Guest post by David Bakke, who writes for the website Money Crashers.
If you’re looking for ways to cut costs to get your finances back on track, take a look at your monthly bills. If you’re like many people, you simply cut a check to each provider every month without giving it a second thought. However, you may be surprised at the money you could be saving.
Here are six tips to trim your monthly bills and keep more money in the bank:
1. Pay Your Bills With a Credit Card
Many monthly service providers offer customers the option to pay bills via a credit card. Take advantage of this – but only if you commit to never carrying a balance. You can typically generate an extra 1% cash back for the total amount of your monthly bills, and this can add up: If you pay $5,000 per year for monthly services, you can earn at least a free $50 in cash back rewards.
2. Get an Energy Audit
Instead of poring over the Internet looking for ways to reduce energy expenses, contact your provider and let them do the legwork for you. If it offers home energy audits, schedule an appointment for a rep to visit your home and do a complete inspection. You will receive a customized report that includes all the ways you can reduce your energy bills year round.
3. Get Your Movies for Cheaper
Do you watch a lot of movies? Consider subscribing to Hulu Plus, Netflix, or Amazon Prime and drop your premium cable movie channels. Hulu Plus and Netflix each cost approximately $8 per month, and Amazon Prime costs $79 per year. You may also elect to simply rent DVDs from a nearby Redbox kiosk.
4. Bundle Your Internet, Cable, and Cell Phone
Bundling your monthly services can often save you money – just be sure that one part of the bundle isn’t a service that you may not need, such as a home telephone. Research the Internet and find the best bundle based on your needs. When you contact the company, negotiate with the rep to see if you can beat the advertised price.
5. Drop Your Landline
Do you truly need a home telephone line? If you don’t, drop it. If you want the peace of mind of having a backup form of communications, go with magicJack or NetTALK, two products that are much less expensive that a traditional landline.
6. Refinance Your Home Mortgage
Although mortgage rates are still quite low, they are increasing, so don’t hesitate to refinance now. Get in touch with a few qualified refinance specialists and obtain at least three quotes. Go with the best option based on your situation and whenever possible, pay the closing costs out-of-pocket rather than rolling them into the new loan. This will save you even more over the life of your new mortgage.
Once you trim the fat on your monthly expenses, put these savings toward your retirement portfolio or an emergency fund. That way, you’ll be better prepared to handle whatever the future may hold. No matter how well you are doing financially, it’s always wise to be ready for anything.
What other ways can you think of to reduce monthly bills?
MoneyCrashers is a website that shares ideas for saving money and efficiently managing finances.