Unless you live in a cabin in the woods, you almost certainly have monthly bills. Utilities, rent, car insurance all add up. And not only do they add up, but they have a tendency to increase slowly over time, or often not so slowly in the case of rent. This gradual increase in bills can get very frustrating. But, if you are creative and willing to put in some effort, you can decrease many of these bills without having to change your habits, switch companies, or move.
Rent – Very few rental companies or landlords will negotiate to lower your rent, but many are willing to negotiate a long term deal. If you have been living in the same apartment or house for a few years, you have probably seen a yearly increase in rent. Assuming you are certain you intend to live there for at least five years or more, you should try negotiating a long term contract. Landlords are generally willing to make such deals and you can negotiate in a lower yearly increase in rent or even possibly no increase for a few years. If your landlord isn’t willing to make any concessions, don’t make the deal, but most will.
Car Insurance – Assuming you have a good driving record, you should revisit your car insurance every year or two. Rates for liability or medical are unlikely to change, but your cost for collision insurance will decrease as the value of your car decreases. You don’t need to buy a new car. In fact, the older your car gets, the less your insurance will cost. But this change is never made automatically. You have to actually talk to your agent and get re-evaluated. While you are at it, depending on your car insurance company, you may want to get a second type of insurance at the same time. Many insurance companies offer a discount for multiple policies and it is possible that a 10% discount on car insurance may save you more money than renter’s insurance or a cheap life insurance policy costs you each year.
Cable – The rule for cable is simple, call your cable company every single year and attempt to renegotiate. Cable companies offer “introductory” deals all the time and they are more than willing to offer those deals to existing customers, especially if you suggest that you might cancel your subscription. But you will only get offered one of these deals if you actually call and ask about it. Not only can you lower your cable rates this way, but it isn’t uncommon that you will actually get extra channels for the lower rate.
Internet-Cable Bundles – If you have cable and internet with the same company, you should look into adding one additional service in order to save money. As odd as that sounds, it is true. Major cable providers like Comcast will bundle internet, cable, and a home phone line together for a total cost that is lower than just internet and cable alone. This is yet another case where you often need to ask in order to get the deal. If you already have a home phone line through another company, this will require changing companies, but if you don’t, all you need to do is order the service. You don’t even need to use it.
Cell Phone – If you have had the same cell phone service for at least a year, you should research better options. You could try switching providers, but start-up costs for switching usually remove any savings you might get. Instead, contact your provider and see if there are any cheaper options available. Cheaper options usually offer fewer minutes or less data if you also have a data plan. Compare these reductions to your actual usage. If it higher than your usage, it is a good deal. This works particularly well if you have roll-over minutes on your plan. If you have earned enough roll-over minutes, you can switch down to a plan that is slightly lower than your average usage and use those roll-over minutes to make up the difference. When they get close to running out, switch back to the old plan. It means your bill will fluctuate, but you will get a lower average in aggregate.