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It’s a given that everything gets more costly with each passing day and there’s nothing any of us can do about it. Right? Wrong! As long as you’re on a payroll or operating a business, it’s better to save your money than trying to earn more money.
For this reason, people have come up with various ways of saving their monthly earnings. In the past, there were only two simple strategies of keeping your monthly bill intact:
- Set aside every paycheck or a specific amount of money every month for savings’ sake. For years, people have practised this though it requires a tonne of discipline.
- Put all your loose change into a jar every day. Once in a while, deposit this money into your savings account. Over time, this money will accumulate into something substantial.
As the economy evolves, we are continually provided with newer ways of squeezing the most out of our monthly paycheck or business earnings. The good thing about these advanced strategies is that we still get to have fun without having to put our lifestyles on the line.
As a matter of fact, rather than setting restrictions for yourself on a day-to-day basis, the following are just a few measures anyone (you included) can take to cut down and streamline a couple of your larger budget items.
If you strongly feel like your entire paycheck magically disappears after sorting out your cable bill, utilities, car insurance and cell phone bill, this post will guide you through saving your cash by cutting down your monthly expenditures.
The following are primary domestic fields that you can look into to save on your monthly bills:
- Energy bills
- Bank account
- Internet connection
- Entertainment, Movies and TV
- Housing costs
- Wireless Bills and phone
1. Energy Bills
Cutting back on energy bills won’t often be achieved by switching to an alternative provider because usually, there is only a single option for electricity, gas or water in some areas.
This means that you have to follow a couple of strict guidelines if you wish to be successful in saving that extra dollar. Here are some suggestions to go about it:
Find energy leaks by getting a home energy audit.
More often than not, local utilities will stop by to do a free-of-charge home energy audit. In a few cases, they will charge you a small fee to help you locate the spot in your home where there is a leak in energy. Save extra by saving up these leaks.
Use your water heater moderately.
Your water heater accounts for approximately 14-25% of your annual energy bills. This is because most of the time it’s turned up higher than you need it to be.
You stand to save about 3-5% of your electric bill by lowering it to a temp of 120-140 degrees. Experts advise against going lower than 120 degrees as this stimulates the growth of bacteria in the tank.
You can alternatively save money on heat loss by insulating your water heater using a fiberglass blanket.
Make use of a programmable thermostat.
A significant portion of your utility bills come from the heating and cooling bills every month. By installing a programmable thermostat such as the smart Nest thermostat, you can change your house’s temperature according to the general atmosphere. If you’re not around, you can control it remotely.
There is no point in running the air and heat all day and night. Conserve energy by turning down the heat at night and turning it low when no one’s home.
Get a power saving device.
Most of the electronics we use nowadays have a particularly annoying phantom power drain – even when they’re not in use. The only way you can get around this is by using an auto-sensing power strip.
This device will switch off all power sources once the unit is turned off. An excellent option to a power saver is the energy saving power plug that comes with on and off switches for electrical appliances such as toasters or coffee makers.
Use compact fluorescent light bulbs.
Compared to its incandescent counterparts, fluorescent light bulbs last for years, consume relatively less power, generate little heat, and they are more energy-efficient. If you may find it hard to replace your incandescent bulbs all at once, replace them one by one as they burn out.
Replace power-consuming appliances.
Speaking of replacing stuff, you might want to replace old devices with energy-saving ones. The newer models are more concerned about saving electricity and lowering your carbon footprint.
Major power consuming appliances worth repairing include old dishwashers, electric stove/oven, dryer, refrigerator and other large appliances. It may cost you right now, but it’s worth it in the long-run.
These are more ways to save on electricity that you can apply to your home.
2. Bank Account
You’ve probably had a lasting financial partnership with one specific bank. If you’ve noticed lately that they’ve begun charging you outrageous fees for inactivity and there’s a rise in brokerage fees, then it’s time you moved to a different bank.
In any case, people often realize that their bank account is useless and that they stand a better chance of saving money on fees by doing the following:
Closing old accounts.
Over time, old accounts begin charging inactivity fees if the owner hasn’t used their account for quite a while. Though shutting down an account can be involving, to say the least, it can save you a bulk of money and stress in the long run.
Signing up for new accounts.
Nowadays, brick and mortar accounts are notorious for charging their customers fees for all sorts of services. Creating a new (preferably online) account with a different bank means zero fees and minimums, thereby enabling you to save with no problem.
You will also get some perks including better customer service, cash back and added money interest that you wouldn’t get at your previous bank.
Lowering interest on your credit card.
