Sports fans have Super Bowl Week. Aquatic predator enthusiasts have TV’s Shark Week. But what about those who revel in discovering the crags and corners where hidden savings dwell? If you fall into this group, you don’t have to feel left out of the 7-day celebrations, because now there is Plan Savings Week!

What It Is
Plan Savings Week is designed as a yearly check-up to make sure you aren’t wasting money on any of your expenses that come with optional coverage or offerings. For example, your cell phone plan may allow you to choose the number of minutes of talk time you want or the number of text messages you are allowed to send. If your actual usage of those services doesn’t match what you signed up for in your plan, you could be paying extra for services you aren’t using. Plan Savings Week exists to eradicate any wasteful expenditures.

Why It’s Important
Life circumstances change. Initial projections prove inaccurate. No matter the reason, the way you set up your initial elections for service can become significantly out of whack with the passage of time. That can cost you a lot of money, especially with payments that happen 12 times a year.

When It Is
Ultimately, you should pick a time that works best for you. But if you are looking for a suggestion, what about the first week of fall? This is toward the end of September each year when the weather is turning cooler and less of your schedule is used up by outdoors activities. If you’re like a lot of people, this also happens to be the time when you’re starting to think about budgeting for holiday-related spending or a winter getaway trip. What better time to find a little extra dough to put toward those fun activities?

What You Do
Step 1:Create a list of the plans you are going to examine. Ones you can consider targeting include:

  1. Cable or online movie/TV service
  2. Car insurance
  3. Cell phone
  4. Gym membership
  5. Health insurance
  6. Homeowners insurance
  7. Internet
  8. Landline phone
  9. Life insurance
  10. Renter’s insurance

These are just a few suggestions. By all means, feel free to expand this list to include any plans you feel you may be able to save money on.

Step 2: Get a copy of the bill for each plan. It helps to print out the bill if possible or retrieve an actual paper bill. Highlight any options you feel you don’t need or charges you don’t understand.

Step 3: Call the service provider for each plan. First off, cancel any of the services you don’t need and ask questions about any charges you don’t understand. Next, ask if they can perform an analysis of your bill to see if the company has any better packages or rates to offer you. With a cable plan, for example, the provider may have introduced some new rates that you weren’t signed up for unless you called to ask for them. Lastly, it never hurts to ask about more cost-effective plans. They may not appeal to you, but you’ll never know about possible savings unless you ask.

If you are feeling super aggressive, you can research competitor’s rates or make your own side-by-side comparison of different plans available. If you arm yourself with information, you may find that a company will be scared enough to lose your business that they give you a lower rate than is generally available.

Not every service provider is going to be able to save you money each time you call. However, by blocking out a little time to make a few phone calls, you could find that you save hundreds of dollars each year.

Smart Tips

Ten car insurance discounts to ask about

  1. Safe driver
  2. Good student
  3. Early policy renewal
  4. Multiple automobiles
  5. Policy bundling
  6. Occupational/military
  7. Married
  8. Anti-theft
  9. Paperless
  10. Good Credit

Recommended Reading

Another 81 Overlooked and Undervalued Money Saving Tips: Incredible Ideas for Adults and Kids (Volume 2) Blake Dresden, 2013
You might think it’s counterintuitive, but brainstorming ways to save money can actually be a fun activity. It’s not that far-fetched a notion. It’s challenging to come up with strategies for saving, but when you find a new technique that works, it’s very rewarding. Think of it like reading a mystery book or watching a movie you know has a twist ending. Your mind loves to try to solve the riddle of it all. Devising and trying out tactics also lets you use both sides of our brain. The analytical aspect is pretty obvious, but when you really start to get those penny-pinching muscles working, you are tapping into your brain’s ability to be creative too. It’s probably not hard to think of a creative process you have fun with.

Blake Dresden’s new book is a great way to get those creative and analytical juices churning. You might be wondering how a stranger can tell YOU how to save money, but that approach would miss the real value of Dresden’s book. As much as anything else, the tips found within are terrific jumping-off material. Sure, you may find yourself incorporating some of the saving methods into your own life, but you will likely find as much value in the lessons for putting your mind in super saver mode. You might even have a little fun doing it.