When you think about it, the majority of monthly bills run under $100.
That's probably why people often dismiss the idea of trying to save as nothing more than a waste of time. After all, keeping your lights on is a necessity, right?
Look at it this way, though — if you find seven ways to save $15, that equals $105 in monthly savings and $1,260 over the course of a year. Who wouldn't want that much extra cash in their checking account?
Plus, if it's this easy to save money on your monthly bills, you can start paying off your credit card debt or student loans sooner than you thought was possible. To get you headed in the right direction, check out these seven easy ways to save money on your monthly bills.
7 Effective Ways To Reduce Your Monthly Expenses
1. Cut The Cord
If you don't watch a lot of TV, or if you prefer movies and shows to live television, consider cutting the cord and dropping cable altogether. If you're currently paying $100 per month for your channel package, you could save a bundle with just this one step.
If you still want to keep some service, go with a streaming company like Netflix or Hulu Plus, both of which cost under $10 per month. And if you already subscribe to Amazon Prime, you can get your TV and movie fix from there, as well. Philo has 45 popular channels for only $16!
Each platform offers plenty of movies and TV series — check them out before making your final choice.
2. Save On Water
Even though your water bill might only cost $50 per month, that doesn't mean you can't save any more money on it. For instance, you can cut your showers down by just a few minutes, and only run your washing machine and dishwasher when they're full.
Put a brick wrapped in aluminum foil in your toilet tank to reduce the amount of water needed for each flush. When brushing your teeth or shaving, be sure the water isn't running.
3. Adjust Your Thermostat
By adjusting your thermostat a mere three degrees in either direction, depending on the season, you can reduce your energy bills by close to 10%, according to the Department of Energy.
To make the transition easier, adjust the thermostat one degree at a time and see if you still feel comfortable. Paring down your household attire to shorts and tank tops in the summer or an extra sweater in the winter also helps make the transition easier.
4. Get A Home Energy Audit
Another way to cut energy bills is to get your home audited for energy leaks. For example, you may need more insulation in your attic or you might have to stop up your chimney to avoid drafts.
Contact your energy provider to see if you can get an audit for free. Even if the fee is nominal, it's well worth it to have a representative come to your home, perform an inspection, and give you a list of the many ways you can save.
5. Review Smartphone Usage Plan
Whether or not you're on an all-unlimited data plan, call your provider and ask for a breakdown on your usage. Once you see how much data you're using each month, find out if there is a more cost-efficient program available.
If you can cut costs without altering your lifestyle, go for it. And if you're using a lot of extra data for social media, cutting down your usage can benefit your life in multiple ways.
Even better, find a better low cost cell phone plan.
6. Use Grocery Coupons
Use the Sunday paper to snip grocery coupons, then download grocery saving apps like Honey, Fetch Rewards or Saving Star for digital coupons and discounts.
This is such an easy way to save — you may be surprised how many of your favorite brands and items are available via coupon each week.
7. Bundle Services
If you're not already bundling your smartphone, Internet, and TV services, consider doing so. You can save a few dollars on each, and you get billed in one single, convenient statement.
If you switch over to a new company, you may be able to take advantage of plenty of teaser discounts and perks, as well. Try to avoid signing a long-term contract if possible, so you can switch again when a better deal comes along.
Once your savings are in the bank, don't let them go to waste. Figure out how much you're saving every month and make an extra contribution to whatever area of your finances needs the most help. For example, you may want to put those funds toward credit card debt, retirement savings, or your emergency fund.
Cutting the cost of your monthly bills is great, but using that money intelligently will make all of your money saving efforts worthwhile.
What other ways can you think of to save on monthly bills?
Mitch Brookfield is a personal finance writer and accountant. He writes about making, managing and saving money for a variety of sites. He lives and works in Boston, Massachusetts.