If you do this one thing, you will make at least $1,200 in the next 12 months.
There are no sacrifices, no changes in behavior, and the best part is that it can be done in as little as 4 hours. I’ll tell you how I, personally, used this technique to make in excess of $2,500 in 12 months. Of course we have a free template (the Service Provider Savings Tracker) to use to help ensure you stay on track and can realize maximum benefit.
Service Provider Savings Tracker
System Requirements: Microsoft Excel® 2007 or later
User Agreement: Read it Here
How to Make at Least $1,200
Let’s break this down into 3 simple steps:
Make a list of all of your service providers. Think insurance company, lawn care company, telephone/internet company, anyone that is providing a service on a regular basis.
If you need to, look over your spending to identify these. Or simply keep reading and we’ll give you some more ideas.
Identify the Big 5. These are the ones that you spend the most on.
In my experience the Big 5 are 1) Auto Insurance, 2) Home Insurance, 3) Cable and Internet, 4) Cell Phone and 5) Credit Card (interest payments).
Oftentimes, Home and Auto insurance are with the same company – this will make things easier in the next step. For me, I don’t carry credit card debt, so I needed to look at other service providers. The last time I did this, I selected my home alarm monitoring company. This step takes a few minutes but really, you know where you’re spending a lot of money every single month.
Call each of these companies up and negotiate.
This is not as tough or scary as it sounds. It can be simple. Scroll down to see exactly who to talk to, things to say and not to say. I’m going to give you all the tools that you need to successfully reduce your monthly cost of service without changing the level of service you’re getting.
Download the Service Provider Savings Tracker above. This will help you keep track of your savings. Take notes so you can ensure you’re comparing comparable services and also track who you’re talking to. Look, in some cases, in order to realize the benefit here, you’ll need to change service providers. But not always. A lot of times there are long-term customer rewards that can be realized, you just have to ask. Or maybe you’re paying for something you don’t actually use. In this case, you just eliminate this option.
Regardless, the point here is to spend 4 hours of a single day, or weekend, and uncover this money.
BONUS STEP 4:
Doing the first 3 steps are all that’s required to get the money. However, if you really want to make an impact to your personal finances you’ll do Step 4. Step 4 is dependent on what your personal finances look like.
What to do if you have debt – Let’s make this simple. If you have debt using this “new money” to pay down your debt. Total up your annual savings and divide by 12. Our free template will calculate your savings as you go. Whatever your monthly savings is, increase your monthly debt payment by this amount. Set it up as an automatic payment. This will keep your cash flow unchanged and allow you to start making significant progress in paying off your debt.
Remember this only works if you have debt and are not adding significantly to your debt monthly. If your budget isn’t under control, try out our free budget template.
What to do if you DON’T have debt –First off, AWESOME JOB! You’ve got some awesome personal finance skills. Now, let’s put this extra money to work.
The first thing to do is maximize your savings. Do you have an emergency fund? Does it have enough in it? If not, put this money into your emergency fund.
If you have a solid emergency fund, the next place to look is retirement. Are you maximizing your 401k contributions? The IRS provides the limits here. If not, put your extra money here. Not only will this benefit your retirement fund, but you’ll get the additional tax benefit from the extra contributions.
Let’s say, you don’t have debt and you’re maximizing your retirement savings. Look into college savings for your kids. Clark Howard provides the best 529 plans by state.
If all of the boxes above are checked, the best way to maximize these dollars is to put them into self development. Invest into yourself and increase your earnings power. Do something to improve your earnings power. Take a class, make a purchase to improve your business or try starting a side project to make money.
What to Say / By Service Provider
Okay, now let’s get into talking with your service provider. What do you say to capture some savings? I’m going to give you some very specific things to say and to think about that you can use to capture your savings.
Home & Auto Insurance Provider
Before you call review your plan and see what your insurance premiums have done over the last 2 or 3 years. If you haven’t done this for a few years there is absolutely savings to be had.
Insurance Discounts – You may qualify for discounts that you just haven’t asked for yet. These could include long-term customer discounts, renewal discounts, discounts for a “low risk insured” (this could be related to your profession), or safety deductions.
The best way to realize these discounts is to simply call your insurance provider and ask them what discounts you might qualify for.
