Every quarter I make a point of closely reading each regular bill I receive. I should probably check my bills closely each and every month, but quarterly is a more realistic goal. If I noticed a bill has changed dramatically, I will deeply inspect it to find out why no matter when it occurs though.
Over time these regular bills can slowly creep up (and sometimes jump up) due to increased fees as well as unneeded or unwanted additions to the bill. Cramming — the unwanted addition of services to telephone bills — is especially common.
“Every quarter I make a point of closely reading each regular bill I receive.
In some cases you will find that the bill has simply increased dramatically over the previous month. This recently happened with my Time Warner Cable bill and it was a significant factor in my decision to turn off the television portions of my cable and retain only the Internet service. In my case a special offer had expired and my bill jumped from around $86 to over $108 in about 3 months. This was entirely too much to pay for the most basic digital cable and Roadrunner Internet service.
Tracking my expenses in Quicken and Quickbooks allows me to easily see bill averages over time, so it is much more obvious when something changes suddenly. There are lots of free and inexpensive financial management tools you can use to help you track your expenses including Mint.com and GnuCash
If you want to keep your personal finances in check, join me in this quarterly review of all your bills to make sure companies are making off with more of your money than they actually deserve!
Do you have financial hints that can help out your fellow readers? Share them in the comments so that everyone can benefit.