13 Ways to Save on Your Monthly Bills
While individually, they may seem small, monthly bills add up quickly. They account for a significant portion of monthly expenditures, which is why regularly assessing them and looking for opportunities to save can impact your budget and finances. Not sure where to start? Have no fear; our financial experts are here to help you save!
When it comes to your monthly budget, 13 areas are often the sticking points where making minor adjustments can have a significant impact on your overall savings.
Transportation is a necessary expenditure, so people often skip right over this when looking over their budget for savings. However, just because it's necessary, doesn't mean you can't save in this area by assessing how you go about it.
First, consider your options for getting where you need to go. Do you need your own vehicle and the expense that comes with it, or can you carpool, use public transport, or ride a bike?
If you still need a vehicle of your own, then assess what kind of vehicle you have. Using a more fuel-efficient car, for example, can save you thousands of dollars a year in gas alone.
Secondly, consider where your home is in relation to the most common places you go, such as work, school, etc. It may be worth considering moving closer to these locations to save on monthly transportation expenses. Or consider changing your routine and prioritize doing work and business closer to your current home.
Lastly, sell unnecessary or unused vehicles. This will not only put money in your pocket through the sale but will also help reduce monthly expenditures on loan payments, insurance, and maintenance.
Debt payments can be a significant chunk of your budget. The interest payments especially can be a substantial expenditure over time, so it's vital to assess if there is an opportunity to save regularly.
Some things to assess when looking at your debt are opportunities to refinance your home or car loans at a lower rate, and consolidate debt through personal loans. Also, look at ways to pay down debt as quickly as possible, and inquire with your lender to see if signing up for automatic payments will reduce the interest rate.
While the cost of energy may not be within your control, how much energy you use is. If you take these few simple steps towards reducing how much energy you use, it can save you thousands of dollars a year.
- Switch to LED bulbs and save up to $3,260 over their 23-year lifespan. To learn more about how LED bulbs can benefit your wallet and the planet visit energystar.gov.
- Install a programable thermostat that allows you to heat and cool your house exactly on your timeline. This will enable you to arrive at a temperature-controlled house while avoiding paying to heat and cool it while you're gone. Homeowners who do this typically save $180 a year in energy costs.
- Use "smart" power strips to eliminate phantom charges to your electronic devices and allow programable use, preventing wasted energy between uses.
- Insulating your water tank and exposed hot water pipes and lowering the water heater's temperature can help you save up to 14% of your energy costs by not wasting energy.
- Air seal all doors and windows to prevent drafts and loss of heating and cooling. Homeowners who air seal their home and add insulation typically save $200 a year in heating and cooling costs.
- Whether it's a membership to your gym or country club, a subscription box service, streaming services or cable, or paid online newspaper content, there are many things we often sign up for at one time and don't fully utilize. Try canceling all of your memberships and subscriptions for a couple of weeks or a month (depending on the subscription). And, if you don't miss them, you're probably wasting your money.
We get it. Food is mentioned on almost every blog, article, or book ever written on the subject of saving money. But it's because it's true; food is a considerable portion of people's budgets where they waste money and one of the easiest ways to start saving!
Start by, you guessed it, eating "in" more than "out." But it doesn't stop there! Be smart while you're shopping to cook at home.
- Join a warehouse club like Costco or Sam's Club and buy your non-perishables in bulk.
- Start a garden to grow your own produce.
- Sign up for rewards programs to get discounts.
- Use coupons and cash-back apps like ibotta and chekcout51.
- Compare ingredients and buy generic brands when you can.
- Prepare simple and nutritious meals. By making food that will fuel your body well, you won't feel the need to eat as much, and your health will be better, ultimately saving you on medical bills and sick time off from work.
Don't just go with the first insurance plan you see, whether it's auto, life, home, or health insurance. Shop around, compare prices, see if there are discounts for bundling several together, and consider if your family member's health insurance offers better benefits than what you have available to you.
7. Phone Bill
Even if it's "only $10 more a month," if you're not using that extra data, it's not worth it. Take the time to carefully consider your needs and then compare plans and costs using a tool like Wirefly to get the best possible price for the plan you need. This may include switching to a smaller carrier that still uses the same cell towers as the "big three" (Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile) Also, consider asking your friends and family if they would like to share a plan to split the cost of unlimited data fees, among others.
Consider carefully the quality and function of the clothes you buy, rather than impulse buying or just buying because there is a "deal." Unsubscribe from emails enticing you to buy clothes you don't need or brands that don't make quality clothes that won't last. Even if an item doesn't cost a lot, if it wears out quickly, your money would be better spent investing in fewer, higher quality items that will last.
With the Beauty and Personal Care market accounting for over $80 million of the U.S. revenue, it's not hard to see that a large portion of people's budgets are lost here. Look closely at what products you use to see if there are alternatives that would be less expensive and still work well. Consider how much you spend on "extras" like getting your nails professionally manicured, tanning, professional facials, and other services that may not be essential or that you could easily do yourself.
10. Consumable Habits
Habits like smoking, chewing tobacco, and drinking alcohol excessively can be detrimental to your health and costly to maintain. Consider cutting back or quitting altogether to save almost $11,000 a year!
With almost half of U.S. households living beyond their means, being "house-poor" is becoming common. If you are looking to save more money and become more financially secure, it may be time to consider downsizing your home and living more modestly. Also, consider where your home is in relation to tax district and commute to your regular activities. If you're spending a fortune commuting or paying almost double the house payment simply due to the neighborhood, it may be worth considering a move.
With the average cost of center-based childcare coming in at $1,230 a month, it's not hard to see this can eat up a significant piece of any budget. It's worth considering alternatives to center-based childcare, such as enlisting family members to help with care, rearranging your work schedule, taking advantage of childcare co-ops, or in-home daycares, which are typically less (on average $430 less a month). By taking a closer look at all options, you may be surprised where you can find savings.
13. Child Activities
According to Kids Play USA Foundation, playing organized sports can cost up to $10,000 per year per child for a single sport. Especially if your child is involved in more than one activity, this can add up quickly. Finding a balance between providing opportunities for your kids and also maintaining your budget can be a challenge. Consider limiting each child to one activity at a time and thoroughly assess all costs involved, such as participation fees, travel costs, uniform fees, etc. before letting your child sign up. Consider the cost of different programs as well, for example, the cost of school-sponsored sports versus club sports.
Being financially stable and saving more ultimately comes down to a lot of small choices that add up to a significant impact on your budget. Take the time to carefully choose where your money goes, and you will be saving in no time!
Do you want to learn more about how to manage your finances during a recession? Read our blog about it! Do you have more questions about your finances? Set up and appointment with one of our financial experts today, it’s free!