You don’t have to wait for a raise to have more money every month. Take a close look at your habits and lifestyle, and you might realize there are plenty of places where you can cut your bills and free up more cash in your monthly budget. Here are five things you might not realize are costing you money.
Standby ModeAny electronic device that you can use a remote for – like your TV, game systems, computers in ‘sleep mode’ and more – is using some electricity in order to stay active and be ready to receive a signal from the remote. If you have a lot of electrical appliances, the drain of electricity to power appliances that you aren’t even using might make up 10% or more of your monthly bill.
How can you cut out that 10% of your bill that’s going to power things you aren’t using and won’t need? Simple – and you don’t even have to worry about spending a lot of time plugging and unplugging appliances, or turning everything off using the hardwired power switch. All you really need to do is make sure all of your plugs on your media system are connected to a power strip with an on/off switch. If you aren’t using your TV, game systems, stereo, and so on, hit the switch. Leave it off until you want to use your media devices, then turn it on and grab your remote. You’ll be amazed at the savings you see on your electric bill!
Temperature ControlAnother big drain for your electrical and gas bills is maintaining the temperature in your house. During the dead of winter and the height of summer, you don’t have an option – you need heating and air-conditioning in order to sleep comfortably. During spring and fall, though, when the temperature is comfortable outside, why spend extra money keeping air-conditioning or heating on in your house? Turn off your heater and your AC and open the windows. You’ll save lots of money, and the fresh air will do you good.
You may find, if your heating and cooling bills threaten to break the bank, that paying attention to insulation (low-tech methods like a towel to plug cracks under your outside doors and plastic sheeting to cover your windows can make a difference without requiring big money outlays) and shifting the temperature to a slightly less comfortable level can help, too.
Don’t Buy Things You Don’t UseThis goes for food as much as it goes for impulse purchases. A huge percentage of the food households buy in the United States winds up being wasted, because it was purchased in too-large quantities or not used before it spoiled. If you buy food in large packages to save money, consider separating it into smaller portions and freezing what you don’t plan to use that week. You can save plenty of money by buying in bulk, but buying more than you need will wind up costing you money instead.
Tire Inflation and Car MaintenanceIf you have a car, make sure you keep the pressure in your tires at the recommended PSI and check your fluids regularly (once a week is a good schedule to maintain.) These are all car maintenance tasks that you can easily and quickly perform at home, for free: check your owner’s manual for specific instructions on how to check fluid levels in your car if you’re not sure. Keeping your tires properly inflated can save you a lot of money by making sure your gas mileage is as good as it should be, and keeping an eye on your fluid levels will slow down wear and tear on expensive components of your car – saving you a lot of money in repair bills or, in the worst case, replacing your vehicle entirely.
Shop for Deals on Monthly Bills
When it comes to electricity and water, you probably don’t have much choice when it comes to your provider. For other utilities, though, you have plenty of options – internet, cable TV, cell phones, insurance (car, health, home) and more. After you shop around initially, you probably don’t look at the prices for different providers unless you find yourself becoming upset with your current provider for some reason. That can be a big mistake. As long as you’re careful about hidden fees, shopping around for monthly bills can save you hundreds of dollars that you’d spend on higher bills you don’t have to pay.