With the passing of every New Year, I make it a habit to go through the family expenses for the previous year. Year after year I make the grim realization that we spent nearly $3,000 in telephone and internet fees! I realize that over $700 goes to a security company to make sure that our doors are “guarded and monitored”. And I discover that the YMCA will get over $800 for the year to be used a few dozen times.
And every year I get serious about lowering those monthlies to a more acceptable amount.
So, without fail, here are the services I suggest requoteing at the beginning of every year as the prices fluctuate with competition, improvements in technology, and the threat of cancelling a service:
Auto Insurance: A friend in the insurance business told me recently that companies will often enter a region and “buy the market” with low rates. Such was the case when I got a call from Liberty Mutual Insurance and they offered to quote our auto insurance rates. The overall savings was $700 a year after accounting for the discounts, prepayment bonus, and a “safe driver” promotion.
BOTTOM LINE: Have your auto insurance requoted and see if you can save some on your monthly, quarterly, or annual fees.
Homeowners Insurance: Similarly, homeowners insurance rates fluctuate with the weather patterns (i.e. lots of hurricanes, tornadoes and fires means higher premiums), as well as how much exposure an insurance company wants in a certain region. When the aforementioned Liberty Mutual agent contacted me, he quoted the homeowners policy as well and was able to shave $500 a year off on the premiums we had been paying.
BOTTOM LINE: While you’re having your auto insurance quoted, have the agent throw in a quote for your home as well.
Cable Provider: The “cut the cable” promotion that has been spread far and wide on digital advertising mediums is causing some cable providers to offer sweetheart deals just to keep their subscribers on-board. With options like Hulu, Netflix, Roku, and Amazon Firestick, there are more and more reasons to ditch cable and move to a more checking account friendly option.
BOTTOM LINE: If you feel like you’re spending too much on cable services, call your provider and ask about other bundle options. If they balk, talk to them about cancelling your subscription and see if they change their tune. Beware the multi-year agreements — this landscape is changing quickly and cable is hanging on for dear life.
Phone & Internet: If you’re getting your internet through your cable provider, ask about faster upload and download connectivity for the same price or less. Technology advancements make all of this work in your favor — it costs less and less to move more and more data. Some readers may question why I would still have a home phone line that I’m paying for. Trust me, I ask the same question of myself every year. We’re almost to the point of dropping it but get our internet through the phone provider and I do a cost-benefit analysis of it every year. It still makes financial sense to have them bundled. But I’m getting closer to axing the service!
BOTTOM LINE: Moore’s Law stated that chip size would continue to decrease while chip capacity would double every 18 months. Ultimately, that means that the delivery of tech should get cheaper and cheaper. Have that stuff requoted!
Security Systems: I responded to a mailer a couple years ago that offered free installation of a home security system with a monthly subscription to monitoring for 24 months. It came up for renewal in December and when I called the company to tell them I was looking at other providers of monitoring, they immediately cut the monthly in half. For the same service. If you’re paying more per month for this type of service and you’re seeing lower rates elsewhere, it’s time to investigate!
BOTTOM LINE: Competition is a wonderful thing for consumers and we should be taking full advantage of it. Particularly when we’re talking about ongoing recurring revenue type companies like security monitoring. The biggest expense for them is acquiring a new customer, so lowering the monthly fee is a no-brainer as the lifetime value of a customer is HUGE.
Best of luck in finding a little savings here or there in your monthly, quarterly or annual expenses. My two cents on this — it’s found savings, so take what you’d been spending on the products or services and put it to work for you by paying off debt or investing in something you’ve been looking at for some time.