Small Adjustments Can save You Big Money
By Holly Hammersmith 8/25/2015
As a savvy shopper, you need to always keep your guard up. From foods to services, products and even personal grooming, there are a lot of areas where you might be spending too much money. But making a few adjustments or opting for a different service can save you big.
Here are 10 areas where shoppers commonly overpay, as well as some strategies to help you cut these costs. Find out how much you can save over time by making some small adjustments.
- Cell Phones
Cell phones have become so popular that most people just pay their monthly bills without thinking twice and wouldn’t even consider alternatives. But if your cell phone bill is too high, you might want to look into switching carriers, phones or contracts.
The average AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless customer spends more than $90 each month for individual service, with iPhone owners spending even more ($111), according to Consumer Reports. One way to slash this cost: Get rid of your multi-year contract.
How Much You Can Save: By getting an installment plan instead, Consumer Reports states you could see savings of up to $360 a year after your phone is paid off.
Freebham Editor’s Note: AT&T, Sprint and Verizon have all recently ended contracts for new customers. This can mean lower monthly bills, but also means the end low-cost, subsidized phones. Current Verizon customers under contract have been grandfathered in and can renew their contracts and continue to receive subsidized phones at contract renewal.
- Advisory Fees
If you have a financial advisor to help you with your budgeting or investments, you might be checking the returns on your accounts regularly — but do you check how much you’re paying for advisory fees?
This service fee is charged by financial advisors to manage your money, and it might be too high. Consider switching to a planner or broker without high fees or managing your money yourself with financial software and sites, like LearnVest or Wealthfront.com. Or, just talk to your current financial advisor about what changes can be made to your accounts to reduce fees.
How Much You Can Save: Try to find a financial advisor that charges less than 1 percent of assets annually. Depending on the size of your portfolio, this could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars each year.
Like most people, you probably have a reoccurring haircut appointment and don’t think twice about it. The price might go up periodically, but you don’t think about that. And of course, you always tip on top of the price.
But, it might be time to revisit how much you’re paying annually just to manage your ‘do. The average price of a man’s haircut is about $38 per cut, according to a GQ survey.
How Much You Can Save: Getting a haircut twice a month can cost you $912 a year; save $456 by only going to the barbershop once a month.
- Car Insurance
Americans pay $907.38 on average on car insurance, according to Value Penguin, but there is one key way you can possibly lower your bill.
In an article for Fortune, financial guru Jean Chatzky explained that many consumers just don’t shop around for a better deal on insurance. Consumer advocate Edgar Dworsky told Chatzky, “I think a lot of people just renew, renew, renew, and if they see the price went up, they might believe the whole industry is going up.”
How Much You Can Save: Like one source interviewed in Chatzky’s article, you could possibly save as much as $110 for renewal on two cars by getting offers from other car insurers and bringing those figures to your current insurer to see if they will lower their prices.
- Children’s Meals
Vow to never pay for a children’s meal again. At some restaurants, if they’re under a certain age, kids can eat for free on certain days of the week or perhaps any day of the week. With a little research and help from sites such as MyKidsEatFree.com, you can find which restaurants offer this discount. Keep a list handy, and eat out at that specific restaurant only on the day when children eat free.
How Much You Can Save: Save $5 or so per child every week.
Freebham Editor’s Note: For an extensive list of places where kids can eat at either a reduced price or for free, visit our Home Page, hover over the Restaurants icon at the top, and then click on Kids Eat Free.
6. Smartphone Apps
Free cell phone apps are abound, and you should take advantage of them. Visit deal websites, like DealNews.com, to sign up for alerts for free cell phone apps and only download when there is a special on the app. Another tip: Some companies, like Starbucks, partner with apps to provide them for free.
How Much You Can Save: At minimum, 99 cents per app.
Shop the manager’s special and discount displays to save big on protein. Grocery stores routinely mark down meat and put it on sale — from a cut of ham to chicken legs to steak — and put it on sale. Be on a lookout for markdowns at your local grocer, and ask an employee which day(s) meat is usually marked down. Switch your shopping day, and begin saving.
How Much You Can Save: Save as much as 50 to 67 percent off, reports The Huffington Post.
8. Checking Accounts
Believe it or not, free checking accounts are still around. Many still offer basic services without a monthly service fees or minimum balance requirement. Credit unions, smaller banks and online banks tend to offer more free checking accounts, but also check out the bigger banks’ options. And, don’t be afraid to negotiate when future fees come up.
How Much You Can Save: Some checking accounts come with monthly fees that range from $10 to $25. So, a free checking account can save you anywhere from $120 to $300 each year.
Water is free, stop paying for it. It’s in your tap, it rains outside — it’s everywhere. Yet, the average American spends as much as $100 per year on bottled water, according to The Water Proejct. Depending on how much water you buy and what type, you can save a lot by switching to tap water. Don’t like the taste of tap? Consider flavoring your water with lemon slices or fresh fruit.
How Much You Can Save: Savings varies, but if you’re the average american, plan on saving around $100 a year.
For 2015, the American Pet Products Association estimates Americans will spend $60.59 billion on their pets. Your friends and family might understand why you spend a ton of money on your pets, but your pocketbook doesn’t. Instead of purchasing a dog from a breeder, which can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars, adopt a pet from a local animal shelter.
How Much You Can Save: $200 or more, depending on breed and type of pet.
These are only a few ways you can save big throughout the year. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of your service provider and think outside the box to save money.