Between the rising cost of day to day expenses and decreases in the availability of jobs, many people are finding themselves in need of cutting costs on household bills once deemed essential. There are many ways to trim your costs, but for some reasons, we just don’t think about them. Years of being able to afford whatever we wanted make it difficult to know where to start, but don’t worry, because the process gets easier the more you think about it.
Pay On Time
One of the biggest money wasters is paying bills late. The companies you do business with are hurting too and they are quicker than ever to charge late fees and surcharges. Over drafting on your bank account can cost you hundreds of dollars in one day since each charge will result in an overdraft fee of around $30 per incident.
Put overdraft protection on your account immediately to prevent such problems, and if you find your bank charges a lot of additional fees, change banks. Credit cards not only charge you for paying late, they also raise your interest rates–a double whammy. Utilities companies may demand a deposit if you are regularly late on paying your bill.
Many local phone providers are now offering cell phone service, cable television, and internet access as well as land line service. Pick one of these companies and bundle your services. Discounts are pretty significant if you pick a larger bundle. If your phone company doesn’t offer a bundling service, look at the cable company. Almost all offer internet as well as cable and you can pair them for some savings.
Do you really need 500 channels? Cutting back to basic cable can save you $50 or more each month. Frankly, I turned off the television service two years ago when I realized the kids were watching too much TV and I never watched it at all. After two weeks of complaints they figured out how to entertain themselves and we have never turned it back on.
You can reduce the extra services on your phone line or opt for a slower download speed on your internet connection. Start using generic products from the supermarket and clip those coupons. There are several coupon websites, like Coupon Shoebox, where you can find tons of coupons all in one place. I don’t do as well as the real gurus, but when you can get $17 worth of stuff for $5.50, that is money I can use somewhere else.
Find Free Options
The public library doesn’t only have book, you know. DVDs, CDs, and computer games can all be found within the walls of the library and you can take them out for free. Just remember to bring them back on time or you end up paying late fees.
If you like to eat out, find out which local restaurants offer free kid meals or free appetizers with a meal. Eat only on the days when you can maximize your savings. Local museums, zoos, and other cultural centers usually offer a few free days each year. Plan ahead and visit when you don’t have to pay for admission, pack a lunch and enjoy a great day out with your family at no cost.
When cutting back, it is natural to feel that you are somehow losing something valuable. With a little creativity and planning you can still enjoy all the things you like, but spend less doing it.
This is part of the How to Save Money on Everything. If you are interested in more money saving tips, sign up for your free copy here.