Conducting an Annual Expense Review

By Kendra Miller

You probably visit your doctor once a year for a checkup, but there’s something else to pencil on the calendar: an annual review of your utilities and insurance. An annual review is a great opportunity to determine if there are cost-saving changes you can make to your household expenses before the start of a new year.

Here are some tips on performing a review of your utilities and insurance:

1 Review Entertainment Utilization

Review your monthly cable, internet and cell phone bills to determine if you are paying for services you no longer use. Cut premium channels and sports packages if they are not being watched or remove the channel when the season is over. If you find you aren’t using many of the channels at all, cut the cord and consider transferring to streaming services. Talk to your cellular provider to see if you are on the best plan based on your usage.

2 Bundle Services or Negotiate Rates

Consider bundling services to reduce rates. Call your cable company and ask if there are deals available for cheaper packages, but avoid contracts. You often end up paying more and lose your leverage to cancel your service. Many cell phone providers also now offer plan options that include streaming service subscriptions.

3 Perform an Energy Audit

Florida is not an “energy choice” state where individuals can choose their energy provider, so making sure you are utilizing energy efficiently is key to reducing your monthly electric bill. You can hire a professional to perform an energy audit of your home, but this can be costly. Instead, a quick DIY inspection of your home checking for drafty windows, old water heaters, air flow under exterior doors and attic hatches that are not airtight can help make a difference in your power bill.

4 Evaluate Insurance Needs

Major life events or changes in lifestyle through the year can change your insurance needs. Did you buy a house this year? Make sure you have an appropriate amount of life insurance or disability insurance for income protection to cover your mortgage. Check your homeowners/renter’s insurance policy to ensure your limits are sufficient to cover your assets, and depending on your location, you may need flood insurance.

Re-evaluate health insurance needs such as medical, dental and vision coverage, and be aware of your current insurance company’s open enrollment period. November is often the beginning of open enrollment for the health insurance marketplace and workplace health insurance plans. Review other options to determine if there is a more affordable plan that meets your needs.

If you are looking to decrease your home or car insurance spending, consider switching companies or raising deductibles to lower premiums. If your car is older, consider dropping comprehensive and collision coverage. You can also save money by bundling policies under one company and taking advantage of any discounts available for safe driving.

Spending a little time each year using these tips can help make a big difference on your household expenses.

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