This week I am continuing my New Year’s Resolutions series, with an article on reducing your monthly bills.
Have you ever wondered if you are paying a little too much on your cable bill, insurance, cell phone or electric bill, but you decide not to look into it because you don’t think that it is worth the hassle? Paying a little bit too much each month can add up really quickly over the course of a year. If you can reduce these regular expenses, even by a little bit each month, that can make a huge difference. Here are a few small things that you can do to stop overpaying and reduce your monthly bills:
- Car Expenses: Cars are very expensive, any way that you can reduce your monthly auto payments will significantly help your budget. If you are in a family with two cars, consider consolidating the one. Save money on gas by taking public transportation or car-pooling. If you are driving an old vehicle that is costing you a lot of money in maintenance, know when to stop putting money into it and invest in a new vehicle.
- Cell Phone: Cell phones plans can be very costly. Shop around. If you can, try to get on a “pay as you go” or family plan. You don’t necessarily have to be family to be on a plan like this, you can just be a group of friends. Track your usage and make sure that you find a plan that best suits your needs. You shouldn’t pay for anything that you aren’t using.
- Cable Packages: First, ask yourself if you really use your cable. If you don’t, getting rid of it can save you a lot of money. There are many cheaper options outside of cable such as Netflix or Hulu that still allow you to see the shows that you love. If you do decide to keep the cable, be sure to look out for deals and consider negotiating and re-negotiating your package on a frequent basis. For other ways to save money on cable check out this article .
- Energy Bill: Be conscious about turning off lights and unplugging devices when they are not in use. Invest in energy efficient bulbs and smart power strips that eliminate phantom charges (electricity used by devices that are off or on stand-by mode). You can also use regular power strips for your electronics and simply turn off the strip when your electronics are not in use. Lower the temperature in your apartment when you are away, adjusting the temperature in your apartment by just a few degrees can make a big difference.
- Water Bill: Take shorter showers, use an egg timer to help you keep your showers down to just a few minutes. Only use water when you need to. Don’t keep the water running while you are brushing your teeth or while you are scrubbing dishes. Do laundry only as often as necessary.
- Insurance Bills: Make sure that you have the minimum coverage that you need. Don’t purchase more than you need. If you can, raise your deductible. Also, shop around to look at various companies, get a few quotes and see if your insurance can match those rates. If they can’t, switch!
- Credit Card Bill: If you have a large credit card bill that you are paying off ask your credit card company if they can lower your interest rate. Often, all it takes is you asking. If they can’t, you should consider switching your balance to another credit card with a lower rate.
- Membership Fees: Do you actually use the memberships that you are paying for? For instance, if you belong to a gym, are you actually using it enough to make it worth it? Why not consider working out at home?
I realize that this list can be overwhelming, choose one or two suggestions to focus on for this month and see if you can see a difference. You can save a lot of money on bills if you are willing to invest a little bit of time into the process. Don’t let yourself over-pay every month without looking into possible deductions that may be out there.
Join the Conversation: What are your ideas for saving money on bills?