When most people look to trim their spending they tend to look only at variable expenses such as groceries, entertainment expenses, and their morning cup of coffee. While those are all great places to reexamine your spending habits and save money, you’re missing out on some serious savings if you don’t also reevaluate your fixed expenses.
But can you really adjust your fixed expenses? Don’t they call them “fixed” because they are set in stone?
Of course not! If you think about it there are ways to trim just about any “fixed” expense you have. Here are some examples:
I have a lawnmower and I do all of my yard work myself, but my neighbor uses a landscaping service. It costs him $18 a week all summer long just to have his lawn cut. If he eliminated that expense he could save himself $72 a month. Or he could try and negotiate a better deal to something like $15 a week. Most service providers would prefer to give you a little discount rather losing your business altogether.
While your cable bill may be the same every month, it is most definitely not fixed. Slice that bill up by dropping to a lower tier with fewer channels and canceling expensive premium channels like HBO and Showtime. Most people spend far too much time sitting in front of the television anyway. You can also just drop cable all together and start streaming shows with Netflix. That is what Grayson does.
Unused Subscriptions and Memberships
Still paying for that gym membership you signed up for when you swore you going to get yourself back into shape? How about that stack of unread magazines you have sitting on the kitchen counter? Ditch any subscriptions and memberships you don’t need.
Another bill that you may consider fixed but one that can easily be reduced by adjusting your policy. Increasing your car insurance deductible from $500 to $1,000 may have a significant effect on your premium, though you’ll want to run the numbers to make sure it is worth it. Sometimes it only takes a few minutes on the phone to get a dramatically better rate. Don’t be afraid to shop around different providers when your insurance policy is up for renewal.
Also take a few minutes and reexamine your life insurance needs. If you took out a sizable policy when your kids were little and now they’re grown and out of the house you may want to consider scaling down your coverage to save money.
If you’re like most people your mortgage is one of the biggest expenses you have, so it only makes sense to try and trim it. Unfortunately it isn’t the easiest to cut, but if your credit is good you may be able to refinance at a lower interest rate and potentially save hundreds of dollars per month. Keep in mind that there are fees involved in refinancing your mortgage.
Most people don’t even think about this one but depending on where you live there is definitely an opportunity to have your property taxes lowered by challenging the town’s assessment. The process varies from town to town, but basically you have your home appraised to prove that it is worth less that the town assessment. In areas where the real estate market is still down you might see your tax bill cut dramatically.
What other “fixed” expenses do you think you can cut?
I’ve Been Cable Free for 5 Years and Still Watch TV
While in debt, I cut cable and haven’t looked back. It’s easier than you think especially with new services out on the market. One of my favorites is Sling TV, which allows you to watch live TV on the internet. It’s awesome. Check out my Sling TV review.