Who wants to save money? If you say “Not me!” something is either wrong with you or you are extremely well to do! Tracy Lynn, our very own IBA member, is just plain smart and 6 Simple Ways to Save Money NOW by Spring Cleaning Your Finances originally appeared on her blog, Simple Living Country Girl. – Tina
Most people associate spring cleaning with their homes. Some people may even go so far as to add their yards to the mix. Few people, however, include their budgets when they think of spring cleaning. Sadly, I was one of those people.
Every spring I would fill my notebook with all the items that needed to be done. I would cover every inch of my house, my yard, my barn, even my car, and I honestly felt like was on top of things.
One day a few years back I thought to myself, why not do the same with our finances? At that time, we were a paycheck to paycheck family, so it made perfect sense to go over our budget and try to save money.
What could it hurt?
Little did I know that this one idea would save me over $3,400!! Although you may not have the same results, follow my steps, and you may do even better than I did!
Make a list of what you spend your money on each month that is negotiable
What do I mean by “negotiable”? In my mind, if the bill fluctuates it is negotiable. Home mortgage, monthly rent, car payment, or personal loan probably would not be on this list. The easiest way to find all of your negotiable bills is to pull your budget. If you don’t have one, (we will talk about this later…), your checkbook will give you the same information. Your list should include cell phones, cable or satellite TV, the internet, utilities, car insurance, credit cards, etc.
Pull out your last bill for each item on your list
If you do not have a paper bill, you can look it up online and print it out, (I like to have paper copies in front of me for notes). On each bill make a note of how long you have been with the company, your monthly payment, and any interest you may paying. I find it helpful to highlight or list the phone number for each business I am calling.
Call each company to renegotiate your relationship
Don’t just assume you are getting the best deal year after year. These companies are very competitive, and they want your business. For example, my first call was to my cell phone provider. I explained that we were on a tight budget and needed to cut back. I told them I had been with them for 10 years and I had no complaints but needed to find ways to save.
The customer service representative instantly offered me a $10 discount off my bill each month for one year! The call took me five minutes, and I saved $120/year!! She then looked over our plan giving me options to consider that would save even more money.
Tip: Do this by phone and not in the store. The reps on the phone are not on a commission, so you do not have to worry about a sales pitch.
Keep track of each call
I usually make my notes right on the bill. I list the date I called, the person I talked to, the discount or new interest rate I was offered and the effective date. You will want to verify the next month that your discount was applied. To make sure you do not forget to do this put a note in your calendar file. You can read more about that here.
I have a file that I keep readily available to refer back to each year. If one of your discounts are not applied, simply call and explain that “so and so” made you this offer on this date. They will usually give you the offer no questions asked.
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If you are denied a discount, ask yourself the hard questions
So, what if you try everything and the answer is still no? Then it’s time to get real. Ask yourself is this is something we really cannot live without? Does my family benefit from this service or item? Would the money spent on this service or item be better used elsewhere?
Five years ago when I first started this, we had satellite TV. We had the smallest package and admittedly at the time it was quite affordable. Unfortunately, I did not realize that each year the price slowly crept up until we were paying over $109 a month JUST FOR TV!!
In the summer of 2015, we completely cut the cord to satellite tv, and now we pay less than $20/month for close to the same channels. For more info on this see my post, How We Ditched Expensive Satellite TV for Good. Yep, that’s a saving of over $1000/year!! Happy Dance!
Tally up and find out how you were able to save money!
This is where it gets fun! Get out that calculator and add up all the savings!! This is how I did my first year in 2012.
Cell phone – Received a $10/month for a year discount and canceled insurance on two phones with available upgrades saving $8/month. Total Savings $216/year.
Credit card – I was informed of a promo for 0% interest for 1 ½ years. Since this was a card I had, there was no balance transfer. Total Savings $2,300/year in interest, (this amount was after my balance transfer fee).
Home phone – I switched to a smaller plan since we had cell phones decreasing our bill by $8/month. Received a $10/month discount for a year. Total Savings $216/year.
Satellite TV – Received a $20/month discount for 7 months and also put our package on vacation mode for 5 months during the summer. Total Savings $685/year.
All in all, I spent a morning on this and saved our family $3,417 that first year! Now, you may not get the same results each year, but as long as you get something, it is definitely worth the time.
Want more? You can find all of my Money Saving Tips here!
Tracy Lynn lives on a small farm in Northwestern Pennsylvania. She has four boys, a Handy Man Hubby, a flock of chickens, a feisty Jack Russell, and a crew of goats that I lovingly call my babies.
Create a home with less, so you can have a life with more.
Tracy Lynn works every day towards her goal of a simple lifestyle all while helping others do the same. Follow her blog at Simple Living Country Gal.