One of the biggest challenges in personal finance is figuring out how to lower your monthly bills. And one of the best ways to do that is to cut down on your monthly expenses. Some of our regular bills might seem small on their own, their cumulative effect can be enormous. They can become a huge drain on our resources.
Big bills can be such a consistent pain in the neck. I don’t know about you, but I’ll go months, even years, without investigating ways to cut them down. Even when it could mean saving thousands. The obvious reason: is now knowing how to shave rands off fixed costs like a utility bill.
Many people look for ways to cut expenses that are both easy to put in place. So how can you lower your monthly bills? Here are a few ways to save money that you can try one by one without too much hassle.
Save Money on Transportation
Let’s face it: Cars are money pits. Not only does their value go down, they also devour fuel by the liters. Not to mention the pricey maintenance.
So how can we reduce the cost of automobiles in our monthly budget?
Use Public Transport
If you have access to public transportation, you can save quite a bit of money on gas, parking, and maintenance over time. For a small percentage of the cost of owning a vehicle, you can get from one side of town to the next, to work and back, and to most important events. Each time you’re able to leave the car behind, you’ll be saving money.
Car pool to work
If you have an opportunity to share a ride to and from work with someone else, you can reduce wear and tear on your car and fuel.
Lower Your Cable and Internet Bills
Stop paying for TV channels that you don’t watch.
Instead of having DSTV, switch to Netflix or Showmax and save R800 per month, R9600 over a year.
Use Skype, the communications software program.
It’s free for all domestic and international calls with other Skype users. Plus you’ll receive up to 25 percent off international calls with a subscription.
Lower your Internet speed.
If you only use home computer to check e-mail and social-media, you may be able to downgrade without too much of a sacrifice.
Cut down on your utility bill
If you’re renting, there are smaller changes you can make to cut your utility bills.
Our homes are filled with plugged-in gadgets that use power even when turned off. So-called energy vampires “suck energy while not providing any useful function.” Examples include equipment that has a transformer (the small black cube on the end of the cord). Like, video game systems, desktop computers, printers and electric kettles.
Finally, practice ways to use less water. Not only is it good for the environment, it’ll slash energy costs that soar when you waste hot water. Run your dishwasher, washing machine and dryer only when they’re full. Seek out a shower head with a WaterSense label.
Pay less for your Smartphone
Three words: Reduce your data. Chances are, you’re one of the “85 percent of mobile users who are buying more data than they’re using. To figure out how much data you’re wasting, track your usage over the next month.
If you uncover unused data, switch to a lower plan. Rely on WiFi or your laptop when you’re in a high-usage phase so you don’t get penalized for overcharges.
If you discover that your data plan is fair but still think your bill is too high, check out the minutes on your voice plan. You may be chatting on the phone less than you think.
Magazines, and Other Subscriptions
If you looking for ways to lower your monthly bills, this is a good place to look. Pull out your bank statement, and look for all the payments you are making for subscriptions. When last did you read that magazine you are paying for monthly? What about your gym subscription? Are you going to the gym or is it another subscription you are paying and not actually using. You will be surprised by how must these all add up to.
Ways to Save Money on Food
Food is one of the most common problem areas in the average South African budget. We either eat too much, spend too much on groceries. Or eat out so often that it costs our budgets (and waistlines). Here are some ways to save money on food and cut waste.
Cook (and pack) your own meals at home.
When you cook at home, make a lot of whatever you’re preparing so you can freeze some of it for future meals. Even better, take some leftovers into work for lunch.
Reduce or cut eating out or getting take-out.
This is another great way to lower your monthly bills. Take-out and dining out can be a nice luxury and huge time-saver for a busy family, but the expense can be tremendous. Instead, look at other options to make dining at home more convenient. For example, prepare lots of meals at once and freeze them for easy cooking later.
Trying a few of these strategies could lead to huge savings down the road. Meanwhile, trying all of them could literally transform your financial future – one rand at a time.