Greetings all! Lately the hubs and I have been spending some time re-evaluating our fixed expenses. You know, the expenses that occur every month no matter what and seem “fixed” in nature. Only here’s the thing: Your fixed expenses are only truly “fixed” when you forget about them and just keep paying them every month without stopping to question them at all.
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Here’s a great example of this. When the hubs and I moved into our current home in fall 2012, we selected the most competitive trash provider at the time and wound up with a monthly trash bill of $33. Fast forward one year later and I found myself calling up my trash provider because of an issue that I had with them, and I sort of accidentally found out throughout the course of that phone call that our provider had dropped their rates considerably in order to keep up with the competition- but they never bothered to notify us. Sounds about right, huh?
As a result of that phone call, we ended up getting a 50% bigger trash can for $5 less per month. That was the first of two subsequent price drops that we’ve had on our trash plan. Apparently there is a trash war in my town, because I keep calling every month or so and I keep getting better rates! We are now down to $18 per month as of last week when I called after we realized that we could get an additional discount on our trash plan because Mr. CMF’s employer has a deal with them. Getting a better deal on trash every time I call is getting addictive! At this point I have every intention of continuing to call every month or so until one day my trash service is free. 🙂
How else can you save money on your fixed expenses? Check out these tips.
10 Easy Ways to Save on Your Fixed Expenses
- Check in with your billers routinely to make sure you are still getting the best rate! I’d recommend doing this on at least a bi-annual basis.
- Ask! It’s amazing what you might hear if you ask the question how can I get this cheaper? Customer service reps from your service providers are likely happy to help you out on this, especially if it means being able to keep you as a customer.
- Re-evaluate the need for certain services. Cable is a classic example. For years the hubs and I always had cable. Then a few months ago our cable provider sent us a letter to notify us that our bill was going to go up by $57 because our “promotional rate was expiring.” I had zero intention of paying $57 more per month for something that did not seem to add that much value to our lives. They refused to budge on the price, so we ditched cable. We are now happy Hulu and Prime customers, and we have a Mohu Leaf to pull in the local network stations. We really don’t miss cable all that much, and we are saving $50 per month on that bill (well, I guess more if you include the fact that they wanted to increase the bill by $57- it’s $107 if we count that!)
- Check out the competitors of your service providers. Who knows, maybe there’s a trash war in your town too!
- Improve your household’s energy efficiency. Easy ways to do this are by using curtains smartly (for example, in the winter open curtains to let sun in to naturally warm your home during the day. Then close at night when the sun is down), applying weather stripping to windows and doors, and closing vents in rooms that are infrequently used.
- Reduce your household’s water usage by installing a water efficient shower head if you don’t already have one. If you are looking for more inspiration on creative ways to save money in the shower, check out this post.
- Auto-program your thermostat to help you keep your home’s energy usage down. In the winter you can easily program it to keep your home comfortable during the day but drop the temperature at night- you’ll sleep better in a cooler room AND save money!
- Re-evaluate your insurance costs. Are you still getting the best possible deal? If not, maybe it’s time to switch providers or policies. It’s also definitely worth looking into the possibility of “bundling” your policies by taking care of all of your insurance needs at one company- there may be some great deals to be had by doing things this way!
- Lower your interest rates if you can. This is much more possible with some types of debt (like credit cards) than others (like student loans, unless you consolidate)- but this one can be a biggie because if you get a better deal on your interest rate you can literally save thousands over the course of the loan/debt period. It’s DEFINITELY worth calling up your credit card companies to check on this one, especially if you have credit card debt that you are paying interest on.
- Re-evaluate the automatic draws from your account every month. I think it’s easy to get into the trap of just continually paying for something just because it’s a habit and- especially if it’s an automated draw from your bank account- it’s easy and you don’t even really think about it. For example, a few years ago the hubs and I had memberships at a gym that was located about four miles from our home. We almost never made it there because it was inconvenient to go. Luckily one day we woke up and realized this. Cancelling those memberships saved us more than $100 per month!
This is not meant to be an exhaustive list, just a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing! I know some of you have likely come up with other ways to save money on your fixed expenses- and I want to hear all about them! Please let me know in the comment section the best ways that YOU’VE scored deals/discounts/decreases, or other ways to save on your fixed expenses!
Suggested Reading: While doing research for this post, I came across a great book with TONS of ideas for insulating and weatherproofing your home. If you are interested in become more energy efficient-savvy, I recommend checking out Insulate and Weatherize: For Energy Efficiency at Home (Taunton’s Build Like a Pro).
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