October 25, 2014

10 Tips to Save Money on Monthly Bills

Here are some money saving ideas to help you lower your monthly bills.  Our monthly bills for mortgage payments, auto loans, utilities, insurance premiums, cable TV, Internet, cell phone plans, etc. consume a large portion of our income every month.   As a result, these fixed expenses should be evaluated on a regular basis to look for ways to cut our monthly bills. 

Unfortunately, these areas of our personal finances are often overlooked because we become accustom to paying them on a recurring basis.  However, over time these expenses can cost us thousands of dollars in unnecessary fees, charges and additional premiums.

We hope this article inspires you to sit down review your monthly bills and spend some time researching how to cut, minimize or eliminate some of your monthly bills. 

 10 tips to help you lower your monthly bills and start saving money today.

Auto Insurance Premiums – These premiums can vary based on the amount of the deductible you have selected.  Therefore, the higher your deductibles the lower the annual or monthly insurance premium.   In addition, the amount or types of coverage can also impact the overall premium.   You may also receive a lower auto insurance premium if you are a homeowner and use the same company for homeowners insurance and auto insurance.  In addition, it is also very important to minimize traffic citations and also work on maintaining an excellent credit score to help minimize your overall auto insurance premiums. 

Homeowners Insurance Premiums – Homeowner insurance premiums are typically escrowed or part of your monthly mortgage payment.  Therefore, the homeowner may never review their insurance premiums.   However, it is important to review your coverage’s and premiums at least annually.  For example, in many areas of the country home values have declined due to the housing and economic crisis.  Therefore, you may be able to reduce your homeowners premium by comparing your current estimated home value with the value established by your insurance company when you purchased or refinanced your home.  If your home value has declined substantially this may impact the replacement cost estimates and ultimately your annual premiums.  In addition, the amount of your deductibles for your homeowner policy may also impact your annual homeowners insurance premiums.   You may also receive a lower annual premium if your home has an alarm system.  Lastly, insurance companies are spending millions on advertising competing for your business.  Take some time and shop around and compare costs and coverage’s with different companies.  Many companies also have an additional guaranteed replacement coverage on your policy, so ask your agent about this and if it will allow you carry a little less coverage.

Refinancing Debt – Interest rates are at or near record low levels.   Therefore, you may be able to refinance your home mortgage, auto loan or consumer loans to lower interest rates.   The lower interest rate will provide you lower monthly payments.  You can use this monthly savings from the reduced interest expense to accelerate the prepayment of your debt without increasing your monthly payments. This refinancing and debt acceleration strategy can save you thousands of dollars in unnecessary interest expense and dramatically impact your personal finances     

Income Tax Withholding – This is an area we may not consider a monthly bill.  However, it is the first bill, expense or deduction from our monthly income.  Therefore, it is an area that you should review and evaluate annually.   The best tool for evaluating your withholding amounts is to review your annual income tax return.  If you typically receive a large tax refund each year you may want to consider adjusting your income tax withholding with your employer.  This is accomplished with an IRS W-4 form provided by your employer.  The IRS provides a W-4 Withholding calculator to help estimate your withholding on their website.  Here is a link to IRS Withholding Calculator.    You can also meet with a tax preparer or CPA to help you determine if you need to adjust your income tax withholding to increase your monthly net take home and minimize your annual income tax refund.

Cable TV / Satellite TV – For many families this represents a large fixed monthly expense.  There are a variety of packages and monthly subscription prices available.  If you are committed to lowering your monthly bills you may want to select a more affordable package and compare your current plan with other providers. 

Internet Provider – This is another monthly fee that millions of people are paying on a monthly basis.  This monthly fee may be bundled with your home phone, cable TV provider, etc.  However, it is another significant monthly expense that should be reviewed and evaluated on a regular basis.  There is a lot of competition from a variety of service providers all competing for these lucrative monthly expenses.  As a result of this competition you may be able to lower your monthly bill for this service.

Home Phone / Land Line – Millions of people have eliminated this expense as a result of cellular phones.  However, there are also millions of people that maintain home phones and cell phones.   The elimination of a land line for a home phone can eliminate a significant monthly expense.  If you have a home alarm system that is tied into the land line for your home phone you will need to contact your alarm provider and discuss wireless monitoring options versus the expense of maintaining a land line solely for the home alarm.  As part of this cost evaluation you may also want to consider which option provides a more secure and protected connection for alarm monitoring purposes.   In addition, you may also want to look at VOIP options for your home phone as well.  There are a variety of VOIP options that offer lower costs than traditional land line based home phones.  If you select an Internet based phone service  you can submit a request to have your home phone number transferred to the VOIP phone service. 

Cell Phone Bill – It seems that every man, woman and child has a cell phone.  This is another fixed expense that is dramatically impacting individuals and families.  In addition, the popularity of smart phones has also increased the monthly cell phone bill for every user that now incurs a monthly data expense in addition to their regular cell phone bill.   Therefore, it is absolutely critical that cell plans are thoroughly researched based for your individual or family needs before signing a two year contract.  In addition, these services should be evaluated every time you are considering a phone upgrade or adding additional phones to your monthly bill.  Again competition is driving prices down and benefitting the consumer who takes the time to shop and compare prices and services.  Many providers offer substantial discounts when you do a family plan. 

Utilities – This is an area where we can reduce our monthly bill by simply taking the time to turn off lights, reduce the temperature for heating / cooling,  adding weather stripping to our doors and windows, using a programmable controller for our heating and air conditioning, limiting our water use, etc.  These simple steps can create substantial savings with very little effort or costs.  Therefore, work on developing new habits and making conscious decisions each day to minimize your overall utility costs. 

Health Club – This is another fixed expense that we can get in the habit of paying on a monthly basis without ever stopping to evaluate our usage vs. the monthly expense.  Competition is driving down the monthly membership fees.  In addition, you may want to inquire about seasonal memberships based on usage for children that only use the health club during the summer months.  There are a number of municipalities that are funding and running health clubs / recreation centers.  These facilities may offer similar amenities for lower costs.   Also many health plans offer reduced cost memberships at certain gyms.

We hope this article has provided you some ideas or insights that might help you lower your monthly bills.   The impact of small or incremental savings in 10 different areas of your personal finances can save you thousands of dollars annually and free up cash to start working on achieving your financial goals for your life.

We would love to hear your ideas and how you are lowering your monthly bills take a moment and share you suggestions below.  Thank You…

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