In Which You Pay LESS For The *Same* Service?

There’s not too many things that surprise me anymore with money, but apparently I still haven’t came across them all yet. My wife walked into my office this week and proudly exclaimed, “Our daycare rate went down! For doing nothing!”

“Ummm… how is that possible??” I confusingly shot back.

“Baby Money moved up to a new class size w/ fewer teacher-to-child ratio. We’re gonna save $15.00 every week – hurray!”

And hurray, indeed! I certainly didn’t see that one coming anytime soon EVER. Since when do companies cut you a break on services they damn well know you NEED and aren’t ever leaving? That’s like your cable company just dropping your rates by $10 out of nowhere. Or your insurance company mailing you a check just for being a member (oh wait – USAA ;))

Needless to say it was a nice surprise to start off the day. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. Just stunned more than anything. That’ll save us $60 a month out of the blue for doing nothing in return – gotta love that! And with baby #2 coming right around the corner, we’re gonna need all the help we can get… (maybe our daycare’s trying to get on our good side? ;))

It got me thinking about *other* things that go down in price without affecting value too. As hard as I thought it would be to come up with some, five good ones hit me right away:

  1. Car insurance. About to hit 25? Your insurance is about to drastically go down! Especially if you’re a guy. And the same happens (depending on your carrier) as time goes by w/out any new accidents/claims too. Of course the opposite is true when you do get in them, but it still doesn’t negate my point with this post :)
  2. Interest on debts/loans. The amount you pay will almost always be tied to your credit score and history. Start doing better in both departments and your interest rates will go down! Meaning you get to borrow someone else’s money the same exact way, only cheaper. If you haven’t done so in the past 6 months – credit score rise or not – I’d HIGHLY recommend calling up all the places you have debt with and purely asking for a drop in interest rates. The worst they can do is say no, but you’d be amazed at what the results could yield! I always make sure to ask for a manager too just to make sure my time is efficiently used ;)
  3. Shipping! Buy from one place and pay $4.95 to get it delivered to your door. Do it through Amazon’s “Free” shipping (now at $35 vs $25, boooo…) and it’ll cost you nothing!
  4. When you move to a place with a lower cost of living. You get the SAME exact gas, bread, milk, whatever – all at a “discounted” rate because of the area you live in. I’ll never suggest moving based purely on the numbers, but it can def. play a significant role in the decision making process when it’s time to bounce. We now save well over $1,000+/mo compared to our last location (cheaper health insurance, cable, daycare), and haven’t looked back.
  5. When you have a baby. Costs go UP when this happens, of course (we’ve spent almost $20,000 already on ours since day 1!), but your taxes go down :) You get a nice little baby deduction!

I’m sure we could think of a dozen things more too, if we really wanted to… In fact, why not do that right now? Take a sec and rack your brain for other areas in our lives where costs go down for whatever reason. It may not do much to affect your finances right this very moment, but it can very well help motivate you to keep improving, am I right? Right? Right??? (“Watch out for that puddle, it’s a doooozy!” – Groundhog’s Day)

Think about it for a hot second, and then comment away! Not everything always goes up apparently :)

PS: Along similar lines, you’ll also find your co-workers may get paid less or more than you for doing the exact same job too – all depending on how well you negotiated and your experience/level of education/etc. But at least with this you have much more CONTROL over!

[Photo by marc falardeau]

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  1. a terrible husband... January 15, 2014 at 6:03 AM

    Less… for the SAME service?!?! That’s crazy talk!

    Hmm… the only thing I can think of that required pretty much NO effort on my part recently was on of my my last apartment leases. We were up for renewal when the rental market was going crazy down. The landlord came to us and said “I know the market’s down. If you stay I’ll cut the rent by $200 per month” (or something like that).

    Not bad. Saved us some sweet money.

    1. J. Money January 15, 2014 at 7:43 AM

      YES! Perfect example! And that has never happened in my life, haha… good for you!

