Most people are looking for ways to cut down on spending and up their savings ratio, but it isn’t always easy to work out what can go and what is a necessity. Cable TV, for example, may not be a necessity for you, but your children might have something to say about it if you got rid of it. There are however, a number of ways that spring cleaning your direct debits can save you money.
Cut out those that are unnecessary
It is very easy to keep paying unnecessary bills month after month simply because it is easier to do so than to put a stop to them. However, if you look down your list of direct debits, you are bound to find a number that just aren’t necessary. Magazine subscriptions are a big one. Do you even read the magazines you receive on a monthly basis? If you don’t, or are saving them thinking that one day, you will get around to reading them, you really don’t need them. The information contained in many magazines is at least partially available online anyway. Other direct debits that you may not really need include DVD rentals, online subscriptions and old policies that are no longer needed.
Overhaul existing direct debits
You will have a number of direct debits that you have to pay, whether you like it or not. Some will be set in stone and you won’t be able to change – for example, your Council Tax bill in the UK. However, you may be able to do something about utility bills and insurance. It is a good idea to look at payments at least once a year, just to check you are getting a good deal. Just because you had the best deal a year ago doesn’t mean it is the current best deal; after all, many companies persuade people to join by suggesting a great deal to begin with, but then up the amount after so many months. By keeping on top of them and changing providers when necessary, you should be able to save a significant amount of money.
If you have your electricity bill with one utility company and your gas with another, or you have different insurance policies with different providers, then it is worth contacting them to ask them about combining policies and see how much you could save. It is often financially worthwhile combining policies like this. Of course, you will want to ensure that the policies give you what you want, but if they do, then there is no reason not to change if the price is better. You will also have better leverage if you decide to negotiate the next time around.
Go halves with a friend or neighbour
For some direct debits, it may be possible to share with a neighbour. For example, DVD rentals could easily be shared between two or even more households if one is prepared to set up the direct debit and collect the money from the others on a regular basis. If you either watch together or purchase a policy that allows so many films a month, you can still enjoy the films and make a saving at the same time. If you enjoy wine deliveries, again, you can share with friends or neighbours and may even be able to get a discount because you are ordering more.
Ask for a discount
In some cases, if you are unhappy with the amount you are paying, you can negotiate with the suppliers. Often, they would rather offer you a better deal than lose you as a customer altogether. Unfortunately, they are unlikely to offer you that deal unless you actually ask for it, so be bold and let them know that you are thinking of moving elsewhere. If they won’t do you a deal, then you can leave and hopefully find a good deal elsewhere. It may seem like an unnecessary aggravation, but when you see how much you’re saving, you will be glad that you did.
Spring-time isn’t just a time to spring clean your house; carry it through to your finances too and hopefully you’ll save enough money to cover your Christmas bills in a few months’ time.