So, is your budget a little tighter than normal? Or maybe you just want to lower some of your bills? Well you’ve come to the right place! This post will hopefully give you some tips and ideas for cutting down your fixed and variable expenses. Check out my blog Budgeting 101 for the steps on categorizing and prioritizing your monthly expenses. This post will take all those ideas for categories, and help you to try and find places you may be able to cut expenses and save some money!
1. Shop around for the cheapest insurance.
Don’t just settle for the first quote you receive, shop around and see if there are cheaper options for car insurance or homeowners insurance. Check for plans that offer discounts for bundling home and auto. Even if you already did this, check around every couple of years. You may still find a cheaper rate with another company, even though the company you have now was cheaper when you started. Especially car insurance will change with age. Generally it becomes cheaper the older you get and the better your driving record, different companies offer different discounts; so even if you’ve been with a company for years, shop around!
2. Consolidate your student loans.
Using a service like myfedloan.org can help you to consolidate your student loans, offering you a lower interest rate and cause you to only have one payment. Struggling financially? You can put your students loans on an income-based repayment plan, which figures your monthly payment based on your income. This is a great option for recent grads, who may have trouble finding a job right away. They also offer student loan forgiveness after 20 years, or after 10 years if you work a non-profit organization!
3. Put your utility bills on a budget plan.
Many electric and gas companies will help households who are struggling with paying their utilities, they offer the option of putting your bill on a budget plan. What this does is gives you an average amount that you will consistently pay for the year. The bill will be a consistent amount each month, that you can easily keep track of. The one catch is, that although the amount is the same each month, the company will still charge you the going rate per unit used. What this means, is that just because your bill may only be $70, does not mean you only used $70 worth of electricity or gas. You could have used more for that month or less. If you used more, then the amount you owe will go into an outstanding account. Often times this evens out. For example, in the winter my husband and I use less electricity because our house heats with gas, however in the summer, our electric bill is pretty high because we need to run our air conditioning. Sometimes the amounts will even out, or you may even have a credit. However if you are constantly using more electricity or gas, then at the end of the year you will receive a bill with the outstanding amount.
One easy way to counteract this within your budget is to account for a possible outstanding amount. Whatever your budget amount is, simple add $10 or $15 to the total. Save that amount up throughout the year, $10 a month=$120 by the end of the year, $15 for a month= $180! By figuring in that small amount, you will hopefully be able to better manage that possible outstanding amount at the end of the year!
4. Cut out subscription plans you may not be using.
My husband and I had memberships to planet fitness, that we were never using! We also had to get one of the highest cable packages (just so we could watch our Penquins hockey games) although we really didn’t watch anything else on tv. The one subscription my husband and I have that we do use CONSTANTLY is Spotify 🙂 I absolutely love my music, so this is something we use on a regular basis. Other than that, we really don’t have any other monthly subscriptions. We made sure to get rid of any unnecessary spending.
Now don’t get me wrong, my husband and I do work out, but it was just much easier for us to work out at home! We have weights, we can run around the neighborhood. We also love hiking, bike riding, and kayaking. So we get exercise. We really didn’t need the planet fitness membership anymore. So we just cancelled it. We love watching Pens games, but our cable and internet bills were just getting too high (Especially since Comcast is one of the only cable and internet providers in our area, so they love to jack up the prices). However, talking to one of our friends (who is a huge online gamer) he informed us that there is another internet company around that was much less than Comcast! So, we cancelled our comcast subscription and got this provider! Our bill is much cheaper, and we’re not paying for extra services we don’t use. I know it’s not as honest (but hey, I know for a fact we’re not the only ones who do it) we borrow Netflix from a friend of ours :). (No judging!) We also help out our friends by letting them use our Spotify family account. So it’s a win win 🙂
Hopefully these tips will help you to cut down some of your monthly expenses! I have done each one, and it has really helped us to find the best deals and cut out some unnecessary expenses. Please comment below any more tips you may have found that work for you and your family!