If you’re feeling squeezed by mounting bills every month, you’re not alone. The good news is, by taking a closer look at your monthly budget, you can lower your expenses...without making sacrifices, says the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
Start by taking a hard look at how much you spend each month or year on fixed costs such as your mortgage, entertainment and communications. In many cases, there’s wiggle room where you can reduce costs.
From there, look into reducing your insurance premiums. According to the BBB, insurance companies have many different pricing plans for the same coverage. Consult an insurance agent to see whether you can benefit from any new markdowns, such as a safe driver discount. You can also lower your vehicle, dwelling and umbrella coverage by opting for a higher deductible. Premiums decrease significantly if your deductible is high.
You may also be able to save money on your utility bills by investing in more energy-efficient appliances. Smart thermostats, for example, can reduce electricity consumption by learning your habits and lowering the heat or air conditioning at night or while you’re away from home.
Next, take a look at your cable television bill. Determine which channels you really need and cut back your package for significant savings. Or, if you’ve migrated to Netflix, Apple TV or other streaming services, perhaps you’re ready to cut the cord on cable altogether.
Also, be sure to analyze your mobile device services. Find out exactly what you’re paying per device and what your data plan is. It may be time to shop around for a new carrier with better rates and family plans.
It’s also important to examine your credit card usage. According to the BBB, while store-branded credit cards typically offer a discount off your purchases for signing up that day, the interest rates are higher than other credit cards, and if you don’t pay off the balance or miss a payment, you can get hit with charges that can outweigh the savings at the time of purchase. Instead, shop around for a card that offers money back on gasoline purchases, cash back on your monthly bill or points that can be redeemed for other products or services.
The BBB also points out that you can reduce expenses by performing seasonal, preventative maintenance on your home, such as changing air and water filters and having your furnace and chimney cleaned and inspected. A home is like a vehicle in the sense that you save money over the long-term if it’s tuned up.
Take the above steps and start putting some of those monthly expenses back into your pocket or savings account.