Five Minute Money Manager: Save Money on Bills

by David Bakke

My Five Minute Money Manager series seems to be going quite well. So I thought we’d keep things going with a little lesson on how to save money on bills.

save money on billsOf course, we all have different kinds of bills, so I will start off the discussion dealing with just three bills and then move on to some general comments. I’d like to talk to you about your phone, cable and internet bills.

First off, when I got serious about my finances, I was able to make some significant savings with just these three bills. And it was amazingly simple. First, I looked at my home phone bill (of course, this was back when I actually had a home phone, but that’s for another discussion). My home phone bill at the time was approximately $40 per month. At the time, both my wife and I had cell phones, so to be honest with you, the biggest users of our home phone line were telemarketers. Before we decided to eliminate our home phone, I took a good look at the bill. I was getting charged extra for call waiting, extra for call return, extra for three-way calling, and extra for voicemail. Needless to say, we needed none of these services. One phone call to the phone company, and after convincing them that I really really really didn’t need all those services, I cut my bill from $40 down to right around $23. That’s $17 in savings per month, and $204 for the year.

Cable. When I decided to get real about my money situation, I saved a lot here too. At the time, I think I had the second largest channel package one could have, and I had two movie channels. Here is my thought on the subject-unless you are absolutely addicted to movies, and unless you have all the extra time in the world, and unless you can think of nothing better to do than sit around and watch TV all day, then cut some of this stuff out. I went down to the second lowest package (there are a few shows I do like to watch) and cut out the two pay channels. This cut my cable bill from just under $100 down to $62 per month. $38 monthly savings, $456 annually.

Finally, the internet. Years back, I would have said to lower your connection speed to save some money; I doubt I’d say that anymore. However, depending on your internet usage, it may be worth looking into. I did this way back when and only saved $5 per month, so you be the judge if it’s worth it or not. I do mention the internet along with cable and telephone because if you’re not currently doing it, you should seriously consider bundling these three services to save even more. Believe it or not, currently, for these three services, I am paying $63 per month.

On how to save money on bills in general-here are a few tips. First, check your bills. Second, if something goes up suddenly one month for no reason, investigate!! Half of getting your finances in order is getting started, and the other half is taking action when you see something that is wrong. Of course, I am oversimplifying, but not by much. Third, get organized. Saving your monthly bill statements can be an asset. It may be something that you won’t need to reference for years, but the one time you need it, you’ll be glad you did. Plus, it’s always good to have these copies on hand if disputes ever arise.

To learn more ways to get your financial house in order, stay tuned for my soon-to-be-published book, “Don’t Be A Mule: A Common-sense Guide to Saving More, Spending Less, and Generating Extra Money in Your Everyday Life.”

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