Paying bills is inevitable, but paying too much is not. Here are some tips to help you handle your recurring monthly expenses.
- Investigate your recurring services. Start by taking stock of every service you are currently using. Review your bank and credit card statements and highlight all the charges that look like a subscription. Some examples are streaming services (video, music, and games), magazines, news subscriptions, digital storage services, gym memberships, and financial services. Determine if you have redundant subscriptions, such as two music-streaming services. Finally, ask yourself if each service is still providing value to you. If it’s not, cancel it.
- Review bills for unnecessary fees. Once you trim your list down to the services, you want to keep, locate the most recent bill for each. Read through all the charges and make notes of those that are questionable. You might be paying for services you aren’t using, such as a video streaming service on your cell phone bill. Or maybe you are paying replacement insurance coverage for something you don’t need. Call and ask the provider to cancel every charge that doesn’t make sense.
- Bundle expenses when you can. Many suppliers will offer discounts if you sign up for a few. Examples are bundling your cable TV, internet, and home phone. Cell phone providers and insurance companies are other places to look for bundling opportunities.
- Negotiate for lower rates. Call each provider and ask for a lower rate or discount. Most companies want to keep your business, so often, they will work with you. Service providers routinely change the way they package their products, so saving money might be as simple as switching to a different level of service. It’s rare for companies to reach out and offer savings, so you need to make the call!
It’s easy for your bills to spiral out of control if you don’t keep close tabs on them. Go through a review exercise every few months to ensure you aren’t paying more than necessary.