option if they can match Verizon Fios quality and they are slowly clawing their way up. However, if you are looking into switching providers especially to Verizon Fios email me here as there is an incentive for you and I to earn $50 from you switching to Verizon.
My current plan has worked time and time again. Last night I called Verizon and said "My 2 year plan is up and I'd like to save some money on my existing plan as I feel I'm paying way too much? How can you help me lower this plan without me switching providers?" Well I miscalculated and my plan is not due until September but.. she said to hold on and she'll see what she can do. She told me that she'll take $20 off my bill every month for a year. I cancelled my HBO/Cinemax package which is now saving me $22/month. Typically, they offer free HBO or Cinemax packages throughout the year and my rep said she'll look into it this weekend and see if she can add it on for FREE. SWEET - if you don't ask you don't get. So that's a $480 saving right there! BTW I had an awesome customer service rep but YMMV (your mileage might vary). I typically call twice or three times a year and see what free packages are available - just remember to cancel the service once the free package expires.
Cell Phone Bill
With the recent iphone opportunities with Verizon, AT&T customers should definetely call into your AT&T center and negotiate a reduction in your rate. Use the same "My 2 year plan is up and I'd like to save some money on my existing plan as I feel I'm paying way too much? How can you help me lower this plan without me switching providers?". All they can say is "No" right, so just try.
If your plan is no where near expiring, then still go into your call center and ask whether your company offers a discount for employees? My company offers a nice discount and by me simply saying I work for so and so (you might need to show ID though) I automatically got a discount. However, again I got a superb rep and he said are you sure you don't work for Coca Cola? I said no, he said if you are not sure you might need to reconsider as they offer a bigger discount. Of course I remembered.... and now in AT&T's record I work for Coca Cola - again YMMV.
Electricity and Gas Bills
There is only one main provider in my area and I'm not really keen to switch despite the discount. We got enough power outages this winter that by switching to a small less known provider worries me. However, do look into your area as you may be able to switch to an equally good provider or maintain your current by using the same "I'd like to save some money on my existing plan as I feel I'm paying way too much? How can you help me lower this plan without me switching providers?".
I shave some money on my bill by signing up to the pay ahead scheme that my provider offers. Do read your monthly bills as they sometimes offer nice incentives or check your providers website.
Moving from the south up north 5 years ago was shocking. House prices were significantly higher (we paid more for less square footage) and our taxes went up 3-fold. Last year I appealed our taxes because the economy had caused a significant drop in the price of our local homes. I found 3 local comps and submitted the paper work to my township and this year we received a significant drop in our taxes.
Since I work daycare is a must, plus the well being and education of our children is important so I didn't skimp on the facility based on price. However, refer friends to your childs school and you can earn yourself some referral money that can go towards tuition.
For older kids near college age, check with your HR to see if they offer scholarships for employees children? read up on how to get scholarship money for your child at the particular school you are looking at. Talk to the registrar and ask if they can suggest any scholarships. Your local community might offer scholarship money. If you don't ask you don't get. I was very fortunate to be offered scholarships for both my Degree and Masters in England.
My house and car insurance is bundled together with the same insurance company for extra discount. Remember to update your info with your agent periodically, maybe you might qualify for extra discount because you are a long term member? and again throw the "I'd like to save some money on my existing plan as I feel I'm paying way too much? How can you help me lower this plan without me switching providers?" line out there.
If you can, pay your mortgage note earlier than usual. You are paying a month in arrears so the earlier you pay you can shave off some daily interest. While it doesn't seem much month to month over the 30 years or however long your mortgage is for it might be a nice saving. If you can add extra payments to shave some time off the end.
There's no getting around the darn health insurance bills. Coming from England where healthcare is free I find it extraordinary that insurance and hospitals can charge so much. My husband and I have a good plan yet still pay an astronomical amount for health care for our family of four. I hate to think how those less fortunate get around this. The only way I can think of lowering your health bills is to stay healthy by eating healthy and excercising. One who is in tip top shape should in theory require less medical attention.
I hope this Ways to Save helps you Spring clean your bills
Feel free to comment to how you shave money off those monthly bills