With the new year always comes new year resolutions. One of my resolutions is to review my monthly fixed expenses and see where I could cut excess spending.
I do a lot of research when I first sign up for a monthly or yearly service, but then once that monthly bill is part of my financial plan, I don’t always revisit it. I just pay the bill when it comes in. So my resolution is to spend a bit more time looking over all of my bills as they come in this month. Do I still need this service? Do I need the plan that I am on or is there another plan that would save me money?
Here are six costly services that are being closely scrutinized:
- Auto insurance – Maybe it is time to take the comp and collision off of your older car. There is a point where it just isn’t worth it to pay for that coverage. Even though the car still has several thousand dollars of value, will you really turn in this claim and have your rates go up? This can be a savings of hundreds of dollars a year.
- Phone service – There are sooo many phone plans out there. If your contract is up, it is always worth it to take time to re-evaluate your plan to see if you are getting the most bang for the buck on your cell plan.
- DVD rental monthly plan – This is something that I am looking at changing for sure. With Redbox and other one night DVD rentals and download options available, I don’t know that my monthly in-the-mail DVD rental plan is going to make the cut. The big consideration is if the return box is on a route that you travel every day. One night rentals can add up if you don’t return the DVDs promptly. This could save me a minimum of $100 a year in fees.
- Utilities – I always look at my utilities bills in detail, but now I am considering what I can do to lower these bills. I’ve heard that a tankless water heater is a good way to save. Of course, there is also putting in solar panels or a wind generator. But even small changes can lower your utility bill.
- Automatic bill payments – A lot of people have put payments for everything from taxes to taxi cab bills on automatic payments. I must admit that I do not like automatic payments. I want to SEE my bills. I want to have to put my attention on what I am spending. I want to see the fees, the taxes and check to see if there is some random charge that I didn’t request. By checking my bills in detail, I also see the little incremental fee raises that would otherwise get lost. I know that many people think they are saving time and trees by auto bill paying. But, auto pay can make it too easy to not confronting what you are actually spending.
- Mortgage – The interest rates on mortgages are at an all-time low. Just make sure that you read ALL the fine print and crunch the numbers. When you refinance a mortgage you can end up paying more in the long run than you would pay if you just kept your old mortgage.