Groceries, gas, utilities, streaming services: Monthly bills can add up fast, but they don’t have to leave you scrounging for pennies. Want to have a little more money left over in your budget? These simple tips from financial pros can help you reduce your household expenses without feeling the pinch!
Pay the year in full.
“Most consumers may not realize it, but there’s a charge to make monthly payments on your home and auto insurance. But you can avoid it by paying in advance for the year in one lump sum. My family actually saved more than $700 last year with our auto insurance carrier just by doing this—savings that even surprised the insurance agent!” — Dawn-Marie Joseph, founder of EstatePlanningAndPreservation.com
Rethink your connectivity.
“With recent advancements in 4G connectivity, and with 5G available in most cities, ditching your internet connection entirely and getting online using your cellphone’s hot spot can save you $100s! To do this, you might have to pay $10 extra per month to upgrade your phone plan to have unlimited data. But if you’ve been paying $40 per month for the internet, doing this will easily put $30 a month — or $360 a year — back in your pocket!” — Tom Paton, founder of BroadbandSavvy.com
Cut the cable cord.
“The average monthly cable bill is $217 a month ($2,600 a year)! Instead, ditch cable for cheaper alternatives like network apps (some are free!) and streaming services. To save even more, ask yourself how many devices you plan to use them on. Streaming on one device only with some services can cut the monthly cost in half.” — Brad Cummins, founder of InsuranceGeek.com
Change out filters.
“Typically, the bulk of your electric bill is your heating and cooling. What can slash your costs by more than $100 a year? Changing out air filters every two months. Clogged ones make the systems work harder and run longer to keep the temperature constant. New filters are relatively cheap, and replacing them yourself takes about 10 minutes. Unsure of how to do it? Search YouTube for step-by-step videos.” — Andrea Woroch, money-saving expert at AndreaWoroch.com
Swap your showerhead.
“A huge monthly expense for most people is the water bill — one of the largest drivers of the cost being the shower, which can use as much as 40 gallons a day. The fix? Replacing an old showerhead with a newer, more water-efficient one. You can find them for around $50, and you won’t even notice that less water is being used. What you will notice? That your water bill is 40 percent less than usual.” — Logan Allec, founder of MoneyDoneRight.com
Tackle this card first.
“Many of us just pay the minimum payment on our credit cards, but high interest rates will increase the bill every month, and a $3 gallon of milk, for example, could end up costing $30 over time. Instead, check the Minimum Credit Warning box on your statements (it shows the total amount you’ll pay if you only make minimum monthly payments), then pay the most on the card that has the highest amount. You’ll save up to 29 percent a year in interest, so if you pay an extra $1,000 this year, you could end up $290 ahead.” — Amy Fontinelle, finance expert at Investopedia.com
Implement these three car tricks.
“The average person spends $2,000 on gas a year. To shave over $160 from that total? Remove excess weight from the car; it can increase your fuel economy by two percent. Have your tires inflated to the proper pressure; it will improve gas mileage by up to 3.3 percent. Use the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil; it will up gas mileage by two percent!” — Evan Sutherland, co-founder of BudgetingCouple.com
Opt for generics.
“Look for the ‘private label’ store brand when shopping for everything from food items to cleaning products. These days, they’re so popular that one in four items in the grocery store is often a store brand — and can cost up to 30 percent less than brand-name items. That means a family who spends $500 a month on brand-name groceries could save $50 every month. Those savings total $600 a year, or enough to buy an extra month’s worth of groceries and have $100 left over. What’s more, in a recent study, 75 percent of shoppers reported that they found that store or generic brands were just as good as the name brands.” — Miguel A. Suro, money expert at RichMiser.com
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.