Looking for easy ways to cut your monthly expenses? Try this simple solution!
Guest post from Kari of Esavings Blog:
Do you budget but just can’t seem to get ahead.? Maybe you cut everything you possibly can out of your budget and still can’t seem to save money.
If this sounds like you, I have a simple tip that could possible save your hundreds of dollars each and every month!
I am pretty frugal already, and I was able to save over $175 per month following these steps:
Step 1: Do a Bill Audit
You can skimp on every area of the budget (groceries, entertainment, etc.) but the biggest expenses are always the ones you just pay automatically each month — insurance, cable, phone, and more.
These are the areas that have the biggest impact on your monthly expenses and are probably bills you just set and forget about.
But what if you could cut these expenses down? Think about it, when was the last time you actually looked at your phone bill? How about your cable bill? Your electric bill?
With electronic billing these days, fewer people are looking at their statements and it’s costing them a lot of money! So let’s look at how you can audit your bills and save.
How to Do a Bill Audit
1. Gather your billing statements or bring them all up online.
Start with bills such as cable, phone, and insurance. These will be the easiest ones to lower. Don’t forget to also bring up your bank statements, as you will want to audit them as well.
2. Look at your statements closely and see what it is you’re actually being charged for (you may be surprised).
- Are there interest fees?
- Are there questionable items on your bill?
- Are you being charged for something you never even use?
- Is there a fee for paying monthly versus paying in full?
- Has your bill gone up significantly over time?
These are some of the things you want to look out for. This is also a great chance to think about what you actually need and use on a monthly basis.
For example, you may be paying for HBO but you never watch it. Or you may be on an unlimited data plan for your cell phone but you’re only using 4GB of it.
Be strategic and look at your bills like an IRS auditor would look at your taxes. Make notes on the bills or in a notebook of anything you find.
After performing your bill audit and gathering all the information, you can move on to step 2 below.
Step 2: Make Some Calls
Did you find anything questionable in your bill audit? Any fees you didn’t realize you were paying? Maybe subscriptions you had forgotten about?
Give the company a call and ask them questions about any fees you see and how you can get them waived.
Even if you think your bill audit didn’t reveal much, you still want to reach out to your billing companies and let them know that you’re looking to lower your bill and would like to know what they can do to help.
This will work especially well with bills like insurance, phone, and cable. Don’t be afraid to call more than once if you don’t get what you want the first time. Sometimes it all depends on what promotions may be going on or even who you talk to that day.
Pro Tip: Do some research ahead of time. For bills like cable and phone, look online to see what the company is offering new customers. Look at what competitors are offering as well and use this information to try to get a better deal on your plan.
I Saved $175/Month!
Still wondering if this is actually worth the time? Let me reassure you!
The last time I did a bill audit, I was able to shave $175 off my monthly expenses! (And I run a personal finance blog and tend to be really good with finances!)
Here’s how I was able to do it…
I have my homeowner’s insurance lumped in with my mortgage so it’s not something I check often. But when I got my renewal notice and opened it, I was shocked at how much it had gone up over the years.
There really was no reason, I have never had a claim and my house hasn’t gone up in value (if anything it’s gone down).
After seeing this, I decided to give them a call and see why.
I made a call to Geico (they’re my home insurance agent because I have my car insured through them). They looked at my policy and couldn’t find a way to lower it without lowering my coverage. I obviously was not satisfied so they offered to look for other quotes from other companies in their network.
To my surprise, they were able to find me another company to insure with and a BETTER plan that covered even more than my old plan for $827 less a year!
Yes, I saved $827 with one quick phone call.
I then did a similar thing when it came to my cell phone bill. I already had a pretty affordable family plan but I wanted to see if I could get it lowered.
When my current company didn’t lower my bill, I decided to shop around.
Around the time I was looking, a great deal popped up from Sprint. They were giving new customers a FREE Year of Unlimited if you bring your own phone over.
I jumped on the deal and have been paying only $13.56 a month TOTAL, to cover taxes and fees, for 3 Lines of Unlimited for my family! Yes, you read that right.
Now you may not be able to get that great of a deal but look around and see what’s out there.
This switch saved me over $107 a month.
So in total, just with those two changes alone, I am saving over $175 per month. That’s over $2,111 each year!
I basically gave myself a raise and you can too!
What can you save on?
Start looking at your monthly bills and see where you can save money. Leave a comment below and let me know how much you were able to save!
Kari is an aspiring financial coach and blogger over at Esavingsblog.com. She uses her knowledge about personal finance to help families save money, stick to a budget, and increase their income.