One of my favorite blog series to follow along with is J Money’s “Challenge Everything” series over at Budgets are Sexy.
In case you don’t know this one, basically what J does is take a different bill every month and tries to get it lowered.
Or another thing he’ll try is to look for some other side hustle to make a little extra money on the side.
Collectively this ends up going into a special fund that he can do whatever he wants with when it’s all done.
So far he’s done quite well with himself. At last count he was over $4,000 bucks!
Lower Your Bills With a Little Help:
I’ve always been a very big supporter of regularly auditing your budget and challenging your bills whenever possible. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my job, it’s that all prices on everything are negotiable. As long as there is competition, there is always someone who will offer you a better deal!
In the past I have been very successful at challenging our family’s bills and finding this to be true. Just check out this one time we saved over $1,100 on auto insurance with nothing more than a few emails.
However I completely understand how for some people finding a better deal may be more of a task than they are ready to take on. It can be difficult knowing how to approach it and knowing where to look.
That’s why I thought it was pretty cool when I came across this website called Cinch.
Cinch is a relatively new financial website that does something that I’ve never seen another website do: They ask you to send in one of your bills, and a real, actual human being will audit it for you!
This is much different than other websites I’ve seen before the try to claim the same thing. Other websites will just merely auto-suggest similar services and competitors without really giving you any idea of how much you’ll save. With Cinch a real person will give you their thoughts on how you could better save some money. And they do it for completely free!
Lowering My Cable Bill:
Right now the biggest thorn in my side when it comes to my expenses is my cable and Internet bill with Comcast.
I wanted to see what they had to say about this, so I uploaded my bill to their site.
Here’s what they emailed me back with:
Thank you for sending Cinch your Comcast cable bill. We have analyzed your current setup, compared all cable and internet providers in your area, and have two recommendations that may help you save money.
Option 1: Ask Comcast to match the price of AT&T U-verse.
- All cable companies have a “retention” unit that will likely offer you an incentive, especially if you are willing to sign up for a 1-2 year contract.
- Currently, Comcast is offering your package to new customers with a 2 year contract for $157 per month.
Option 2: Switch your cable and internet service to AT&T U-verse.
- Switch to the U450 TV + Internet Max Plus plan.
- Potential to save $1,150 over the next two years. Year 1: $127 per month; savings of $94 over current plan. Year 2: $223 per month; increase of $2 over current plan. Average monthly savings over 2 years: $46.
- Monthly price is good for 12 months with 12 month contract.
- 550 channels (increase of 330 channels from current plan).Internet speed up to 18 Mbps (decrease of 32 Mbps from current plan).
- Free HBO, Starz, Showtime, and Cinemax for 3 months.
- If you have other big bills you wonder about, send those and we’ll take a look. Also, we would love your feedback on this process.
Not too bad! These are two pretty good suggestions worth considering.
And the best part – I didn’t have to do any of the research myself!
Want Better Credit Card Rewards?
Another cool feature Cinch had to offer was a page that helps you find better credit card rewards. They do this by taking your current credit card and comparing it to several other similar ones with higher rewards. They also will give you an estimation of how much more money you stand to make.
They can also make personalized recommendations based on your answers to a series of questions about your spending habits and tell you which card will give you the most bang for your buck.
Reward credit cards vary in what they offer users. In some cases, you will receive reward miles for your purchases. These miles can then be traded in for flights once you reach a certain level. In other cases, you can collect points, which can be traded for merchandise. Finally, there are cash back cards that offer you money back on your purchases. This is a very popular option because as long as you pay your balance off every month, it reduces the cost of many of the purchases that you make.
More Suggestions for Saving:
The website does also have many other suggestions for savings in other areas of spending such as banking, auto insurance, home owners insurance, and mortgages. However when I typed in my area code, they unfortunately didn’t have anything for where I live. That’s understandable given that the site is still relatively young and still getting built up.
Challenge Your Bills and Yourself:
Regardless of whether you use a website like Cinch or do things on your own, challenging your bills is simply one of the easiest ways imaginable to save a little extra money each month. Doing so will help keep you and your money on track with your personalized financial plan.
However, the more important thing to keep in mind is that we need to challenge ourselves to stay motivated and do this regularly. Just like J Money, start a special fund where you can stash all your extra savings and watch them pile up. As the balance grows larger and larger, you’ll be glad you did!
Note: This was a compensated review.
Featured image courtesy of Brendan Wood | Flickr