- Personal Finance
Squeeze Some Extra Money from Your Monthly Bills
Yes, you can budget your money to make ends meet at home. These budget boosters can each add extra dollars to the monthly allotment for paying more bills or some fun extras.
Check and double-check each monthly bill when it comes in. Look it over first to see if the charges are accurate. Then, see where some of "the fat" can be trimmed. Often we pay for things or services we never use or realize we have.
Check and re-check those bills
1 ~ Do you still have a home phone (land line)? They are going the way of the dodo bird. Unless you have dial-up internet service (horrors), there is no need for a land line telephone. Ditch it. Use a cell phone with pre-paid minutes or sign up for an inexpensive plan that includes long distance.
2 ~ Really look over the cell phone bill. Are there services or minutes you do not use? I called our cell provider recently and reduced the number of monthly minutes (that we did not use) on our plan for a savings of $20.00 per month. Yippee!
3 ~ The electricity and/or gas bill is always a source of contention. There are several ways to help in this area. If your provider gives the option for budget or levelized billing, do it. This way a definite amount can be set aside each month and you know exactly what it will be.
4 ~ Many people have reported savings after purchasing a programmable thermostat. Closing off rooms that are unused (and closing the vents) keeps unwanted cold or warm air from traveling there. Adjust the regular thermostat (if you don't have a programmable one) when no one is home. Unplug appliances like lamps or computers that are not being used.
5 ~ Sometimes people don't think they can save on the mortgage payment. However, if you have a higher interest rate, refinancing for a lower one could save a bundle each month. Consult your lender about a PMI (private mortgage insurance) charge each month (if you have that) and if there are options there for deleting it.
6 ~ These days, virtually everyone has the internet at home. We reduced our monthly payment by about $20.00 when we opted for the standard service instead of a fancy package we didn't need.
7~ Cable TV packages can be a big mystery. Look at the channels you use all the time. Compare that with the ones you pay for and hardly ever use. Is there a package for fewer channels that would work for you? Using RedBox or Netflix is much cheaper than paying for premium movie channels.
8 ~ Call the big bad credit card company(ies) and ask for a lower interest rate. The worst they could say is "no." We did this and reduced our monthly interest rate by 3%.
9 ~ Do you have a retirement plan? Consider reducing the monthly percentage you contribute (at least for a little while) but be sure to put in enough to meet an employer's match (if applicable). This can always be changed later.
10 ~ Consider raising the deductible on your home, vehicle or health insurance. This would reduce your monthly payment. Note that if you do have a claim, however, your out-of-pocket expenses would be more if you choose this option.
11 ~ Groceries - Ok, this is usually a weekly thing (at least for me). Plan a sketchy menu for the week and make a weekly grocery list based on that. This way you know what you have and what you need and you don't make unnecessary purchases or have to stop in the middle of the week. Specific tips for grocery shopping can be found at http://esmeowl12.hubpages.com/hub/My-Top-Tips-for-Saving-Money-on-Groceries
Do you have other tips for saving money each month? Please share.
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Have you used any of the above tips for reducing monthly bills?
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