What’s the first budget line you look at when you look for ways to lower your expenses? Most people focus first on the variable expenses like food, entertainment, and gas. That’s understandable since we call another group of expenses “fixed.”
The truth is that some of those “fixed” expenses aren’t as fixed as we think. With a little creativity, some research, and willingness to ask, you can lower your monthly bills.
Do Your Research
Competition is a great thing for the consumer. If you have competing service providers in your area, use this to your advantage. Competitors want your business and are willing to pay for it, often by advertising great deals for new customers. You see this frequently with cable packages or Internet service plans that are deeply discounted for new customers. Even where there is no direct competition, a service provider may be willing to charge less if they’re afraid that you’ll leave otherwise.
Do some research to find out the going rates and current offers of the various companies in your area. For each of your fixed expenses, call your provider’s competitors. Find out their rates and the services they offer. Also, ask about any specials they have for new customers. Take good notes so your conversations don’t all get jumbled in your head.
If you are satisfied with your current service, you can first try to work with them on lowering their rates. We have found that many companies want to keep their customers enough to make accommodations for them. Let the company know you are a satisfied customer and would like to keep their service, but you have noticed that company X is offering a very tempting deal for new customers and you were wondering if they could match that deal. Your script will depend on the information your research uncovers. They have wiggle room built-in in their rates, so companies often are able to work with you on the price.
If you live in an area without much competition, you can still lower your bills by asking. If you have been a faithful customer for any length of time, you could call and let them know that and ask if you can have your rate lowered for being a loyal customer. Especially when faced with the chance of losing you as a customer, companies will respond. If you are considering dropping the service altogether, you can let honestly them know that you are planning to cancel your service if you can’t get a lower rate.
Keep in mind that you will have the most success by being honest, patient, and polite.
Don’t Be Afraid to Switch
Sometimes we just get in the habit of paying our bills without thinking twice about them. Sometimes we know we are overpaying, but we’re too lazy to do anything about it. Now is the time to do something about it! Remember that goal! If there is a better deal out there, don’t be afraid to switch! You will thank yourself each month for the savings.
Last year we made the leap to switch cell phone companies. Giving Republic Wireless a try was a no-brainer for us. Not only do they have a 30-day money-back guarantee, they also don’t do contracts (no signing away your cellular freedom for 2 years at a time). We really didn’t have anything to lose. We knew that the prices were unbeatable (unlimited talk, text and WiFi data for $10/mo).
Once we realized that the service was great too, we started telling friends and family about it every chance we got. Many of them made the switch and are so grateful they did. I just talked to my sister-in-law yesterday and she was so thrilled that her cell phone bill for two phones went from over $80/month to $20/month, which saves them more than $720 a year. Take a look at our Republic Wireless experiment and review and consider how you can reduce your cell phone bill.
The best way to go about this exercise is to question each of your monthly expenses. All of your bills are up for negotiation. Refinancing your home might even be a viable option. You won’t know without making the effort to do the research and weigh the pros and cons. I recommend taking a thorough inventory/audit of your rates at least once a year.
You may even find that some expenses can be cut out completely. While cable might seem like a necessity, cutting out cable indefinitely or even just for a set period of time can really add some momentum to your financial goals. You’ll likely save in even more ways than just the cost of your cable bill.
You Can Do It!
The best part about lowering your monthly bills is that you can take advantage of the savings each month! Even lowering one of your bills by just $10 will save you $120 in a year’s time. That’s a pretty good payout for a little research and a few minutes on the phone.
If you need more motivation, take a look at this article, where I give four real-life examples where people reduced their bills just by asking, literally saving thousands of dollars!
Day #9 Challenge
Take a look at each of your fixed expenses with new eyes and think of how you could lower your bills. Do the research, ask questions, be creative, and don’t be afraid to make changes.
After looking at your budget, what are some of the “fixed” expenses that you are going to tackle?
- Power of Asking: Simple Questions That Have Saved Thousands
- Republic Wireless Experiment and Review
- 3 Subtle Ways Going Without TV Will Save You Money
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