This week’s post about creative cost cutting solutions is centered around those recurring bills that are a regular part of your monthly budget. With some creative thinking and a couple of phone calls, you can do wonders to reduce your living costs!
Recurring Bills (tips #26-40)
26. Refinance your home for a low if it works for your life and your current home situation.
27. Check out cheaper car and/or home/renters’ insurance. And sometimes grouping those can save you even more money. It really does pay to shop around.
28. Same goes for your cell phone plan! If you must have a smart phone, check out what your actual data and minutes usage are. You might be surprised how little you’re using in comparison to what you’re paying for each month. Downgrade your plan, if you can! And ask for discounts! A lot of cell phone companies offer discounts to certain employers and professions (i.e., nurses, teachers, etc.).
29. Compare rates with other gas and electric companies (and TV/internet/phone, if you like– although we dropped our home phone line and cable altogether). Changing to another company sometimes gives you a huge “switching incentive” that could save you from paying that bill for a few months, and just get you a lower rate overall!
30. Also, some energy companies will give you a discount if your home is green certified! Check into it!
31. And, unplug appliances and turn off lights that aren’t in use. Being extra conscious about that really adds up!
32. Set your thermostat higher in the summer and lower in the winter. For every degree above 72°F in the summer, you’ll save up to three percent per month in energy costs.
33. In the winter, be mindful of that gas fireplace usage if you have one! We got a shocking bill last January, not realizing how expensive it was to flip that switch and enjoy the fireplace! Ouch.
34. Same goes for water usage. Be smart about not letting your shower run for too long before you hop in (even better, let a bucket collect the water while it’s warming up, and use that to water your garden!), turn off the sink faucet while you are brushing your teeth, turn down the faucet while doing dishes, etc.
35. And, don’t run your dishwasher until it’s completely full. Same thing with laundry (and use cool water).
36. Use a rain barrel to collect water for your lawn, plants, and garden.
37. Paying extra on your student loans/car payment/mortgage will save you TONS of interest down the line, and it will get paid off sooner!
38. On that note, never buy or finance a brand new car! They immediately lose value the moment you drive it off the lot. Instead, opt for a pre-owned or used vehicle and save yourself thousands. Even one that is just a year or two old but has been traded back in to the dealer for whatever reason can save you thousands. Plus, any issues or recalls have already been worked out which leads to a few less things for you to worry about right off the bat.
39. Check our favorite financial planning guru Dave Ramsey for more awesome help and ideas! Using his budget forms have been a life saver to help us live within our means and reduce our monthly spending!
40. Also using tools like Mint.com is helpful to get an overall picture of your debt (if you have any) and to track your spending. It’s very eye opening. If you’ve been too scared to take a look at your current financial situation, now is as good a time as any!