Monthly vs Semi/Annual Payments
In an effort to streamline some our bills and save some money we recently switched over a few of our monthly recurring bills to be paid either annually or semi-annually. If you have the funds available to pay your bill in a lump sum rather than spread out monthly, many companies provide a discount for doing so and the discount can be pretty decent. A 5% discount/rate of return on your money is great these days, considering a traditional savings account currently pays under 1%. If you aren't signed up for bill pay with your bank, definitely do that as well. You'll save the cost of postage and usually when you signup for automatic bill pay or ebills, you'll get some savings there as well.
Many people aren't aware that some places are not only charging you extra for the 'luxury' of monthly payments, but some also tack on an additional 'convenience' charge as well. Most car insurance companies do that. You may pay approx 5% extra to pay monthly vs every 6 months and they usually charge a fee of $1 to $5 per month depending on your method of payment. If you setup an automatic payment to pay your 6 month premium in full you'll usually get the 5% discount and avoid any additional fees. We did that when we recently switched to Geico, we not only saved over $600 a year from what we were paying with Allstate for the same level of coverage, we also saved approx 5% paying our 6 month premium in one payment and incurred no additional fees.
I just logged into my Geico account 2 minutes ago and noticed an additional discount available, which I was unaware of . If you are a Bank Of America customer you can setup your payment to come out of your bank account instead of a credit card and receive an additional discount only available to Bank of America customers. Doing a quick search, it looks like that knocks an additional 3% off your premium. How cool! Thanks blog post, you just saved me some more $.
In addition, Geico also offers discounts if you are members of various professional organizations, honor societies, alumni groups, credit unions, etc. I'm not endorsing Geico, just suggesting you check out your carrier to see if you can get similar discounts that you might be missing out on.
We had been paying our BugOut lawn/termite service monthly and my neighbor mentioned over the weekend that if you switch to a yearly bill you get $25 off each service. So I just set that up as well. Another $50 savings.
Threaten to Cancel
There is a well known policy with many companies that when you threaten to cancel your annual service, that they will usually give you a deep discount to stay. DirecTV and XM Radio are two that I'm very familiar with. Every year our XM radio subscription comes due and you'll get an email when it's about to auto-renew at whatever the current rate is. Every time this happens, I call to tell them that the new rate is too high and I want to cancel. I say that I will only keep it if I can continue my current rate, which is 1/2 price. Has worked every time for the last 3 years for both of our car radios. Normally they recommend grouping your radios into one account and they'll give you regular price for one and 1/2 off for the other one, but why do that when you can keep them separate and get 1/2 off both.
I do a similar thing with the DirecTV NFL ticket every year if I decide to keep it. It will normally auto-renew at full price, but if you call to cancel stating that the price is too high, you can get a wide variety of discounts. This year I ended up getting 20 off a month for 6 months and free NFL mobile, which is normally $99.
If you have a service like that which auto-renews annually, try threatening to cancel. They may call your bluff and cancel, but I can pretty much guarantee that won't happen. In the very rare case where it does, they will be back to offer you incentives to come back.
It's a bit of a game at times, but one I'm willing to pay to save some $! Usually you can find out what deals other people are getting by searching the forums at slickdeals.net and fatwallet.com. I do that right before threatening to cancel XM or NFL Ticket to see what the current best deals are. That way you know what to ask for and might even find better deals than you're used to getting.
Do you have any tips/tricks on how to save $ with any of your current services? Please share so that myself and others can benefit also!
Final kitchen update before and after
3 hours ago