How-To Lower Your Household Bills
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Before you get scared away, NO i am not going to try to sell you energy or tell you which supplier is better than the next. Phew, now that I got that off my chest and hopefully you have just had a sigh of relief; on to how to cut your household bills. (FYI- I just did this yesterday, and 6 months before that and 6 months before that and each time I was able to lower my payments) Household bills really add up. And, sometimes it can take a toll on your budget. There is those cable bills, cell phones, water, electricity, car insurance, car payments, mortgage or rent payments and sometimes living paycheck to paycheck isn’t the easiest thing to do. I know that because that is exactly how we live. (Can I tell you how much I am looking forward to July?! There are 5 Fridays and that means 5 paychecks! Woohoo!) Those bills add up quick and you know most of them are all due around the same time which kills your bank account even more. I have saved $3168 on my bills this year! Here are some tricks that I do to lower my bills.
***Please remember, when you give your bill companies a call, do not be mean! Be nice. Super nice. As if you were talking to your best friend (or your mom!) You will get much farther being nice then biting someones head off. ****
So, I am not going to bother telling you how to conserve water by not flushing, using cold water, shutting off the water while you are brushing your teeth, using a timer for showers, blah blah blah. I assume that you know all of that already and that is literally the only way to lower your water bill. Unless of course you are one of the lucky ones with well water. No wiggle room with pricing there so don’t bother calling. Want to save money on your water? You have to do it the good old fashioned way. The way your mom and grandma told you to do! I also shop sales for bottled waters so we are not constantly running the tap water for drinks. I get to return the bottles for the bottle deposit and in the long run, It saves me quite a bit. I ended up buying 11 cases of water at CVS the other week for $20 and then got back a $10 gift card. That should last us pretty much all summer. Also, there are usually coupons for the little individual drink mixes so the kids can grab a bottle of water and one of those flavor thingies (I’m really technically, cant you tell?) so they can still have flavored waters.
This is a new one for me. I know that you should turn your lights off or don’t use them if you don’t need them but I have literally always just paid and paid and paid whatever they told me to pay. Sometimes having automatic recurring payments gets you in a rut and you just don’t do anything to fix it. Whelp, I got sick of paying so much and decided to call last year. First thing, I got on budget payments. I was paying around $150 a month during the summer but it more than doubled in the winter which made it hard for us to actually make a payment since my husband does construction and is usually laid off for the winter. Budget payments basically takes the average of the entire year and you pay a fixed price every single month so your bill never changes. Having the same exact payment every month helps me budget our money a bit better. The next thing that I learned when I called was about the different suppliers. I was one of those people who had gotten scammed in to those “Let me save you money on your electric bill” businesses. With Connecticut joining most other states in finally allowing us to pick our supplier, this energy company was nearly double the cost of what my regular electric company would charge me. Simply by calling them and having my supplier changed, it dropped my price per kilowatt in half cutting my bill literally in half! My budget payments were $214 and they are now lowered to $117. That is a HUGE difference and a savings of $1164 a year! So, go ahead and give your electricity company a call.
Cell Phone Bill:
Unless you have prepaid service, most of you know how much it costs to have a cell phone. Assuming you are a family like me, you are probably paying way over $200 to have 2 cell phones, maybe 3 and possibly a tablet. Changing your bill can be a bit trickier with your cell phone company. In order to actually make some changes, you have to have had your bill with a company for at least a year or two. Maybe made it through a full contract. And, actually paid your bill on time. If this is you, then your cell phone company probably considers you a loyal customer which means they will do more to keep you. I have pulled the “loyalty” card before but it was usually to score an extra tablet for free, be able to bill things to my account like chargers, cases and screen protectors rather than having to buy them with cash right away. But, I was really getting sick of paying so much for my cell phone. I gave my carrier a call and let them know that I have been seeing all the commercials on TV for another company that would cut my bill in half. I said I just could not afford to stay with my bill being so high and am tempted to leave and go over to the cheaper company for the same exact service and contract. My carrier acted fast. Gave us a $25 discount per line (we have 2 lines so that was a total of $50), she also took $10 off our tablets (we have 2, one for us and one was a present to my mom for Christmas) which is another $20 saved. That was $70 saved simply because I had called and asked. But, not only did I save $70, but because my bill was lowered, it lowered my taxes as well making my monthly bill now $153 instead of $252! Another $99 in my pocket every month and a yearly savings of $1188!
