Did you know that you could negotiate your expenses? I asked this question on my Instagram account and I received so many questions about how. How much are your monthly expenses? Do you really know this number without pulling out your budget? You should! You should know exactly how much you are paying for each expense and confidently say, that you are paying the best price for each service to meet your family needs. And if you are not paying the best price you should work on reducing your expenses.
If you are living paycheck to paycheck you either have an expense issue, or an income issue. The first step to determine where the issue lies, is to review every expense and attempt to negotiate, switch to a less expensive option, or cancel your membership if the expense no longer benefits you or you can find a free way to have the same service.
To reduce my expenses, I listed all of my expenses individually and either shopped around, canceled subscriptions, and/or called to negotiate a better rate. I started with my auto and home insurance. First, I reviewed the coverages and first realized that I was over insured. As a result, I reduced my coverages and shopped around to several insurance companies to find the lowest rates for the coverages I actually needed. By doing this I reduced my auto insurance by $151 a month! That’s about $1800 a year.
Next, I bundled my home insurance with my auto insurance and I was able to reduce my home insurance by $200 a year. You have to ask for the discounts a company offers. After asking about the additional discounts the company offered, I realized I qualified for several discounts that I was not taking advantage of. I signed up for auto pay, took an online defensive driving course, submitted verification of my home security system, and notified the company that I was newly married (yes, there was a discount for this!).
The next expense to conquer was my electricity bill. My electricity bill was $600 for 1 month during the summer!! $600 for 1 month is absolutely CRAZY! I researched the different billing options for my electricity bill and signed up for the most cost-effective option. After switching billing options, I made significant changes around the house to reduce the bill.
Next, Student loans were up. Although, my student loans have a fixed interest rate, I contacted the servicer about discounts and I was able to reduce my interest rate by .25% by signing up for autopay.
The next step was to be completely honest with myself and cancel anything that I was not taking full advantage of. I canceled my music streaming service and signed up for a streaming service that was free. I decided to workout at home and cut the gym membership. Next on my cancel list was the cable bill, but that’s where my husband drew the line. As a compromise, we canceled the Netflix subscription. In addition to canceling Netflix, I contacting the cable company and negotiated a promotion for 12months.
Before beginning this journey, food was the most expensive expense after the mortgage (and the electricity during the summer months). I cut the monthly grocery budget in half by shopping weekly sale items, using coupons, and making a weekly meal plan.
Another thing I regret and wanted to cancel was the cell phone bill. Just a few months before starting this journey, both my husband and I purchased the newest iPhone. Having the latest iPhone means you pay an additional $40+ per line to lease the phone. I had to get creative in figuring out how to reduce this bill. So, I added several (reliable… and I repeat RELIABLE) people to my cell phone account to reduce the bill by almost $100/month. I made sure these people set up direct deposit to automatically transfer their portion of the bill monthly directly into my account.
Finally I reduced was my credit card bill. Although I only use 1 credit card (I used this card for EVERYTHING in order to build my travel reward points), this is an expense that depends on the APR. I contacted my credit card company to negotiate a lower interest rate and my APR was reduced from 17% to 5% for 12 months.
As a result of my efforts, I was able to reduce my expenses by about $550 a month! This felt like I got a raise. I will not stop! Every 12 months I am committed to completely reviewing my expenses, negotiating, and shopping around for the best deals. If a subscription/membership is no longer beneficial, I will cancel it. It’s about that time of the year again and I’m excited about getting my “raise” this year.
I often give tips on my Instagram account about how I save. I would love for you to follow my journey. Do you have any tips to reduce your expenses?