How To Lower Your Bills And Have More Money
Money Management Can Lower Your Bills Instantly
In this staggering economy, there are ways that you can save money instantly and lower your bills - and it doesn't have to kill you. Here are some of the ways that we have applied in the last year that helped us increase our money management.
- Cell phone. Going over your bill item by item and figuring out where you can cut costs can prove very profitable. By dumping my Sprint broadband card and purchasing a Virgin Mobile card with NO monthly service fee, we saved $40/month - that is $480/year.
- Land line phone. Many people have done away with theirs entirely and only use a cell phone.
- Cable bill. How many channels do you really need? Going over the bill charge by charge and cutting out unnecessary or rarely used channels cuts your bill significantly. Also looking into HD TV costs versus regular - see if you notice a difference.
- Lattes/Pop. If you buy a latte per day at $3, that equals $1095; for 2 lattes per day $2190.
- Heat/AC costs. It is amazing what a few degrees can do in terms of cutting your costs. Try it a few degrees and see if you can live with it. In summer, only run it when you must and open more windows/run more fans. In winter, close unused rooms off and use space heaters while keeping that thermostat down. Turn either off if no one is home!
- Laundry. Only do FULL loads. You can wash almost ALL clothes on cold/cold.
- Fuel/Gasoline. If you can, schedule the majority of your shopping around 1 trip. We have all fallen into the habit of 'I want it and I want it now' but just by doing the bulk of your shopping on 1 specific day or running multiple errands in 1 trip, you would be surprised how much you can save. It also saves on those impulse buys from running out to the store for 1 item! Keep a running list going!
- Comparison shop for groceries. Time is valuable but if you are trying to cut costs, this is the way to do it! If you know what items you routinely buy at the grocery store, knowing which stores charge you more and NOT buying those items there will save you $$ in the long run over time.
- Use coupons. It probably sounds 70's and 80's but it still works! Most every newspaper has coupons and most cities have their own grocery coupons. Saving $5 here and there adds up!
- Buy in quantity BUT only buy in quantity if you use it or you can justify the savings. I have never bought at 50 lb. sack of flour and I never will! Too messy and too much to deal with. However, if I buy steaks, I mark and freeze them because I know that they will be used within a period of time and the savings is worth buying in quantity.
- Buy ONLY on sale for clothing. Unless it is an emergency, I can usually find anything I ever need on sale somewhere. Or I have a reward that I can apply to make sure that I get a significant percentage off. I absolutely refuse to pay full price for anything to be frank because I work too hard for my money!
- Buy on line! Since we live in a very rural city, this became a necessity but now it is also a money-saving tip. Most times you can get a cheaper price on line AND get free shipping. We bought our BBQ, a brass bed and furniture on line to name a few. It was delivered right to our door. Not to mention saving on books, clothing, music, etc.
- Reserve on line for vacations and trips. Most on line prices are the cheapest!
- Buy wine/beer/liquor wisely. In our neck of the woods, surprisingly Rite-Aid (nice plug here) has the cheapest wine and beer prices ANYWHERE.
It's All About Being Creative
Nothing is ever concrete and everyone has to decide for themselves what areas they can trim the fat from but it is well worth the effort! Getting more bang for your buck is what it is all about for most of us these days in a troubled economy.
Keeping track of your savings is also a fun thing to do as you try to accomplish your goals. Keeping it all on paper or on the computer can assure you that you are moving in a positive direction! For those who are in serious trouble, debt counselors are everywhere and many services are free!
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- Movies. Matinees are always cheaper. Renting movies is even cheaper!
- Your local library. Books/music/movies - all can be checked out and most reserved on line within a few minutes to enjoy FOR FREE!
- Dining out. Instead of always going to dinner, substitute lunch as your 'special' dining out experience. (Menus are always less expensive) Twilight dinners (usually around 4:00) or happy hour menus are also a great way to save money! (Just remember that alcohol can end up costing more than your food bill if you are not careful!)
- Home improvements. If you can DIY, you will save a bundle! Some things need a professional, but if you can at least do PREP work, you can sometimes get a reduced price. Cheapest redecorating idea - paint!
- Landscaping. Again, DIY or keep it just basic and simple. Do as much of it yourself as possible.
- Car wash. Once a week for a year can save you $260-$520. DIY!
- Housecleaning. If you pay a service, you can cut it down and do some of yourself or do away with it all together. Same with yard maintenance. Or hire someone cheaper who can help you DIY!
- Brown bag it! How simple is that?
- Make it from scratch! The cost of buying prepared foods is adding $$ to your food bills (and is not as good for you!) If you have the room, make in quantities and store and/or freeze. It is not only a money-saver, but it is a time-saver! Double bonus!
- Dry cleaning. The cost of a piece of clothing is markedly exaggerated by the amount of money you spend having it dry-cleaned over and over so that 'sale' item you keep dry cleaning might not be such a steal after all!
- Think of no-cost activities! Instead of going bowling, go to the park and play games. Instead of going to hang-out in the bar for dinner and drinks, have a BBQ and have everyone potluck and BYOB!
- Amazon.com - You can buy almost anything and everything at a reduced rate.
- Walmart. As much as we hate what they did to the 'little guy' their prices on many things are hard to beat. You have to know your prices though.
- Costco. If you can handle the quantity and price compare, you can save a bundle.
- Best Buy, appliance stores, etc. Our stores will honor 'the lowest price' we can find. We don't hesitate to find it and get it!
- TJ Maxx, Ross. Again, you can find many things for incredibly reduced prices!
- Generic versus name-brand. If you can buy generic and you like it, do it!
- Cut out junk food! It is outrageously priced and not good for us anyway!
- Garage sale. I have a friend who just got a brand new Cuisinart for $25! In the box!
- Have a garage sale. You would be surprised how many $$ you can make! Just make sure that you price to sell or you may end up with less!
- Rewards. I figure for the $$ we spend, I want to get $$ back - so always seek out and use cards or places that offer rewards! The only way to fly!
- Sell on EBay!
- Sew. I took a pattern for a bubble curtain and converted it to make 30 more. You have to weigh the cost versus hand making but in my case, I saved a bundle!
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