It’s easy to get caught up in all the monthly expenses that seem never-ending – cable, phone bills, subscriptions, memberships, insurance payments, and more. These recurring costs can quickly eat up your paycheck, leaving you struggling to make ends meet. The good news is there are many ways to cut down on monthly bills and keep more money in your pocket. With some diligence and smart strategies, you can significantly reduce your recurring expenses. Here are 7 tips to get you started:
1. Review Your Subscriptions and Assess Needs
Many of us are subscribed to services we don’t use or need on a regular basis. Review all your subscriptions for streaming services, magazines, newspapers, meal kits, boxes, apps, and more. Be brutally honest with your needs. Could you live without that streaming movie channel? Do you really use that meditation app?
Once you’ve evaluated each subscription, start trimming the unnecessary ones. You may even find you’re subscribed to some services you forgot about or didn’t know were charging you monthly. Cutting just a few subscriptions can save you hundreds per year. Always be assessing needs before auto-renewing subscriptions.
2. Negotiate Better Rates for Internet, TV and Phone
Call up your internet, cable TV, and phone providers and negotiate for better rates. Tell them you’ve seen better offers from competitors and you’re considering switching providers. Often just the threat of leaving is enough for them to offer promotional rates or packages that can reduce your monthly costs.
If they don’t bite, actually research competitors’ prices and switch if there are better deals. Just be sure to factor in any early termination fees. You may also look into cutting the cord from cable entirely and switching to cheaper streaming options.
3. Lower Cell Phone Bills
Like cable providers, cell phone companies will often offer promotional deals to keep your business if you call up and threaten to switch carriers. See if they can offer you a discounted rate plan or added data allowance.
You can also save money on cell service by using less data each month, switching to prepaid plans, or trying out lower cost carriers like Republic Wireless and Boost Mobile. Using Wi-Fi for calls and video can also minimize data usage.
4. Cut Down Insurance Costs
Take a close look at your insurance plans – auto, home/renters, health, dental, vision, life. There may be room to reduce your premiums or tweak coverage. For car insurance, you could qualify for discounts by taking defensive driving courses, raising deductibles, or having anti-theft protection.
With health insurance, switching to higher deductible plans or health sharing programs can lower costs. Comparison shop to find the best rates when policies are up for renewal. Be sure to understand coverage limits and out-of-pocket costs. Dropping certain extra policies like dental may also make sense if you don’t use them enough.
5. Refinance Loans and Credit Cards
Consider refinancing high-interest loans like auto, personal, or student loans to secure lower interest rates. This reduces the amount you pay over the life of the loan. You can also consolidate or transfer balances from high APR credit cards onto a single card with a lower promotional interest rate.
Just be sure to not let balances grow and calculate how much you’ll truly save on interest with any refinancing after accounting for fees. Read all terms carefully.
6. Audit Your Memberships
Gym memberships, clubs, alumni or work associations – take a close look at what organizations you pay for membership fees and dues. Cancel any you haven’t used in awhile or provide little real benefit. For instance, maybe a cheaper gym with fewer perks actually fits your routine better. Or you could suspend certain memberships during seasons when not used often.
7. Cut Energy Use
There are many ways to reduce your spending on electricity, water, heating and other utilities. Switch to energy-efficient lighting, turn off lights when not needed, power down electronics completely, lower the thermostat a few degrees in winter and raise it in summer. Run full loads of laundry and dishes and wash in cold water. Limit showers to 5-7 minutes max with lower flow shower heads.
Unplug chargers when not in use, use power strips for easy shut off, and enable energy saver settings on appliances and computers. If legal in your state, installing solar panels can also greatly reduce electric costs over time. Every bit you can reduce utilities saves money each month.
Cutting monthly costs takes diligence and constantly assessing what provides the most value and priority. But with some smart moves and negotiation, you can painlessly reduce monthly bills and keep more of your hard earned money. What expenses will you try trimming first? Consistent monitoring of your recurring costs ensures you’re thoughtfully spending on what matters most.