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We all know that paying bills is one of the unfortunate side effects of growing up, but how many of us make those payments every month without giving them a second thought? Before you keep making those automatic payments, take a closer look at your bill; you might find that you’ve been throwing money away on things you aren’t using! It’s time to bring it back to basics and save yourself some money – check out each of these bills to find out where you could be putting more in your pocket every month!
Gas & Electricity
One of the quickest and easiest ways to save money is to cut back on your usage, but you might be surprised to learn that most utility companies offer discount programs. Depending on your income, many utilities will offer reduced rates based on your household size and salary. If you don’t qualify for the low-income programs, take a look at their peak hour rates; making a conscious effort to wash clothes, run the dishwasher, and cook during off-peak hours can save you tons on your energy bill! I’ve listed these together since most utility companies these days have them combined, but if you get 2 separate bills make sure you check both. Some companies even offer rebate options if you purchase energy-efficient appliances, so check their website & your bill to find out more about what they can offer!
Cable & Internet
For cable & internet providers, bundling is a huge incentive to use their services, but is also a great way for you to save money. If you currently have separate providers, call and find out if either offers the option to bundle these together – the discounts can be significant! Another great way to save money on this bill is to consider ditching cable altogether; more and more people are moving to streaming services, and frankly who doesn’t love binge-watching their favorite shows commercial free? If you’re on a budget and trying to get out of debt, cable is one of the first things I recommend getting rid of – we cut the cord months ago and are pleasantly surprised at how little we miss it!
Trash & Sewer
This one can be tough to get discounts on since most rates are standardized based on your city or county, but there might be some hidden freebies that you weren’t aware of. We found out after searching online that while we pay for a trash, recycling, and green waste bin, they actually give some additional bins free of charge to encourage you to recycle and dispose of green waste properly. With just a simple online request I was able to get 3 green waste bins for the price of one – check online to find out what your area’s policy is! A lot of areas will also give you one free visit to the dump per year – our county sends us a coupon in the mail as a reminder, but calling your local agency can often uncover hidden perks that you’re already paying for!
As a resident of Southern California this one is a no-brainer, but using less water can also save you a ton of money! This is another bill where the rates can vary, so take a look at your latest bill to see where the rates jump up and try to stay below those thresholds. Challenge your household to cut back when reasonable; try a timer for shorter showers and skip watering the lawn to save yourself some hard-earned cash! Water conservation is always important, and this can be a huge expense every month, so see where you can cut back and enjoy the savings.
Our cell phones are notorious for getting us to spend extra money every month, so check those bills carefully and read the fine print. An easy way to reduce this bill is to simply call or walk into your nearest location, and ask what changes you could make to your plan to bring your bill down. While a lot of places lock you into a contract, many providers are also offering to buy you out of your current contract to switch over, so shop around and do your homework.
Bundling also comes into play here, so if you have more than one phone in your household ask around for family rates as well. Most services are pretty comparable as far as coverage nowadays, so unless you know you don’t get service in your area, keep your options open – you may have stuck with one company for a long time, but you’ll be surprised at some of the offers out there. Last but not least, check your data usage – so many people are paying for data plans that they don’t use a fraction of. Why pay for unlimited when you don’t need it? Checking this bill can add up to huge savings, so even if it means some terrible music while you’re on hold, this one is definitely worth the time.
Whether you’re looking for a new vehicle or just looking to make a change, shopping around for car insurance can be a significant source of savings. With online quoting making this process easier than ever, check out a few different providers before choosing one. Ask your agent if there are any discounts you can take advantage of; sometimes bundling your car insurance with your renter’s or homeowner’s insurance can bring your bill down drastically. Don’t sacrifice the amount of coverage you need to save money (you could pay for this later), but do your research on whether you need full coverage on your older vehicles – you may find savings by just reducing coverage to something more reasonable.
This category is for all those monthly bills we forget about. Do you have a storage unit you’re still paying for with stuff you’re never going to use? How about a subscription to a newspaper or magazine that you hardly ever read? My rule is if it doesn’t add value to your life, ditch it – you’re unlikely to miss the extra stuff, and you certainly won’t miss paying for it! Cancelling these little extra expenses can add up to big savings, so check your bank statement for any additional payments you’re making that you don’t need.
Now that we’ve covered your bills, here’s the final pro-tip to making this worthwhile – keep track of everything you’re saving each month, even if it’s just a few dollars, and apply that money toward your emergency fund or paying off your debt! By taking this “extra” money and putting it toward something useful, you’re not only saving each month but you’re bettering your financial position. So gather up those bills and get started – that money is just waiting for you to find it!