It’s about time…

Retired or working, you have expenses.  Some are optional (coffee at the barista’s place, new pine tree air fresheners for the car) and some are required and non-negotiable (water, electricity, gas, property tax).  Good news, some expenses are mostly required but are negotiable, so you might be able to help yourself to a positive retirement (or even pre-retirement) surprise by negotiating!

My wife is full-blooded Dutch and the Netherlanders are noted for being careful with money.  A couple of years ago, she renegotiated many of our mostly required expenses and ‘It’s about time’ for her to do it again.

It all started when I noted that our satellite TV service bill increased, a lot (it might have been DirecTV at the end of the promotion period).  The service was fine, but competitors were offering pretty similar service with much better deals.  My wife called around and saved us 50% on a new service.  It required a new installation, but a couple of hours supervising the installation was well worth the savings.

Later while we were discussing retirement planning and expenses, I noted that we had monthly trash, insurance, and phone bills, too.  The Dutch culture kicked in and soon my wife was calling firms, stating, “We’ll be retiring soon and we’ll be on a fixed income, so I need to bring these expenses down…”  Before I knew it, she had us saving significant amounts on trash, insurance, and internet.  Like over $1,000/year in savings (in all fairness, we did have a Cadillac trash plan, we just were not generating unlimited trash weekly…12 years of that – ouch!)

WIIFY?*

You too, can take advantage of these savings, but as usual, TANSTAAFL*; it will require some work:
-Find your semi required bills.
-Determine alternatives (Dish and Comcast were TV alternatives for us.)
-Call some alternatives and see what they offer.
-Call your preferred provider (perhaps it’s the one you have now) and let them know you’re retired (or nearing retirement) and will be on a fixed income and need a better deal. Let them know what the competition offered.
-Make your choice – stay with the deal your preferred option offers, or switch to the new one.
-Count your savings and use the money for other things that are important to you.

Now, here’s one you may not know about – life insurance. Talk with your trusted financial professional, because if your health has improved since your whole life or UL policy was issued (blood pressure under control, quit smoking), you might be able to get re-rated to lower premiums without having to get a whole new policy. If you have a term life, you may be able to save by re-rating or by getting a new policy. Always have the new one in hand before cancelling the old!

Let us know in the comments section if I missed some savings opportunities.

* – TANSTAAFL – “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.”  It shows up in No Surprises Retirement fairly often.
* – WIIFY – “What’s in it for you?’

Actions you can take include:

Bills to consider negotiating:
-TV/Cable
-Internet (Cable or DSL)
-Trash
-Homeowners insurance
-Auto insurance (is there a lizard in your future?)
-Landline phone
-Cell phone.

Look for the next update on Friday, September 8 at 12:30 PM.

Questions, comments, or suggestions for retirement surprise areas you want to know more about?
-Leave a comment
-Use ‘Contact’, above, to send an email.

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