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This post is part of the START SAVING Challenge. Make sure to read previous posts.
Day#7: Be A Budget Rockstar
START SAVING Challenge: Day #8
Today's easy saving task:
Figure out how to save on your current monthly expenses.
Welcome to Day #8 of the START SAVING Challenge! Are you ready to find some savings? Let's get it done!
Today I would like you to pull out that Monthly Spending List (Budget) that we created yesterday in Day #7. Today we are going to go through each line item from your monthly spending list and we are going to look for ways to save for each expense. Don't worry – I will help you do this! If you came up with a negative number for your savings (meaning you spend more than the income you bring in) – today's task is going to help you make it a positive number.
If you decided to read my Income VS Expenses from yesterday's post, then you know that your variable expenses (the expenses you have control over) are the easiest expenses to change. These things might include clothes, eating out, and fun money. You have complete control over these expenses, which means you choose how much you spend on them. Fixed expenses are things you don't have a lot of control over. For example: My car payment is $250 every month. That is a fixed amount I HAVE to pay – I don't get to choose the amount. Now, you do have an opportunity to lower these expenses, which is something I will walk you through today.
My first suggestion is to focus on your variable expenses first. Go through each of these line items and reduce them if necessary. For example: Instead of spending $80 a month on clothes, maybe you feel comfortable reducing that monthly amount to $70 a month. Every little bit helps, and this will allow you to get one step closer on achieving your saving promise from Day #1.
LOWER YOUR MONTHLY FIXED EXPENSES
I am going to give you some help with lowering your fixed expenses. Remember, these may be a set price every month, but you do have an opportunity to have them lowered and here is how:
- Call your service provider. I am being serious. Give them a call and try to negotiate a lower price – you might be surprised with their answer. Last month I saved $30/mo on my cable service when I threatened to leave if they didn't give me a better monthly rate.
- Cut cable and try a streaming service. There are plenty of options to stream live TV in this day and age. Prices and packages vary, but they can be much lower than what you currently are paying. Check out Sling TV (prices start at $30 per month), Philo (prices start at $20 per month) or Hulu (subscriptions start at $5.99 a month or streaming services at $54.99 a month).
If you need help reducing your student loans or your mortgage payment, make sure to check out these resources:
- Help – I Can't Pay My Student Loans
- A Simple Way To Reduce Your Mortgage Payment
- I Am Drowning In Medical Bills
Be prepared before calling.
- If you are calling to reduce your cable bill (or other expense) make sure you have completed your homework. Be prepared to give them competitor's prices for similar services. Most of the time they will realize that it's actually cheaper to keep their current customers rather than trying to get new ones. So they might be willing to negotiate.
- Don't be afraid to just walk away. If the monthly expense is really just too high, shop around for another provider. If your expense is too high but you love the service, try talking them into reducing your monthly bill to match another company's introductory offer.
- If you have medical bills – this is where you will save the most money on fixed expenses in my experience. The medical billing company IS willing to negotiate with you. If your medical bill payment every month is crippling your budget, give them a call and let them know what you can afford – even if it's just $5. That's right, $5. You will be completely surprised by their answer.
Things you need to be aware of:
- Always be nice. No one will be willing to negotiate with you if you are unpleasant. Just politely explain your situation and negotiate kindly.
- ALWAYS be prepared. Do your homework. Shop around and look for better rates. Get prices, phone numbers, and of course the name of the competitor. Don't be afraid to bring up their name in the negotiation process as well.
- Be prepared to leave. Sometimes negotiation won't work and there is a better price you can get somewhere else.
- Don't take no for an answer. The first person you talk to will probably be a service representative. They are not in the business of negotiating on behalf of the company. They simply read from a script and only tell you what they are allowed to. BE PERSISTENT! I talked to 3 different people and finally ended up talking with a manager when I lowered my cable bill. If the conversation with the representative is not going well ask to speak with a manager or the Retention Department. They will be more willing to negotiate with you and they are not limited to a script.
So call and get your current monthly expenses lowered. Once you do that I want you to write that new reduced monthly amount on your Monthly Spending List from Day#7. Here is what it might look like.
*Note* – The red numbers are the amounts that were reduced. This is only an example.
You haven't already, download your FREE Monthly Spending List! Here are links to the PDF and Excel Spreadsheet (with formulas):
- Monthly Spending List PDF (is you prefer to print it out and work on it) – Download it HERE
- Monthly Spending List Excel – with formulas (I made it super easy for you) – Download it HERE
DAY #8 RECAP
- Reduce your monthly expenses.
- Write new reduced amount on your Monthly Spending List.
- Share how much you saved with your accountability tribe.
- If you can't reduce an expense, that's completely fine. Do your best and move on to the next item. If you weren't able to reduce an expense, simply write the same dollar amount in your reduced monthly expense column (see the example above). See – no problem!!
Yes! You did it! Reducing your expenses is a huge step to take on your saving journey! Make sure to let me know how much you saved in the comments below. What expenses where you able to reduce? I can't wait to hear about it! Make sure to share your progress in the private TBM Family group and get the encouragement you need to complete today's challenge.
Make sure to share your savings progress with friends. Use the sharing buttons to spread the wealth.[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@thebudgetmom”]I am working hard and reducing my expenses! Day 8 #StartSavingChallenge[/tweetthis]
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If you have been part of my previous Savings Challenges, we shook things up for 2020. Let’s resolve to have 2020 vision when it comes to seeing how we can become better savers. This year we have 24 savings challenges, two each month. These are designed to be fun. Saving should be fun because you make things easier for yourself. My course will guide you on a year of savings so you will be better off when 2020 comes to a close. Sign up for the Savings Challenge course to kickstart your savings.