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17 Ways to Lower Your Bills and Stay on Budget
Wouldn’t it be nice to pay less on your bills every month? Sticking to a budget is hard enough but trying to stretch every dollar to cover the basics when bills are creeping up is almost impossible. Budgeting isn’t about punishing yourself. It’s about taking control of your finances. Fortunately, there are many ways you can lower your bills, stay on budget, and perhaps even build yourself a bit of breathing room.
Consolidate credit card debt
You can almost certainly pay far less for your credit card debt. Pay off all of your credit cards at once by taking out a personal loan. The loan proceeds pay off the high-interest credit cards, and then you make regular payments on the personal loan instead.
Consolidate your student loan debt
If you have multiple student loans, they may be eligible for consolidation. When you consolidate your student loan debts, you will reduce the many payment you make every month into a single payment that may be less than you’ve been paying.
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Turn on automatic billing
Many companies offer discounts if you use automatic billing. Some companies require access directly to your bank account for this feature, but others allow you to pay with a credit or debit card, earning reward points at the same time you’re saving on the bill. Just be sure to send the money to the credit card instead of the bill.
Turn up the thermometer
Energy is expensive, and the more you use, the higher your electricity bill. Save some money there by simply turning up the thermostat one degree. Or turn it down in the winter months. Being one degree warmer or cooler is a small price to pay for the potential energy savings.
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Install a programmable thermostat
You don’t even have to suffer much to turn the thermostat down or up if you have a programmable thermostat that does the job for you. Install a programmable thermostat and set it to be comfortable when you’re home and less comfortable when you’re gone.
Appliances are always drawing on power. If you have multiple things plugged in that you never use, or hardly use, unplug them until you do. This will eliminate the trickle charge of electricity that is happening and hopefully reduce your energy bills a bit.
Install ceiling fans
Ceiling fans might be a bit expensive to buy initially but installing ceiling fans can save you significantly on your electricity bills. A ceiling fan can help move the air in your home, allowing you to turn up the thermostat in the warmer months and save energy.
Buy a space heater
A little space heater might be all you need to stay warm this winter if you spend most of your time in only part of your home. Turn your heat down significantly in the home, and then supplement by plugging in a small, lower energy space heater when you’re sitting in your chair or working at your desk.
Sell your vehicle
Have public transportation nearby? Get rid of your vehicle. Cars are very expensive to own and you can save the car payment, the gas payments, the insurance payments and maintenance expenses if you are able to ditch the car. If you don’t have public transportation, consider downgrading your car to one that is cheaper and costs less to own – especially if you’re just driving to and from work.
Sell extra vehicles
If you have an extra car, or other large items like a vehicle including a camper or boat, consider selling those to free up monthly payments. You will have less to pay every month and less to insure which will help boost monthly savings as well.
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Carpool to work
You need a car, and you need to get to work. Is anyone in your area heading the same direction? A carpool will help you get where you need to go, and it will cut your gas bill tremendously. Two of you carpooling? Your bill is cut in half. Four of you taking turns? You pay only a quarter of what you were paying.
Refinance your house
A big change you can make to lower your bills is to consider refinancing your home. Your monthly mortgage payment is likely the largest one you make, and if you can lower the bill, you can see big savings. Lowing your interest rate a couple of points can potentially save you hundreds of dollars per month.
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Cancel club memberships
How many clubs are you part of? Your kids? If you’re paying $5 – 10 for various memberships every month for online games, subscription boxes, and more, you are likely wasting money. $10 might not seem like much, but if you and your family are part of 5 different programs, you’re spending up to $50 on things you may not even use every month.
Cancel streaming services
If you haven’t already cut out cable, do it. But then consider the number of streaming services that you have available. At more than $10 – $20 per service, you’re still spending a lot of money to watch television, especially if you only have the streaming service for a single show you follow. Consider canceling the service when your show is not running, or just paying for the season of the show instead of streaming. It may be far less expensive.
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Shop around for insurance
When is the last time you shopped around a bit for insurance? If you’ve had the same insurance company for years and you haven’t shopped for new rates on home or auto insurance, it may be time to consider doing so. Bundling services can also lower your monthly payment as well.
Raise your deductible
Insurance rates move with the deductible. The higher your deductible, the less you pay for your monthly insurance. Consider raising your deductibles, especially if you don’t drive a daily commute, so that you can save a bit every month on something you already have.
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A final option is to consider moving to a less expensive area. You can often move less than a mile or two and find yourself in an area where housing costs are less or commuting options are better. A big move can save you quite a bit more if you move away from expensive city centers and into a more medium-sized city or satellite community. Just be sure the home savings is more than the increased commuting costs.