Do this if you notice that your credit card’s interest is getting unjustifiably high. Go on to sign up for a card with a significantly lower interest rate, no fees and 0% balance transfer. Just be careful about humongous charges when it comes to transferring balances.
These are the various types of account types to consider axing if the features or fees offered are unacceptable: mutual fund company accounts, brokerage accounts, checking accounts, savings accounts, credit card account etc.
3. Internet Bill
A good internet connection has become one of today’s must-have items. However, most people have fallen prey to the false belief that you can obtain affordable internet service by carrying a bloated cable bundle.
The truth is that you can still get a stable, affordable internet service by merely cutting the cord from the cable. The following are tips to help you trim your internet bill.
Lower your connection speed.
You may think that paying for the internet bouquet with the highest rate is the best thing to do, but you may very well be disposing of a massive chunk of your money.
Most homes with high-speed internet access only use 50% (or less) of it. For instance, when streaming Netflix, you need only approximately 5Mbps with each stream. The best and most affordable internet speed you should have in your home should be anywhere between 20-30 Mbps.
Go for the best deals.
To find the best deals, you can take advantage of introductory offers and competing deals. Use each one of them for a limited time to determine the one that has the best deals.
Though it may be a pain, go ahead and bundle with different services and save a ton of money. Visit sites such as FatWallet that have informative forums that touch on all the hottest and latest deals from leading companies.
Get reduced or free internet rates.
Using free 4G internet services like Netzero and FreedomPop, you have the rare opportunity of browsing at no cost at all. This works, of course, if you live in areas with quality 4G coverage.
FreedomPop is working on a 4G internet hub for homes that will offer a free 1GB for a start, then after that start paying for plans starting at $10/month. Netzero has affordable DSL in specific areas in addition to their free 4G services.
4. Entertainment, Movies and TV
There are endless ways of cutting costs when it comes to entertainment.
Cancel dormant subscriptions.
Still, on online streaming services, check to ensure you’re not unnecessarily doubling up on unneeded services. If for example, you pay for both Amazon Prime and Netflix streaming, you will notice that they both offer the same movies and TV shows. Cancel either one of them to save up to $8.00/month.
A program called Trim automatically goes through your bank account and tells you where you’re spending extra on subscriptions and other items.
Get the best premium TV deals.
To start with, if you’re keen on keeping your premium TV for the sole purpose of programming or sports available on cable alone, make sure you sign up for the best possible cable TV package.
Once your introductory deal expires, be sure to shop around for alternative packages. Switching companies saves you hundreds of dollars every year considering you don’t pay a dime for early deals. For the best offers in your area, be sure to check out Bill Slasher.
Use low-cost movie rentals.
This is the best option if you’re not really into movies and you’d rather not waste your money on monthly Netflix and Amazon subscriptions. An excellent example of an affordable rental alternative is Redbox.
Here you have the option to rent the latest movie for only a dollar. You will often find codes for coupons that will enable you to get free rentals more frequently.
If you don’t rent movies now and then, take advantage of the pocket-friendly pay per view video options on Xbox, Amazon, and Itunes to rent movies. Amazon is known to give away free credits for their Video and MP3 stores via social media. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter for the best deals!
Cancel your satellite or cable TV packages.
If you’re very picky about shows on TV and less interested about the time they air, don’t wait any longer – cut the cord. Move on to something less expensive rather than paying for a satellite or cable TV package that interferes with your monthly budget without you knowing it.
Move on to Hulu and other free video streaming services. Use software to stream different shows to your TV using existing game consoles such as the Playstation 4 or Xbox One. If you have none of these, you can use affordable devices such as Roku or Fire TV. There are countless options to choose from.
Again, Trim can help you determine where you’re spending extra cash.
5. Housing Costs
The moment you learn to take care of your housing costs, you are more likely to save up to hundreds of dollars every month. Most of us are probably aware that we could save a lot by refinancing, but saving on your housing costs is not limited to this alone. Here are other tricks you can try:
Think twice about your mortgage insurance.
Mortgage may be more of a burden than a necessity if you’re using your regular monthly payment to pay for it. It’s even worse if you’ve already hit 20% equity in your house.
Here’s where you need to look into having it removed by your mortgage company. Mortgage insurance doesn’t cover you, but the bank. It can often be removed if you’ve reached 20% equity in the house.
Unfortunately, if you have an FHA loan or you’re a high-risk borrower, you’ll have to hold on to your mortgage insurance a little longer.
Appeal your property tax value.
Most people are not aware of the fact that you can appeal your property taxes anywhere in America through appealing the tax appraisal value of the county you live in.
If you’re not sure on how to go about appealing your property tax value, there are tonnes of useful information on the web. Successful appeals can save you up to $363 per year. If you have a finance expert, he/she can give you the necessary steps to take to achieve a successful property tax value appeal.
