There aren’t many people who would react with fondness when someone mentions the word “bills”. In fact, 40% of Americans say they worry about paying their regular monthly bills. If you’re in this position, it might be time to figure out how you can lower thos.
Lowering your bills may seem like an overwhelming, time-consuming task, and it may even seem from the surface that there is simply nothing you can cut. That’s why it’s important to track your spending. Take a look at every single dollar you spend over the course of a month, and you may be surprised what you find.
Once you determine what expenses you incur that are absolutely necessary and those that are not, here are many ways to strategically lower your bills.
Cut convenience spending.
When it comes to cutting back, most people automatically think of unnecessary costs like buying a coffee every day. And while something like that is a good start to cutting back, there may be some other convenience costs you’re incurring without realizing it (or thinking too much about it).
For example, meal delivery services are charging customers more than ever before with convenience fees, delivery fees, gas fees, and sometimes even specific local fees based on the area. So, not only are you spending money on eating out, but you’re now facing charges that can take a $10 burrito at Chipotle and turn it into a $25+ order. This can also apply to grocery delivery services like Instacart.
Speaking of groceries — one way to keep from overspending at the store is to opt for raw produce, meat, or ingredients over pre-packaged foods, pre-cooked meals, or baked goods as they are likely to be more expensive.
Even expenses deemed necessary and unavoidable can be reduced if you start comparison shopping, such as insurance policies, cell phone plans, and internet providers. There is a plethora of online tools available to compare insurance quotes and shop around for a lower premium. Many insurance policies also offer discounts for bundling home and auto.
Additionally, you can shop for cell phone plans with different carriers that may be less expensive than what you currently have. And even if you’re unable to switch carriers, perhaps your plan is charging you for more data than you use or insurance that you don’t need. You can contact your carrier to discuss your plan and cut expenses where feasible.
This can also apply to any service you purchase, such as hair appointments, landscaping and lawn care, home cleaning, pet care, and more. If someone can provide you equal services for less, there’s no sense in overpaying.
Refinance your loans.
Private student loans, mortgage loans, and auto loans can all be refinanced to lower the interest rate on your existing loan and potentially shorten the loan term as well. Refinancing is a good idea if you can reduce your interest rate by at least 2%, which may be enough to provide support for your monthly budget.
As an aside, if refinancing lengthens the term of your loan, you will end up paying more interest in the long run.
Evaluate subscriptions and memberships.
There are many subscriptions and memberships out there, and although $9.99 a month here and $10.99 there doesn’t seem like a lot, it can add up quickly without you realizing it. How often do you use all of the streaming services you’re subscribed to (Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Disney Plus, etc.), and can you decide to stick with one or two? Many streaming services also now offer plans that provide a discount for bundling services.
And what about other plans, such as unlimited music streaming, cloud storage, audiobook subscriptions, and others? Consider whether you use them frequently enough to justify a monthly fee.
Another big one is gym memberships. It’s important to be honest with ourselves when it comes to gym use — if you divide your monthly charge by the number of days you go to the gym and it equates to anything more than $5 per day, you may want to reconsider. Luckily, there are many options available for working out at home or outdoors that can provide the same beneficial exercise as that of a gym.
Talk to an advisor.
Re-examining your monthly spending can seem like a lot of work, but truthfully you only need a couple of hours to get it all sorted. Determine what you must spend, and chip away from there on anything that may not be necessary (even if you enjoy it). On top of that, it is always helpful to speak to a financial expert that can help you craft a strategy for your personal finance goals both short-term and long-term. We have an expert team at Republic Bank that is always available to help you plan, so give us a call at 800-526-9127 and find other money savings tips on our website.