The worst thing about bills is that they are a recurring expense. TV, Internet, cell phones, electricity, heat, hot water, business services, entertainment (Netflix and other streaming services), car payments, mortgages, rent, storage, credit cards and other financed payments all add up.
By staying mindful of your current outgoing payments – looking for deals in a consistent manner, you will be able to save a great deal of money off your bills.
Change Your Service Providers Frequently
Often when you get a new service, there are special deals and promotions that will save you money for a year or two. They may even give you a gift card or billing credit to entice you to try their services.
They do this not only to gain a new customer, but because they know most people get busy and end up staying with the same company long after the special promotion ends. Most service providers like cell phone companies, internet services and other utilities are near identical in pricing and offerings, so it doesn’t really matter who you decide to go with.
Where they do differ from their competitors, it may be a new service they are offering, and will give for free or with massive discount to early adopters.
If you stay vigilant and consistently check your monthly bills, you will not only save a great deal of money, but you’ll also get to use the latest and greatest in features for otherwise ordinary expenditures. You will also notice once new features/add-ons become standard in current offerings, included in the billing price.
Contact Your Current Providers and Ask for Deals
Sometimes it is a hassle to change services that you have grown accustomed to or even like. There is also always the risk that you might experience issues with your new provider or not like the way it works. Then there’s also the time it takes to setup the new service, which may not take that long, but is still a slight inconvenience.
Worst of all, there may not be a competing service in your area, such as areas with only one choice of high-speed internet service providers. While there is usually the option to use a substitution good or service that might not be as good, you can also do without or downgrade the service – which is where you power in the situation takes hold.
Saving Money on TV, Internet Phone Service
TV, Internet and Phone services can be several hundreds of dollars each month, or thousands of dollars a year. Since you could save a lot of money, we put together this ScrubMoney’s Guide: Save Money Off TV, Internet, Phone Services
Give Them a Call – Asking for a Discount
Calling your current service and telling them how much you like their service but am having a hard time justifying their expense may open the door to a lower bill. If you are unhappy with their service or have options, then explain that to their customer service or billing departments via phone or email and see if they have any options or thoughts on how they can keep you as a customer.
In the end, companies are run by people and know that a happy customer is worth more than an angry one. If you are reasonable in your requests, there are often ways in which they can lower your bill with a promotion or statement credit.
Refinance Your Debt
If you have a monthly bill for a car payment, credit card, rent or mortgage – you may be able to lower the amount you pay each month with the same company by stretching out the payments or lowering your interest rate.
This is especially helpful if you have good credit and can go elsewhere for financing, especially with interest rates at all time lows. You have to be willing to go with another company which is an investment of time and energy filling out applications, so it may be wise to call your current lender and see if they have any programs or offers you may qualify for.
Credit Card Balance Transfers
Transferring you interest bearing credit card balances and other monthly credit accounts is one of the fastest and easiest ways to save money off your bills and overall debt. Interest rates on credit cards are often carry a 12-24% APR which means each month you are paying 1-2% of the entire balance in interest every month.
Most cards offer a 12-18 month interest free on purchases and balance transfers, plus other bonuses like gift cards, so you could be saving hundreds of dollars each month. You will be paying down those balances quicker and can use the extra money to further reduce your credit card balances or stockpile the cash for investing or emergencies.
Live for Less
Where you live, how you live and the financial arrangements around it save you the most money.
Lower Your Rent
Lowering your rent could be living in a smaller place or negotiating a lower rate with your landlord. This is hard to do with larger property owners, especially in today’s rental market. Having a roommate can help splitting rent and all the bills but comes with risks and inconveniences too. If you are single and without a family, this is usually worth it as you are more understanding when you are young.
Also important to note that you are allowed to sub-lease or rent out rooms in your rental agreement. Most tenants are required to apply to a property and undergo a credit and background check before they are allowed to live in a rental.
Location, Location – Where You Live Matters
Uptown rents can be expensive, and so can beachfront properties. Living near the action also has a cost. Try moving to a less desirable neighborhood – like in the woods or an older building. Obviously, you want to be safe, so check out the location at different times of day.
If you have to drive to work, keep in mind gas and vehicle maintenance costs will increase along with commute times.
Reduce Your Mortgage
Reducing your mortgage has two different options – a lower total mortgage or reducing the interest rate/monthly payment through refinancing.
Lowering Your Mortgage
Lowering your mortgage can be done by moving to a smaller house, less desirable house or location, or a city or town with lower tax rates. If you don’t want to sell your home you can shop around for homeowners insurance or pay down the principle to a point where you don’t have to keep your taxes in escrow.
Another option for homeowners that don’t want to move and have the available space is to rent out a room, effectively paying down the mortgage. Be sure to check the local landlord laws and due your due diligence before considering this option.
Refinancing Your Mortgage
With interest rates so low, now is the perfect time to refinance your mortgage, especially if you’ve built up equity and/or improved your credit score. Doing this can make sense even if you’ve only lived in your home for a few years.
You can do a straight re-finance, home equity line of credit (2nd mortgage), or take cash out to buy a new car, fund home repairs, or consolidate your personal debt at a much lower rate. You might also get the added benefit of being able to write off the interest payments on your taxes too(be sure to discuss with your tax professional)!
Electricity, Heat and Water Utilities – Use Less
Most bills are at a fixed or promotional rate as described above, and it doesn’t matter how much you use them. Utilities like your electric bill, oil heat or water go up and down depending how much you use them.
A lot of apartments include heat and hot water in the colder regions, and sometimes electric too, especially in studios or room rentals. If you live with roommates, this can be tricky, but working together you can save some money and the environment too.
Reduce Your Electric Bill
Aside from the obvious reduction in consumption – shutting lights and other electronics off when you aren’t using them, many states allow you to choose your electricity provider. This allows you to get a more competitive rate, and maybe score a gift card in the process.
Lower Your Heating/Cooling Bill
Turning down the heat in cold weather when you’re not home or having a lower temperature during the day and night can cut your energy bills a great deal. Doing the inverse in hot weather can make a big difference on your electric bill too.
Additionally, you can shop around for oil delivery,
Cut Your Water Bill
Do less laundry, take shorter showers, flush the toilet less for #1, shut the water off if you aren’t actively washing dishes, your hands or brushing your teeth. Maintaining landscape that requires a great deal of water can be costly too.
Unfortunately, you usually can’t choose your water provider if you get it from the city. Luckily, most cities, water is cheap and abundant.
Other Ways to Reduce Your Bills?
We could go on and discuss groceries and other repeat buys, but they aren’t really a bill. If you thought of a money saving tip or point we miss, let us know in the comments or by hitting us up on social media @scrubmoney