This is the sixth in a series of articles by CommunityAmerica Credit Union. The series will tackle personal debt by planting the seeds of savings and making smart downsizing choices. For some, this may be a way to get started on a positive foot. For others, it’s a chance to start over after years of overspending. Regardless of your reason, we’ll help you navigate how to downsize realistically.
Believe it or not, bills aren’t non-negotiable. Sure, you probably won’t have much luck bartering a lower rate with your utility providers. But when it comes to cable and other line items, there’s plenty of wiggle room to save money each month. Here are a few tips we recommend help lower your bills.
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You’ve probably heard about the growing generation of ‘cord cutters’. These are people who stream all of their content and therefore bypass the high costs associated with cable. If you’re willing to do this, you can save thousands per year using services like Netflix and Amazon video. Unfortunately, this eliminates access to beloved channels like HGTV, The Disney Channel and sports channels. If you can’t live without those TV gems, you can still compare costs. Simply call with each local provider to inquire about getting a similar package for less. You may be surprised what they offer!
This tip is a little known industry secret. If you are with an insurance company for several years, you may end up paying more for the same coverage. It’s simply the industry standard that many representatives reserve their lowest rates to acquire incoming clients. That said, it doesn’t always pay to be a loyal insurance client. If you begin to see your costs tick up, call around to see if you’d benefit from switching firms.
Also, remind yourself on an annual basis what your benefits cover. For example, we had a member lock their keys in the car and called a locksmith to pay out-of-pocket. They discovered their insurance paid for the service, which saved them more than $100.
Double Check Medical Expenses
We recommend you ALWAYS double check your medical bill following a visit or procedure. We’ve heard many stories of people identifying an error and saving hundreds by simply calling to look into it. Mistakes happen, and patients are often reimbursed retroactively once an error is identified. However, being without those funds for a period of time can have an impact on your finances. Taking a closer look never hurts to ensure you’re paying the correct amount for services rendered.
It’s not a guarantee that calling around will lower your bills. However, taking the time to pursue lower rates or payments can only benefit you in the end. Most people are unknowingly overpaying for something in their budget. We encourage you to investigate each line item for opportunities to save.
Up next: Having a hobby that costs money is, simply put, a hard-earned privilege. However, depriving yourself of all pleasures is a recipe for failure. We’ll share ideas on how to scale back, without eliminating, activities.
The blog and its opinions are expressly that of its author and does not convey the opinions or strategies of the Credit Union and should not be considered financial advice.