Auto payments have made managing the household budget much easier. But putting everything on autopilot could end up costing you. With new service providers and deals popping up every day, it pays to evaluate certain expenses at least once a year.
Gas and Electricity Costs
Live in a deregulated energy area? Then you’ll want to check the kilowatt-hour rate of electricity at least once every six months or a few weeks before your contract is up. Electric and gas providers are free to adjust their rates at any time and special deals could help you save. The cost of energy sources such as natural gas and coal can also influence rates.
When you sign up for an energy plan you have the choice of locking in a rate for a specific time or opting for a fluctuating rate. If you want even more flexibility with rates, choose a plan like the ENMAX Easymax. Customers using this service can switch between fixed rate and floating rate each month.
Television and Internet Service
It’s happened to all of us. We sign up for a cable or satellite TV plan with a great intro rate. But as soon as the first 12 months are up, the price suddenly skyrockets. Time to find a more cost-effective entertainment source.
Providers are offering new plans all the time. You’ll get the best deals by pairing television and internet service in one plan. Having cable or satellite TV service along with streaming services like Netflix provides endless entertainment options. Of course, more and more people are ditching the cable and satellite providers altogether and saving money by strictly watching online.
Cell Phone Service
The cell phone market just continues to grow, and as it does more plans are hitting the market. These days the price of plans largely depends on the monthly data usage. Most providers offer a few unlimited data plans, but they may not be the most cost effective.
Take a look at your data usage over the last year. Look for the peaks to determine the most data you’re likely to use in a given month. That’s a good baseline for which cell phone plans will meet your data needs and circumvent expensive overage charges.
Shopping for car insurance is a necessity since insurance is required by law in almost every state. Your location can play a role in cost since providers take it into consideration when setting rates. The number of providers offering auto insurance will also vary from one city to the next.
It’s important to check available rates at least once a year because your driving record is always changing, which may decrease the monthly premium. There are also a number of other factors that can affect your car insurance rate over time. For instance, if you finally own your car or drive fewer miles to work you can take advantage of better rates.
Like your car insurance, you also want to evaluate your homeowners or renters insurance annually. If you move or buy new high-end items you’ll definitely want to update your plan so you’re properly covered.
While you’re comparing plans, keep in mind you can reduce costs by switching providers, increasing the deductible or changing the way personal items are insured. You may also be able to lower your rate by using the same provider for your home insurance and auto insurance.
If it’s been a year since you signed up for a gym membership, now is the time to see if you could get a better deal elsewhere. Going to the gym is an investment in your health, but if you can save a few bucks every month that’s good for your financial health as well.
There are several ways to save on a gym membership. Start by checking the rates at your current gym. If they’re offering a special deal or have lowered their rates for new members they may extend the offer to you. You can also see if you can get discounts through your health insurance. Another way to save is to sign up with a group. Get your co-workers together to compete in a fitness challenge at the start of the year. You’ll also save money while you gain strength and lose weight.