Mid-Year Review: Regular Spending

July 14, 2014 | Kate Horrell

I hadn’t intended to make the mid-year review into more than one post, but the whole first post was taken up with tax issues.  Fun stuff, huh?

Today, we’re going to talk about those creepy charges that attach themselves to your various bills.  Your mission for this month is to open every single bill you pay, including those for which you get online statements, and see what you are paying for and whether you want that item.

For credit card accounts, you’re looking for charges that you’re getting monthly and are maybe not using.  This includes anything from wine club memberships to gym fees to that subscription to a certainly online website.  In addition to checking your credit card bills, check your Paypal account.  Lots of subscription memberships have moved to accepting Paypal, which is a great way to protect your credit card info but means one more place you need to supervise charges.

Then, check your month bills.  This includes:

  • cell phone
  • internet
  • cable television, DISH network, or other television provider
  • landline telephone
  • alarm systems
  • gym memberships
  • insurance

For each of these bills, take a few minutes and consider whether it is something you want or need.  Then, hop online and see what type of sign-up offers they are promoting.  Lastly, call the company and tell them that you can’t afford their service and that you’d like to see what you can do to lower your bills.  Be nice and play fair.  Don’t threaten to cancel unless you really intend to cancel.

I can pretty much guarantee that if you contact all these companies, you will find a least one who is willing to negotiate the rate your paying.  It might mean moving to another plan, but that is fine as long as it meets all your needs.

Tackling on-going expenses might take a little longer than clipping a few coupons, but these are big ticket items on which you are spending money each and every month.  A few phone calls can result in substantial long-term savings.

***************************************************************

This post is part of our mid-year financial review series:

Mid-Year Financial Review:  Taxes

Mid-Year Review:  Regular Spending

Mid-Year Review:  GI Bill Benefits Transfer

Mid-Year Review:  Verify Your GI Bill Benefits Transfer