By: Mike Cashion, MFF Director of Operations
Hidden gems are often hiding in plain sight. They include incentives, discounts, and promotional offers. Do you enjoy a good scavenger hunt? This is the time of year to reevaluate your financial situation. Below are a few examples of things that could use a second look.
Insurance is often a major cost for people. They have no interest in paying out claims. If they can offer incentives or discounts to their customers that will translate into good behavior and avoid frequent or major claims, they will definitely do so.
Using health insurance as an example, it is super expensive both for the end user and for health insurance companies. So they often offer benefits to encourage good behavior that will keep their customers healthy (making them more profitable).
My health insurance company reimburses for gym and fitness memberships. If I work out regularly, it is much more likely that I will remain healthy. This leads the insurance company to save on overall costs and makes me a more profitable customer. This results in me saving money that I would have paid for the gym membership. This is real money – whether it is a $10 a month membership to Planet Fitness or a $199 per month membership to a Crossfit gym.
The tough part is that you need to check with your insurance company to see what benefits they offer. If you find one that works for you, you have to complete the appropriate reimbursement forms on time and they will send you a check. Log in to your health insurance and take a look at the offerings they have. You could save or reduce your costs.
Are you a frequent shopper with a particular brand? Most of us have our preferred stores. If you find that you are a regular somewhere, it could be really beneficial to sign up for their rewards program (if they have one). Most of these programs pay close attention to customer behavior and send you specials based on what they believe you will like. If you are signed up, check your email and log in occasionally. You are sure to come across some great savings that will add up over the course of the year!
This comes with a disclaimer. If you are a regular and like shopping with a particular store, they are going to use technology to send you everything you would want and frequently nudge you to buy, buy, buy. Make sure to be mindful of these rewards programs. Do not buy for the sake of the deal or reward. Ask yourself the following before buying:
- Is this something I need or could really use?
- Is this within my budget?
- Is now the right time?
- Does the cost make sense right now?
EMPLOYER BENEFIT PROGRAMS
We have all been through the whirlwind of starting a new job. The first few weeks become a blur. There is so much information being thrown at us when we onboard for a new job… It takes a long time to settle into a new job. For the first six months, it feels like you are drinking from a fire hose, and then things start to settle down.
What often gets overlooked are the added perks that are available and part of your benefits package. Employers and the human resource teams put a lot of thought into providing a competitive benefits package. Usually, there are a bunch of benefits of which employees never take advantage.
Every employer has their own unique benefits package. Here are some of the items that are frequent perks where you can get big value or save money.
- Health, Dental, Life and other forms of insurance through the employer
- Retirement plan (401k, pension, etc. – If there is a company match, make sure you are getting the full match!)
- Cell Phone service discounts
- Technology stipend or reimbursement
- Tuition reimbursement
- Discounts on childcare, group classes, or gym memberships
- Discounts from your job (employee discounts on products/services)
- Discounts from partners or customers
It does not hurt to reach out to your human resources department to ask what benefits and discounts are currently available to employees. You should check in with them every year. You might be surprised to hear of all the great benefits you were not aware of. If they reply with items of interest or opportunities to save, ask them how you can utilize the benefit.
These are just three examples of places where you could find some hidden gems where you could save money or benefit. There are many hidden gems out there if you are paying attention. Keep your eyes and ears open. You never know where opportunity may be hiding.
A Journey to Personal Financial Success
Standards of Financial Literacy (SFL), MFF’s signature program, supports the concept of personal financial freedom by giving participants of all ages the insight to set goals, track net worth and apply acquired knowledge. This online, self-paced program is ideal for individuals and groups alike.
Upon successful completion of SFL’s six-module course, participants become an MFF Fellow. Becoming an MFF Fellow is the ticket to access additional MFF courses and opportunities for mentoring, networking, internships and hands-on projects. These are the opportunities which allow MFF Fellows to continue their journey to personal financial success.
To learn more about this exciting program, click here.