Fall is here which, for many people, means cleaning up the yard, cleaning out the gutters and putting away the patio furniture. But you shouldn’t stop there. Now would be a great time to review your bills to see where you could save big money by doing some small things to have your bills cleaned up for Halloween, Thanksgiving and, of course, Christmas.
Shaving your monthly bills isn’t all that difficult, either. The first step is to make a list of all the bills you get monthly as this is where you can save big money with a little work. You may have never thought of it this way but if you could cut your bills by just $100 it would be like putting an extra $100 in your pocket every month. If you use the following tips you should be able to shave those monthly bills by a lot more than $100.
Cutting your energy bill
There are a number of ways to save big money on your energy bill that may never have occurred to you. One of the simplest is to air seal your home. This will reduce the amount of air that flows out of your house so that you’re losing less heat in the winter. This could be a weekend project and does involve a few expenses. What you will need to do is go through every exterior room looking for places where air could escape. The most obvious ones are around windows and doors but you will also want to check your electrical outlets. You’ll need a roll of weather stripping, caulk and a caulking gun to seal any areas where you think air could be escaping.
If you’ve not done caulking before here’s a short video that teaches how to caulk an seal a window.
Second, put your devices on a timer. When you turn off your HDTV, computer, monitor and so forth you may think they’re off but they’re not. They go into standby mode. You can eliminate this by putting all your devices on a timer so that they will completely lose power at a certain time every night. This will save you money by eliminating the energy drain that occurs when those devices are in standby mode.
A Third way to save big money is by turning down your hot water heater. You should turn down its heat level until it matches the temperature you prefer when bathing or showering. Do this and you’ll eliminate the money you’re wasting by heating the water in your water heater hotter than you will ever use it.
Finally, and maybe most important, get a programmable thermostat. This would allow you to set a temperature for daytime and one for nighttime so that your furnace isn’t running when you’re sleeping. You could also program it to turn down the temperature if the house is empty during the daytime. Installing and setting up a programmable thermostat is very easy and will save you big dollars.
Cutting your rent or mortgage
If you have a mortgage you need to check your most recent statement to see what’s your interest rate. If you’ve had that mortgage for more than five years, the odds are that you could save big money by doing a refi. Interest rates are now at an all-time low and you should even be able to get a new mortgage that wouldn’t reset the clock. For example, if you’ve been paying for five years on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage you could get a new one for 25 years and still save money.
If you rent you could move to a smaller house or apartment where the rent would be less or to one of the same size that has fewer luxury features. Could you get a roommate? That would immediately cut your rent and probably by at least 30%. You could also move to a less desirable neighborhood.
Cutting your water bill
If you want to save big money on your water bill you need to install one of those low-flow shower heads. A good one uses tricks so that you may not even realize you’re using less water. But here’s the deal. If you reduce the amount of water you use by just a gallon per minute and there are eight 10-minute showers a week in your house, you’ll save big money — 80 gallons of water a week – forever.
A second way to cut your water bill would be to install faucet aerators. They cut the water flow by inserting air bubbles into the water stream. And they’re perfect for faucets where you wash your hands or brush your teeth.
One of the cheapest things you can do to reduce your water bill is to put a plastic water bottle in your toilet’s tank. Put three or four stones in the bottle and then fill it up with water. Stick it in the toilet tank in some out-of-the-way corner. When you do this you’ll use less water every time you flush.
You should also make sure to always do full laundry loads and full dishwasher loads. Both of these labor-saving devices are optimized for a full load. Any time you’re doing less than a full load, you’re simply throwing money away as you’re wasting both water and energy.
Save big money by cutting your home entertainment costs
There is just no reason today to not cut the cable. Services such as Netflix and Hulu provide most of the same programs and movies but at a fraction of the cost. As an example of this, Netflix is just $9.95 a month compared to the $79 a month or more you’re probably paying for cable. You might also think about signing up for Amazon Prime, which currently costs $99 a year or $10.99 per month. Prime not only gives you free two-day shipping on anything you buy on Amazon but also offers a huge assortment of TV programs, free movies and a library of more than one million songs.
Cutting your cell phone bill
There’s no real reason to stick with one of the major carriers such as Verizon or AT&T. You can get the same service for much less money by moving to one of the “independents” such as Cricket, Boost Mobile or Virgin Mobile. They offer basically the same coverage as the big four and about the same quality. Some of these “independents” require no contracts so if you were to become dissatisfied for any reason, you could simply drop your service and move to another one.