In our constant quest to save money on routine expenditures, I’ve reassessed where we have some opportunities and have already taken action in a few spaces to cut out recurring expenses. Here are some key categories and considerations we’ve undertaken which may be of interest to you as well:
Competitive Bidding – We need to have some trees taken down and rather than going with a single quote like many people do, we got 3 quotes from reputable tree services. To be honest, I was amazed at how much lower one of them came in. He just has lower overhead, he lives around the corner and the job was just the right size for him. He said he’d gang it with another job in our neighborhood the same day. So, that’s a few hundred dollars we’re saving over going with the first service our neighbors recommended.
Early Payment Discount – I’m all about the early payment discount (otherwise known as dynamic pricing), as it’s the most effortless, risk-free savings you can get. Many companies and municipalities are cash-flow constrained so for them, they reward early payers with a discount. When looking at the annual tax bills for both my personal real estate tax, as well as our rental units, there’s a 2% discount for paying 2 months early. That’s equivalent to roughly a 12% annualized risk-free return, which is impossible to find anywhere else. When I add up the savings across all entities, it’s several hundred dollars this year.
Cancellation of Services You’re Don’t Really Need – While this may sound a bit cliche and obvious, step back for a minute and honestly assess whether you’re really using all your recurring subscriptions? After some introspection, I was able to easily cancel my Sirius satellite subscription, eliminate my daily newspaper delivery (I kept Sunday only).
Play Competitors Against Each Other – One of the favorite tactics I like to share that’s worth sharing again is to play competitors in the utility space against each other. With all our neighbors switching to Verizon FIOS, I remind my Comcast customer service rep of this fact and request discounted monthly pricing to “remain a loyal customer” (here were the details of when I saved 21% on my bill). I get free premium channels, DVR and an extra discount, probably totaling $60-$90 in savings each month just for an annoying phone call once or twice a year. The same could be done for trash companies, pest control or any other number of service providers.
Test the Waters Every So Often – It’s a dynamic market out there and even though you may have secured some quotes a year ago and feel you know the landscape, it could have changed again. By simply checking out the latest discounts and quotes against the market, you could save big bucks each year, especially if you have multiple cars in the household and/or teenagers who tend to have very high insurance rates.
What Are Your 2013 Money-Saving Tactics?