Consider refinancing your mortgage.
This has got to be the most popular way of saving on your housing costs. Recently, there has been a drastic decline in mortgage rates. Take advantage of the low prices and save thousands of dollars from your regular monthly bills by refinancing.
Procrastination is not an option. Refinance right now to save approximately $200-$300 every month.
Downsize your home.
If you want to lower your monthly bills, a sure way is to downsize your home. By downsizing, you will not only reduce your payment, but your maintenance costs, insurance taxes, and other side costs will drop drastically as well. Any costs in regards to moving will need to be taken into serious consideration.
6. Wireless Bills and Home Phone
Saving on your mobile internet charges, cell phone, and home phone can be achieved in many ways. The following are some of the best options you can use right now or in the near future, depending on how urgently you need to save on your wireless bills.
Opt for an affordable VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol).
If you own a landline, you may want to go for an inexpensive VOIP option. By doing your own research, you will most likely stumble upon the Ooma phone service, which is very good.
To use this service, all you need to do is pay about $140 upfront to purchase an Ooma Telo device. This will enable you to make calls in the U.S. for no cost at all over your current broadband connection! Every call you make is unlimited.
To fully enjoy this unbelievable service, you will need to pay your local taxes in full, which is approximately $4.50. For a fee of $39.99, you will be able to port your existing landline phone number over.
Use prepaid cell phones most of the time.
Rather than using more expensive contract plans, save a ton of money by making use of your prepaid cell phone service. With Republic Wireless, you can use two prepaid cell phones for an average of $40/month.
Each of them is Android-operated smartphones with unlimited text with 1GB data and tons of minutes for $20 per month. The only disadvantage is the upfront price of the unsubsidized cell phone. Recommended alternatives to Republic Wireless are Freedompop and Tello.
Use FreedomPop for free mobile hotspots.
FreedomPop is a company that offers free data worth 500MB every month. What you have to do is pay a one-time fee for their hotspots then you can enjoy it free henceforth.
If you’re using internet hotspot from other companies, you’re better off putting down your deposit on the FreedomPop hotspot. Once you’ve signed up, you can connect with other FreedomPop users or complete surveys and offers to get extra 500MB free data.
This means that every month, you get a whopping 1GB of data at no cost at all. This is highly recommended if you’re up for saving some extra cash.
The following are a few straightforward ways to save on any type of insurance:
Shop around your area.
Similarly to any shopping, you will need to ensure that you find the best deal possible. If you’re not sure how to go shopping around for insurance, an independent insurance agent can be of assistance.
When seeking coverage, get a minimum of three quotes then compare the differences. Review the policies and ask for a better deal with your existing provider using this information. If the provider declines your request, your next move would be to switch to either of the more affordable companies.
Understand the kind of insurance you need.
Insurance has a wide variety of categories. Generally, if you can afford them all, nothing’s holding you back. If, on the other hand, you’re seeking to save a few extra bucks, you’ll need to purchase the essential insurances – home, content and car insurance.
There are more insurances you can’t do without, but these three are worth having. It’s worth mentioning that a few of your insurances are covered under your Superannuation fund. To know what you might be paying for already, check your policy.
Don’t shy away from asking for a discount.
If ever you happen to be on the phone with a potential insurance company or your current one, don’t be scared to ask them about the various incentives and discounts they offer.
If you have lasted a rather long time without an accident or claim, you may very well be eligible for a loyalty discount and a no claims bonus.
Another significant discount to put into consideration is the low mileage discount that applies if you drive less often. Unless you ask, you may not know whether or not cuts like these even exist.
Make mutual insurance.
If you own extra cars and a whole load of ‘toys’ that you would want to be insured, it’s important that you confirm with your insurance company. A couple of insurance companies will give you the option of bundling your house with your car insurance as well as contents coverage for added savings.
Being able to do this will give you peace of mind as you will pay for everything at once. There’s no doubt that you will pay significantly less compared to paying separately for each of your pricey possessions.
In a Nutshell
And there you go. Saving on your monthly bills has never been this easy. There are several more ways to go about this, so don’t tie yourself up. There are no limitations as to how to save money on your necessary monthly expenditures.
You now know how to save money on your entertainment, bank accounts, energy costs, insurance costs, phone and wireless broadband costs and housing costs. All you need to do is find affordable alternatives, cancel services you don’t need and of course, be creative all the way.
Just keep a target and focus on what you’d like to achieve. It will need a lot of sacrifice on your end but you’ll thank yourself in the end when your savings spiral all the way up.