  2. Lance @ Money Life and More January 15, 2014 at 7:34 AM

    In the little quote box I think you meant to say $15 a week? I was a bit confused.

    I loved getting the USAA checks until I realized they didn’t make up for the lower rates I ended up getting at GEICO (sad but true). I still hope one day USAA rates will be better and I can go back :(

    1. J. Money January 15, 2014 at 7:41 AM

      Ack! Yes, $15.00 a *WEEK* sorry about that. I’m a dummy sometimes… (And that still surprises the pants off me that USAA wasn’t cheaper! I wouldn’t leave them anyways unless it was a major difference because I just love their customer service and overall company (as well as having everything in one place).)

      1. Lance @ Money Life and More January 15, 2014 at 7:11 PM

        Oh I make silly mistakes like that all the time. I just like people to point them out so i can fix it :)

        It was about $400-600 a year cheaper if I remember right. That was enough for me.

  3. Tea January 15, 2014 at 8:16 AM

    Childcare is one of those things that does get cheaper as you go along. It’s a real incentive to potty train your child, as most daycare charges less for potty trained toddlers. Plus the added bonus of saving on diapers.

    1. J. Money January 15, 2014 at 9:50 AM

      What? Really???

  4. Dave @ The New York Budget January 15, 2014 at 8:22 AM

    My auto insurance rates absolutely went down when I turned 25. That was the year I got rid of my car altogether! It was a dumb move having a car in NYC!

    I was happy when Vanguard sent me an email one day that my investments now qualified as “Admiral Shares”. They lowered the expense ratio on me and in my mind, they did it for no apparent reason! It was a good day.

    1. Kali @ CommonSenseMillennial January 15, 2014 at 8:38 AM

      That’s awesome that Vanguard did that for you! I didn’t realize they’d do that automatically. I have some funds that are admiral shares with them, but not everything is – now I’m excited to receive that same email regarding those funds that are investor shares one day!! :)

      1. EL @ MoneyWatch101 January 15, 2014 at 9:10 AM

        It happens once you have a specific amount invested in a mutual fund, like 20 grand threshold. They lower the expenses, but the price of the admiral shares on average are higher.

    2. J. Money January 15, 2014 at 9:56 AM

      Yet another reason I need to finally move all my investments over there. Everyone and their mom raves about Vanguard and after reading all those “retire early” blogs I’m finally convinced :) Gonna start out in the Admiral Shares too since fortunately I’ll have a large pile to xfer!

  5. Kate January 15, 2014 at 8:30 AM

    I’m a big fan when gas prices go down ;)

    1. J. Money January 15, 2014 at 9:58 AM

      Forgot about that one! Though unfortunately it also goes up for the exact same gas too :(

  6. tracy January 15, 2014 at 8:42 AM

    It is standard practice for daycare to get cheaper as the child gets older – because of that teacher/child ratio. Which is wonderful. However I’m with Tea on the incentive to potty train ;-) I can’t wait for the day in which I don’t have to change any more diapers!!!

  7. EL @ MoneyWatch101 January 15, 2014 at 9:07 AM

    Wait nobody mentioned the drastic change of 1 grand in savings from cost of living. That is a golden post in the making my friend. Something that goes up for the same service is term life insurance as people get older. Something that goes down is cell phone service as competition gets tougher.

    1. J. Money January 15, 2014 at 10:00 AM

      Thanks man – glad you caught that :) It’s like 17x as awesome as my $60/mo savings! Haha…

  8. John S @ Frugal Rules January 15, 2014 at 9:28 AM

    Man I LOVE getting those checks from USAA each year! It’s not a ton of money, but it’s nice to get and our check was a good bit more than the past previous years. I also like when they call us to go over our car insurance needs and our cost goes down – which is nearly every time now that we work from home. :) In terms of me, I got an email from one of our brokerages a few months ago saying they were going to lower my commission. I don’t trade a whole lot, but I’ll take the cheaper commission price. :)

    1. J. Money January 15, 2014 at 10:01 AM

      I always feel bad when those insurance people call because you KNOW they’re hoping that we drive our cars more than the past, but just like you my numbers keep going down too working from home, haha… I honestly don’t think it could get even lower these days either – I literally drive maybe 5 miles a week, the 1 time I get in the car a week!

