The new year is fast approaching, and during this one, the pandemic forced clients to pick up a number of new money-saving habits due to their changed lifestyles. Here's how they can continue to reduce their expenses in 2021.
14 Places to Look for Savings
Upon reading this list you might say: “These ideas have made sense for years.” The pandemic provides a push. What’s old is new again.
1. List and review your automatic debits.
It’s easy to forget what we are paying for and the cost involved. For instance, few people know the highway toll on their work commute. Why? Because it’s on EZPass.
Action: List and review those automatic debits. Charitable contributions. Good. Gym membership. Have you been going during post pandemic? If not, why not put your membership on hold?
2. Review Your Streaming Services:
Netflix recently raised their monthly charges on most plans. Back in April the LA Times reported the average American uses four streaming services. Are you using them all?
Action: Review your cable bill. How many services are you paying for each month?
3. Comparison Shop Cable and Satellite TV Plans:
How much are you paying? Do you use those premium channels? On October 27th the WSJ reported T-Mobile is introducing a wireless TV service starting at $10/month.
Action: Clients should be aware of what they are paying and their alternatives.
4. Look for a New Cell Phone Plan:
Has your client paid off their cellphone? Had their current wireless plan expired? They are in a good position to comparison shop competitors. It’s unlikely your current provider is going to tell you about cheaper rates.
Action: Shop around. Even if you don’t move, calling you wireless provider and telling them about the deal you found might get you better terms. They want you to stay.
5. Get Insurance Quotes:
It pays to have a good agent. Talk with them about what you are paying on home, auto and personal liability insurance. They know your habits. You are a good driver. Agreeing to a higher deductible might get you lower premiums.
Action: Ask how you can lower your premiums. You may be pleasantly surprised.
6. Price Shop Fuel Oil:
Assuming you heat with oil, you use a lot in a season. Homeowners often buy via a contract with monthly payments to even out the peaks and valleys. Does your client know they can buy oil for their home like they buy gas for their car?
Action: When the time comes to renew your annual contract, call around and check spot prices. Discuss the prices you’ve seen vs. what they are offering as a locked in price. If you have a large tank, you could fill it at the spot price at the start of the season.
7. Compare Service Plans:
You have one for your AC. Another for heating. Possibly some for your appliances. You have one for lawn mowing and another for pest control. These add up. Do you need them all? Are you getting the best price?
Action: Shop around and check prices. In business, companies look at alternatives before they sign on for another year of service. You can do the same.
8. Get Three Bids:
You see some big projects ahead. The roof needs replacing. The exterior needs repainting. Borrow another strategy from the business world and get multiple bids.
Action: Services like homeadvisor.com make it easy to find local contractors, check prices and see reviews. It’s prudent.
9. Track Expenses Working from Home:
Your client isn’t commuting, because their office moved into the spare room. They are buying reams of paper. Printer cartridges. Making phone calls. Driving to drop off paperwork with clients. These sound like work-related expenses.
Action: Keep track of these expenses. Save receipts. Don’t forget mileage.
10. Cancel Magazine Subscriptions:
2020 has been one long, enforced period of staying indoors. If those magazines are still sitting unread, you don’t need them.
Action: Cancel subscriptions for rarely read publications. Websites like discountmags.com offer absurdly cheap subscription rates on popular magazines.
11. Track Credit Card Charges:
At a time when fraud is rampant, you want to save receipts and match them against your credit card statement when it arrives. Challenge unfamiliar charges. It’s logical someone might try slipping through a small bogus charge, then larger ones if you haven’t noticed.
Action: Match receipts with credit card statements.
12. Sell Things You Don’t Need:
You need to clean the garage. You never played with the Star Wars toys you were given in 1978, shortly after the first movie debuted. eBay is a good way to check prices and find a market. FYI: The Hans Solo action figure by Kenner (1978) might sell for $5,000+ today.
Action: Instead of throwing things out or giving them away, check prices on eBay first.
13. Seek Out Low Rates:
Credit card companies charge high rates on revolving charge card balances. Others, hoping to win your business, offer a very low rate on balance transfers.
Action: Comparison shop credit card rates.
14. Think About Lessons Learned:
This is most important. You ate out less frequently and took fewer vacations. This saved lots of money.
Action: Think about a gradual, phased re-entry into your previous lifestyle. You don’t need to be eating out several nights a week now that you’ve learned to cook at home.
Your client developed good habits during the lockdown. Along with the proper guidance. they can reduce their expenses from pre-pandemic levels.
Click here to read more articles written by Bryce Sanders.Subscribe to the Dunham Blog