Take a moment to think about the amount of money you spend on monthly bills. You pay your rent or mortgage, phone, car, cable, internet, and utility bills. Before you know it, your money for the month is nearly spent. For most people, this is just a fact of life. You write a check, set up an automatic payment, and forget about it for another month. But there are things you can do to save on your monthly bills.
1. Save on Utility Expenses
Your utilities are probably among your biggest monthly expenses. Heating or cooling bills usually top the list as most expensive utilities. Use your thermostat wisely to avoid overspending. Turning the temperature up a few degrees in the summer and down a few degrees in the winter can save you a lot of money. Take advantage of this tactic, especially when no one’s home. Or consider getting a smart thermostat that can do all this work for you.
Another big cost on your utilities is electricity from your devices. Computers, gaming devices, and other electronic equipment use more power and cost more money than you think when they’re asleep. Unplug or completely shut down your standby devices so they’re not using up power when you’re away.
If you subscribe to monthly services like cable and internet, try bundling for extra savings. Or consider cutting cable completely. There are plenty of inexpensive alternatives to TV that you can access through the internet. But if you insist on keeping cable, call your provider to take advantage of introductory or promotional rates as often as you can. It never hurts to call your provider and see if there is a way to lower your monthly bill.
2. Save on Phone Expenses
Competition for phone services is at an all-time high. If you don’t travel often or use your phone outside densely populated areas, moving to a smaller provider can save you a lot of money. But if you feel more comfortable with one of the bigger companies, don’t be afraid to shop around, even if you already have a contract. The major providers will fight for your business. And that means you can take advantage of discounts, incentives, and promotions for switching.
Regardless of your provider, you can find extra savings by taking a closer look at your phone bill. If you have a smartphone, look to see how you’re paying for data and how much data you actually use. If you’re paying for a plan that doesn’t fit your usage, call your phone company to adjust your monthly rate.
It may also be time to cut out phone services that are no longer a necessity to you. In an age when nearly everyone has a cell phone, too many are still paying for landline phone services. Cutting your landline can save you an average of $30 a month.
3. Save on Car Expenses
You could drive less and save money on gas. You could even take public transportation and avoid buying a car altogether. But for many, the automobile is the best—and sometimes the only—way to get around. And driving long distances to work, school, and stores is unavoidable. Still, there are ways to save on your monthly car expenses.
Instead of going with the first insurance company you see on TV, do a little comparison shopping. Compare prices on websites that conveniently group several companies’ rates in one place. And when you call or visit with your insurance salesperson, ask about discounts for low-mileage and safe-driving customers. There are also employer affiliation and military member discounts available. And if you have homeowners’ insurance, ask about bundling policies for even more savings. For those willing to ask, money-saving discounts are usually available.
4. Save on Eating Expenses
The first rule of saving money on food is to plan your meals and avoid eating out. But there are a few little things you can do to save money at the grocery store. For starters, skip the packaged salads and other pre-packed, processed food. You’re paying for convenience and not necessarily quantity or quality of food. Also, buy in bulk when it makes sense for things you use on a regular basis.
If you’re like most people, you probably eat out more than you should. Eating out too often can become a large expense. But simple tricks, like planning your meals and cooking at home more often, can go a long way. As you make your meal plans, identify a few low-maintenance, easy-to-make meals that you enjoy eating. This way, you can fight the urge to get takeout when you don’t feel like spending a lot of time cooking.
You can save money on food if you resist the urge to eat out for lunch every day. Brown bag your lunches if you’re away from home during lunchtime. If you often go out to lunch with coworkers, invite them to join you by bringing their own lunches from home as well. Then, you can still eat together and save some money while you’re at it.
Your monthly bills might not be going away any time soon, but they also shouldn’t lay claim to every dollar you earn. By being more mindful of your monthly bills and knowing exactly what you’re buying, you can eliminate wasteful spending, take advantage of available discounts, and keep more money in your account.