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I think sometimes I take cutting our monthly bills too far. Just the other day, I ended up back at my old hair stylists chair after I had left her (after 4 years of great service, mind you) for another stylist who was charging $7 less. Sounds like an episode of the Young and the Restless, but how ridiculous is that? (And, yes, I did feebly try to explain to her my leaving for most of the summer was an attempt to save a buck or two – which she was more than gracious about).
Like everything in life – balance is often a worthy goal. I still believe in ruthlessly examining where our money is going and seeking to pay less wherever we can. Yet, I’m also keenly aware of paying for good service and products that will last (which can also save you in the long-term).
With that in mind – I do want to write about some things I’ve been noticing of late that people around me (friends and family in particular) seem to be paying too much for.
Cell phone plan
Let’s start off right away with the heavy hitter – and one that you are probably most beholden to given that most of us already own one and always have it by our side. After Charlie did a review of this company earlier in the year, I finally signed up for their unbeatable cell phone plan. Starting at $5/month (for their basic wifi service) and going up to $40/month (for their 4G+ service), Republic Wireless is great option for saving on your cell phone plan. Even with taxes, my first bill came to $29.32 (I chose the $25/month, 3G, unlimited talk, text, data*). While you do have to purchase one of their phones (cheapest is a $99 model), their service is great and I have had no problems. If you’d prefer not to have to buy a new phone, Ting is another affordable option that Matthew reviewed for us in January. There’s no reason you should be paying more than $30 for your cell phone per month.
I think this is one of the most overlooked services when homeowners are going through their monthly bills, looking for areas to trim costs. We are a part of a homeowners association – and one of the first things our new management company did when we brought them on-board was to negotiate our sanitation bills. It was amazing how much they were able to save us. Even if you aren’t in an association, you can still lower your monthly trash bills by leveraging your neighbors and approaching different contractors to bid on you and your neighbors service.
My brother and I were having an interesting discussion about bills and he told me about a co-worker of his who leases an electric car (with a $200/month payment) and basically eliminates any gas and most vehicle maintenance costs. What an interesting concept! My wife and I routinely spend over $300/month in gas-related and vehicle-related expenses. But, even if you don’t want to lease, Uber and other ride-sharing services are quickly becoming great gas-saving options.
We’ve mentioned Ooma before and what a great product they have in their Telo device ($140 at Amazon). For a one-time fee, it eliminates a monthly landline bill while giving you the option of still keeping your landline! Charlie loves the product and has been a happy customer for over 2 years. If you are paying for a landline every month, you are paying too much. (Full disclosure: Ooma is a site sponsor of TTG)
This is one area of our budget that I’m particularly proud of. We hardly spend anything on entertainment (okay, so I do a little more in the summer when golf season is in full swing). There’s just no reason to and if you are – you may not be using your creative juices. There’s free libraries, parks, bike trails and even Redbox movies (Hint: if you sign up for their emails or texts, you can get a free rental code almost every week! Text SIGNUP to 727272 to get going with text alerts).
So, what have I missed? Are there other things we tend to pay too much for every month?
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