How to Save Money on Everyday Bills
Visualize what an extra $100 per month could do for your family. We believe that between all of the strategies for how to save money on bills we’ll discuss today, you’ll find at least $100 you’re currently spending on bills you can instead put into your savings account each month. If you’re 30 today, then at the average retirement age of 65, you’d have an extra $49,992. What could your family do with an extra 50 THOUSAND DOLLARS?! Say that you put that money in bonds at a rate of 4% instead of a savings account with 1% interest, you’d have an extra $88,383. And better yet, if you chose to invest in stocks at a rate of 8% instead, you’d have an extra $206,780!!!
The best part about all of this? It’s not even money you have to come up with from scratch. We’re just taking it back from the companies you’re paying it to now! Talk about motivation! Am I right?
How do I know? Our 3 bedroom house’s energy bill in December was less than $60, my cell phone bill is only $20 per month, and we recently cut our television entertainment costs dramatically. How much do you spend on your monthly bills? No matter what your answer is… I see it as too much! My fiance Kevin and I are going to talk through simple strategies for how to save money on the typical bills.
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How to Save Money on the Electric Bill
There are a few ways you can save money on your electric bill. Arguably the easiest way to save money is to find a lower rate. Start by logging in to your online account and check the rate you’re currently paying. You’ll want to look at your Electricity Facts Label (EFL). You can use the EFL to compare plans between companies. Take a look at the average price per kWh for the amount of electricity that you use and then ask for quotes from multiple companies to find the lowest rate.
Let’s talk thermostats. Try turning the A/C up 1 degree while you’re home and changing to an “Away” temperature while you’re gone (at work, church, etc.).
We love love love our Nest thermostat.
Nest senses your schedule and programs your home temps for when you’re awake, asleep, or away from the house. It helps us maintain energy efficient temperatures at all times in the house, which in turn saves us lots of money! Bonus: our home is located in an electric coop neighborhood, and they pay us back $100 per thermostat the first year we install the equipment and $40 per thermostat annually thereafter, because it helps the coop monitor electric output!
This should be an easy one, but don’t forget to change your air filters out! Clogged air filters cause the unit to work harder and waste precious energy!
If you have an electric water heater, turn your heat down to 120 degrees. If you have never adjusted your hot water heater, most manufacturers set the default to 140 degrees. There’s really no need for temperatures over 120.
Many electric companies do energy assessments for free. Take advantage of this! They will check for leaks in windows and doors. We had an energy assessment done last year and found ample opportunity to seal windows and conserve energy. The less A/C that escapes through those leaks, the less you have to pay for!
Finally, we recommend that you check the insulation levels in your attic. You should have at least 12 inches of insulation to maintain the desired temperature in your house. If you find your insulation isn’t thick enough, you can rent a machine at your local hardware store (like Home Depot) to blow in insulation yourself, or you could always hire a company to do it for you. This could get expensive, so we recommend checking out Groupon first (plus, don’t forget to use Ebates when you check out! They give you cash back on lots of online purchases.).
How to Save Money on the Gas Bill (if Applicable)
If your water heater is gas, follow the above advice. Further, if you can afford the initial equipment investment, tankless water heaters can save you a lot on your gas bill too! The water heater doesn’t have to maintain temperature on the tanked water; it only has to heat up the water as you need it, resulting in tremendous energy savings to you!
Follow the same advice as electric on your home heat, but turn it down one degree and make sure you set your “Away” temperature.
How to Save Money on the Water Bill
The first step to saving money on your water bill is to do your best to conserve water and limit usage. You’ll want to limit the time you’re in the shower (no more 20 minute showers!). You should also make sure to turn the water off while you brush your teeth instead of leaving it on. Every little bit adds up!
Indoors you can also check for leaking faucets and toilets. If there’s extra water going out that you’re not using, you’re wasting your money, and that’s definitely not going to get you closer to that $50K!
