We all know the feeling – the bills keep coming in as fast as you can pay them. You have to look at your bank account every day, and try to figure out how to keep enough in there to clear automatic debits, or cover the stacks of paper checks that get stuffed into pre-addressed envelopes for money that’s already spent.
Part of this involves monthly services. A substantial factor in household debt is budgeting for costs that we set up with companies for consistent services and utilities; things that we have to pay for week after week, and month after month.
So how do you ease this burden? Sometimes, it’s possible to save quite a bit of money by scouring these ongoing bills and making sure that you’re not paying more than you need.
Cell Phone Minutes
One way you might be able to save is by not paying for more services than you use each month. When you set up your initial cell phone plan, you’re asked how many minutes you’ll use and you pay accordingly. But if you don’t talk as much as you thought you would, you can end up wasting $10-$20 a month or more.
Save on monthly bills with these strategies:
Get a landline or use an Internet phone service, like Skype, for long-distance calls to take expensive minutes off of your cell phone bill.
Look at your past usage and adjust as necessary.
Get minutes alerts to make sure you don’t go over. This same idea can work with data plans as well.
Car Insurance Hacks
One way to lower car insurance is, again, to estimate mileage well. Your insurance company gives you a rate based on how much you drive per month, so keep track and adjust your coverage when needed.
Also, doing away with unnecessary extras can save you major money. Drop items like roadside assistance or rental car options if you have multiple cars and drivers in the household.
Cable and Internet
Always make sure you know what’s available from the major vendors in your area, and whether you have the best deal. You’ll also want to look for sudden changes in your bill, because data and cable providers can jack up prices after an initial bargain period. In addition, look at extra charges for equipment rental and see if it makes more sense to buy equipment upfront.
You have options when it comes to paying monthly bank charges for checking or savings accounts. If banks are charging you maintenance fees for low balances, transactions, etc., you can easily make changes avoid those charges. Restructure accounts, limit moving money back and forth, and avoid hefty overcharge fees.
Saving on utilities happens in a lot of different ways. One big one is to take a localized approach to heating and cooling during all but the most extreme weather conditions. Having fans and space heaters on hand helps (but be careful with heaters and never leave them unattended). By choosing this over a whole-house model of heating and cooling, you can save a lot of money over time.
These are a few of the main ways that frugal families can make their income go further and reduce the weight of those monthly bills.