I’ve always been interested in streamlining my life, making all aspects more efficient and productive. This is especially true when it comes to budgeting.
In my beginning days of cleaning up my personal finances I was willing to pinch pennies. After a while though, I realized that I could be utilizing my time in a much better way. Instead of watching my pennies I made changes to my bills that would save me hundreds each month without a bunch of work.
If you, too, are ready to streamline your budget all you need to do is find ways to reduce the price of your current bills without sacrificing quality or service. This can usually be done once per year with lasting effects. Here’s where to cut.
Even though streaming companies like Netflix and Hulu have risen in popularity over the past couple of years only one in five American households have cut the cord to traditional cable or satellite TV.
The average cable bill is $103 per month while a subscription to Netflix is only $8 per month. Making the switch could save you $95 per month which comes out to $1,140 per year!
By utilizing local channels with an antenna and subscribing to a service like Netflix you can still watch TV while saving loads of money.
Your Cell Phone Bill
Despite there being many advances in the cell phone industry many have yet to make the switch from one of the top carriers. The average cell phone bill from AT&T is $144 per month.
Republic Wireless, a cell phone company that combines the use of Wifi and traditional cell coverage has plans that start as low as $15 per month. Even if you switched to their highest price plan which is $60 per month you’d save $84 per month or $1,008 per year compared to the AT&T price. And this is just for one person!
If your cell phone bill is high exploring cheaper, high quality alternatives like Republic Wireless is a must.
As a former insurance agent I witnessed firsthand the spikes in auto insurance premiums year to year for existing customers. While you’d expect that your insurance rates would decline if you had no accidents or tickets, this usually isn’t the case.
It’s a good idea to have your auto insurance quoted at least every three years with different companies to make sure you’re getting the best price. (Just be sure not to sacrifice coverage.)
Also, don’t be quick to bundle your insurance. Many companies will offer you a discount on their insurance (usually 5-10%) for bundling. However, since most companies specialize in different areas you may be able to get much better rates by having your auto and home owners at different companies.
Bottom line: shop around at least every three years.
The average American household has $16,061 in credit card debt. And as you probably know, credit card companies are notorious for their interest rates. If you’re working on paying down credit card debt but your progress is being deterred by interest you have a couple of options.
First, you can call the credit card company and ask for them to lower your interest rate. When I had credit card debt this was something I did on a monthly basis with mixed results. The worst they’ll tell you is “no” but they may also lower your interest saving you a lot of money in the long run.
Your second option is to take out a zero interest balance transfer card. This is only a good option if you can prevent yourself from going further into debt and are committed to your debt pay-off plan. Finding a zero interest transfer card that’s good for at least six months will save you hundreds in interest.
Cancel Unused Memberships
Another easy way to instantly free up room in your budget is to cancel the memberships you don’t use.
These can include things like:
- Gym Memberships
- Magazine Subscriptions
- Online subscriptions
- Food Delivery Services
Look through your bank statement and identify all of your monthly or quarterly subscriptions that are being auto-deducted and start cancelling everything that you no longer use.
Do It Once and Be Done
If saving money is high up on your priority list starting with these bills will produce immediate results. Taking the time to switch over some services or negotiate rates with your current providers can be done in as little as a few hours but save you thousands of dollars every year.
What bill will you try to lower first?