The other day, I received a jaw-dropping notice that over $1,000 was going to be deducted from my checking account for my student loans. This is over double what I typically pay, so I immediately knew something was up and called my loan servicer.
After clearing up the (wrong) charges, I ended up leaving with a lower monthly payment – by $200! All because I asked a few questions about an initial payment, which snowballed into asking questions about my recurring payments.
By asking a few questions of monthly items you pay for, and challenging everything you buy, you can potentially save hundreds of dollars. Here are a few things you can challenge to save yourself more money.
Challenge Everything: Your Cellphone Bill
Sure, one way to challenge everything and reduce your expenses is to get an entirely new plan, maybe with Republic Wireless or another low cost carrier. But if you like your current carrier, like I do, why do something so drastic when you could just call up your carrier and… ask?
A few months ago, I noticed Verizon was having a promotion for new customers and decided to see if I qualified for anything as a long, long time customer. After checking out their site, I finally called up Verizon customer service, asked about the promotion for new customers and asked if I qualified for any type of discounts.
A 10 minute conversation with the service rep ended up reducing my bill by $30 a month and I got 3 extra gigs of data. I didn’t change a single thing about our plan or our phones – I just asked. If you like your carrier, you don’t even have to threaten to leave – just try asking them if you can get any of the deals they’re offering new customers!
Challenge Your Debt
Okay, so we all know you should be reducing your debt as quickly as possible. However, while you’re paying off debt, consider challenging your current interest rates or payment amounts.
Much like I did with the student loans, consider asking your credit card provider to review your current interest rate. If you’re a long time customer (i.e. had the credit card for a while, not a long time debt-holder hopefully!) and pay on time, you may receive a lower interest rate amount, which should help reduce your monthly payments (although still try to pay as much as you can every month!)
It’s worth asking your creditors if there’s any way to reduce your interest rate or the amount you pay, especially if you find yourself struggling. While it’s imperative to pay off debt, it also helps to alleviate some stress in terms of payment amounts or interest rates.
Challenge Your Cable or Internet Provider
If you really want to challenge yourself, consider calling up your cable or internet provider and asking them to reduce your monthly payments or give you more for your money.
Challenging your cable/internet provider may be an even more difficult feat than challenging your cellphone bill, because many people don’t have much leverage in terms of options. In many cities, your choices are between Cable Company 1 and Satellite Company 1… and that’s if you’re lucky. This means there’s not as much incentive for cable companies to negotiate with, or even be helpful to, you, but it is worth a shot.
At the very least, shoot for getting some more channels or a promotional rate from your company. Hey, a little counts!
If you really want to get serious about saving money, challenge yourself and your habits. Can you challenge yourself to make more lunches and home and not go out as often? Can you challenge yourself to only buy clothes and shoes when they go on clearance, or at a thrift shop?
Think about your current habits and where you spend the most money, then challenge yourself to either reduce your spending or get more creative in spending that money. I don’t mean you have to cut out your fun expenses, but think about how you could get more for your money.
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If you recently challenged your expenses and saved money, share your experiences and recommendations here! What are you going to challenge this month to save money?