6 Other Ways to Save on Your Monthly Bills (Besides Couponing)
Whether its $1 off a box of your favorite cereal or a buy-one-get-one special, couponing represents a huge opportunity to reduce your monthly food expenses.
Unfortunately, however, it's not always easy to clip coupons, and even if you do manage to save every dime possible in your grocery shopping, it's important to review your other expenses as well for cost-savings strategies. Here are six areas to get started:
- Cut Out Your Home Telephone
In this day and age, it's time to reassess whether you still need a traditional landline. According to a report by the Center for Disease Control, roughly 36% of Americans no longer have a landline telephone. If you're not comfortable solely relying your cell phone and you have a solid Internet connection, consider Ooma. It offers VoIP communications services that cost a fraction of traditional home telephone service.
- Decrease Your Home Energy Bills
Got ceiling fans? Make sure they're rotating in the right direction. For summer, the best direction for cooling air circulation is clockwise. Reverse that when winter rolls around. Installing a programmable thermostat can also help. Your out-of-pocket costs can be as little as $30, but when implemented correctly, a programmable thermostat can reduce yourhome energy billsby as much as 20%. Another way to save is by raising your thermostat this summer and making do wearing shorts and t-shirts.
- Check That Data Plan
According to BillShrink.com, manysmartphone usersare currently paying for 8GB of data per month, yet only using about 25% of that. Review your data needs and contact your smartphone provider to see if you can switch to a cheaper plan.
- Bundle Services
When it comes to Internet, cell phone, and cable TV bills, you can certainly save by bundling. Just be sure to investigate the many deals available and make the right choice for your personal situation. Check with your current cable or satellite TV provider and investigate the competition as well. Make sure you never accept a bundled deal that includes a service you just don't need.
- Identify and Eliminate Hidden Fees
Even if you're diligent about checking your monthly statements, hidden fees have a way of sneaking into your bills. If you see new or unknown charges on your monthly statements, call in and ask for an explanation. If there's a way to eliminate them, do so. If not, consider switching providers.
- Reduce Water Expenses
Although something as innocuous as a water bill may seem like small potatoes, there are ways to save. Consider taking shorter showers, and by all means only run full loads of dishes and clothes. Even if you can only save $15 per month, this translates into $180 in annual savings.
Once you start to see a little extra in your checking account each month, it's important not to waste this opportunity. Instead of spending your savings on the latest iPhone, consider putting this surplus to where it can benefit you the most.
Behind on retirement savings? Beef up your 401K contributions. Need an emergency fund? Start a savings account dedicated to that purpose. Managing your overall financial picture is important, but directing these savings to where they can do the most good is really the icing on the cake.
What other ways can you think of to reduce monthly bills?
David Bakke always looks for ways to save money on everyday expenses and build long-term wealth. He shares his insights on the popular blog, Money Crashers.