Anyone who’s ever tried making and sticking to a budget knows that cutting down on expenses can be tricky. While there are many non-essentials we can cut down on such as dining out, shopping, or recreation, there are still many recurring monthly expenses that are harder, if not impossible, to do without. Such expenses include phone bills, internet and cable services, utilities, car insurance, healthcare etc.
Though a lot of people, even those trying to save money, may accept that these monthly expenses are simply a fact of life, many of them are actually significantly overpaying on their monthly bills, and do not realize they can be paying much less.
Here are 5 reasons why we tend to overpay when it comes to our monthly expenses:
1. We Don’t Know It’s Negotiable
As stated above, many people simply do not know that they have the option to haggle for lower rates for many of the service plans they pay for. Often people think major phone and cable companies have set rates like grocery stores, however, bill negotiation is actually a thing, and it can seriously save you money. Next time you’re on the phone with a service representative, try asking “Is that the best price/plan you can offer me?”
Think that super-saver-triple-internet-plus Netflix-cellphone package is a sweet deal? Guess again. Service providers tend to package things together in order to make them sound more attractive and affordable, but the truth is that those plans often end up costing you more money than it would had you built your own service plan tailored to your needs. Choose your plans and services based on what YOU need in your life, not what your service provider assumes you need. The plans flip flop all the time – a little research will help determine if it is better to bundle or unbundle services at any given time.
3. Hidden Fees
Hidden fees are what happens when you miss the fine print on your cell phone plan or any other plan because these companies are experts at sneaking in the hidden fees. Ever gotten used to paying a certain amount a month, only to find out that your rates spiked? Ever notice a bunch of random small fees on your bill that tend to add up? Those are hidden fees.
The problem? Almost all plans have some sort of sneak-up fee built into it, with service representatives being extremely experienced and creative at finding ways to hide them from you. Next time you’re shopping around for a new plan, be sure to find the fine print and deal with it, or better yet, find yourself a bill negotiator.
It’s a simple psychological truth that people don’t want to be told they’re wrong. Accepting that you are overpaying for bills and services essentially means you are admitting just that. While there is not much to do about the hopelessly stubborn, most of us with the right motivation can swallow our pride, especially when it’s a clear benefit, financial or otherwise.
5. Time Commitment
Time is probably the number one reason we all tend to overpay. We know there are probably more ways for us to save money. We know that if we just commit to long phone calls on hold, we can probably get a better deal out of the representative on the line, but who has the time or energy for that. Service representatives can be extremely sneaky as well as exhausting, and there is nothing a good salesman is better at than wearing down a potential lead. This of course, is no excuse – If you want to truly cut spending and save money, you have to be proactive in your financial decisions. Simply accepting the way things are just won’t cut it. Put in the time and research, get off your you know what, and start saving some money!