There are lots of articles out there telling you how to save money, and most of them involve giving up things: cancel your cable TV subscriptions, give up your daily latte, stop going out to eat, etc.
Doing those things can definitely save money. If you are willing to do them, you will have more cash in your pocket at the end of the month.
But what if you want to save money without sacrificing the things you want? You may believe that you work hard and you deserve that latte, or going to your favorite restaurant with your friends.
Here are some ways you can reduce your expenses with giving up the things that give you pleasure.
Watch the scanner at the store. Get in the habit of watching the prices that ring up when you are checking out. If the price does not match the posted price, point it out. At the very least, you should get the lower posted price. Some stores have scan accuracy guarantees, and if the item rings up at the wrong price, they pay you. One store I shop at frequently will give you the item for free if it rings up at the wrong price. Another will give you the lower price, plus pay you $5. Even with those guarantees, it is amazing how often the prices are wrong. Watching the prices pays.
Ask about billing options that lower your costs. We got a letter from our satellite TV provider telling us that if we chose to have the billing handled by our telephone company our bill would be reduced by $5 a month. This makes no difference in our service, and just means making payment to one less place every month.
Look for package deals. When I called the telephone company to ask them to start billing the satellite service, they told me I would also qualify for lower pricing on my telephone and internet service because the bundled rate is less than the rate for each service separately. By having all three services with one company, I save about $15 a month. The same thing may apply with insurance and other services, too. Often, if you have multiple lines of coverage (e.g., homeowners or renters, auto, etc.) with one carrier, you get discounts.
Ask about insurance discounts. Most insurance companies provide discounts for things that lower your risk. For example, if you no longer use your vehicle to commute back and forth to work, or you have an alarm system installed in your home, or add other safety and security features, you may get a discount on your insurance. Taking defensive driving can also lower your rates. My husband and I were able to take a free defensive driving class from his employer several years ago, and it saved us at least a couple hundred dollars over three years.
Lower your interest rate. Of course, it is best not to carry credit card debt, but if you must, at least get the lowest interest rate you can. Watch for offers in the mail, do an online search for cards with low “teaser” rates, or call your credit card company and ask for their best rate. If you are an established customer with a good payment history, they may drastically cut your interest rate, at least for a short term of three to six months.
Shop for lower rates. If you have not shopped for insurance recently, it may be worthwhile to do so. Several companies make it easy to compare rates, so make a few calls and see what turns up. Before switching carriers, make sure that you are dealing with a reputable company, and check their Best Rating to make sure they are financially sound.
Ask for a discount given to new customers. You may be offered discounts to switch services, such as phone, Internet, cable TV, banking, electrical service and others. If you do not want to change to a new provider, contact your current provider, tell them about the offer, and ask if they can provide a discount to you as a long-time customer. Although they will probably not match the offer, they may do something for you.
Shop around. When making a purchase, especially a major purchase, compare prices before buying. I have bought several appliances over the years using my telephone, the Internet and a credit card. Recently I saved at least $200 when buying a new washing machine by comparing prices online and making a couple of phone calls.
Be willing to ask. Many things you may not expect can be negotiated. Ask. The worst thing they can do is say no, so what do you have to lose? That does not mean that you should be obnoxious or insulting, but simply asking what they can do for you on the price may net you savings you would not have gotten otherwise.
None of these techniques require you to give up anything you love or your little luxuries. They may take a few minutes, but often that few minutes will pay you back for months and years to come.
What is your favorite way to save money with sacrificing?