  9. Ben @ The Wealth Gospel January 15, 2014 at 9:31 AM

    We’re about to make a move to a more expensive cost-of-living scenario, and our income isn’t going to be increasing by much, so that’s going to be an adventure. As for life insurance, my insurance company is a mutual company, so my premiums will keep dropping due to dividends for the next five or so years before they start moving up again because of age. It’s definitely nice for the few years we get the drop!

    1. J. Money January 15, 2014 at 10:02 AM

      That’s pretty cool – I’ve never heard of that before? (Not that I enjoy reading about insurance in the least :))

      1. Ben @ The Wealth Gospel January 15, 2014 at 4:33 PM

        haha yeah there are a lot of mutual insurance companies, and they function like a credit union where the policyholders are the owners of the company. So my dividend each year just gets applied to my premium and there’s a nice bump down each year. I’ve gone down about $12 a month in the last two years.

        1. J. Money January 15, 2014 at 7:47 PM

          Love that way of doing things! Just learned that Vanguard was set up similar with the members being the “owners” too – awesome stuff.

  10. Will S. January 15, 2014 at 9:33 AM

    I got our internet charges dropped from $66.95/month to $29.99/month simply by asking if they could “do better.” The initial offer was $49.95/month for greatly reduced service, and when I balked they offered to see if a Supervisor could do better. Same service, less than half the price is certainly better!

    1. J. Money January 15, 2014 at 10:02 AM

      Damn son, nice job! The power of “the ask” right there. It’ll always be a no until you try!

  11. Done by Forty January 15, 2014 at 9:35 AM

    Kind of along the same lines, we negotiate our television, internet and, when we were with AT&T, cell phone service pretty regularly. Same exact service, but lower cost after a few calls. Regular utility companies have all told us to pound sand, but I try once a year, you know, just to swing the bat. We might get on base eventually.

  12. Brian@ Debt Discipline January 15, 2014 at 9:39 AM

    Racking my brain for an example, don’t think I have one. We use USAA for auto insurance too, we typically apply our refund to our next premium.

  13. This Life On Purpose January 15, 2014 at 9:51 AM

    That’s a pleasant surprise! I always like when my driver’s licence drops in price by $5 per year for every year that I don’t have an accident. Although it would jump right back up if I were to get in one, so gotta drive carefully.

    1. J. Money January 15, 2014 at 10:11 AM

      Your driver’s license? Haha… now THAT’s a first. That’s probably a Canadian thing, eh? (ya see what I did there?)

  14. Amanda @ Passionately Simple Life January 15, 2014 at 9:57 AM

    When I made the move to go to school in a more rural part of the country, I started noticing that prices and housing went way down. It was like my money did double the work that it did back home!

    1. J. Money January 15, 2014 at 10:12 AM

      Right? I loooooove it when moving saves you tons just cuz of the area you’re going to. Unfortunately I usually tend to move to expensive areas, but every now and then it’s a refreshing change. Hope your money keeps doing double the work for ya!

  15. Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life January 15, 2014 at 10:07 AM

    Believe it or not, I’ve actually heard of people’s RENT going down. Makes sense. If you’re a responsible tenant- you pay and don’t cause trouble, it makes sense to offer you an incentive to stick around rather than take a chance on a new stranger.

