The economic changes wrought by the last few years have changed everyone's lives. With many out of work, or finding their financial situation shifting drastically, more people are embracing the frugal lifestyle and cutting back on costs any way they can.
But even if you're doing your best to cut costs, chances are there are still some things you're paying too much for. While a lot of money-saving strategies are obvious and well-known (coupons, loyalty programs, flash sales), there are some others you may not know about. With that in mind, here are some services you may never have to pay full price for ever again.
Cell phone plan
Cell phone companies are some of the most competitive businesses in the world, and all of them want your business. You may already know about the time-honored technique of getting a lower rate by calling your cell phone company and threatening to cancel — but there are some other ways you can lower your phone bills as well!
- Go beyond the “big four” (Sprint, AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile) to other, smaller carriers. Companies like Straight Talk and Net10 use the same networks as their larger counterparts, but don't charge nearly as much. There are also discount brands owned by the big four companies, like MetroPCS and Boost Mobile. Because some of the smaller carriers have been bought up by larger companies, you could get better prices without sacrificing service, because the big companies have to keep those customers satisfied.
- Consider dumping that two-year contract. In many cases, the discounts or cheap phone you get with that two-year plan isn't much of a deal at all… you just pay the full price for that phone in the form of slightly higher monthly bills. Choosing a non-contract plan and opting to pay for the phone out of pocket is a little more expensive up front, but will save you money in the long term.
Cable and satellite TV
Cable and satellite service are often one of the biggest in the household budget. Fortunately, there are a few ways you can help bring those costs down:
- Call your provider and request to speak to the cancellation department. Cable companies want to keep your business, and they will do whatever they're able to keep you… especially if they know you can get a better rate with a competitor.
- If trying to negotiate that way doesn't work — and if you can live without for a while — cancel your service and wait for a callback from your provider. Chances are decent they'll make you a juicy offer in an attempt to get your business back.
- Cancel your service and never look back. More and more people are cutting the cord and switching to streaming services. If you don't let the number of subscriptions get out of hand, you can have plenty of entertainment for a lot less money. There are even streaming services like Pluto and Sling that are free with ads.
There are all kinds of ways you can pay less for your car insurance. One of the best ways is to shop around and compare between various insurance companies to see who offers the best rate. But that's not all. You can also look for discounts with whatever carrier you end up choosing. Many insurers offer discounts for:
- Good grades at school
- Taking a defensive driving course
- Installing a telemetry device in your vehicle
- Driving less (low mileage discount)
- Maintaining a good driving record
Wi-fi / Internet
The internet has become a necessity for many of us — and many of us are paying through the nose for it, too. Here are a few ways you can save money on your internet bill.
- Look into downgrading your plan. You may be buying more bandwidth and speed than you actually need.
- Some providers offer modems and routers for lease, which adds a little money to your bill every month — and that can stack up fast over the years. Shell out a little extra up front and buy your own modem and router instead, and replace it yourself when it finally gives out.
- If you know you're going to be living in a place for a good long time, consider getting a better rate by signing an extended contract.
- Shop around among providers and see if you can find a better deal elsewhere, such as bundling internet service with your phone company.
4. Music apps
With promo codes, family plans, student discounts, and other promotions, there's rarely a need to pay full price for music streaming, especially if you don't mind listening to ads now and then. There are plenty of good, free music streaming apps out there, such as
- Amazon Prime Music
If you're using one of the larger services like Spotify, you can also get a lower rate by upgrading to a family plan and pooling your resources with others.
6. Health insurance
Health insurance is one of the most important kinds of insurance to have, and has a reputation for being prohibitively expensive — but you can potentially save a lot of money by shopping around a little and seeing if you can get equal or better coverage elsewhere at a better rate. When looking at health insurance plans, consider your current and anticipated needs, and see if a lower-level plan covers the more essential health benefits (such as prescription drugs, mental health and preventative care). If you want better coverage down the road, you can look into upgrading to a better health care package.
Saving money and spending less isn't always easy — it takes extra work to find those elusive deals, find a better provider for that service, and perhaps even to go without certain kinds of entertainment for a while. But the money you save in the end could help get you through the tough times, and maybe even help you pay off some bills so you have more money free in the future.