10 Budget Busters You Need to Review
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Trying to pay your debts off faster? Here are ten
Once you got your budgeting process down pat there's not much to it, right?
Don't rest yet, there's more work to be done. You need to review those regular expenses.
Bills tend to creep up over time and you don't realize how much it all adds up to until suddenly your budget is blown!
Here are ten services you should take a critical look at least once a year. You might just want to make a change.
10 Potential Budget Busters
1. Television Service. It seems like this bill goes up continually. We changed TV service providers just a year ago and are ready to make a change again because the monthly bill has crept up $20 with no change in our subscriptions.
2. Phone. Evaluate your smart phone plan to ensure it meets today's needs and that the provider is the best fit. [Elle: Options like Republic Wireless, StraightTalk, and FreedomPop can give the service you need at about half the cost of the big companies. I pay ~$45/month for two lines with Republic!]
3. Internet. This is often part of a bundle package from the television service provider. Is it really a better deal with the bundle? Also research other providers because there might be new options in your area.
4. Hair Stylist. Are you happy with the results of your barber or hair stylist? If not, then it's time to think about finding a new hair artist. If you can't do it in person (like me), then just cancel and don't reschedule.
5. Landscaping or Lawn Care. Our homeowner's association pays a pretty penny for the green areas to be well-kept. It's important to rebid those services each budget year to make sure we're getting competitive pricing as well as good results.
6. Manicurist. I want my bi-monthly pedicure to be a relaxing experience. I have tried shops closer to my house or with coupons, but keep returning to the same shop because I like the atmosphere, service and prices.
7. Automobile Maintenance. If you cringe every time you leave your car for maintenance, maybe it isn't the right repair shop for you. Once in a while you may get news of unexpected repair needs, but if it's every time and at high cost a second opinion is needed.
8. Dentist/Physician. You need to feel comfortable with the medical personnel responsible for your health. If your doctor is a cold fish or your dentist isn't good at injections than it's time to select another provider. Yes, I did switch for thost exact reasons!
9. Tax Preparer. Do you pay for your tax returns to be prepared each year? We did until one year, I decided to do it myself using tax return software. It was easy and saved us about $200. That's not the right decision for everyone, but make a conscious decision versus a habitual one.
10. Insurance Provider. Insurance companies routinely evaluate market areas and adjust rates. Sometimes it means a decrease in premiums and at other times the increase is a whopper. We changed the provider for our auto and home insurance after a several hundred dollar hike earlier this year. It is easy to shop around using insurance comparison websites.
Thoughts on Reviewing Your Expenses
Tap into your friends and family for recommendations for all of these service providers. I found my dentist over a decade ago by asking co-workers.
It's a better bet than picking someone out of the yellow pages. What other services should you evaluate periodically?
Photo Credit: Dave Dugdale
This article was originally published in December 2010. It has been updated in January 2019.
Those are a great start to audit your financial life!
Evan, I like how you used the term “audit” for this exercise. It’s perfect!
That’s a good list Bucksome! Tax preparer is important as one’s situation changes. I’m going to look into that one.
Nice ones Kay Lynn! Asking relatives is a good tip in my opinion. I can’t think of any other services right now, but we did check up our insurance this year and ended up saving about $700 bucks! I felt I had paid way too much the year before and was pissed I probably made a very bad deal the year before (although I did all the search and hook up for the best offer, but the price were high because of a previous car accident) but was really proud I got my way out. So yes, it is not because your deal was the “best” one day that it will always be…
@Sam, I had to convince my husband our taxes were not complex and we could make the change to self-preparation. He’s onboard now.
@DoNotWait, recommendations are so important when you’re looking for just about any service provider. Good job saving on the insurance!
These are great tips. Every year I make sure to reevaluate my regular monthly bills, especially phone and internet services. It’s often quite possible that when you do call, the current provider will offer their going “special” rate for a one-year period. Never hurts to ask!
I’m making the call to AT&T right after the holidays. Either they drop the price for stretch or I’m back to Time Warner where they’re promising a price freeze for 2 years.
Good points here, I would agree that it’s smart to re-evaluate some services periodically. Particularly, to be realistic, that many are commodities. Ok, maybe not exactly, because there is the degree of skill involved that differentiates one provider from another. But they’re semi-commodities at the least, and there’s no sense paying good money for something mediocre when you might get better quality service at the same price. For many of these services, switching costs aren’t prohibitive either, though admittedly in some cases it might be annoying to switch.
Squirrelers, yes it can be annoying to switch but getting value for your money or even saving money is worth it. Great point.