    1. J. Money January 15, 2014 at 10:14 AM

      And they still have controlled rent in NYC, yeah? I remember a friend of mine living there when I was (right after 9-11) and he’d said his rent hasn’t changed in like 30 years! Which is crazy, cuz 30 years ago money was worth a lot differently! I think he took it over from his mom or something now…

  16. Becky @ RunFunDone January 15, 2014 at 10:14 AM

    I used to be a preschool teacher, and was once accused by a parent of preventing his child from moving to a new class just so that we could make more money! I was shocked! His child was a late-walker, and had only been walking for a few weeks. Moving to the new class would involve walking up and down stairs several times a day. It was horrifying to me that this parent was more concerned about saving money than about his child’s safety! (Also, preschool teachers are paid horribly and don’t get bonuses for retaining students. The accusation was just so ridiculous).

    1. J. Money January 15, 2014 at 7:48 PM

      Oh wow. People can be harsh – I don’t get ’em sometimes.

  17. KM January 15, 2014 at 10:51 AM

    I barely drive my car (3k miles/yr maybe) and was paying $90/month for auto insurance while living in Hollywood. I recently moved 9 miles to a different city (and neighborhood) and changed my address on my car insurance and my premium went down $30/month…..for doing nothing. It was awesome. It also annoyed me to know that all the dipsh*ts in Hollywood caused my insurance to be so expensive considering how little I drove!

    1. J. Money January 15, 2014 at 7:49 PM

      Haha… it’ll be interesting to see if you ever move back there down the road ;)

  18. Cat Alford (@BudgetBlonde) January 15, 2014 at 11:29 AM

    You know what I was thinking with respect to your baby money tracker? Did your wife have to buy a lot of maternity clothes because seriously that stuff is expensive! :)

    1. J. Money January 15, 2014 at 7:51 PM

      Nope! Some of it was passed down through family, but really she just buys bigger, more casual, clothes and it’s fine :) She’s pretty tiny so it seems to work for her (and also she’ll get some from bday/xmas/etc too. Or, yard sales when it’s the season!)

  19. Angella January 15, 2014 at 11:32 AM

    I think the daycare depends on the place you use. Most around here have different prices for infants than toddlers. Ours does not, so it’s the same $800ish regardless of age. Boo! Our car insurance fluctuates monthly – anyone else deal with that? It’s really annoying.

    1. J. Money January 15, 2014 at 7:52 PM

      Monthly?? That’s weird – never heard of that. They don’t require you to lock in a 6 mo or 12 month premium? Maybe you can ask to so it stays at one level?

  20. Michelle January 15, 2014 at 11:50 AM

    Our car insurance premium for the next 6 months just came in, and it went down. I’m not sure why it keeps going down though because we have two new cars. Wes is about to turn 25 in less than a month, so I’m hoping it will go down even further, but it’s at an extremely low rate already.

  21. Slackerjo January 15, 2014 at 1:22 PM

    I wish internet providers would give clients the choice of a “no support” plan that is much cheaper than a 24/7 tech support service. I work in tech support, I know how to configure and troubleshoot my home internet (you can learn the basics in about 45 mins). I want to be rewarded for not using tech support and fixing routine problems myself.

    1. J. Money January 15, 2014 at 7:53 PM

      That would be nice! They always tell you to restart your computer anyways, haha….

  22. Andrew@LivingRichCheaply January 15, 2014 at 1:38 PM

    Good to hear you got a discount…it makes sense…there are less teacher/teacher assistants to pay. I’ve also heard that they charge less for older kids who are potty trained…I gotta start training my 6 month old son! And congrats on baby #2…some places give discounts for having 2 kids at the day care!

    1. J. Money January 15, 2014 at 7:54 PM

      Thanks! From what I hear our place does that too (double kid discount), but I think it’s only a few bucks… not that I’ll be turning it away :)

  23. Brit January 15, 2014 at 2:33 PM

    My cell phone bill went down by $15 a little bit over a year ago. I don’t know why just some discount. I never investigated why I am receiving the discount. I take the discount and hush.

  24. theFIREstarter January 15, 2014 at 2:50 PM

    You forgot a pretty big one. Anything to do with technology. OK it’s not technically a service but we all know that if you but the brand new iPhone you pay through the nose. Wait a year or two and receive exactly the same phone for half the cost. Sweet!