Now head outdoors and see what you can do to conserve water. Are there any broken sprinkler heads that could be causing you to waste money on unused water? Are you overwatering your lawn? Fewer, longer waterings are more efficient than more, shorter waterings.
How to Save Money on the Cell Phone Bill
First, compare the major companies to find the one with the cheapest option that still meets your needs. Consider joining a family plan to reduce your cost per month! You should also determine exactly which features you need and what you actually use to see if a lower tier plan is possible for your family.
Consider a budget cell phone company! I have Cricket Wireless (click that link to get $25 account credit when you switch to Cricket too!). Cricket uses AT&T’s towers (yay reliable coverage!) and because so much of my family is on the same plan, we get tons of discounts and I only have to pay $20 per month for my plan! I’ve also heard really great things about Straight Talk Wireless, Ting, and Republic Wireless. I personally used Virgin Mobile for a little while. They used Sprint’s towers, so my coverage wasn’t quite as good. I definitely liked the bill though!
One final note on cell phone bills: you do not need a new cell phone every year. If you keep your phone longer, it’ll reduce your bill because you’ll be paying off your phone for less time.
How to Save Money on Cable and Internet
Our first tip for saving money on cable and internet is to take advantage of service provider promotions! When your current promotion is near the expiration date, get new quotes from your existing provider and its competitors. If your existing provider won’t extend your current deal, tell them you will be checking out other companies. Although you might not plan to switch, you will have bargaining power if you have other quotes to back up your threats.
And if you’re not watching many of the channels you pay for, consider a smaller TV package. Surely you don’t actually watch all 15,000 channels you pay for. (I really hope that’s a gross overestimate of how many channels you actually get).
We also really recommend “cutting the cord.” There are so many options over traditional TV today! We used to pay for cable, OnDemand, DVR, etc., but now we use our Smart TV or Amazon FireTV with our dumb TV and watch shows from a variety of apps instead. We use PlayStation Vue, Netflix, Amazon Video (free with our Prime membership!) or Hulu, and we don’t miss a beat with any of our favorite shows! Sling TV is another really great alternative to PlayStation Vue. You’ll still need internet, but you won’t have to pay for cable!
How to Save Money on Gasoline
Go electric! Too easy? Okay, here are some practical tips that don’t require you to purchase a new car (but if you are planning on buying a car, check out our advice here). Obviously the first tip is to make sure you are eliminating unnecessary trips. Conserve gas, save money!
Make sure to change your oil at the regularly scheduled intervals. When your car is properly maintained, it requires less gas (among other vehicular expenses which can add up fast!). Also, make sure to monitor your tire air pressure. Underinflated tires can decrease your fuel efficiency.
Finally, we recommend joining a gas rewards program. Most chain grocery stores have fuel point reward programs (Kroger, Vons, etc.) that provide discounts on gas purchases based on grocery purchases. They even offer double fuel points occasionally which can really help you at the pump. We got up to $1 off per gallon for a little while from all of our grocery points we had added up!
How to Save Money on Miscellaneous Bills
Lastly, check your credit card or bank statements for recurring charges. What do you notice? Is there a cloud storage fee you’re paying that you don’t actually use? Do you still read that magazine you subscribed to years ago? Why is Experian charging you for credit reporting updates every month if you never look at it? Do you still need that gym membership? What about that tanning membership? Are there any other recurring charges you can cancel?
Cancel as many unnecessary fees and memberships as you can. These quickly add up on a monthly basis and are an incredible opportunity for cost-cutting!
Are you ready?
I know that was a lot of information. Take it piece by piece. Work your way up to saving $100+ per month on your bills by choosing the largest opportunities first. You probably won’t be able to implement each of these strategies overnight, although you might want to. Any improvement is exciting, and I want to hear all about it in the comments section below!
What do you say? Are you ready to accept the challenge and see what 50, 88, or 206 THOUSAND DOLLARS can do for your family?
We can’t wait to hear all about it!
PS: Can’t get enough? Check out the rest of our Adulting series here.
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