Saving monthly on utilities and recurring bills isn’t easy. A lot will depend on whether your home uses electricity only or electricity and propane. Either way, look at your bill(s). How much of the bill is a regular monthly cost and how much of it varies each month depending on how much you use. Usually, you will not be able to save a great deal on this particular item, but every penny counts. Or, as Benjamin Franklin said, a penny saved is a penny earned.
Save on electricity bill
A good way to see how much you can save in this area is to use last month’s bill as a base cost. Then spend one whole month saving every bit of electricity you can. Switch off lights, don’t leave TV’s and radios running unless you are actually using them, use a slow cooker when possible instead of your oven, run a fan(s) instead of air conditioning, turn off your computer and printer when not in use, insulate your hot water heater, add insulation in your attic area, when it’s time to replace appliances make sure you buy energy efficient ones, keep the thermostat set as low (heat) as possible if everyone is at work and school, keep the thermostat set high (air conditioning) when the house is empty, set a limit on how long your teenager can stay in the shower.
You may only be able to cut your monthly bill by $10 or $20, but that is still $120 to $240 a year which could pay for a quarter of your trip to Hawaii or buy a few shares of a good strong growth stock.
Save on phone bill
Some of you may have just one phone and never place any long distance calls. This is great. But if you have more than one phone or long distance charges, this is an area for savings. First, how many phones do you really need? Unless you are running a home business, one or two phones is enough.
Keeping in mind that a teenager having his or her own phone is a privilege and not a right, we fully realize what it is like to try to share a phone with teens. However, one phone for the adults and one for the teens to share should be sufficient. But how many phone lines do you need? Sharing one phone line by limiting everyone’s daily usage will be less expensive than having two lines. Again, teenagers are going to have to spend the rest of their lives sharing with others at work as well as at home, so they might as well be used to it instead of going through some major culture shock in the future.
If you have long distance charges, how much would you save by replacing them with email? Virtually every family has a home computer now and they all come with online capabilities and email can cost you as much as $22 a month or you can even get it for free. Email is a much faster and cheaper way to stay in touch with friends and relatives then the phone is (and faster than the mail service). If you must still use long distance services (perhaps for your home business), check out the different companies carefully. For instance, AT&T’s one-rate system for their cell phones can save you a huge amount if you are doing 10 or more hours of long distance a month.
If your long distance calls are of less duration, check with the major carriers on discount rates. For instance, we have a rate with AT&T whereby we have a higher percentage discount each month depending on the total long distance time for the month. This can cut your long distance bill by 10% or more and avoids your being tied to a system that only reduces charges if you talk for a longer period of time on each phone call.
However, you should be able to at least reduce your long distance phone bill if not completely eliminate it by using email services. Even by using discount services for your long-distance calls, you should be able to save $10 to $60 a month, depending on your usage. So start with your phone bill and then move onto other areas where you think there’s some room for debt reduction. Continue on; find a way to reduce debt in every possible way.