How to Trim Your Monthly Bills
With a new year may come with it a realization that you do not have the money to balance your budget. You have enough money coming in, but your outgo is simply too large. Fortunately, there are proven ways for you to trim your monthly bills and get your expenditures in line with your income.
1. Bundle your technology. Homeowners with a telephone, Internet access, and a television may be using three different providers for these services. Generally, if you have one service provider for all three, you’ll save money each month. Contact your cable company and phone company for the latest rate information. Most providers will offer a special deal for the first 12 months, effectively cutting your technology expense for a full year.
2. Join a warehouse club. Grocery prices continue to rise: the FDA indicates that a family of four can spend more than $10,000 annually on food alone. That cost can be contained if your join a warehouse club, paying the $50 to $60 annual fee to gave savings ranging from 10 to 30 percent. Even if you save just 10 percent on your grocery bills, you’ll save $1,000 per year or 20 times the cost of your membership.
3. Install an electronic thermostat. Utility costs can surge especially when temperature extremes are a regular occurrence. High electrical bills in the summer may give way to high gas bills in the winter. Heating and cooling costs can be difficult to control. By installing an electronic thermostat, you can monitor your temperature settings and allow the heat or cooling to kick in at set times of the day. You’ll save money each month, with the thermostat paying for itself within a few months.
4. Consolidate your debt. Evaluate your current credit including your credit cards, lines of credit, your mortgage and other outstanding debt. You may save money monthly by shifting your account balances to a low-rate credit card. You can also save money by refinancing your home, especially if you haven’t refinanced in some time. Make a point not to add to your debt and look for ways to pay down your debt faster.
5. Review your insurance. Americans have health insurance, dental insurance, homeowners insurance, auto insurance, life insurance, and other policies. What you pay for your plans can have a profound impact on your budget. Your life insurance policy may be set in stone, but your other policies may have room for savings. Take a larger deductible for your auto and homeowner’s insurance, combine policies, shop around for more affordable healthcare. Under the Affordable Care Act you may be eligible for subsidized insurance.
If after much work you find that your outgo is still higher then your income, you’ll need to look for a way to raise your income. Taking a part-time job can help balance your budget, a temporary move that you can stay with until your financial challenge has passed.
Also consider obtaining financial counseling. Your adult education center or community college may offer assistance, charging you a fee based on what you can afford.
See Also — Your Personal Budget and How to Create One