What's it costing you?

By
Real Estate Agent with Falcon Property Solutions
https://activerain.com/droplet/qG7

One of the blessings of the current economy is that it helps us to be more aware of what we have, and hopefully a little more aware of what things cost.

A friend of mine asked me not too long ago if I was paying attention to how much I spend on the "everyday" bills of which I am not even aware . . . phone, cable, insurance, utilities, etc.  Thinking that I had gotten pretty wise with the overhead, I didn't imagine it would affect me, but decided to take a look.  I'm not talking about getting rid of, just talking about the basics that we pay for, that we don't KNOW we are paying for, and that we never use.  I was pleased that I looked into it.

phone boothThe first eye opener was the cell phone bill.  It's the same every month. I thought nothing of it, just paid it automatically online when it came due.  But when I called the representative to see if we were using it to its best advantage, she laughed and said that she had seen few people with as many roll over minutes as I had (almost 80,000!).  With as much time as I spend on the phone (NOT my favorite part of my job!), how was that possible? 

Seems that AT&T had switched their plan so that ALL phone calls to ALL cell phones, no matter the service provider, were now FREE!  Who knew? I was paying for way too many minutes that I was no longer using, and changing just that one thing is saving me almost $100 per month.

Bottom line, after calling just a handful of regular monthly providers, I cut almost $300 per month off of our fixed monthly outgo for things we weren't even using, and I'm not nearly done yet.  With a yearly savings of approximately $3,600 SO FAR, it was worth an hour or two of my time.  What's in YOUR wallet?  

What's it costing you? was written by Mimi Foster

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Selling homes throughout Colorado Springs, Old Colorado City, Manitou Springs, and surrounding areas

 

     

Mimi Foster

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Mimi has received the honor of being voted one of the best Realtors in Colorado Springs five years in a row. With over two decades of experience, she is committed to making the home buying/selling process as painless and enjoyable as possible. Read Full Bio…

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Re-Blogged 3 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Connie Harvey 01/16/2012 10:14 AM
  2. Winston Heverly 08/05/2012 01:44 PM
  3. Carla Harbert 08/05/2012 01:54 PM
Topic:
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Show All Comments
Rainmaker
1,629,302
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Not as great a savings as yours - but I called my land line provider over an "out of service" credit that hadn't appeared on my bill and learned that I've been over-paying for the last year or so.

Not only that, I wasn't getting full service on my 2nd line. Now I have full service - no long distance charges, call waiting, caller ID - on both lines and my monthly bill is $14 less.

The thing is - I was simply lucky that this representative decided to take a look and tell me. In the time since Frontier bought out Verizon I've talked with them at least a half dozen times to report outages and get credit for out of service time. This man was the first one to volunteer information. (Long story, but this time they dug in new lines so maybe this won't be an ongoing problem.)

Anyway... the message is this: Don't assume they'll tell you that you could save money. ASK.

Jan 05, 2012 05:59 AM #46
Rainmaker
1,283,364
Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

You are so right Mimi!  I checked my cell and cable bills not too long ago ... and yep!  Savings were possible.  These need to be done periodically, because as you point out ... "things" change at companies.  Excellent and very timely advice ... thank you!

Gene

Jan 05, 2012 06:30 AM #47
Rainmaker
710,880
Pacita Dimacali
Alain Pinel - Oakland, CA
Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA

Mimi

Good thing you checked. That's a considerable savings. My company (Alain Pinel Realtors) has a deal with Verizon where we get 17% off. Even then, I'm monitoring my usage so that I don't go over my combined minutes (for all my cell phones and my MiFi modem).

Trying to cut back on other non-essential expenses including subscriptions to magazines I don't have time to read.

May love, joy, peace and prosperity rain upon you.

Jan 05, 2012 06:33 AM #48
Rainmaker
801,101
Kasey & John Boles
Jon Gosche Real Estate, LLC - BoiseMeridianRealEstate.com - Boise, ID
Boise & Meridian, ID Ada/Canyon/Gem/Boise Counties

Whoa!  I try to do that every year but I am sure there are things that I miss.  My phone bill is one of my biggest expenses so I would love to drop that by $100/month.  You are an inspiration!  P.S. Great new photo! And Happy New Year! -Kasey

Jan 05, 2012 07:15 AM #49
Anonymous
Michael Diaz

You really have to do this these days.  Every company is out to sneak every fee and extra service that isnt necessary.  I myself like the unlimted plan with sprint, i have 4 phones for $179

Jan 05, 2012 07:36 AM #50
Rainmaker
810,257
Evelyn Kennedy
Alain Pinel Realtors - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA

Mimi:

A few months ago my husband did just what you did.  He went through all our basic bills and was able to save some money for us.  He read an article in Consumer Reports about there being many charges on bills that were not necessary.  So luckily,he followed through.  I told him we can now go out to dinner more often.  I am not sure I convinced him about that.

