When it comes to money, almost all of us want to save more when paying out for a service or product. For some, they would rather pay a little extra for a good quality service, while others are searching for the most frugal deals available, but rarely is the price irrelevant. For one-off payments, whether you pay $50 of $80 isn’t that much of an issue, but when it comes to monthly payments, a discrepancy of $20 a month can start to add up over the course of a 2-year contract.
About contracts, the consumer is notoriously lazy when it comes to changing their services providers. It seems that once we ‘sign-off’ on a service, we rarely go back to see whether that deal is still working for us. If you are starting to feel like you or your business is hemorrhaging money at the moment, there are areas that you can attend to that may save you some considerable cash in the long run.
Take an interest in credit
Credit cards can be a huge boon for those of us who are going through a slight dip in monetary fortunes, both personally or in business. They can also be useful for those who are looking to increase their credit score (so long as they keep up repayments, obviously). Unfortunately, they are also one of the areas that we can find ourselves paying out more than necessary if we don’t keep an eye on the finer details of the card we signed up with. If you have been using the same credit card for a while, it could be a good idea to shop around and look for a better credit. There are plenty of offers out there such as cash bonus credit cards, student rewards, Gas rewards, travel rewards credit cards and more.
Transferring an existing debt from one credit card to another is usually a pretty simple experience. Some credit card companies have made it as simple as filling out an online application, while others will require a quick telephone call, but in general most can be moved with little fuss. With many credit cards offering 0% APR on balance transfers for the first year or two, leaving a company who is about to start charging you for purchases is not a difficult decision, so long as you have the impetus to actually do it.
Simply moving your debt to another company doesn’t mean that you can take your eye off the ball however, especially if you are moving your money to avoid a large percentage increase in interest rates. The 0% interest rate on switching doesn’t always include new purchases, so if your new card falls into this category, it’s time to start thinking of your new credit card as an account that you only ever ‘pay into’, rather than using it is as a card for ‘all occasions’,
In competitive markets, the consumer holds the cards
Another area that we quite often find ourselves losing money in without even realising, is gas and electricity. Similar to our credit cards situation, we can often sign up to a provider, and simply forget about it. The problem with that is that we quite often end up paying over the odds for the same service that we would find cheaper elsewhere. Disgruntled customer need to start realising that they hold quite a lot of power in competitive markets, and as such, companies are vying for their attention with ever-increasing ferocity. Doing this means that deals for new customers are hugely favourable, but equally, your existing providers know that very few people actually go through the rigmarole of cutting ties with them, and are banking on you not being too bothered. Buck the trend, and save you or your business some cash by shopping around for the best deals.
Cheaper internet, and cheaper apps are out there.
When it comes to our internet services, the same rule applies. Your 20MB line may have been a good deal back in 2014, but are you currently getting enough bang for your buck? Now, it is worth considering that changing internet providers can, sometimes, be more noticeable than a credit card or electricity provider. A cheap monthly bill is no recourse for a lousy service, so caution is advised when jumping ship in these waters. The grass isn’t always greener, but if you aren’t happy with the service you currently have, you could end up with either a cheaper service, or a more reliable one simply by shopping around for your internet connection.
Other internet services that you pay for, whether they are business applications or personal ones, often have a greater disparity in their abilities than the aforementioned services. It is all very well saving a substantial amount of cash when ditching Microsoft Office, but can Google Docs give you the same functionality? If the answer is no, then the money saved is irrelevant. If however you find that you are paying out for a service that is far more advanced than you need, further savings can be found here when switching to free alternatives. Libre Office and Google Docs have come on leaps and bounds over the last decade, and as such, many users will find everything they need in a package that costs precisely nothing.
Saving money on monthly bills is not difficult, but it can require a little time to implement. The savings that can be made however, are nothing to be sniffed at. So whether you are proactive enough to check your options every six months, or more realistically once a year, checking the value of the services you pay out for should be somewhere on your ‘to-do’ list. The other option is to be become one of the statistics that these companies rely on to balance their books. The choice is very much yours.
James Harris is the lead editor Billionaire 365. James has written for many publications including Business Insider Vanity Fair and Bleacher Report. Kevin is based in Ottawa and covers issues affecting real estate and business. In addition to following the financial markets around the world, James also has a passion for dog breeding and is very proud of his champion boxers.