How to Lower Your Monthly Bills

woman sitting at desk looking at bills

Monthly bills can add up, and you may find yourself wondering, “How can I lower my bills?” In the United States, the three major monthly expenses are housing, utilities and food. On average, homeowners devote 30% of their income to a mortgage and property taxes, 10% to utilities like electricity and water, and 15% to food

To help consumers save money, here’s how to lower monthly bills.

Know what you spend

Debit cards and online banking allow consumers to spend money easily, which means some people don’t always know how much money comes in or goes out.

Make a list of income and expenses so you know which bills are those you may be able to trim down.

Eliminate unnecessary expenses

Go through your list of expenses and eliminate things you might not need, such as magazines or monthly subscription boxes.

Use the envelope system. Put cash in envelopes for specific expenses like groceries, gas and entertainment each month. Use the cash as needed. When the money is gone from a certain envelope, you can’t spend any more on that particular expense.

Curb what you give your kids. You don’t want them to go without, but giving them a little less for their next trip to the mall or setting a specific allowance can help you keep more money in the bank and teach them good spending habits.

How to lower your cable bill

How many cable channels do you actually watch? Research from 2016 shows Americans only watch about 20 channels even though most receive an average of 205 channels. Consider downsizing your cable package to one with fewer channels to save money.

Also, consider online alternatives. Many people don’t use cable at all, opting instead for online TV and movie subscriptions. The cost varies depending on the subscription you choose, but the savings are usually significant. Some streaming services cost about $15 a month, compared to $80 or more for cable packages.

How to lower electric bills

A great way to lower electric bills is to use power strips. If an electric appliance is plugged in, it can draw power even if it’s off. The TV, for example, is off while you sleep. However, if it’s plugged in, it’s still drawing a small amount of power. Curb this problem by plugging electronics into an advanced power strip so you can turn them on and off as needed. In terms of light bulbs, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) may cost more to buy, but they will save you money in the long run. Be sure to choose the right bulb for the job. Not every CFL will work in every socket or every fixture, so read the packaging carefully.

Use sleep mode on computers, too. Set your laptop to “go to sleep” when it’s not in use. Activate its sleep mode if it’s not touched for 10 minutes to reduce the amount of electricity it uses.

How to save on water bills

Add an aerator to your kitchen sink. An aerator adds air to the water from the faucet, which means you use less water. In addition, it increases water pressure so you’ll use less water to clean dirty dishes.

Flush away less water by installing low-flow toilets. Old toilets use about 6 gallons per flush while new low-flow toilets only use 1.6 gallons per flush.

If installing new toilets isn’t in your budget, consider buying a “tank bank” that sits in the back of the toilet. This reduces the volume of water used for each flush.

Use these handy tips to spend less money, and consider opening a savings account where you can deposit extra amounts you save each month. Savings accounts with low fees and convenient online access make it easy to save and keep track of your spending.