Here are some discounts that are typical:
- You’ve recently replaced your roof
- You’ve recently added an alarm system or added monitoring to your alarm system
- You’ve upgraded your electrical or plumbing
- If you’ve been customer for several years, ask them if there are any long-term discounts you may be eligible to receive
- If it’s about time to renew your policy, ask them about any type of renewal discounts available. Let them know you’re evaluating your insurance carriers and simply want to be able to compare your options.
- Depending on your profession, you may qualify for a discount if you’re considered low risk insured. Ask your carrier if this is available and what qualifies.
- Specifically for your auto insurance, you may be eligible for mileage discounts. If you drive less than average, this could save you money on your insurance. This can apply to one of multiple vehicles or all of your vehicles depending on your driving habits.
- Combine policies. If your home and auto insurance are not combined, find out what the combined policies would be. Oftentimes, there are significant discounts to be realized here. Be sure not to only focus on the individual policies’ cost, but the cost of both together.
- Remove “benefits”. Sometimes there are benefits included in your policy that you don’t need. Simply ask your carrier to explain all of the benefits of your policy and then determine which ones you don’t need. It could be that removing these could save you money. Worst case is that you realize you have a benefit that you didn’t know about before.
In addition to the discounts above, here are some additional ideas to reduce your premium:
- Increase your deductible. Just be sure you have a sufficient emergency fund to cover your deductible. If you have a $500 emergency fund, you don’t want a $1,000 deductible. However, if you can afford it, increase it.
- If your premium has been increasing year after year, find out why. Ask your carrier specifically what you can do to reduce your premium. Call other carriers and ask the same questions in order to get more ideas and figure out what provider has the options that make the most sense for your needs.
Cable TV and Internet
When you call your cable TV and internet provider, your goal is to talk to the customer retention department. If you already know what competitors are offering compared to what you’re paying, you’ll be much better off. Look over your last several bills and understand what you’ve been paying for. Look for charges you don’t understand. These could be inappropriate.
Here are the ways to save money on your monthly Cable TV and Internet bill:
- Combine your provider here. These providers offer several packages that could enable you to realize significant savings.
- Find out about promotional offers. When you’re talking with the customer retention department they have the ability to offer promotional discounts that the typical customer service representative doesn’t. We were able to get a 6 month promotional rate that significantly reduced our bill. We just setup a reminder on our phone to call back 6 months later and ask for the same deal.
- If you still have a land line, why? Most people don’t really need a land line anymore. Removing it could save money on your monthly bill.
Cell Phone Provider
Just like with your TV and Internet provider, talk to the customer retention provider. Here are the things to ask about:
- Inappropriate fees. This is very common with cellular providers. Look for individual single month charges on your bill you don’t understand. Often these are $9.99.
- Find out about promotional offers. When you’re talking with the customer retention department they have the ability to offer promotional discounts that the typical customer service representative doesn’t.
- Ask them for long-term customer discounts or any benefits to renewing your contract. Be careful about entering into a 24 month contract if you may need to change contracts before it’s up; however, oftentimes the discount outweighs the consequence.
- Data usage is an area that is typically pricey. The better you understand your data usage, the more control you can have over your bill. WiFi is everywhere now. Using WiFi will reduce your data needs.
- Find out if you can combine your cellular plan with your TV and internet plans./li>
- Try out free texting options.
Credit Card Provider
Here you want to focus on lowering your rate. The lower your rate, the lower the interest. This means if you’re carrying a balance, the lower the rate, the more your money is going to reduce your balance. Interest is just going into the profits of the credit card company.
The Simple Dollar has a great article covering the steps to lower your credit card rate.
Use a combination of the points above to reach out to any service provider to lower your costs. The common theme is to do a little homework, ask for discounts/benefits, be polite and respectful, and remember none of these service providers want to lose you as a client. You’re in control, so don’t worry about someone cancelling your service without your say.
Download our free Service Provider Savings Tracker, identify at least 5 service providers, do your homework, and find out what savings you’re missing out on. Call competitors and understand what your options are. Set aside a few hours and do them back to back. You’ll get more confidence and experience with each call. Keep track of your savings on the template, and add it all up when you’re done. You’ll be amazed with the savings realized. Put this money to work deliberately. Repeat the process every 12 to 24 months.