Image via Flickr by Janitors
Even though the economic recovery is still in bloom, lingering financial concerns exist for most people. Every dollar saved is a dollar earned, and the purpose of this article is to save you more money. Here are five ways to cut back on your monthly bills.
Negotiate with a Competitor
Arguably the most insidious business practice in corporate America today is the constant increase of rates. This premise relies on consumer inertia. The company that sells you their service presumes you are so laid back that they can raise the cost of using their service sans any pushback from you.
The easiest way to counter such behavior is to find a better quote elsewhere. In the digital era, it’s simple for you to shop around and find a similar service offered at a lower price from a direct competitor. At this point, you have an exceptional bargaining position. You can either accept the better offer or return to your current company with this quote. If they want to keep your business, you can expect buzzwords such as “customer loyalty discount” thrown around as they implicitly acknowledge that they have attempted to overbill you.
Complain About Service
Few of the services you use on a consistent basis are perfect. Some are less reliable than others. When mistakes occur that reduce your quality of service, make note of them. If an error is particularly egregious, tell the company immediately. If not, make a list of grievances and then contact them once you’ve noted at least three entries.
At this point, the company will be on the defensive. They have failed in their promise to deliver the product you want to your satisfaction. You deserve and should expect compensation as an apology for the issues. If the first person in their customer service department fails to acknowledge this, ask to speak to their supervisor. Companies empower higher level crisis management employees to satisfy customers, so they should fulfill your request for compensation.
Recycle Your Tech Toys
The shelf life on technology is shrinking. The best way to stay current with new gadgets is to sell your old devices through companies such as Gazelle and Best Buy. By trading in your iPhone 5, you can upgrade now and get a new iPhone 6 at minimal cost out-of-pocket. The iPhone 6 offers cutting-edge smartphone technology for an affordable price. You can also shop around for the best cell phone service to lower your monthly bill. Services like T-Mobile have various individual and family plans that will best suit your needs, and usually have plans with unlimited data usage and no service contracts. By choosing carefully, you can easily shave several dollars off your phone bill.
Few people understand how much they pay in interest fees during the first few years of a 30-year mortgage. Building equity by paying more than expected during these early days is a great way to make progress, but it’s not the best.
Your priority with your mortgage is earning the lowest possible interest rate. Since part of the calculation for your rate is whether you are paying your mortgage on time, the chances of earning a great initial rate are slim. After as little as a year of making your payments, however, your credit score increases. Leverage this newfound borrowing power to unearth a better rate.
You may wonder whether this renegotiation is worth the effort. Consider that the difference in monthly payments between a four and five percent loan on a $250,000 mortgage is $148.51. That’s a savings of $1,782.12 annually. The best news is that you can repeat this renegotiation every few years as long as interest rates hover near historic lows.
Consolidate Your Loans
Most credit card loans include the shock of high-interest rates. A few enterprising companies such as Prosper and Lending Club have empowered consumers with their services. These lenders provide larger loans without the need for collateral. You can feasibly combine several bills into a single monthly payment. The rate will almost assuredly be lower. These companies further reward customer loyalty by providing even lower interest to those who have completed a loan with them before.
Using the tactics above, you can quickly and easily save more money each month. Best of all, you can use that money to splurge on new tech toys!