I’d like to think that our monthly bills are always as low as they can be… But, realistically, things are always changing and a diligent budgeter would be wise to go through their monthly bills at least once a year. Here are four quick and easy tips to lower your monthly bills.
We’ve all seen the extreme couponing shows where people spend hours scouring hundreds of newspaper pages each week. That’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about a quick scan of the stores you normally shop and newspaper’s coupons. One easy way to do this is signing up for your stores online couponing program or searching for printable coupons. It’s quick, easy, and it’s free money (assuming you already get a newspaper). I’ll be the first to admit I’m a lazy couponer, but I do it because it saves us money on things I am buying anyway. Just by spending a few extra minutes each week browsing the web for coupons and sales, I generally save 10-15% off of our weekly grocery budget. If you combine this with your meal planning time, it only adds a few minutes to your week.
One caveat: Only clip coupons for items you would buy anyway. If coupons make you purchase items you wouldn’t normally, then they aren’t saving you money anymore!
Resources I use: Publix.com (digital and printable coupons), Coupons.com, Hip2save.com
This is a tough one for us. It kind of drives me nuts how much we spend in this category and I’m always trying to reduce our cost. However, cable is one of our big splurges because we don’t live in Indianapolis Colts territory and getting DirecTV’s Sunday Ticket is way cheaper than sending my husband out every week to watch the game. In addition to football I’m a bit of a nerd and find it necessary to get HBO during Game of Thrones season because it’s just that awesome. But once the new season is over, adios HBO!
Before we were strictly DirecTV customers, I would call my cable company whenever I got a flyer in the mail advertising cheaper cable or internet than I currently had. If you ask to speak with their cancellation representative and tell them what ad you got, they will almost always match it or at least reduce your current rate to keep you. I even got into the habit of putting a reminder on my smart phone calendar (literally takes 10 seconds) every time they gave me a “6 month special” and called again when it was up. With almost 100% success we got an additional free movie channel package or reduced rates to stay with the providers.
Internet and phone are usually very similar and a lot of times the bundles are a better deal. Be willing to look around once your introductory period is up and check other companies every 6 months or so. There are always new deals popping up and it might surprise you how much you can save with a couple phone calls!
Another option for TV that is getting popular is Roku, Apple TV, or Chromecast. It’s a great idea with a lot of personalized options. Unless someone in your family is a sports junkie, in which case it may not be for you since live sports are hard to come by on these services. The Thrifty Couple has a great review of the best ways to use these options Here.
This is another place I struggle- our cell phones are so expensive! There are so many cell plans out there now that the only advice I have is to research, research, research! Every carrier has multiple plans, so be sure to check on each plan and see which is better for you. When your contract is up, just be sure you’ve checked out all of your options instead of staying with your current provider out of habit. And if you are in contract, check your data plan and make sure you aren’t over paying for data or services you don’t use. You are still allowed to change your plan in contracts without penalty, you just can’t leave the provider.
Don’t ignore this one, you should be going through it every 6 months or so to be sure you are getting the best deal. Plans are always changing!
Resources I use: myrateplan.com
There are a few of ways to save on car insurance. Whether it’s just getting quotes from a few places or raising your deductible, make sure to check your options. I like to go over our insurance every 6 months (when the new policy comes in) and make sure the coverage is appropriate. In doing this a person needs to ask themselves two questions: 1)”What or how much am I trying to protect myself from having to pay” and 2) “How vulnerable am I to that happening?” If you have a good emergency fund, you can reduce monthly payments by raising your deductible. Just know that in case of an accident, you’ll be paying more. Speaking of accident, how long has it been since your last one? Many people don’t think about checking on safe driver discounts and your agent will not be sending you a text to remind you when you qualify.
Get some new quotes on insurance once a year to ensure that your rates are staying competitive. It’s never fun to find out you’ve been overpaying for months (or years!).
These are just a few ways you can lower your monthly bills. I’m reminded of them each time we move (like now!), but really should be going through them more often than that. Just be aware of what you are paying and be sure you are getting the best deal!
Do you have any tricks for reducing bills?