Most of us probably have some bundle plan that includes cable, internet and phone simply because it is way cheaper to have all 3 than it is to just have one of those services. We don’t even have a phone jack in our house nor do we own a home phone but we have a phone number simply because it saved us money. Most of us sign up for cable and their introductory price is usually only for the first year. Who is going to remember and call back after a year and change your service so your price doesn’t go up?! NO ONE! And, don’t think that they are going to remind you! Absolutely not! So, we called them! Come to find out, we had an intro package that included all of these very nice features (that A- we never used B- we didn’t really even know we had them C- or didn’t even know how to use them) that we were now paying full price for because our introductory rate was over. Super easy fix! Asked to have them removed and saved an immediate $50 off our bill. Plus, they gave us a monthly $10 credit for being good customers and as an apology for the service. (They could see that theses items were never used in our account) That leaves us with a savings of $720 a year on our cable bill! Review your bill. Only pay for what you need. If you have superman speed WiFi and you only have 1 or 2 devices in your household, you are probably paying way too much for internet service. you may have unlimited international calling and don’t even know how to dial an international number! Fix it! Have that service removed. Play with your service until you are not only happy with your service, but also with the price!
Car insurance is one of those things that we all need. Unlike our cable and cell phones which are necessarily necessities, car insurance most definitely is! We all know to shop around and get quotes. We all know the catchy phrases “Save 15% or more on car insurance”. Flo is a household face. It is a booming industry and they all want to promise to save you money. Well, the only real way they can do that is if you have a decent driving record, don’t have a ton of tickets and accidents, and they even take your credit report in to consideration for car insurance now! I will tell you that I have AllState. I have 2 cars and renters insurance. This kinda brings us back to the cable with the bundling. I get a multi-car discount. Because I added renters insurance to my plan, I get another discount. The more you add to your policy, basically the more you save. As you age, your car insurance can also lower. This is all dependent on if you are male or female so if you are just over 25, give them a call and see if your rates can be lowered. Do this again after you turn 30. I am over 30 so when I gave them a call, i was able to save $8. It isn’t much, but it adds up. $8 is $8. That is a gallon of milk, loaf of bread and a dozen eggs. Add another $96 a year to my savings! This is one of those items that you do not have too much wiggle room simply because they are set prices. So, without messing with your coverage, you are not going to save hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. But, some savings is better than no savings!
Car payments are these horribly expensive payments you have to make every single month with a high interest rate that you are stuck in for 6 years and still have to pay even more to fix your car when it breaks down, or spend $100 on new windshield wipers and still for some reason they make you pay that dreaded car payment. Beside refinancing, getting rid of your car or trading it in for a beater, there is not much you can do to change your car payment. Do you know the company that financed you in the first place won’t even refinance you? Crazy, right?! There is something that you can do though, it is not permanent and this will usually only work 1 time per year. You have to have made payments on time for at 6 months to qualify as well. Most companies offer you some sort of hardship terms. This means that you can forego a payment for the month. They will add it to the end of your bill prolonging your loan by an extra month (as well as the interest charges that go with it). again, you may only be able to do this one time but if you have a nice, hefty car payment and are struggling financially, not making a car payment for the month can make the difference between being able to put food on the table or going hungry!
I hope that you are all about to pick up the phone and call your bill companies and see what you can save! I would love to hear how much you were able to cut off your bills by following some of the tips above! You can contact me HERE and let me know how you did! Good luck and keep on saving!