Fight Those Vampire Fees!

With Halloween in the air this month, perhaps it’s fitting that regular reader and disciplined dividend investor, Klaus Wentzel, sent me this outstanding case study in fighting ‘Vampire Fees’. You know, those hidden fees and billing changes that companies increasingly tack onto our routine bills?

Klaus has had extraordinary success in getting into the details of his monthly bills and uncovering hundreds of dollars in financial bloodsuckers. It’s inspirational to see what he has done, so I thought I’d just share this story in his own words. Thanks, Klaus!

Chief, Here is a post idea. “Fight back against inflation by lowering your vampire fees”. These are some of the found money items I discovered recently doing a financial housecleaning.

My T-Mobile cellular plan had a couple phones that you can pay off on an interest free 24 month payment plan, that just got paid off. I found a device insurance plan that was costing me $11 per month on a phone that is worth $150. I found an upcharge of parental control of the phones that was $5 (we don’t have any children to worry about), a $10 upcharge for more high speed data than we use. Paying off the phones and cancelling the unneeded services saved me $967.32 annually.

My water company gave me a practically free Smart Irrigation Controller. I took a leap of faith and connected the Irrigation Controller to a weather station located at Fire Station less than 500 feet from my house and set the controller to Automatic Schedule. My year over year water use will be down 40% and my lawn and especially my Redwood Trees look the best ever. I met the 30% year over year water conservation mandate that is currently in place with breathing room without having to give up anything. I have even received the ultimate compliment from my neighbor’s gardener when they asked me, “How are you dealing with the water reduction mandate, and yet your lawn and Redwood Trees look healthy?” My annual water savings is $944.39.

My trash collection service sent me a bill that showed my quarterly service fee had increased $150 per quarter. I was shocked by the increase and found that they had increased the cost of my two extra yard waste bins to $128 per quarter. The old cheaper price made having extra yard waste bins available, even if you were not using them every week a no-brainer. You would not believe the amount of yard waste I got rid of at no additional charge (like whole 40 trees for fire clearance). I am done with my fire clearance, so I arrange to send the two extra bins back. Instead of $600 increase, I will have a $56 decrease.

In total, I’ve saved almost $2K a year: Water Savings: $944; Cellular Phones: $967; and Trash Collection: $56 = $1,967.

That was enough to fully cover inflation on my home insurance (per your recent post) and increases to my electricity cost. My insurance was up $1,511 and my electric utility up $417 = $1,928. (Electricity increases were partly offset by switching rate plans and reprogramming my spa and HVAC system).

Net, net, my cost savings were $39 higher a year than the added costs!Instead of letting my vampire fees ratchet up, I am actually saving a little. I bet you will get some great ideas submitted. I feel great fighting back against companies that are cranking up their rates!

What ‘Vampire Fees’ have you encountered in these inflationary times? What have you done to tackle them?

Image Credit: Vampire Castle Created with Midjourney Bot AI

7 thoughts on “Fight Those Vampire Fees!

  1. Chief, I really like your marketing touch that makes a set of numbers more fun. Bet this helps create more vampire slayers.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We’ll, the truth is that WordPress isn’t good at lists of things. Or, I’m not good at WordPress. I had to put everything into paragraph style for it to layout in a workable way!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. One ‘Vampire’ we got rid of this year has saved us $$$ on our cable bill. Yes, we still have a full cable plan! We have 6 TVs connected to cable, but 3 of them only had the most ‘basic’ service and don’t get used for much other than the broadcast networks. We cut the cord on 3 little cable adapter boxes ($7.50/month/each) and replaced them with small, digital antennas off of Amazon ($45/each). We saved $22.50/month and spent $135. We hit break even in 6 months (July) and will save a full $270 every 12 months going forward.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s the spirit. My wife and I have noticed that we are almost exclusively watching streaming channels and can get what we like, often without commercials via streaming. I am running out a Dish Network Contract and am planning to switch to 100% streaming and an off air DVR that auto skips commercials for a cost savings of around $60 per month. We also like that we will not be financially supporting channels where we disagree with the content.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s