There are a million ways to save money, but one of our favorite approaches is to lower your monthly bills. One way or another, you’re spending this money every month and will continue to do so for the rest of your life. If you figure out how to cut these bills back by just $30, that’s $360 a year, $1,800 over five years and so on.
With that in mind, here are 10 simple tips that will show you how to save money every month:
- Review Your Cell Phone Bill: Look at your cell phone bill each month to see if your plan matches the way you actually use your phone. Do you regularly go over your minute allotment? Adding more minutes will be cheaper than paying overage fees. Do you have the right text plan for the amount you text? Are you paying for insurance on an ancient phone? Has a mysterious fee popped up that you didn’t know about? And so on. Most cell phone users have plans that unintentionally cost more than they should. Take a look at yours to see how you can lower it. If you want some help, try BillShrink which will analyze your bill or use info you provide to evaluate your plan and give you personalized tips to save money.
- Cancel or Downgrade Your TV Bill: There are more options than ever to get free and cheap TV shows and movies online, so you might want to consider canceling your cable or satellite TV plan. If you don’t want to cancel your plan entirely, consider downgrading it and relying on free options to extend your selection at a much lower cost. Hulu and Netflix are two of our favorites, but you can also check out our full list of cheap and free TV options for even more sites.
- Bundle Cable, Internet & Phone for a Better Rate: Most providers these days offer all of these services at a discount if you “bundle” them. The provider benefits because they get you to purchase more of their services and the customer benefits with a lower price. Shop around to find the best rate. Keep in mind that you don’t need to bundle all of these services—even just bundling two services should yield you some savings.
- Switch to Fluorescent Light Bulbs: Fluorescent bulbs use about 1/4 the amount of energy as incandescent bulbs and they last nearly 10 times as long. Between the electricity savings and the prolonged usage, you could save $100 or more per year by switching to fluorescent lights. Want to learn more? Check out our tip that explains how fluorescent lights will lower your electric bill.
- Buy Low Flow Shower Heads: Showers account for as much as 25% of water usage in a typical household, so figuring out a way to lower the amount you use can really help cut down that water bill. We recommend buying a low flow shower head—they cost as little as $10, but can save you over $250 or more each year on your water bill.
- Wash Clothes in Cold Water: 90% of the energy used to clean clothes goes towards heating the water and—unless you’re dealing with tough stains like grease—cold water will clean your clothes just fine. Use cold water for the majority of your laundry and you’ll save $150 on your electric bill each year.
- Invest in EnergyStar Rated Appliances: When it’s time to buy a new appliance, choose one that’s EnergyStar rated. They can use up to 50% less energy than an average appliance and you can be sure you’ll notice those savings on your monthly bill!
- Fix Leaky Faucets: A leaky faucet that drips 20 times per minute wastes over 500 gallons of water during the course of a year. Since most leaks can be fixed with a simple $1 O-Ring or washer, we think that’s pretty darn good incentive to swing by the hardware store.
- Clean AC Filters & Condenser Coils: Air conditioning is a huge expense during hot summer months. To cut your costs, clean your air filters about once a month during peak usage and clean your condenser coil at least ever couple of years. Doing both of these will help your air conditioner work more efficiently and will shave about $10 per month off your electric bill.
- Keep Your Refrigerator Full: To finish things off, we figured we’d give you a tip that’s about as easy as they come: keep your refrigerator and freezer at least 2/3 full to conserve energy. Both of these appliances function best when they’re nearly full, so it’ll help keep them efficient and lower your electric bill. Don’t have enough food to fill them up? No problem: put in some plastic jugs of water to fill up the extra space (or try other liquids… did you know you can freeze milk to save it for a later date?).
Following these ten simple tips will help you cut your costs each and every month. Of course, there’s more than just 10 ways to do this, so be sure to check out our sections devoted to saving money on utility bills and saving money on groceries (another major monthly expense).
What do you do to cut your costs each month?