They turn up in the mailbox every month, demanding your attention and your money. If you want to save money on bills you need to approach the problem in two ways. The first thing is to cut services you don’t need and the second is to find ways to get the things you need, cheaply.
How to Trim Essentials Bills
Food, power and shelter are all essentials. Each can be trimmed, but that ability is heavily dependent upon some factors. For example, to trim shelter costs you can move from a large home to a smaller home, or even to an apartment. This may or may not be realistic. Taking in a college student as a tenant can help defray housing costs as well, but carries some risks.
- Power costs relate to what you pay on gas and electricity and in some areas water as well.
- Weatherproofing helps reduce waste and energy lost from the windows and doors.
- Redoing your landscaping with a focus on drought resistant plants and smaller plots of grass will save you money.
- Changing to compact florescent bulbs and setting the thermostat lower in winter will save on gas and electricity.
- A sweatshirt is cheaper than heating a whole house to 67°.
Food is one of those areas where relatively large cuts can be made with little effort. You don’t have to survive on Ramen noodles either.
- Ground turkey and beef provide plenty of good protein, as do eggs, and they cost a lot less than large cuts of meat.
- Plan your menu around the circulars for the week and cash in on the discounts.
- Clip coupons from your paper and find them online to save the most possible.
I know that we don’t really think of cable and Internet as luxuries any more, but they really are. Do you really need the level of service you currently have? I shut off my cable service nearly two years ago and we haven’t really missed it.
I don’t use the highest level of DSL, rather I settle for a slower speed that is still plenty fast since I don’t game online. Between the two items I save nearly $100 a month.
Editor’s Note: I am paying for the slowest service, and my whole business runs online. Before you think you need to download the latest security patches in a millisecond or else your lifestyle will somehow be affected, think carefully about how much money you are actually wasting by helping broadband providers prosper.
Pedicures, manicures, fancy haircuts and gym memberships are all luxuries too. If you are in the professional world and feel that you must have the manicure and haircut, check out a local esthetician school; you can get the same services performed by supervised students at a fraction of the cost.
Cell phones are also luxuries, believe it or not. If you carry it for anything other than emergency calls, you are spending more than needed. Now, some of us use a cell phone exclusively, having abandoned the land line. In that case you need more than basic service, but shop around and find a plan that meets your usage profile, don’t try to fit your profile into a specific package.
Saving money on your bills is all a matter of viewing them in a new light. Be creative, re-prioritize your spending and watch your bank balance grow.
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