Screen-Shot-2013-03-06-at-10.32.34-AMSo this post is a bit different than some of the other material we provide.  Typically we are showing you something we love, and unfortunately, pretty much everything we love costs money.  Unless you were born into great wealth or are fortunate enough to have accrued your own, we pretty much all live on a budget of some kind.  Even if you do make good money, there is no sense in spending money recklessly.  We all do well to push our money as far as possible!  Besides, if we can do that, then we can buy a few more of those fancy things we want!  So that is a bit of what this post is about.  How to save money on things you use in everyday life.  You will be surprised how much you can save in a year while noticing zero change in your lifestyle.  Well, that is until you use that money you saved on something memorable.  Then your lifestyle will be changed for the better!

The first area we are going to discuss is the cable bill.  Most of us loves our TVs.  But it doesn’t stop there.  Most of us now own DVRs.  Once you’ve had it, you can’t go without it.  If you take my DVR, you take my life.  Seriously.  Unfortunately, they don’t hand these fancy boxes out for free.  In some way or another you end up paying for that lovely gadget that makes your life so much better.  By the time you add up your cable and internet bill, you start getting to a number that feels like real money!  Do yourself a favor and shop around.  Almost everyone living in a city has a few companies competing for your money each month whether it be a cable or satellite company.  Almost all companies offer large discounts for new customers.  But for you, the loyal customer for years, you get no discount.  Change that!  If you have another provider that can offer you the same level of service you currently receive, call your existing company and threaten to cancel.  Let them know you are cancelling solely because of the price and that the competition has a better deal.  With any luck, they will offer to discount what you are paying and maybe even throw in free trials of pay channels.  That really is the best case scenario, because you will not have to go through the hassle of setting up an appointment with another company to establish service.  I recently called my existing cable company and through a little haggling I was able to save $550 over the next year, and that included a free pay channel for 6 months!  Obviously be diligent about remembering to cancel any service in the future you may not want.  Set a reminder in your phone calendar and you won’t forget!   Take these 15 minutes of time and save yourself money.

Do you drive a car?  Unless you are living in one of a few cities blessed with amazing mass transit you probably do.  And every single month you pay for car insurance.  This is one of the easiest items to save money on.  Call around to different companies and do not give up.   You will be amazed how much quotes can vary.  I went through this process after recently getting married and I saved $360 over the next year.  But that is $360 less than I was paying for one car for one person.  My new quote was for two people driving two cars.  So I added a person and added a car and it was still cheaper.  But the quote I received was over $1000 cheaper than some of the other quotes I received.  So the moral is this:  Call, call, call!  Some companies will be expensive for you and cheap for me.  But some will be cheap for me and expensive for you.  You won’t know until you have called around.  This might take a bit more work than saving money on your cable bill, but the savings may also be far greater.

Ok, so that’s two ways almost anyone can save money.  But there’s a third way you can save money on something you use every single day: your cell phone.  There is a lot that can be written about that so we will go into that in-depth next week.  Nonetheless, I promise you will be amazed by how much money you can save.  In the meantime, see if you can’t use the aforementioned tips to save some money in the next year.  What will you do with your new gains?  Will you put them in the bank?  Or will you indulge in one of your own gillty pleasures?
-Stephen Tiedemann