Every three months in our household, I take a serious look at the products, services, and plans we use. This includes cable and cell phone plans, weekly grocery shopping, household utilities, memberships, etc. When I sit down and look at these products and services, the first thing I ask myself is, “Ok…what can I ditch?” In other words, what can I cut back on and live without?
Chances are, if you take a long hard look, there will be a number of services and items you can cut back, saving you thousands of dollars a year. Here are some examples of ditching I have done over the last year:
Cell Phone Plans
I realized our plan included hundreds of minutes more than we were using each month. I was able to cut back our plan and knock $20 off my monthly bill. Some carriers will make you renew your contract if any changes are made to your plan, so be sure you know this information before you make any changes. If you don’t use the internet feature on your phone, make sure your plan does not have you paying for that service, saving you another 10% on your monthly bill by ditching it. Amount saved: $240/year.
Home Phone Plans
Some home phone companies charge an additional fee for features such as call waiting, voice mail, or three way calling. Look at your bill carefully; if you are being charged for these services in your plan but rarely use them, ask them to ditch the services to lower the cost of your monthly bill. The savings will add up! Amount Saved: $120/year.
Reevaluating this service saved us big bucks! A family membership was costing us $40 a month to use all of the gym’s facilities. It turned out we never used the pool, tanning, nutritional help, etc. We only used the workout equipment. I was able to cut our bill in half by ditching these other options. Better yet, after the winter I hope to eliminate this membership altogether and start excising outdoors for free. Amount saved: $240/year.
Paying full price for a magazine subscription is just silly! Never renew a subscription before looking online for the best value. This website offers great bargains as we have seen here on KCL, with subscriptions as low as $3 for a year! Never sign up for a multi-year subscription as you will be likely to find a great deal when the time comes to renew. Amount saved: $15/year.
Taking a regular look at this plan saved us almost $40 a month. We realized we were paying for high definition channels, additional movie channels, and movie rentals on demand that we didn’t need. By cutting back and ditching the high def channels, we saved $10 a month right away. We can still watch the same shows, just not in high definition. We saved another $20 by ditching extra premium channels and by renting $1 bargain movies from Redbox instead of $5.99 movies on demand. The savings have been huge. Amount saved: $480/year.
Zoo and Museum Memberships
Are you paying for a yearly zoo or museum membership? Do you go and take advantage of this membership often? If so, great! If not, ditch it! That doesn’t mean you will never get to go again, but if you are not going enough to make it worth your buck, you are better off paying the entrance fee as needed. No sense in paying for something you are not using to its full advantage! Amount saved: $80/year.
I have one favorite ditch I do each week when I grocery shop. It’s the grocery cart ditch! Before checking out, I put three items back. I will not check out until I have done this. This helps avoid extra money I might have spent on impulse purchases or items I do not immediately need. By putting back three items, I easily take $15-$20 off my weekly bill. So pick three items, and ditch them! (Just make sure you put them back where you found them, of course!) Amount Saved: $720/year.
So, what can you ditch? Set aside some time to evaluate your utility and service bills, weekly shopping habits and monthly memberships. Chances are you will find at least one thing to ditch! For me, this ditch system yielded a TOTAL YEARLY SAVINGS of $1895! Wow, the savings really add up! So good luck, and happy ditching!
This has been a guest post by Katie from South Bend, IN
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