Let’s say you could use some extra cash, and someone offered you a quick-and-dirty part-time gig with OUTRAGEOUS pay. Say …$200 an hour.
Well, I’m here to tell you that just about every one of us has a $200-an-hour job lying somewhere nearby, if only we know how to look for it. Welcome to the new Monthly Savings Challenge, which I’m running with my friends over at Grow. Follow along at #GrowSavingsChallenge on Twitter, on this page, or at my Facebook page.
There’s two ways to make more money. One is to get a raise. The other is to spend less. Spending less always sounds like a drag, but it actually can be fun. And profitable. Long-time readers know that I harp a lot on the part of our rigged economy that comes from Gotcha Capitalism; firms overcharge us for services hoping we won’t notice, and knowing that we are all too busy raising kids or taking care of sick parents to join in yet another “Your call is important to us” stare off. So we just pay.
There’s plenty of good reasons to do this. It’s not worth an hour of your time and the increased blood pressure to get back a $3.99 late fee. But I’m here to tell you that often, it is very much worth your time. Back when I wrote Gotcha, I did a study with the Ponemon Institute and we conservatively estimated that the average American loses more than $1,000 annually to nickel-and-dime fees. At the same time, Consumers Union guessed it was more like $4,000 per household. Either way, that’s real money.
Here’s the key. If you could spend 60 minutes right now wrangling a better cell phone or cable deal and save yourself just $15 a month — that’s nothing — you would have just earned $180 over the next year. I know some of my readers do pretty well, but very few of us can afford to turn down a $180-an-hour side gig. Of course, the more you save, the more you’ll “earn.”
I’m really excited to start this project, which I’ve had on my mind for some time. Every month, I’m going to offer advice on how to cut one of your bills. Hopefully, you’ll try it and share your success stories on Twitter at #GrowSavingsChallenge, or on other social media. By the end of the year, we’ll have a whole calendar of happy endings…and maybe $1,000 or more in your pockets. And then we’ll start all over again. All I need is 60 minutes of your time and a little stick-to-it-ive-ness. We’ll start with your cell phone. Here’s the top of my piece at Grow…click the image to keep reading. Or, just call your cell phone company right now and start bargaining!
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