If you’ve recently taken a pay cut, become unemployed, or simply found your monthly bills increasing for no apparent reason, finding ways to cut back can be critical. There are several things you can to try to cut your monthly bills, and most only require a little effort on your part. Here are # ways to lower your monthly bills.
Make sure your electric bill is as low as it can be
Electricity is a necessity that we can’t do without. But you aren’t stuck paying outrageous bills. Instead, make sure that you’re getting the best electricity rates possible for your home. Once you know you’re getting the lowest rates, make sure you’re not raising your bill with energy drains. Unplug appliances and other electricity-using devices when they’re not being used, ensure that your wiring is up to date and functioning properly, and have your HVAC system checked to ensure it doesn’t run more than it should.
Install a programmable thermostat
If everyone is out of the house all day, there’s no reason to keep an empty house at the same temperature as a full one. A programmable thermostat allows you to set it so that the system will run and get the house to a comfortable temperature at a time you choose, typically shortly before you get home. It also allows you to change the temperature between day and night, to make for more comfortable sleep as well.
Sell a vehicle
If you have two vehicles, but rarely use one of them, sell it. This will save you the money for insuring it, as well as the yearly registration fees. If your first car is unavailable when you need to go somewhere, try using public transportation. With just a little extra planning, public transportation can get you to and from work, the grocery store, doctor appointments and most other things you need to get to.
Use a shopping list and coupons
Groceries is another area where you have no choice but to pay for what you need. But what you need is far different than what you want. Create a weekly or monthly meal plan, and use that plan to create a shopping list that you stick to at the store. Cook cheaper meals, as well. You may love lobster and Porterhouse steaks, but if your budget only allows for hamburger and trout, that’s what you need to eat. Stick to the perimeter of the store, and buy produce that is in season, even if you have a craving for something that’s out of season.
When it comes to coupons, there are many different types of coupons and often times you don’t know about them until you get to the store. Use online resources to search coupons ahead of time which can also help you decide what meals you can make for the week. The more involved shoppers become at using coupon strategies to save money, the easier the process becomes.
Bundle some services
Many times, if you have cable, internet and phone through the same provider, you can bundle those services and save a lot of money over paying for each service individually. Take the time every few months to comparison shop and see if there are better deals available from your current provider’s competitors. If there is, contact your current provider and see if you can negotiate a better deal – and if you can’t, switch providers (unless you have a contract, in which case you’re better off sticking with it, to avoid the early termination fees).
Scrutinize your cell phone bill
Unlimited everything sounds great, but are you actually using it? If you’re paying for services that you don’t use, get rid of them. Compare the minutes you use to the various plans offered. If there’s a cheaper plan that you can switch to, do so. Cancel lines that aren’t being used. Contact your provider and see if you can negotiate a better deal.
Refinance your mortgage
You can often lower your monthly mortgage payment by refinancing your mortgage. You’ll have to pay closing costs to do so, but the savings in the long run might be worth it. Check with a few lending institutions and see what offers you get. If you don’t get a significantly better deal, stick with what you have.
Saving money on your monthly bills doesn’t usually cost you anything but the time and energy it takes to do some research and talk to your various creditors to try to negotiate terms. It can be worth it for the money you’ll save.