Last week we discussed saving money by slowing down on shopping (and identifying the emotional triggers behind buying). This week’s advice will likely be a bit more practical. We’re discussing ways you can save on your monthly bills. This encompasses anything from your internet bill to a Hulu subscription to a gym membership. There are ways to save on each.
- To start, gather your recent bank statements and any outstanding bills. You want to make an itemized list of each monthly expenditure that includes the service, how much you’re spending and when you pay your bill. You can make a spreadsheet or just stick to a traditional list, whatever suits you.
- Now it’s time to edit. What can you go without? Do you really need a 10-class ClassPass, or could you do with five classes per month? Can you cut back on one television subscription per month? Do you actually use your professional organization membership or is it draining money from your bank account every month?
- Next, figure out what subscription services and bills you could be sharing. Most TV subscription services allow more than one person to use the same account, so ask a bestie if you can split the cost and share an account. A community-supported agriculture (CSA) subscription is another great service you can easily split. If you don’t like whatever produce you receive, maybe your friend does. Split the cost and use only the veggies that you truly love. Another place you may be able to cut back is on your phone bill. A lot of millennials already remain on their family’s plan because it’s cheaper for everyone involved. If you’re close with your parents, talk to them, or maybe even a significant other, about going halfsies on a phone plan.
- Now it’s time to reduce. Turn off your air conditioner during the day. Unplug EVERYTHING when you aren’t using it. Take shorter showers. Trawling your favorite frugal blog will likely yield a number of suggestions on how to save on monthly bills by cutting back on how much you use.
- Put on your fake smile because it’s time to schmooze. If you see a cheaper rate on your cable, internet, cell phone or energy bill advertised (even if it’s for a first time user) you can talk with the company to negotiate a lower price on your bill. It may involve in an uncomfortable call in which you have to ~gasp~ ask for something, but to save a few bucks it’s certainly worth it.
- Finally, pay your bills on time. You can often incur interest or late fees if you forget to pay, which makes bills higher than they need to be. One way to make sure you pay on time is to set up autopay, which automatically draws money from your checking account to pay for bills. It makes your life easier and you never have to worry about late fees again. In the case of student loans, setting up autopay will reduce your interest rate.
- Want more? Jean Chatzky has a really helpful guide on making major cuts to your energy bill. Check it out here.
- Alicia McElhany / She Spends Issue #12