This summer I’m at a Cubs game, and a friend of a friend sees me snap this photo with my phone. He asks me if I have the original iPhone.
For a second I think he’s serious, but then I realize it’s because it’s a 4-inch SE, and no one on this planet has a 4-inch phone anymore.
But I’m okay that, because I just don’t care about phones.
I worked for a company that gave out BlackBerrys. Then they took them away and told everyone to buy their own smartphones, or they’d give you a flip phone. I took the flip phone.
That was around the time I stopped caring so much about what kind of things I owned. Like what my car “said” about me, because who cares?
Every person I know who cares about what kind of things they own has no control over their life.
I read about Johnny Depp being $40 million in debt after making $650 million. He said his solution was to make more movies.
You’d like to think after earning hundreds of millions you’d have some control over your life, but he doesn’t because saving money is like a muscle. You have to exercise it.
After I retired I wasn’t driving my car anymore. So I called up Geico and told them I wasn’t driving my car anymore. They asked me how many miles I drove last year and I told them 3,000.
They reduced my rate $30, but saving $30 isn’t important to me anymore. What’s important to me is exercising that muscle.
And that’s why today I want to challenge you to save $1,000 in just three days. You can use the money to pay down debt, start investing, or take that trip you’ve been dreaming about.
Day 1: Slash your cable and internet bill
First, decide if you still need cable. The average cable bill is $103.10 so when you cut the cord it will save you $1,200 a year. (A friend who just ditched cable is saving $1,800/year.) You can always get a cheap antenna to pull in the major networks.
If you want to keep cable then you’re going to call your provider to get a better rate. You do this by telling them you want to cancel. Say you can’t afford it or something. And trust me, they don’t have some big red button in front of them that immediately cuts you off.
What they’re probably going to say is they can’t do anything for you. When this happens ask to speak to someone who can. This is when you’re going to start hearing about better rates, but if you want the very best rate you need to get to their retention department.
The retention department knows they’re seconds away from losing you as a customer, and they know it’s cheaper to keep an existing customer than it is to acquire a new one, even if that means you pay them less.
Money saved: $240 to $1,200 a year
Day 2: Cut your phone bill costs
These days, there’s tools like Whistleout that compare rates across carriers based on your monthly usage pattern. Arm yourself with this information, and then decide if you want to negotiate a lower rate, or switch carriers.
Negotiating a lower rate is easy because what you’re going to do is call your provider and ask what better plans they have. Tell them your plan is getting expensive, and you’re noticing you can save $X amount if you switch to this other carrier.
If they don’t offer you a cheaper plan ask to be transferred to the cancellation department, because the retention department is empowered to give you the best plans. Ask them, “What can you do to get me a better plan?”
If you’re happy with what they offer you then take it. But remember, with any negotiation the strongest position is being willing to walk away and mean it. If you’re serious about switching carriers you’ll be able to tease out the best plan.
Money saved: $480/year
Day 3: Audit and cancel subscriptions
If you’ve been reading this site you know I advocate automating and optimizing your life, because when you automate and optimize your life you free up valuable resources — like time and money.
Subscription services are great tools to accomplish this, but it’s easy to find yourself subscribed to a handful of services you’re not getting value from anymore, or you’re just flat out not using. (I quit the gym to workout on my own.)
So here’s how to ferret out subscriptions to trim. First, check the last three months of your credit card and bank account statements. You’re looking for any and all subscriptions:
- Gym memberships like Planet Fitness
- Credit reporting like Experian and TransUnion
- Airplane wifi like Gogo Air
- Audiobook services like Audible
- Those subscription boxes
Then simply contact the company and cancel. Individually these typically don’t cost much, but in aggregate you’re going to save $512 a year.
Money saved: $500/year
That’s it, and the good news is the money you saved isn’t just a one-time thing. These are savings that you’re going to get month after month and year after year.
Be sure to tell me in the comments how much you saved, and what you’re planning to do with your extra money.