I frequently offer an opportunity for my seminar audience members to receive $35 by participating in a 30 minute focus group to occur immediately after the presentation. I’ve always found it oddly humorous that almost every hand goes up to volunteer when I make the announcement. When I subsequently reveal that the focus group (and the $35 is only a hypothetical demonstration) to groans and smiles, I know my point is made.
You: What point is that?
Few people are willing to take just 10 minutes on the phone to call their cell phone, credit card, or cable companies to see what savings they might be able to achieve. Often, these savings are on recurring monthly charges that far exceed the one-time $35 folks could make by spending 30 minutes of their free time with me.
Think about it.
Have you ever volunteered to work overtime just for the extra money?
You: Why else would I work overtime?
Fair enough. Figure out how much you actually made after taxes from that additional hour. Compare it to the savings you might get by shopping around for gym memberships or reviewing your credit card statements for other monthly charges. Are there places you’re spending more money than necessary? It won’t take nearly an hour or your time to do this exercise and the savings are yours, often monthly, and are received after tax.
I was reminded of all this as I read through this week’s Carnival of Personal Finance hosted by Broke Grad Student and read Happy Rock’s post Removing Finance Charges From My Chase Freedom Credit Card, a quick story about the notable dread (which I share) about making such phone calls. It’s well worth the effort (in his case $26 for a few minutes of “work”), but the anticipation stops many people short
Don’t be one of them.