I hate thinking I have to lower my bills; that awful feeling of knowing you may have gotten yourself in a pickle. It’s frustrating and annoying. Usually I can’t shake that feeling until I do something about it. If you find yourself in a similar situation, please keep reading. I will now share my not so authoritative step by step guide to lower my bills or in this case your bills.
1.) Set aside some time –You need some time to get this done, set aside a few hours to really dig in. Also, if you are married, be sure to include your spouse in this process because they will be affected by the outcome of this.
2.) Get some paper and a calculator – You don’t have to be a computer genius to make a spreadsheet, but in this case you should probably forgo the computer. There is something real about writing things down and you need things to be as real as possible. Often this is about where I give up (not intentionally); I get too caught up in trying to make things look pretty. Let’s face it though, there is probably nothing pretty about what you are about to do.
3.) Make a list with two columns – On your piece of paper make two columns; label one column “Needs” and the other “Wants”. Here’s a template if you want to be neat.
4.) Think, Think, Think. – Think of all your bills and start placing them in either the “needs” column or the “wants” column. When you label each of these bills do so with brutal honesty. Examples of needs would be the water, electricity, mortgage, etc. Examples of some wants would be cable, internet (I’m always tempted to put this in the need column), your Porshe 911, etc. You will have a gut feeling as to where each of these fall. Follow your gut. Also, if you can’t remember all of your bills you may need to look at your bank account history to jog your memory of all your bills. Loosing track of all your bills is sad, but often becomes a reality for most of us.
5.) Assess Wants Usage – Now we need to know how often the things in the wants column get used. You can do this by rating each of them with a number; you can use 1-10, 1 being least used and 10 being most used. This will help us see the wants that are rarely if ever used. You shouldn’t miss these services especially if they’re rarely used.
6.) Trim the fat – Once you’ve rated all of these wants, it’s now time to have some open honest discussion about which of these wants you could live without. You may not have a choice; this is a reality that we all have to face on occasion. Really think of what life might be like without the want and remember that at one time you probably lived without it and survived. The idea is that you can survive without all your wants if need be.
7.) Make a to do list – This is important because all too often we make a plan in our minds but then we forget or we think that it might be too much work when in reality it’s just a few items. This list needs to consist of all the service providers that you are either reducing or cancelling services with. Get all the info you need on this list like phone numbers and account numbers.
8.) Take a Breather – This whole process of lowering your bills can be taxing, grab yourself a nice bowl if ice cream and chill.
9.) Complete the To do list – Finish all the items on your to do list. This may take several days. You may want to just try and do one line item per day because let’s face it- we all have busy lives. It is incredibly fulfilling to check these items off your list; you will feel it. (Side story- Janna can’t live without her lists. She has a to do list for everything. She gets absolutely giddy when she is able to cross thing off her lists. She’s a little weird and that’s why I like her. ; )
10.) Contact BillCutterz – Ok, this is probably the easiest and most satisfying step. BillCutterz.com is a bill negotiating service. They call your service providers on both your needs and wants list and negotiate those bills lower without any reduction in service. It’s awesome! I only wish I had found out about them earlier. Enroll here. (affiliate link – Thank you) You can read about my experience with BillCutterz here. They’re great, really they are.
11.) Be Satisfied – Once you’ve trimmed the fat from your bills you can now put your mind at ease and do something fun, because now you can probably afford it.
Nothing, I repeat nothing can replace just sitting down and getting neck deep into your bills and slashing where slashing is needed. It will feel great and there will be more harmony in your life, so there’s really no downside. Now take a big breath and tell yourself, “I will lower my bills”. I’m not sure if repeating things like that to yourself is an actual motivator but it can’t hurt.
What are ways you have lowered your bills? I’d really love to hear from you.