11 Simple Ways to Lower Your Monthly Bills and Save Money
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Looking for ways to lower your monthly bills and cut expenses?
One thing I have learned from budgeting is that you don’t have to settle for overly high bills each month. Sometimes, it’s easy to get caught up paying your bills each month and never reduce expenses.
This is an easy way to get caught in the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle and not reach your financial goals. Thankfully, it’s quite simple to lower your bills and save more money each month.
Common Monthly Bills List
If you think it’s difficult to lower your monthly bills, you’re not alone. In fact, many think it’s impossible. Perhaps they may not like negotiating or believe a provider won’t reduce an expense. However, in most situations, that is not the case.
Let’s take a look at a common monthly bills list for most people:
- Mortgage payment
- Utility and electric bills
- Auto insurance bill
- Car payment
- Debt repayment
In each of the above, it’s possible to lower your monthly bills. And, in the event of a debt like credit card payment, you might even be able to reduce the expense and pay it off sooner!
Familiarize yourself with the recommended budget percentages by category to see where you should stand with each of these monthly payments.
How to Lower Monthly Bills and Save Money
A common problem many face is finding ways to spend less money. You may even ask yourself ‘how can I lower my bills?’ but not know where to start.
Fortunately, the answer is easier than you might think. It often involves simply asking for a lower monthly price. It costs more for a company to replace you as a customer than it does to give you a lower price, so you often have some leverage.
If you want to reduce your expenses, here are the 11 best ways to lower your monthly bills and save more money.
1. Cut the Cord
If you haven’t cut the cable cord yet, consider it since it’s one of the easiest ways to lower your monthly bills. We eliminated cable four years ago and never looked back.
As a cheaper alternative, we pay for streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. We also watch free shows and movies that YouTube offers.
Hulu with Live TV, in particular, is great if you want an alternative that gets you as close to cable as possible. For just $54.99 per month, after the 7-day free trial, you get the following:
- 60+ live TV channels
- Cloud DVR service, which lets you record live shows when they are and watch when it’s more convenient for you
- Ability to stream on two devices at once
- Hulu’s complete library of content
Our Hulu Live TV channels list guide shows all the channels you receive, plus other benefits of the platform. Hulu Live is just one of the options out there to get content without cable.
There are many options that let you get the feel of cable and save big money each month.
Check out our guide on how to cut the cord on cable, which includes the best options to get content without paying $110+ per month.
2. Refinance Your Mortgage
Likely your largest monthly bill is your mortgage. Housing costs can easily eat up your monthly budget. While a good rule of thumb is keeping your housing costs to around 30 percent of your income, it can still be a steep payment.
The reason most people pay their mortgages for so long is because of the interest included in the monthly payment. When my husband and I bought a house last year, we were surprised to see how much of our money went towards interest rather than the principle.
We will be considering refinancing in the future if rates remain low since refinancing allows you to lower your interest rate and even shorten your term. You can go from a 30-year mortgage to a 15-year mortgage and save thousands of dollars over the life of the mortgage.
LendingTree is a great option to refinance your mortgage. They let you compare rates from up to five lenders and find the best fit for your needs.
Not only is refinancing one of the best ways to save money fast, it allows you to pay the mortgage off quicker if you maintain the same payment amount.
3. Consolidate Credit Card Debt
Credit card debt is a tedious bill you may be paying. The average U.S. household carries approximately $5,700 worth of credit card debt. And the worst part of credit card debt is the interest.
Credit card interest rates are super high, making it difficult to eliminate debt.
If you have balances on multiple cards, it can be challenging to keep track of all your monthly payments and interest rates. To simplify your credit card debt payoff strategy, you can consolidate your balances to have one monthly payment.
Fiona by Even Financial is a company that offers credit card consolidation through a low-interest personal loan. Fiona lets you compare up to 17 lenders at once so you can pick the best one for your situation.
There are many other ways to lower your interest rate and kill your debt. If you’re struggling with debt, consolidation is often one of the best ways to pay off debt once and for all.
4. Negotiate Lower Bills With an App
Want to lower your monthly bills payments but don’t feel like negotiating? I don’t blame you. There are so many things I’d rather do on a random Tuesday than going back and forth with my utility company, or any other company for that matter.
The service then proposes ways to save and automatically negotiates with companies on your behalf.
Truebill can help you do any of the following:
- Cancel subscriptions
- Negotiate monthly bills
- Monitor cable and internet outages
- Find better auto insurance rates
If you need money now, negotiating lower bills is one of the best ways to free up cash.
5. Lower Your Phone Bill
If you’re like most people, you use your phone every single day for various purposes. In fact, many of us don’t go anywhere without our phones. Just because it’s valuable doesn’t mean you have to pay an arm and a leg for it.
If you have a plan with one of the major four carriers it’s likely you’re paying at least $70 per month for service. Thanks to discount carriers that operate on the towers of the major ones, there’s no need to pay that much each month.
There are several cheap cell phone plans you can use to reduce your monthly expenses without giving up quality service. Most plans are prepaid, without a contract, and you pay only for what you use each month.
Ting is an excellent choice to lower your monthly cell phone bill. You can leave whenever you wish and you can add extra lines for $6 per line. The average monthly bill with Ting is $23 per month.
Frugal Rules readers receive a $50 credit when they sign up. That effectively gives you the first two months of service for free.
6. Refinance Student Loans
If you have high-interest private student loans, you may want to consider refinancing them to save money. Just like other debts, interest eats into your monthly payment, meaning less money is applied to the actual balance.
