Running a household is an expensive affair, but there are lots of things that you can do to minimize the cost. Here are the top seven:
1. Bundle Your Services
Have Internet, phone and cable service? Move all of your accounts to one provider, and you could save $20 or more per month. Check your mail for bundling offers or visit lowermybills.com to find out which company is offering the best service bundle in your area; then make the switch and save.
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2. Cut Back on Extras
Do you really need caller ID ($6) and call waiting ($9)? How about the premium cable ($60) or satellite package ($55) that you subscribe to? Examine your list of monthly expenses, and determine what you can live without – short term or long term.
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3. Clip Coupons and Shop Sales
Groceries can take a big bite out of a budget, but they don't have to take a big bite out of yours. To reign in your grocery spending, start clipping coupons and shopping the sales. Just how big of a savings can you expect? 15 percent is a reasonable expectation for a first time couponer, and with time that could increase to as much as 50 percent!
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4. Slash Your Insurance Premiums
Insurance is important to have, but costly. Shop around for a better auto insurance rate, and you may just shave hundreds of dollars off of your current premium. Can't find a better rate? Talk to your current provider to see if there are discounts that you are missing out on. Do they offer a multi-line discount for customers with multiple policies? A good student discount? A good driver discount? For even more savings, consider increasing your deductible or canceling collision coverage on older vehicles. If you have homeowners or renters insurance, be sure to review those policies as well.
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5. Get Energy Smart
Do you dread opening your utility bills each month? If so, there's a lot that you can do to reduce your bill. Install a programmable thermostat, and set it to run less when no one is home; turn off lights when they aren't in use; wash your laundry in cold water; turn down the temperature on your hot water heater; only buy Energy Star appliances. Start looking around, and you'll find lots of ways to reduce your energy consumption and your energy bills.
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6. Seek Cheap Thrills
You don't have to spend a lot of money to have fun, so examine your entertainment spending; and see if there are places where you can make cuts. Could you rent movies instead of seeing them in the theatre? Enjoy free concerts instead of paid concerts? Check out books at the library instead of buying them? Go on a picnic instead of eating out? Challenge yourself to have more fun for less money – and see where you end up.
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7. Pay Your Bills on Time
Are you in the habit of paying your bills late? If so, you're probably paying extra for the privilege. Start paying your bills on time, and say goodbye to late fees and rate hikes once and for all.
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