Take Stock Part Two: How to Handle Monthly Recurring Bills

Take Stock

Take Stock Part Two: How to Handle Monthly Recurring Bills

Hola folks!
This is an addition to a previous article, but sort of deserved it’s own space as well. If you haven’t read part one yet, check it out here.
In the previous article we took stock of our finances and prioritized our debt, but we only really looked at the overall amounts of what we pay. Today let’s take a closer look.

Exactly how much are you paying each month for recurring bills? We need to look at each of these things and do some research to see if we are paying more than we need to.  Things like:

  • car insurance
  • car payments
  • phone plans
  • student loans
  • any other recurring monthly charge

Next, you pick one and start the research. This can take a decent amount of time and you may have to make some phone calls, but it can really add up to a difference in the end. I’ve already been through the car payments (refinanced a few years ago with a new lender), and car insurance (I switched companies after a lot of research. Hint: most of these companies do not give quotes online, just call them it’s much faster), and I have also consolidated my private student loans as well because the overall interest rate was less than the three separate ones combined. Something else to think about is getting a family plan if you have someone you trust sharing a residence with you. You can really save here on car insurance and phone plans so it’s worth looking into if you’re eligible. Another thing to look into is discounts offered through work. I work with a state agency and am eligible for discounts sometimes because of that – can’t hurt to ask!

Today I’ll use my cell phone plan as a case study for you. First, I hated my current carrier. They were mean and the service wasn’t so great. They also didn’t really have a plan that fit my needs so every couple of months I would go over my data and be charged an overage fee which made me super mad. So when the beach ate my phone last weekend, I had a perfect opportunity to research not only new phones, but carriers too. There’s no reason to be loyal to a company that treats you badly. And after traveling to THREE separate stores and getting NO HELP whatsoever from them, I was over it and decided to switch.

First thing I did was to ask my friends which carrier they liked. From there I got quotes from the best sounding carriers for my area. Low and behold, there was a cheaper alternative to my current carrier, with more data which I apparently needed. I ended up saving another $15 a month on my cell phone plan which does not charge overage fees when and if that does happen. Perfect! $15 may not sound like a lot, but when you’re trying to live in LA on a low salary, that means a lot. That’s groceries for lunch for a week or two, and about three weeks of breakfasts. When I switched car insurance I was able to save about $30 a month. When you add all of these little changes up, it makes a real difference.

So to recap, make a list of your monthly recurring bills and one by one, take a closer look. Research competitors or options to lower these bills, then move on to the next bill. Now that I think about it, it’s probably a good idea to revisit these once a year. I’m putting that on my calendar now 😉

Go forth and research!

-WCD