*Related: Want to save on internet service? Check out our guide on how to get free Wi-Fi at home to save big bucks!*
The average student loan balance for the class of 2016, for example, was over $37,000, according to Forbes. If you’re facing that amount or more, it can be overwhelming to know where to start.
Refinancing or consolidating your loans may be a good way to get relief and lower your monthly bills.
SoFi is a great company that can help you find the best rates when refinancing your student loans. SoFi lets you compare rates from various lenders and save money on payments.
7. Shop Around For Better Auto Insurance Rates
Auto insurance companies change their rates every few months based on a variety of factors. This is why you should always shop around for better car insurance rates at least once a year.
However, 40 percent of drivers haven’t compared in at least three years. If you haven’t compared rates recently, you may be overlooking one of the best ways to save money every month and keep more money in your budget.
If you don’t compare rates, you may be overlooking some common auto insurance discounts, such as:
- Safe driving discount
- Low mileage discount
- Automatic payment discount
- Multiple car discount
- Multiple policies discount
- Good credit score discount
These just scratch the surface of possible discounts. You may be able to score additional ones to lower your auto insurance bill. But you have to do the work to find them.
For instance, you can compare rates at Esurance to see how much money you can save each month. If Esurance doesn’t meet your needs, consider some of the other best cheap car insurance companies to save money.
8. Switch to a Basic Gym Membership
Don’t stick with a pricey gym membership that you can’t really afford. Sure, it’s nice to have state-of-the art equipment, a sauna in the locker room, and a cafe, Wi-Fi, and pool on-site.
However, you don’t really need all these things to get a good workout in and improve your fitness. Last year, I switched to Planet Fitness and only pay $20 per month for my gym membership.
I got the “fancy” membership. However, you might not need that one. The basic one is $10 per month, and it gives you 24/7 access to the gym and all the equipment.
While my gym doesn’t have a track, they have classes, fitness training (included in the membership), and because I have the “fancy” membership, I can bring a friend to work out with me for free.
If you have a gym membership and don’t use it, cutting it is one of the best ways to lower your monthly bills and save more money.
9. Lower Your Grocery Bill With Meal Plans
Lowering your grocery bill can seem like a struggle. Some things I do to keep my grocery bill low include: limiting shopping to only twice a month, buying things in bulk, and planning out all my meals.
Planning my meals before I shop is the most effective method I use for lowering my grocery bill. It helps me stay on track, reduces expensive impulse purchases, and I know exactly what I’m eating each day.
*Related: Love to watch movies, but hate paying full price? Check out our guide on the best places to watch free movies online and save loads of money.*
Having a solid meal plan also helps you avoid dining out for convenience on those hectic days.
If you have trouble coming up with meal ideas or have some picky eaters in your household, I recommend trying the $5 Meal Plan. They have a free 14-day trial and provide the tools needed to make a meal plan that meets your needs, along with sample shopping lists.
10. Make Your Home More Energy Efficient
It’s easy for utility bills to spiral out of control, especially if your home isn’t energy efficient. For instance, having energy-efficient windows reduces your central air or heating usage, causing you to save money.
Plus, you may qualify for tax breaks if you make energy efficient repairs on your home throughout the year.
If you rent your home, talk to your landlord about some of these money-saving ideas. You never know what they’re willing to try unless you ask.
11. Track Your Spending
One of the simplest things you can do to lower your monthly bills is to track your spending. It’s important to know how much you’re spending on things in the first place.
*Related: Looking for ways to boost your credit? Read our review of the best credit repair companies to fix your credit.*
When you know how much you’re spending, it’s easier to explore ways to reduce your expenses and keep track of savings if you do lower bills. If you’re not interested in tracking your spending the old fashioned way with a pen and paper, there are alternatives.
You can use a program like Tiller to automatically track your spending for you. Tiller connects with your bank account and puts all your spending into a Google sheet for you to monitor your expenses.
Tiller offers a free 30-day trial, and costs $5 per month after that.
How much should you save each month?
This is a common question, with a different answer for everyone since each situation is unique. However, regardless of your specific situation, the key is purposeful spending.
But a good place to start is $500.
If you think you can do it, here’s how to save $500 a month. You may not be able to save that much, but the ideas apply no matter how much you’re trying to save.
What should I do with my extra savings?
As you begin to lower your monthly bills, you may wonder what to do with the extra money. You may want to spend it, but don’t give into the temptation to foolishly spend.
*Related: Want to cut the cord but don’t know which platform to pick? Check out our Hulu vs. Netflix guide to see which platform is best.*
Here are some great options for using your extra money wisely:
- Pay off debt
- Build your emergency fund
- Save more for retirement
- Save for a large expense
- Put it in your vacation fund
It’s OK to use some of the money for fun; just make sure to be smart with most of your newly-found money.
Where should I put my extra savings?
This depends on your situation. If liquidity is key, you want to put it in a high-yield savings account to earn the most interest possible while still staying liquid.
CIT Bank is one great option. You can put your money in their Savings Builder account to earn interest. If you can save $100 per month and start with a minimum balance of at least $100, you earn 1.75 percent on your cash.
Lower Your Monthly Bills: Bottom Line
Lowering your monthly bills can be easy and painless. You just need the right strategy and the right tools. Go through your budget to determine what you’re spending and where you can find opportunities to save.
With a little effort, you can lower your monthly bills and start putting more of your money to work for you.
What are some ways you lower your bills on a regular basis? What are some of the more overlooked ways to save money each month? How much money do you save each month?