Time to get a jump on Spring Cleaning by starting with our bank accounts! There are likely SEVERAL ways you are losing hard earned cash every month. The good news is; most of the items outlined below just require a closer look at your spending than sticking to a dreaded “budget.”
TV Streaming Services
If you are like us, you have so many streaming services you forget they are even there. Cable, this app, that app plus; chances are you do not need them ALL. UNSUBSCRIBE to the streaming services you rarely access. Don’t even go in and explore the app to make your decision; if you haven’t watched it in the last month or more, get it out of here. (Don’t worry, you can always reinstate your account in the future.)
- Make sure you go into whatever settings and actually hit “unsubscribe.” Deleting the app does not stop it from charging you.
Many apps; like music, sports, audio books, certain cable channels; offer *so many months free,* then start charging you. If you ever took the free trial on anything, it’s time to see if you accidentally became a paying subscriber!
Unfortunately, most of us need cable for the internet. That’s how they keep us from being completely cable-free, but many cable companies have accepted our streaming ways and offer streaming-only options that are lower in cost. They don’t usually talk about these plans, you have to inquire about them.
If you signed up for x amount of dollars a month and think cable keeps it that way forever; they don’t. Check your account to see how much you think you are paying versus what you are actually paying now that they “discontinued” your deal.
Ask for a deal. Sometimes, if you tell the cable companies you simply cannot afford to keep paying this high of rate, they will give you a discount for a period of time – but they never just offer it up, you have to tell them the bill is too high and ASK if you qualify for any discounts. This is especially true if you live in an area with multiple cable providers.
Shop around! Cable companies compete with each other, see if one will give you a better deal for longer by switching providers.
Your Cell Phone Carrier
Your mobile phone subscription might have freebies already included in your plan! Inquire with an agent to see what streaming apps might be free with your cell phone plan. For example, Apple TV+ was included with our new iPhone purchase, and Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ were included with many Verizon unlimited subscriptions.
This sounds odd, but check to see if your CABLE PROVIDER offers CELL PHONE SERVICE. Yep, you read that right, most major cable companies offer cell phone service now. In our experience, bundling our cell phone plan with our cable provider brought the bill down to less than 1/4 of the normal cost. The only catch is you have to remain their cable customer and live within their service area to qualify for their cell phone plans and service.
If you have streaming radio, be sure to check the bill. They sneakily raise the subscription, sometimes MORE THAN DOUBLE, after a period of time. However, if you call and tell them you cannot afford to keep paying that rate they will often give you another deal for a certain amount of months. Then, you call again.
Stored Credit Cards and Saved Passwords
Go through a month of charges to see what charges are going to where for what. Check the apps you share with family to make sure nothing is a wry. Uber, Amazon, Walmart, Grub Hub, even Taco Bell has an app. If your card is stored in it, if you ever shared the password to it, chances are someone could be using it without you knowing or accounting for the extra costs from it.
If you have children and family members who you have given access to your Amazon account, consider going in and tightening up those purse strings. We have a friend who, unbeknownst to her, was ordering over $200 of Amazon orders a month… only it wasn’t her, it was her teenagers treating it like a free shopping market and video store because they had total access to the account with the password.
- Start by changing the password and see who comes a knocking.
- You can share “Prime” with your family without sharing your password and credit cards.
- Services like two factor authentication on your credit cards often sends a text or email to you to ensure you approve any cards trying to be added to apps or stored online. Check with your credit card provider for what safety measures are offered with your exact card.
Especially as a small business owner, there were a few subscriptions I was unaware of were recurring. When you sign up for something for the year to get free or reduced shipping is a good place to start investigating.
Food Delivery Services
The services that run and pick up food for you and deliver it to your door cost a LOT of money. Even worse, they actually TAKE a lot of money from the restaurants you love. Often menu prices are inflated to cover the expense, then add on the fees and tip and you’ve turned a burrito into the cost of fine dining. You’ll be surprised how much money can be saved by simply calling or visiting your local restaurants for take out.
Now, we all love a good meal at our favorite spot. Things are more expensive theses days and continuous dining out costs A LOT. We’re talking new car payment “a lot.” It’s not just meals, it’s drinks, coffees, cocktails, desserts too. Daily cheap Fast Food off of the value menus cost us more in our overall health. Set a monthly dining out budget and try to stick to it. If you stop for coffee 7 days a week, try only 5, then 3, etc. etc.
“But I love restaurant meals!!!” Try a meal subscription service like Every Plate or Hello Fresh. It’s restaurant quality meals that you make at home, for less. Makes sticking to the budget easier too!
“For just the cost of a cup of coffee a day…”
This phrase is buried in our subconscious equating coffee with “inexpensive.” That’s because back in the day, plain coffee was about seventy-five cents. Now days a custom coffee order can easily reach $6 to $7 dollars for the MEDIUM. (This just happened to me!) Switch to cheaper coffee experiences. For example, opt for McCafe instead of Starbucks more often. Order a simple cup of coffee from your favorite place instead of lattes and mochachino-frappe-what-ies. Try to make coffee at home more enjoyable. Even office coffee can be delicious when you bring your own coffee making supplies like flavored creamers and/or syrups. Many major coffee chains even have grocery store options of their products that will make it easier to enjoy what you love for less money at home.
Shop Around for Insurance Providers
It is a time consuming task, but take the time to compare rates at different insurance agencies (for auto, home, renters, business, etc.). When shopping, it’s important to make sure you are getting the SAME COVERAGE and with a reputable agency. We have found significant savings just by shopping our policies around.
D&CO. wishes you a prosperous 2023!