I want to share three things that have helped us save a significant amount of money on our household expenses. Keep reading and you will find out how much!
If you’re wanting to pay down debt, increase your savings or have a bit extra to start saving, then these things might be able to help you
Sometimes we have household expenses that we think are set in stone and there’s nothing that we can do about them.
But there are quite a few things you can do first before you give up the effort to reduce expenses.
With a little bit of research, effort and time but it could pay great dividends long-term and I guarantee you that you won’t regret it.
#1 CANCEL UNWANTED SUBSCRIPTIONS
Now, this might seem a no-brainer, of course, you’re going to cancel things you’re not using, but sometimes they’re hidden!
Take a look through your bank statements, your phone and other devices to see if you have signed up for anything you’re not aware of.
It’s very easy to sign up for things online then get locked into an ongoing payment without realising.
We had 2 subscriptions that needed adjusting. First, we were paying two subscriptions of Netflix at $12 each instead of one.
Also, we changed from 2 single-user accounts at $15 each on Spotify to a family membership for $20 per month.
Netflix was reduced by $12 and Spotify reduced by $10. That’s a savings of $22 each month.
HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN?
Firstly, it’s super easy to quickly say ‘Yes’ within an application in order to get the free trial or information at the time.
It only takes a press of a button and you’re legally signed up for recurring future payments to be made directly out of your account.
If you have children playing on your devices they can sign up for things without your knowledge, pretty easy for them to do with your card details already set.
A few people in your household using the same applications or programmes ie. Netflix, Kindle, Audible, Spotify, you could be paying for a multiple of the same thing without knowing.
LOOK OVER YOUR BANK STATEMENTS
Scroll your eye down your bank statements and look for any regular recurring payments going out.
Double-check you know what they are for and that you want to pay that fee.
CHECK YOUR ELECTRONIC DEVICES
For iPhone / iPad / Mac
Go to your SETTINGS
> and then to your Apple ID
>> scroll down to SUBSCRIPTIONS
You will be able to unsubscribe here from any subscriptions you no longer want to have.
For Android Devices
Go to GOOGLE PLAY
> Go to Account Settings
>> Subscriptions / Currently subscribed
The same as in an Apple device, you can unsubscribe here directly.
#2 PAY OFF SMALL LOANS
When we began getting better at our finances I honestly thought that we only had credit card debt.
It wasn’t till I looked closer at the statements coming in and the bills that we were paying, I saw that there were amounts outstanding that were draining our monthly income.
What we had extra was two payments for interest-free loans, one was for a phone and the other was through our electricity company.
For each loan, I rang the company and worked out what was required to pay the bill in full and no longer have those amounts added to our monthly balance.
We owed $466 on my phone, we had been paying my phone off for 18 months at $65 a month and I had forgotten all about this contract agreement.
Crazy that I did this and then forgot about it, I know!
Similar but different was our electricity bill, we had gas installed for cooking and hot water a few years prior.
We were paying an extra $75 a month for electricity and it wasn’t until I queried why our bill was so high that I remembered.
For both of these bills, I rang each company to see what I needed to pay to get rid of the extra payment.
$466 would clear the outstanding amount on my phone and $1200 was needed to pay off the credit balance with our electricity company.
The smaller bill we paid off easily, the second bill we had to save for and sell some household items to pay off within the month.
It was such a good feeling to get rid of some debt and it encouraged us that we were pushing ourselves ahead financially rather than feeling stuck.
You might think that this doesn’t really reduce expenses because the bill still has to be paid, but there are multiple bonuses to this scenario.
- I didn’t know the debt was there before and with it paid we reduced debt.
- Reducing monthly expenses means more of our income could go to other things.
We were able to reduce our monthly expenses by $135 a month that we could put towards bigger debt or more savings.
A WORD ABOUT GETTING FINANCE
There are all sorts of things that can cause us to get into debt in small ways that we think don’t matter.
Getting a new appliance, a device, or a piece of furniture. Maybe for something in your home. like new carpet or a bigger item like a new car.
You have to know that the retail companies make the most money from us when we get finance for our purchases.
They don’t want you to pay cash up front, they want you to pay it off and pay interest.
It’s very easy to fall into the trap of no interest or small repayments, but the reality is they drain your income over a long period of time even when your financial situation changes.
It doesn’t cost you more paying in cash up front, but it costs you much less in aggravation and time you remain in debt to others.
#3 INVESTIGATE INSURANCE & UTILITIES
Another way we were able to reduce our household expenses going out each month was to query our insurance and household utility costs.
ELECTRICITY & PHONE BILLS
Again, back to researching your bills and statements, this time looking at what you are being charged for and if it’s accurate, cheapest or necessary.
Are you being overcharged for power? Are you on the right rate for your household usage?
Do you pay for a tonne of data or calls on your phone that you never use?
Look to see if there is any way you can reduce the expenses.
We reduced our phone bill from $95 to $40 per month by changing the plan I was on.
Our insurance was covering us for exactly what we needed in house, home and contents insurance but they said they couldn’t reduce the amount they currently offered.
We sent a few email inquiries out to other insurance companies asking for the same items of coverage and received quotes, one is $100 per month cheaper than our current rate.
We were able to reduce our insurance costs from $350 per month to $250 per month. That’s a savings of $1200 per year. This is a significant saving!
Well worth the effort.
You may have to enquire about breakage fees if you have a contract with your insurance company.
We didn’t have any contract or breakage fees.
We cancelled our insurance with one and signed up with the new. We were sent a statement for the last instalment and started our cover immediately with the new (cheaper) insurance.
PAY YOUR BILLS ON TIME EACH MONTH
The final tip I have and probably the simplest is to pay your monthly bills on time.
We receive penalties for not paying our bills in full by the due date. Our phone company will charge up to $15 for late payment.
Our electricity company will charge anywhere between $50-$100 for not paying on time.
They call it a prompt payment discount, but really they are saying, pay in time please or we will charge you extra.
MAKE PAYMENTS TO COVER THE FULL AMOUNT
This is something you will have to keep track of either in your budgeting system/spreadsheet or keep an alarm on your phone or a note in your diary.
When the statement comes in make note of the due date and the amount. Make sure you are able to pay this on time.
Check to see that the payments you are making each week, fortnight or month are covering the bill on time.
OUR TOTAL SAVINGS
In the end, after we investigated and made changes to our expenses we saved:
$22 Subscriptions reduced
$65 Phone payment removed
$75 Electricity credit removed
$55 Reduced phone plan
$135 Reduced Insurance
In total, we reduced our monthly expenses by $350! That’s approx $4,000 a year.
I am really happy to have been able to share this simple strategy with you, and if you have any success yourselves, I’d love to know.
Bye for now