You have your budget (or spending plan) on auto-pilot. With the exception of a few tweaks each month, you no longer have to slave over numbers and spreadsheets and calculators. Your investing and savings are humming along, and you are seeing your balances increase and grow over time. Everything is moving along smoothly.
And then…you get too comfortable. And you aren’t watching your budget. And you start to overspend without even realizing it. You look through your bank account and realize that some of your subscriptions and monthly payments have gone up. Maybe you missed the notification email (among the thousands of emails that hit your inbox) that your rate was increasing.
Whatever the case, it’s better to be proactive in reviewing your expenses than reactive. It’s a great idea to review your major household services at least twice a year and do a little comparison shopping. This way, you can be sure that you are not overpaying for a service you are using. In addition, you may also find you are not using that service and can cancel it completely. Make sure you are getting the best value you are spending your money on so that you can make the best financial decisions for you.
Here are some services that you may use that you should comparison shop:
Car insurance. This is an industry that is notorious (in my experience) of raising rates on a consistent basis – even with a clean driving record. A few years ago, I had noticed that my car insurance premium felt a lot larger than it had been when I first signed on with the company. To be honest, I was not reviewing my bills to see if there had been any increases. However, I found out that I was paying a lot more than if I switched to a competitor – with the same level of insurance and service. I ended up saving $1,800 a year in car insurance. I am so glad that I noticed my bill getting larger and took the time to check out other quotes.
Storage Units. Rather than comparison shop for a better price, evaluate if you really need to keep the unit. Why are you paying to store these items instead of using them? The one exception is if you are in between homes and need to store your personal belongings temporarily. However, if this is not the case, you may want to review what you are keeping in storage. My own personal experience with my old storage unit resulted in donating three-fourths of the contents and finding a place in my home for the remaining fourth. By getting rid of my storage unit, I saved $1,000 a year!
Cell Phone/Internet Service. It’s always good to survey the market when your contract time is expiring. Make sure you understand how long a promotional period for discounted service lasts and how much you will pay over the length of the service. Sometimes the entire contract price doesn’t make sense, no matter how great the initial discount may be.
TV viewing services. Cable no longer has the monopoly it once had. Now there is DirectTV, NetFlix, Hulu, Roku, Firestick. The choices seem endless. Be mindful of how many subscription services you are subscribing to and how many you are actually using. You could be costing yourself a lot of extra money for streaming than you should. Pick one or two that make the most sense for your viewing needs and watch for notifications of prices increases.
Gym memberships. Notorious for not being used but hard to let go and cancel. Be honest about how much you are using the membership. If you still want to have a gym membership handy, check around for lower priced alternatives that can fit your fitness needs.
What are some services that you regularly price compare?