Ah, the circle of life. If only it didn’t have to include the “love letters” in the form of bills that we all receive on a monthly basis. It seems that as soon as we get one stack paid, here comes another, doesn’t it? And, based on what happened during those past 30 days, sometimes the amount on the bill isn’t always as predictable as we would like.
Oh, if only we could get them to miraculously disappear.
Well, if you’re looking for an article on how to make that happen, good luck (and be sure to let us know about it). However, if you simply want a few tips on how to make your bills and expenses lower, check these five ideas out.
When it comes to your…
Car. If you have an automobile, even if you are someone without a monthly note, automatically there are expenses that come with it. There’s money that is needed for gas, maintenance and auto insurance. When it comes to the gas, fill up your tank (you save more fuel that way) and remember that you can save by carpooling on some days. Also, for lower prices, go on Tuesdays and Wednesdays (it happens to be a bit cheaper on those days, for some reason). When it comes to maintenance, look online for discount days and coupons. Then, make sure to get your oil changed, to keep your tires properly inflated and to have regular tune-ups; they are all preventative measures when it comes to keeping your car from having bigger problems in the future, plus they also support your gas lasting for a longer amount of time. And as it relates to auto insurance, you can oftentimes get greater deals if you pay an annual premium rather than a monthly one.
House. At home, electricity bills are often the ones that “throw us off” the most. You can keep this bill (more) under control by purchasing an electric thermostat and leaving it set between 70-75 degrees. If you would like it to be cooler, turn on your ceiling fan or purchase a portable osculating one. If you’d like it to be warmer, use your fireplace or a space heater. Also, make sure to unplug whatever electrical devices you are not using (or do not always need to be plugged up, like the fridge) and check your house every other month for cracks, especially in your windows and doors.
Food. There are millions of dollars in coupons that are not spent simply because people do not make the time to cut them out of newspapers, or print them off of websites like Coupons.com and RetailMeNot.com. So, one of the most effective things that you can do to save money in this category is to definitely use coupons. Some other tips include purchasing generic brands over the more commercialized (and expensive) ones, buying in bulk, planting your own garden (which can save quite a bit of money when it comes to fruits, vegetables and herbs) and cooking in more than dining out.
Entertainment. OK, entertainment may not technically be a “bill”, but for most of us, it’s still an expense. Just taking the family to dinner and a movie can easily run you over $100. In this category, consider reducing (if not totally eliminating) your cable and Netflix bills. You can also save a couple of $20s per year by also canceling your newspaper and magazine subscriptions (you can read most of what you need to know online). Look for things to do within your city that are free of charge (like crafts fairs and free outdoor concerts). Oh, and while some people may not consider their mobile phone to be something that should go into the “entertainment file”, being that iPhones and Smartphones are handheld tools for web surfing, (limited) video watching and social media interacting, promo codes (like a Verizon promo code or an online Spirit promotion) are something that you should look into before upgrading your phone or changing your payment plan.
In general. There are also some things that you can do, in general , that can save you a dollar or two along the way. Instead of purchasing household cleaning items, go online to research ones that you can make for yourself with items like vinegar, baking soda and lemon. If you pay for services like housecleaning and landscaping, you might want to go without them for a couple of months and put that money into your savings. Another tip is to be more cautious about the amount of money that you spend on clothes. Opt for going to consignment or thrift store shops, or better yet, get creative with the items that you already have. Once you start seeing the money that you saved pile up thanks to the self-control that you exerted, it will make all of these sacrifices totally worth it.