Jan 05, 2012 07:46 AM #51
Rainer
7,711
Jennifer Travene
Realty Executives Elite Ltd. - London, ON

I bet if we all went through our finances with a fine-tooth comb we could save hundreds, if not thousands (like yourself) a year on our basic bills. It's just the legwork and research that stops us. I think we get complacent with our bills and just pay them every month with our eyes closed.

Jan 05, 2012 08:47 AM #52
Anonymous
Anonymous

How true-- How you shop, where you shop-- the repetitively occurring bills are the ones that are most easy to reduce.  A dollar here, a dollar there-- pretty soon we're talking about real money! Way to go! Cande

Jan 05, 2012 08:54 AM #53
Rainer
543,834
Dörte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Mimi,

These days, you can do the same with many expenses. Clients often think that $20 per month or $50 per month is not much, but if you calculate it on an annual or life of loan basis, it adds up. Just like you, if you can find 3-5 items to save on, it will add up to serious savings that you can allocate otherwise, if nothing else, pizza with the family.

Jan 05, 2012 10:28 AM #54
Rainmaker
531,707
Karen Baker
Sunset Beach and Beyond Realty - Sunset Beach, NC
Professional Help with Rapid Responses...

Mimi~ great news for you and your monthly/yearly savings.  I mentioned this to Frank recently and he spoke with Direct TV and was able to get Sunday Ticket FREE. The man needs his football?? Not sure why??

Jan 05, 2012 11:37 AM #55
Rainmaker
121,008
Rob Rosa
Berkshire Hathaway - Wethersfield, CT
Personal Real Estate Expert

It is incredible how much money we spend during a typical month for items we can find savings on.  Good for you!  Enjoy 2012!

Jan 05, 2012 11:58 AM #56
Rainmaker
1,431,864
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

We are watching the nickels and have found some good ways to save money.  Thanks for the post.

Jan 05, 2012 12:21 PM #57
Rainmaker
433,880
Kristine Ginsberg
Elite Staging and Redesign, LLC - Short Hills, NJ
NJ Home Stager

Hi Meems - I've been so busy, I have to catch up on your posts - seems someone's been getting lots of gold stars! Good for you GF! Now about the phone bill - Marty and I just talked about the same thing and he just changed our plan and we are now saving a nice chunk of change. It pays to keep track of these things because often you can get a better rate!

Jan 05, 2012 12:22 PM #58
Rainmaker
674,315
Brian L. Sirota, Esq.
Bristar Realty (Realtor/Attorney) - Orange, CA
For Solutions: (714) 501-7660

A blog on saving hard dollars in the here and now (and with a gazillion comments) doesn't get featured?   "AT&T, connect me to Activerain's cell phone.  'Hello!  Is anyone there?'"

Great tidbits Mimi!  Thanks!

Brian

 

Jan 05, 2012 01:00 PM #59
Rainmaker
1,676,510
Winston Heverly
Winston Realty, Inc. - Atlantis, FL
GRI, ABR, SFR, CDPE, CIAS, PA

Mimi, I'm going to check on the roll over minutes thing. I know I have a lot not the 80,000 but several 1000. I'm sure I can cut something. I could eat less I suppose but we would be a two income family if my wife would get a second job. Then the bills wouldn't matter.

Jan 05, 2012 02:04 PM #60
Rainmaker
402,588
Debra Gould
Staging Diva / Six Elements Inc. - Toronto, ON
The Staging Diva

I've run this exercise too and discovered that land line phone, Internet and cell phone accounts often have room for savings since all of these providers revise their plans to attract new subscribers while existing customers pay too much because we're too passive to find out what the latest deals are.

Thanks for the reminder to look again as I haven't done this for about 2 years now.

Jan 05, 2012 02:11 PM #61
Rainer
238,396
Anne M. Costello
Weidel Realtors - Yardley, PA

Mimi: I am about halfway through my list; you have inspred me to finish. It's amazing what we can do when we just pay attention. 

Jan 05, 2012 07:34 PM #62
Rainmaker
848,857
Bob Miller
Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty - Ocala, FL
The Ocala Dream Team

Hi Mimi,  Great post and reminder to check our bills and always watch our costs.

Jan 05, 2012 10:18 PM #63
Rainmaker
508,598
Sylvie Stuart
Realty One Group Mountain Desert 928-600-2765 - Flagstaff, AZ
Home Buying, Home Selling and Investment - Flagsta

Wow, that's an amazing savings!! Great job! We have gone over every bill to see if we're overpaying and it's truly amazing what you will find!

Jan 06, 2012 12:03 AM #64
Rainer
284,279
Christine Hooks
Pino Agency - Pennsville, NJ
Celebrating 25 Years in Real Estate!

This is great motivation to look over all of my bills again.  I paired things down dramatically in 2007, but I bet I could find some savings now.  I hope I am as fruitful as you, Mimi!

Jan 16, 2012 04:42 PM #65
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