My husband and I have a goal to be debt free in the next 16 months and we are REALLY bad about not wanting to make sacrifices in our day to day life. I know, I know…it sounds terrible but thats the honest truth. We love going out, eating, and traveling BUT we also really want to be free of payments so that we can do more of the things we love and also prepare for our future babies as we are actively trying to get pregnant. In order to do that and still be able to do the things we enjoy, we have to get creative in ways to save and earn money. This week we focused on reducing our monthly bills and heres how:
#1: Car & Home Insurance
We have been discussing our car insurance for months and have been meaning to shop around and see what our options were. Life kind of got in the way and we just hadn’t moved forward with doing so until this week. I called our current provider and asked if there were any discounts that hadn’t yet been applied to our policy or if there was anything we could do to lower our monthly fee (We have GREAT coverage and I personally wasn’t willing to budge on that aspect of our policy just to save a few bucks.). After looking into it the agent suggested combining our home insurance policy with our cars, unfortunately that would have increased our monthly expenses because our homeowners insurance is at a really great rate already. The agent did some more digging and we ended up reduced our monthly rate by $18 PLUS we now have life insurance on both us that we didn’t previously have. Bundling a life insurance policy with the car insurance saved us on our monthly premium. Our out of pocket cost declined plus we gained the life insurance. All it took was just simply asking how we are able to save with what we currently have. Do not be afraid to ask.
This month we seen a $20 increase in our monthly internet bill and were totally freaking out. Having an unexpected increase to your monthly payments is never fun, we called to determine what the increase was for and found out our fixed contract rate had ended. Bummer. We then asked if they had any current promotions that would help us to lower that monthly payment again, which they did not at the time. Unfortunately this has resulted in a higher payment at the moment but I intend to call every month to discuss the latest promotions and hopefully decrease that cost in the near future. We do not have cable for this very reason, its much cheaper for us to use programs such as Netflix and Hulu for the amount of T.V. that we watch. Its important to understand that you may not always be able to reduce your payment or get a better deal but its ALWAYS worth asking and knowing what your options are rather than over paying just becuase you never attempted.
For some of you this may not be an option, small town Kansas girl had no idea that some people had the option of shopping around for electric providers. Thankfully I now have that option. We did call and check the lowest rates available and found one that was cheaper than we currently have, due to our contract though we were unable to move forward with this because the cancelation fee was not worth the monthly cost we would be saving. No win at the moment, but once our contract is up we will shop around again.
#4: Account Review
I am horrible about monthly subscriptions OR “first month free” enrollments and totally forgetting to cancel them. After months ill randomly scroll through my account and see deductions for things I don’t ever use. I highly recommend going through all of your transactions over the last 2-3 months and verifying that you did indeed use the service that is being paid for. If not, cancel it!
#5: Debt Consolidation
Debt consolidation is certainly not for everyone and I use to think this was basically equal to bankruptcy LOL but after researching and weighing our options I believe this was a great move for us. Instead of having several payments towards debt going in multiple directions we were able to bring it to one monthly payment not only reducing our interest but also reducing the amount of time that we will be paying on the debt by 80%. This will keep us right on track for our goal of debt free in 16 months. I also believe it will be much easier to make additional payments because we no longer have to decide which account will benefit most from the extra payment. I would also like to make note that this did not reduce our monthly expenses, but it is cutting our interest rate in half which in the long run is saving us thousands. Again this is not for everyone, but I would definitely do your research and discuss your options.
These are just some of the ways we were able to save this week and will continue to find more ways in which we can reduce expenses and increase what we have coming in. I want to remind you not to be afraid to simply ask what your options are with your current providers to see if you can reduce your payments or get more bang for your buck. Also be aware that they may offer you packages that gets you more for a small additional fee but depending on your goals it may not be a smart move if it increases your monthly cost.
xoxo, Taylor G.