Slash Your Recurring Monthly Costs and Save Big

by Justin Weinger on August 22, 2011

Monthly recurring costs can take up a big chunk of your budget. And sadly, because these costs are expected each month, we end up paying the bill without much thought, especially now that many of our bills can just come directly out of our checking accounts without us having to even really look at the bill.

While this is convenient and easy, it also lends itself to a lot of wasteful spending.

Without ever really thinking about or examining the bills for your monthly recurring costs, chances are pretty good that you’re needlessly spending anywhere from tens to possibly hundreds more per month that you should. Over the course of a year, these things can ultimately cost you thousands of dollar for things you don’t need or even use.

For the purposes of this article, I’m going to look beyond things like groceries and utilities, because those can be somewhat variable. However, I’m sure a few articles in the not-so-distant future will be published on this site showing ways to dramatically cut those costs, too.

Gym Membership

This ends up being a very wasteful monthly cost for a lot of people. They sign up for the gym thinking they’ll use it at least a few days per week and deceive themselves into believing that having the cost will help to keep them motivated to stay on track with their workouts.

The problem is, in many cases after the first few weeks of zeal wear off, a lot of people get very minimal, if any use out of their gym. That doesn’t mean the monthly payments stop though.

Since I’m of the belief that most people can get their exercise requirements without a gym – walking, jogging, bodyweight strength training – my suggestion would be to cancel the membership and save yourself the cash. If you’re of the belief that you need a gym in order to work out – maybe you like to do heavy squats and other lifts – make sure you’re actually going to the gym!

Insurance

Most people get insurance policies for their lives, cars, homes, valuable property, etc. by doing a little bit of upfront research and then picking the company that, at the time, is the best value. But, just because the company you went with was the best value then, doesn’t mean they’re the best value now.

Every six months to a year, it makes sense to do some comparison shopping.

Start off by calling your current provider and ask them how they can give you lower premiums; most companies will work with you since it’s cheaper to keep you than it is to find a new customer.

After you have the new price, which will hopefully be made effective once you’ve completed your call with your current insurance company, go and get quotes from other insurance providers. If the cost is less and you’ll be getting the same service – both in terms of what will actually be insured and in terms of customer service – it might be worth it to consider switching companies.

Cable/Internet/Phone

These costs are all being bundled together because it seems more often than not, people are getting these services from the same provider and, usually, as part of the same monthly bill. This also tends to lead to a lot of waste.

Do you have a land line but never use it because you use your cell phone instead? Cancel the line and save money. Are you paying for premium cable channels or things like DVR and never really using them? Cancel them and save money. Are you paying for the highest speed internet but don’t do much streaming or downloading/uploading of data? Go with a lower-tier package and save money.

Cell Phone

As is sort of the recurring theme here, make sure you aren’t paying for services you don’t need: are you paying for a 500 minute plan when a 350 minute plan would more than adequately cover you? Carrying insurance on an old phone you could easily replace for free by renewing your plan? Just take a look at your bill and I’m sure you’ll see places where you can save money.

Also, check to make sure you’re not under-covered on your plan, too. Do you have a 350 minute plan but spend 600 minutes on the phone? Those extra 250 minutes are probably really expensive and cost way more than it would to upgrade your plan.

Finally, if you don’t really use your phone much, consider going to one of those month-to-month pay as you go plans. It might be a good way to save money over a “traditional” provider.

Moral of the story: if you are able to cut a couple bucks off of each of your recurring monthly bills, over the course of a year those savings are really going to add up.

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