I recently made the decision to begin searching for a van to purchase. With a growing family, my small SUV wasn’t working so well! However, I knew that in order to get what I wanted I would need to take out a loan. Then I began to consider my budget and exactly what I could afford without being stretched. That’s when I decided it was time to reassess my bills. Maybe it’s time you did the same thing.
When evaluating your monthly bills and expenses:
1. Look at the bills that are not utilities.
Typically there is car and homeowner insurance, home alarm, cable/internet, and home mortgage. Since we had been loyal with the various companies for several years and always paid on time, I thought there was certainly some type of “loyalty discount” that they could give.
2. Start with your car and homeowners insurance.
One phone call cut these monthly bills in half! Apparently our insurance company had just implemented a new rating system that caused them to be able to lower our premiums. While I was extremely happy about that, it also frustrated me that the new rating system wasn’t simply offered without my inquiry.
3. Check with your home alarm company.
I called our home alarm company after looking online to see what new customer promotions they were offering. As a new customer, I could get service for about $20 less per month than what I was currently paying.
The first person I spoke with didn’t offer enough of a savings to convince me it was the best he could do. So, I explained that as a loyal customer for over eight years, they could do better. That’s when he transferred me to the magical “Customer Loyalty” division. While the lady there couldn’t get me to the new customer offer, she lowered my monthly bill by almost half, and I remained loyal to them.
4. Next, take on the internet and cable company.
This was a very similar experience to the home alarm company: I went from a customer service representative to a customer loyalty representative. My cable and internet service had recently increased by more than $60 per month, and while I didn’t want to change providers, I was ready to do so if my current provider wouldn’t work with me. Thankfully, the customer loyalty rep was able to bring my monthly invoice back to within $6 of my previous, lower bill, saving me more than $50 per month.
5. Home mortgage will probably be a bit more involved.
Since we bought our home without a 20% down payment, the lender added private mortgage insurance (PMI). In order to be considered for removing the PMI, we had to agree to pay for an appraisal of our home. Property values in Nashville have skyrocketed, so we knew we were in great shape. Within a month, we had the PMI removed. Between that and the decrease in our homeowner’s insurance, we are now saving a significant amount monthly.
Even with the additional loan payment on my new vehicle, I’m not paying out any more per month overall than I was prior to purchasing it! There may be other monthly costs that you could review in addition to the ones I mentioned, but take it from me—it is worth the time and effort to reassess your monthly bills!
Need some more financial advice? Check out this podcast episode: Know Yourself, Know Your Money With Rachel Cruze – 153