    Same with computers, TVs etc…

    1. J. Money January 15, 2014 at 7:54 PM


  25. Amy K January 15, 2014 at 3:24 PM

    Short Term Disability. I will turn 36 in February, and in January I got a notice from HR that my Short Term Disability is premium going down by $10 a paycheck due to my age. I assume women over 35 are less likely to have kids, so we’re less likely to use Short Term Disability on maternity leave?

    I assume it will go up as I get older, but it was a nice surprise.

    1. J. Money January 15, 2014 at 7:56 PM

      Damn straight it is! And what are your plans now for that extra $20 a month? Gotta put them dollars to work!

  26. Free Money Minute January 15, 2014 at 3:53 PM

    Congratulations on baby money #2!

    1. J. Money January 15, 2014 at 7:57 PM

      Thanks! Only 4 months away now till’ it’s Go Time all over again, yikes…

  27. Charlie @ Our Journey To Zero Debt January 15, 2014 at 4:32 PM

    Sometime last year, our State Farm policy went from approximately $190 to $160. That was a nice surprise!

    Haven’t received a ticket or gotten into an accident for years.

  28. Micro January 15, 2014 at 8:34 PM

    Books, movies, and video games all come to mind right away. They all contain the exact same content all through out their lives. As time goes by though, the price drops, sometimes significantly. Even though they still provide the same information and entertainment value that you would receive on day 1 when they first came out.

    1. J. Money January 16, 2014 at 3:32 PM

      Hah! Yes! So true.

  29. Heather January 15, 2014 at 11:46 PM

    I moved to a different zip code and it must have reduced my insurance because they mailed me a check!

  30. Christine @ ThePursuitofGreen January 16, 2014 at 3:14 AM

    Got a check once from the hospital because I apparently overpaid a $100 copay. It was for an emergency room visit that then I had to go back to the next day to be checked up again. $100 copay per visit! Luckily I was fine and nothing was seriously wrong.

    1. J. Money January 16, 2014 at 3:33 PM

      That’s good! :)

  31. Richard @ Frugality Magazine January 18, 2014 at 3:45 PM

    Pet care is another example I’ve come across. We have all sorts of pets and the initial cost of buying the animal, housing etc. can be quite high. However once you’ve paid those initial costs, your outlay reduces considerably.

    Think of fish as a perfect example. That big tank, all the equipment, the fish themselves: expensive. A tub of fish food and a few basic supplies each month? Next to nothing.

    1. J. Money January 20, 2014 at 2:55 PM

      True indeed. And if your fishies have baby fishies then you get to have those for free too! :)

  32. Valerie January 20, 2014 at 8:03 AM

    Great posting! I really enjoy the quality of your blog – both the personal and the informational content.

    1. Our internet company (USI Wireless) has a significant discount from their monthly rate if you pay for the year up front. I had never seen this offered before and was pleasantly surprised. Our yearly rate for 25 mbps was $403.17 – I think that’s one of the best rates we’ve had for the fastest internet we’ve had.

    2. Same internet company gave us $125 back from our yearly rate after we slowed down our internet speed from 50 mbps to 25 mbps. We found out from one of their technicians that our wireless internet speed was only able to work at a max of 12 – 22 mbps with the router/modem setup we have, so I asked if it would make a difference if we reduced our internet speed and the technician said he didn’t think it it would. So it is technically a lesser service that we were receiving, but to us it functioned the same since we primarily use wireless internet at home (versus hard-wired).

    3. Car insurance company (Progressive) offered a discount if we would plug in a device into our car to let them monitor our driving habits. Since we are fairly light users of our car, we agreed and got a 5% discount, which they mailed us a check for. I was reading online that the maximum discount for using this device could be up to 30%.

    1. J. Money January 20, 2014 at 2:56 PM

      Nice work on ALL accounts! Saves you money more than just once too!