The first step to lower your monthly bills and eliminate the non-essential bills is to review your bank and credit card statements for the low hanging fruit. Lets look a few areas to review.
Lower Your Monthly Housing Expense
Some people may tell you to refinance your mortgage, move to a cheaper apartment, or get a roommate, not me. If your having financial issues how probable is it to refinance your mortgage? For homeowners, you may be able to lower costs on your insurance by shopping around for a lower rate and bundling your home and auto insurance for a discount.
Renting? Let be real here, unless your living in a home that is too big for your needs how much money can you really save when you consider the moving costs? Will you spend more on gas to get to work? Calculating the real savings of a move is a bit more complicated than the monthly rent. If considering a move don’t forget to factor in the quality of life issue.
Lower Your Monthly Bills: Utilities
Consider pulling the plug on cable, but remember you still need your internet connection and if canceling cable means signing up for other Internet-based streaming services, how much will you save?
A better way is to call the cable company and tell them you want to cancel your service because you can’t afford the costs and are looking to lower your monthly bills. Prepare yourself to follow through with your threat of canceling service. However to keep your business, chances are you may get a new subscriber discount for a year, then when the year is up you can reevaluate your financial situation.
If you have substantial cable bills extras, try removing the HBO, Showtime and/or DVR services to save $10 or $20 a month.
Consider switching your plan or carrier. I left AT&T years ago for Consumer Cellular and saved at least $50 a month. Two lines and shared 10 gigs of data, unlimited talk, and text for under about $90 a month including the taxes.
If you REALLY want to reduce your phone bill sign up for google voice or other wi-fi phone service for free. All phone are equiped with an emergency call service.
Give your air conditioner a rest and cool your home by opening windows and using fans to circulate the fresh air.Close the blinds to keep out afternoon heat.
Replace your old incandescent light bulbs with more efficient LEDs.
Plug home electronics into power strips and turn off power strips when equipment is not in use.
Unplug your electronic devices and chargers when they are not in use.
Clothes dryers are energy hogs so give yours a break and hang-dry your clothes. It’s also better for your clothes and will help them to last longer.
Lower Your Monthly Bills:Transportation
Do you have a car payment? It’s hard to lower this one without a refinance, so don’t do it, it just kicks the debt down the road. Try to pay off as quickly as possible and vow never again to have a car loan! Chalk it up to lesson learned.
If you commute ask about vanpooling, it will save miles on your car and increase the lifespan of your car.
Ask yourself, do need a car? If no, try selling your car and pay off any existing car loan. Use Lyft, Uber, Bus, Walk, Bicycle or Vanpooling.
If you have a car and are keeping it, increase your insurance deductible. Depending on the laws in your state if you are in an accident and it’s not your fault you might not need to pay the deductible anyway. Check with your insurance company for regulations in your state.
If you have an old car look into reducing your coverage. Full coverage may not be necessary for an older car Consider dropping collision, and comprehensive coverage, which covers damage to your vehicle if it’s value is less than your deductible plus the annual premiums.
Lower Your Monthly Bills: Food
When dining out look for specials,early bird discount, happy hours and Groupon deals.
Call and ask for a lower rate credit card rate. If you have a solid payment history and good credit score you just might get your rate lowered.
Consider balance transfers. Read tips for balance transfers
Take out a Personal loan which often has lower interest rates than credit cards. If you qualify, you can lower your monthly payments and have your debt paid off sooner.
Cancel print magazines you don’t read regularly. Most magazines have a free online version.
Reduce the frequency of a print subscription. Not willing to give up your New York Times subscription? Opting for a Sunday-only delivery.
Go over your credit card bills and look for any recurring charges for services you no longer want.