When you’re looking at your monthly expenses, the first thing you’re going to look at is how much you need to spend each month just to stay afloat, which is to say what you’re spending on keeping the lights on. However, looking at these expenses objectively will probably tell you that there are things in your “required” pile that aren’t necessarily necessities and there are probably ways you cut down on your bills if you really think about it.
Cutting down your bills seems impossible at first, but it’s important to look at everything in front of you and keep an open mind about what you actually need versus things that are just convenient.
Your utility bills are more than likely a big chunk of your monthly income, and they’re a good place to look when you’re searching for ways to save a little bit of money. It’s true that you need electricity to survive, but you can look into a different energy provider such to save a good bit of money every month.
Manage your energy usage – from turning off lights, unplugging electronics to taking shorter showers – and follow other energy-saving tips.
There’s a wealth of information available on the internet. By researching thoroughly, not only will it save you money now, but it will save you much more money in the long run.
Cell Phone and Cable Services
If you have a cell phone that you use regularly, you probably don’t need a landline service. While it might be nice to have two phones dedicated for different things, it’s not a necessity and you can cut the landline service and save a nice chunk of change every month.
This is also true of television and cable services. Cable packages are quite nice, however, providers purposely bundle their services knowing customers will most likely never utilize all of it.
A personal story: When I was coming out of college and earning my own paychecks, I took full advantage of the bundle system from a local cable provider. I had one of the best packages – over 300 high-definition channels on my 56″ plasma television along with the highest-speed internet for my laptop – but I never used my phone service and my monthly bill was $156.75.
I didn’t research or budget prior to agreeing for their service. I couldn’t afford it after a few months.
I ended up downgrading my cable after a year, but with extra costs to change the plan I wish I would have started off small. To add insult to injury – because I was spoiled with the many channels and fast internet, I missed them when I gave them up for a better price.
Lesson? Don’t bundle up unless you need to.
With services such as Netflix, Hulu, and even YouTube to a lesser extent, cable may as well be irrelevant. Netflix and Hulu both offer monthly subscriptions to a variety of television shows and movies on demand for less than $15 – which obliterates the price of most television services.
Purchase an internet service and stick with it. Use the internet service to subscribe to Netflix or Hulu to watch your favorite shows whenever you want. Use your cell phone instead of your home phone. If you don’t need cable or phone service, skip them in your bundles to save money.
Consolidating Your Bills
If you do need the cable or phone packages in addition to your Internet, consider utilizing one company for all three. Most companies offer bundle deals when you subscribe through them and it will end up being cheaper for you to do it that way. It could be a little bit of a hassle getting everything transferred over to a new company, but it’s definitely worth it.
Talk to your utility, phone, and internet companies and see if they can give you a better deal. A lot of companies have unadvertised offers or discounts that they’ll give you if you simply call them up and ask for them. If you’ve been with a particular company for a long period of time (this is especially true of car insurance providers), they might be willing to give you a loyalty discount for having stuck with them so long. The kick is that you have to ask because most of them won’t advertise it.
There are also many cable provider representatives who are hired to market their products with bundles and savings. They’re usually found in malls stopping shoppers, at businesses promoting their services, or traveling to others’ homes to talk to consumers personally. Take advantage of these representatives by asking questions and communicating concerns about their product – and don’t forget to ask for savings.
Bills aren’t going to go away and there’s not much you can do on that front, but you can lower them if you look into them enough. By examining your spending each month, you’ll be able to better assess what you actually need (versus what you think you need) and look into ways to saving money such as switching to a better electricity provider. It will end up saving you quite a bit of cash in the long run.