With prices rising, seemingly daily, on everything, everywhere, it is important to find ways to cut back on your spending wherever you can. While there are certainly some areas where compromise is not possible, there are definitely various ways to cut back on at least some your bills.
One of the many bills you might be able lower is your electric bill. Check with your electric company to see if they have a “energy saver” program. The purpose of these programs is to charge more for energy at peak hours and less for energy during non-peak hours, in an effort to regulate energy usage, “encourage” customers to use energy during off-peak hours and save you money. While this is a great idea in theory, make sure that it will actually prove cost-effective for you. For example, our local utility company charges four times the normal rate during off-peak hours and half the rate during the peak hours. Check your local utility company’s website for appliance usage charts and helpful information. If you are a stay-at-home mom or you work out of your home, these programs won’t work for you because you have to use energy during peak hours. Many utility companies also require participants to sign a one-year contract, which obligates participants to the program for one year, whether your usage dictates that or not. If your utility company offers a “time of day” program and you feel, after looking into it, that it would be the most cost-effective energy plan for your family, make sure you are running your dishwasher at night and, as much as possible, use energy during the night.
Switch to energy efficient appliances. Although most appliances sold today are energy efficient, if you have a choice, spend the extra money to buy energy efficient appliances as they will save you money. Most are programmable so your refrigerator, for example, will cool at a lower voltage during the night when the likelihood of energy escaping via open doors drops to nearly zero. Similar programs exist for almost every appliance made.
Consolidate your credit cards and ween yourself off credit cards. If you have high interest credit cards, first, call your credit card company and ask for a lower interest rate. If they don’t give you one, let them know that you are cutting up their card, paying the card off or transferring your balance to another card with another company and closing your account with them. In other words, you are taking your business elsewhere. This may or may not sway them. If it does, great. If not, that’s fine, too. Cut up the card anyway. Search for low or no interest credit card offers and transfer your high-interest card balances to the low or no interest card then close the high interest account. Start paying down your cards, smallest to largest; doing it this way allows you to see yourself making progress in paying down your bills, which, will encourage you to keep paying down your bills.
Cut back on things that you don’t need or use. If you have and use phone, internet and cable, bundle your services. This can save you hundreds. If you are paying for the best cable package or satellite TV, review the channels you actually watch and see if you wouldn’t be better off downgrading to save some money. Do you have a landline you don’t use? Consider getting rid of it as this will save you money.
Try to do your errands on one day, maybe two. This will save you time and money. As gas prices are on the rise, when it comes to commuting, try carpooling to work, riding the bus or a bike. Any of these methods will save you gas money.
These are just a few methods you might try when working on cutting back on your bills, which is important. Creating and sticking to a budget, mapping out your errands to save yourself time and money and buying energy efficient appliances are just a few of the many ways you can incorporate into your life to manage your money better.