How to Take One Vacation Day and Save Thousands

By Kat Tretina on 19 July 2016 0 comments

We all have a list of financial tasks we keep meaning to get to, but between work, family, everyday obligations, and the need for sleep, we just keep putting them off. Whether it's rolling over an old employer 401K or finding cheaper car insurance, you can end up costing yourself hundreds, or even thousands of dollars by procrastinating.

However, there is a solution: Use a vacation or personal day as an annual "Money Day" to catch up on all those finance to-dos you keep putting off. You'll have the time to stay on the line with customer service, fill out forms, and get organized — setting yourself up for a more secure financial future. Here are all the financial boxes you can check off on your annual Money Day.

Negotiate Bills

Phone bills, cable subscriptions, and car insurance can be expensive, eating up a huge part of your budget. However, rather than just gritting your teeth and bearing it, you can negotiate your bill and bring down your cost. Make a list of all of the services and subscriptions you currently pay for, and contact each one. For the introverts who get nervous negotiating over the phone, most companies have an online chat option that will work just as well.

Tell Them You Want to Cancel

Whether you are on the phone or chatting online, be as polite and kind as possible, but firmly let them know you want to cancel because the cost is just too high.

Be Prepared to Deal With the Retention Department

Customer service is likely to transfer you to their sales department or retention department, whose sole goal is to keep you on board. Again, be as friendly as possible, but explain that the monthly bill is more than you can afford. You do not have to give a long script or even say you are looking at other competitors; just noting you cannot afford the price will trigger the next steps.

Continue to Negotiate

They will likely offer you a temporary adjustment, like a promotional three-month offer. Be firm, saying something like, "I'm sorry, I just can't afford this rate. I would need something more permanent." More than likely, they will come back with a more generous offer, saying they are authorized to give it to you that day. That language indicates it's the best they can do. Ask them to send you an email confirmation with the new agreement and then repeat the process with each service provider you have.

Research Alternatives

In some cases, companies just won't budge, particularly if you have only been a customer for a year or two. If that's the case, use some time during your money day to look up alternatives and get quotes. For instance, services like The Zebra help you compare rates from multiple car insurers so you can get the most competitive price.

Find and Rollover Retirement Funds

Nearly three million people quit their jobs each month, with many of those individuals leaving old 401Ks behind, either intending to get to it later or thinking the amount is too small to matter. Then they end up forgetting about it, and the money disappears. Take the time to hunt down old plans and come up with a strategy for them:

Find Old 401Ks

You may have to call each of your former employers' human resources departments to determine where your old 401Ks are currently held. If that's not an option, you can also check with the National Registry of Unclaimed Retirement Benefit.

Take Action

Once you've found your old accounts, you can keep them where they are, but keep their log-in information in a safe place. However, it might also make more financial sense to roll them into one place, like in a traditional IRA. Vanguard and Fidelity offer IRA options that are cheaper regarding fees you will pay in most 401Ks, so rolling the account over can save you money and prevent any penalties.

Search for Unclaimed Money

There are millions of dollars in unclaimed money sitting around. Whether it's an old savings account, an insurance credit or, other windfall, state laws require that unclaimed funds be turned over to the state for safekeeping until the owner claims them. Most people don't even realize that hundreds of dollars belong to them, and it goes unclaimed for years.

To find lost money, visit Unclaimed.org. Check each state that you have lived in and enter your full name and any other names you may have gone by in the past. The site will list any money that belongs to you. You can file a claim, following the process outlined on the site, to get the money returned to you.

Automate Savings

If you have been putting off building up your emergency fund or retirement savings, your money day is a very good time to get them started. Set up automatic contributions for the start of each month to go into your savings and retirement accounts, so you do not even miss the money from your paycheck.

Setting aside an annual vacation day to manage your finances can be an excellent way to stay on top of essential money tasks, trim your budget, maximize your dollars, and find you hundreds of dollars that may have gone missing. By dedicating a day to money management, you can end up savings thousands of dollars in just 24 hours.

What else should be done on your annual Money Day? Share with us in the comments!

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Guest's picture
GuestStephanie

I'm interested to see how this can help me. I need to move. , bigger place, a new car, pay bills current and take my wonderful 15 yearold on vacatiin.