By Holly Hammersmith GOBankingRates.com.
As a savvy shopper, you need to always keep your guard up. From food to services and products to personal grooming, there are a lot of areas where you might be spending too much money. But making a few adjustments or opting for a different service can save you big time.
Here are five areas where shoppers commonly overpay, as well as some strategies to help you cut these costs.
CELLPHONES Cellphones have become so popular that most people just pay their monthly bills without thinking twice and wouldn't even consider alternatives. But if your cellphone bill is too high, you might want to look into switching carriers, phones or contracts.
The average AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless customer spends more than $90 each month for individual service, with iPhone owners spending even more ($111), according to Consumer Reports. One way to slash this cost: Get rid of your multiyear contract.
How much you can save: By getting an installment plan instead, Consumer Reports states you could see savings of up to $360 a year after your phone is paid off.
HAIRCUTS Like most people, you probably have a recurring haircut appointment and don't think twice about it. The price might go up periodically, but you don't think about that. And of course, you always tip on top of the price.
But, it might be time to revisit how much you're paying annually just to manage your 'do. The average price of a man's haircut is about $38 per cut, according to a GQ survey.
How much you can save: Getting a haircut twice a month can cost you $912 a year; save $456 by only going to the barbershop once a month.
CAR INSURANCE Americans pay $907.38 on average on car insurance, according to Value Penguin, but there is one key way you can possibly lower your bill.
In an article for Fortune, financial guru Jean Chatzky explained that many consumers just don't shop around for a better deal on insurance. Consumer advocate Edgar Dworsky told Chatzky, "I think a lot of people just renew, renew, renew, and if they see the price went up, they might believe the whole industry is going up."
How much you can save: Like one source interviewed in Chatzky's article, you could possibly save as much as $110 or more for renewal on two cars by getting offers from other car insurers and bringing those figures to your current insurer to see if they will lower their prices.
MEAT Shop the manager's special and discount displays to save big on protein. Grocery stores routinely mark down meat and put it on sale _ from a cut of ham to chicken legs to steak, and put it on sale. Be on a lookout for markdowns at your local grocer, and ask an employee which day(s) meat is usually marked down. Switch your shopping day, and begin saving. How much you can save: Save as much as 50 to 67 percent off, reports The Huffington Post.
PETS For 2015, the American Pet Products Association estimates Americans will spend $60.59 billion on their pets. Your friends and family might understand why you spend a ton of money on your pets, but your pocketbook doesn't. Instead of purchasing a dog from a breeder, which can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars, adopt a pet from a local animal shelter. How much you can save: $200 or more, depending on breed and type of pet.
These are only a few ways you can save big throughout the year. Don't be afraid to ask questions of your service provider and think outside the box to save money. ___ Holly Hammersmith writes for GOBankingRates.com, a leading portal for personal finance news and features, offering visitors the latest information on everything from interest rates to strategies on saving money, managing a budget and getting out of debt.