February is a short month–only 28 days this year. Our bills didn’t seem to get the memo though. It’s apparent that they don’t care if the month has 31 or 3 days; they are still going to make an appearance and demand to be paid. Since this year, we’re focusing on saving and building wealth, we’ve become more cognizant of not only when our bills come and when they’re due, but also how much we’re paying. For the longest, we’ve been just getting the bills, opening them up, and paying them–most of the time, late. This month, however, we decided to take another approach. With yet another change in my employment, it was apparent that if we were to ever make a change, now was the time. I’m happy to report that, so far, we’ve had two major successes.
Saving success #1
About a year and a half ago, we decided to ditch our month to month phones and sign a contract with a cell phone provider. We got iPhones and for the most part, we’ve been satisfied with our purchase. When we first signed the contract, our bill was around $140 something plus tax. At least I think it was. Over the months, however, the bill has just crept up. In November, I received a text from our provider stating that we could upgrade our data plan free of charge with no contract extension or change in our service plan. Of course I said yes. What followed was a response text from our provider saying, “Thank you for upgrading, which will add $10 to your monthly charges.” Whaaa??? So y’all some liars, huh? Of course, I attempted to contact customer service, but didn’t have time to stay on hold for my “estimated wait time.” I passed the task along to Hubz. And to make a long story short, we got comfortable with paying an extra $10. Too lazy or too busy to call in to dispute the charges, we eventually realized that we were actually using most of the new amount of data anyway.
In December, there was yet another increase in our bill. We paid it, but made a mental note to call and check on the bill. Yeah, let’s just say that that mental note was somehow erased. In January, I finally looked at the bill and was shocked to see that our bill had crept up to a little over $200 a month. Neither Hubz or I knew exactly how or why and we had to admit that that was a shame.
So earlier this month, Hubz called our provider (after my many
nagging motivational sessions) and found out what was going on. Not only had the the data plan been increased once more, but a 33% discount that came along with my job, had been removed! Well, after much discussion, Hubz was able to get our bill down to about $130 something including taxes. So, yeah, about $70 saved there.
Saving success #2
Every month, I pay the electricity bill late. I honestly have no idea when it’s due, but pay it when I get the final notice in the mail. In all transparency, I wasn’t even sure where they were sending the bill statement until I did some digging and found out that it was being sent to an old email address. An email address that I can no longer get into and that I really don’t care about. Yeah, the bills are in there.
So anyway, I noticed that I was paying more and more, even taking into account the late fees. Now, I know that energy fluctuates–depending on its use, the weather, etc. Living in Nebraska, I’ve dealt with it for years. But our bills were getting ridiculous! Like close to $300 ridiculous! A few weeks ago, I was chatting with my mother and she let it slip that she didn’t have to pay her electricity bill for about 6 months due to a credit. Say what, now? 6 months? She said that a few years ago, she signed up for the level payment plan with the electric company and just paid the estimated amount every month. Turns out, she overpaid and had a pretty significant credit on her account. Ergo, no payments for 6 months.
I was sold. I called our electric company immediately, signed up for the level payment plan, and now we’ll be paying $158 a month, every month. That’s much better than what we’ve been paying.
So, that’s what we’ve saved so far this month and we still have a few days left in the month.
How have you saved money this month?