The cost of running a household is out of control with many of the population now having increased debt and many having to put debt solutions in place such as a Trust Deed to help them manager their personal finances. There’s no doubt about it. Even heating oil – which was relatively inexpensive for a couple of years – has resumed its inexorable upward climb. With wages stagnant or barely keeping pace with inflation and the cost of nearly everything increasing on a monthly basis you need to find relief wherever you can get it.
To most people that means cutting back on both the basics and the finer things. But is that always necessary? Or are there ways you can reduce your monthly bills without the quality of your life suffering and while staying financially independent? In this post we’re going to look at ways you can trim your monthly expenses without having to give up the things that enhance the quality of your daily life.
Think Like a Corporation
One thing about large corporations that average folks hate but shareholders love is that they are experts at identifying what they consider waste and cutting it from their books without a second thought. But although corporate execs are experts at slashing jobs and services they’re also experts at holding onto the perks that make being a corporate exec so desirable. If you want to reduce your monthly bills while maintaining your standard of living use corporate execs as your role models and target waste. Aggressively. Here are a number of ways to do that.
- Eliminate the superfluous – That means take a cold-light-of-day look at the things that are costing you money and ditch those things that don’t add value to your life such as extended warranties and various types of product insurance.
- For example: did you purchase insurance on your mobile phone? Why? Cancel it and just be careful with your phone. You could save £100 annually. Credit monitoring services are another complete waste of money. If you think your credit information has been compromised there are plenty of services that will provide you a free credit report so you can check for yourself thereby saving £100 to £200 per year.
Ditch the loyalty – Product loyalty had its place back in the day when companies cared about their customers and employees. Today though it’s dog-eat-dog and the customer be damned. This is one area where you can definitely learn something from those downsizing-obsessed corporate execs. They’re no more loyal to you than they are to the long-time employees they sack. So take a page from their book and if you can get a better deal somewhere else, drop them like a hot potato.
Use Skype – Do you make a lot of long distance calls? Do you currently pay for broadband? Then download and install Skype and start talking to your long distance friends for free. It won’t affect your broadband costs and it will save you a bundle on long distance calling charges. Why everyone doesn’t use Skype for long distance calls is one of life’s most enduring mysteries.
Switch energy tariffs – The average UK homeowner can save hundreds of pounds off their yearly energy bill by switching out their energy tariff. The fact is there’s a small army of energy suppliers out there tripping over one another to get your business. In all likelihood you’re paying substantially more than you need to. So shop around. You’ll be glad you did.
Always pay on time – Every year UK consumers waste billions of pounds on late fees because they forgot what day it was. Late fees represent a huge transfer of wealth from working people to staggeringly rich companies but it doesn’t have to happen. Whenever possible arrange for direct debit payment of your monthly bills. If you are currently going through a difficult financial period talk to your creditors and negotiate payments you can afford. You might think this will hurt your credit score but if you’re late paying your bills your credit score will take a hit anyway.
Reduce your broadband and cable charges – Most people have broadband contracts that are out of tune with their usage. They pay for a 20MB service when they spend 90% of their time on Facebook. Take a few minutes and do an honest assessment of how you use the Internet and then adjust your broadband subscription accordingly. You could wind up saving hundreds of pounds a year and not notice any difference in your online experience.
Also, a lot of homeowners/renters use one company for their mobile phone, another for their broadband and yet another for their digital TV. This is a classic waste of money. Ditch the individual providers and bundle up with a single company. It’s not only significantly cheaper but if you have any problems there’s only 1 company to deal with.
In addition chances are if you take a close look at your TV bill you’ll find you’re paying for subscription channels you never watch. Be realistic about your viewing habits and if you’re not watching this subscription channel or that, cancel them.
Mow your own lawn – Everyone loves the aura of affluence that comes with having the landscaper pull up to their home every couple of weeks to mow the lawn and trim the hedge. But by mowing your own lawn you’ll save hundreds, maybe thousands of pounds a year and get what is probably much needed fresh air and exercise in the process.
Review your council tax – There are literally hundreds of thousands of UK homes currently in the wrong council tax band. As such, it’s worth the effort to find out if you are one of those being charged excessive council tax.
Cutting your monthly bills is not always the same as cutting back on necessities. Most of the time it’s just a matter of eliminating waste. Take a page out of the modern CEO book, throw out the sentimentality and take a no-nonsense look at your monthly expenses with the express goal of trimming the fat wherever you find it. You’ll take a substantial bite out of your monthly bills and still keep all those things that make your life a little easier and more enjoyable.