We work hard to earn our income and even harder to save it to achieve our dreams. Even a few dollars saved on different types of bills over the years can compound into something meaningful. Let’s delve into some of the ways that can help achieve these savings.
Understanding your bills
The first step to save money on your bills is to understand them. Track your expenses to understand where you spend money so you can stop unnecessary expenses. Review your past expenses and then track the future ones. Using an Excel spreadsheet or a mobile app, categorise your expenses such as groceries, transport, entertainment, etc. Online tools allow you to automate this categorisation.
Setting a budget and automating your bills
There is a budgeting thumb rule of 50/30/20 which states that 50% of your after-tax income can go towards basic living expenses, 30% on sundry expenses, and 20% on savings. Once you understand how much you spend weekly or monthly, set a budget for yourself. You can form your own rule based on your personal situation such as 40/30/30 or 60/20/20. Another small way to save money is by automating bills or setting up direct debits to avoid late fees.
Analyzing your current spending habits
Before you start cutting back on your expenses, it’s important to take a close look at your current spending habits. It might surprise you to see where your money is going. Review your bank statements, receipts, and financial files because this can help you to spot trends and identify areas where you can reduce spending.
Shopping Around for Better Deals
Just like shopping for clothes or electronics, shop around for insurance on your cars, home, and personal insurances including Life, Total Permanent Disability, etc. Companies often offer discounts to new customers, so switching insurers could save you a few hundred dollars. Moreover, controlled use of Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) or credit cards can create a better spending habit to keep you out of debt and reduce your impulse purchases.
Specific Tips to Save on Different Bills
Here are ten specific ways to help reduce your bills:
1. Reduce Energy Consumption
Simple steps like switching off lights when leaving a room, using energy-efficient appliances, and adjusting your heating or cooling thermostat can result in significant savings over time.
2. Leverage Off-Peak Rates
Some utility companies offer lower rates during off-peak hours. By scheduling your high-energy usage tasks during these times, you can take advantage of these discounted rates.
3. Choose Energy-Efficient Appliances
More efficient devices may have a higher upfront cost but can save you money in the long run by reducing your energy usage.
4. Save Water
Fix leaky taps, take shorter showers, and use a dishwasher or washing machine only for full loads to conserve water.
5. Bundle Services
Some providers offer discounts when you bundle multiple services together, such as phone, internet, and cable TV.
6. Negotiate Better Deals
Don’t be afraid to negotiate with your providers for better rates or deals.
7. Shop around for insurances
Just like shopping for clothes or electronics, shop around for insurance on your cars, home and contents, and personal insurances including Life, Total Permanent Disability etc. Usually, an insurance renewal notice is a good reminder. Companies often offer discounts to new customers, so switching insurers could save you a few hundred dollars.
8. Install Solar Panels
Investing in solar panels can reduce your energy costs significantly. Although the initial outlay can be high, the long-term savings are worth it, and you’ll be doing your part for the environment too.
9. Use Public Transport or Carpool
If feasible, using public transportation or carpooling can save on fuel and maintenance costs for your vehicle.
10. Opt for a No-Contract Plan
Sometimes, opting for no-contract plans for utilities or services can save you money, as these often come with more competitive rates.
Home loan repayments are no different to your regular bills. Refinancing your loan may allow you a cheaper interest rate and the possibility of paying off your loan sooner.
You could also potentially consolidate other debt and receive additional loan features, such as an offset account.
Your home’s equity may also be able to be utilised to fund a renovation or purchase an investment property. A provider like Well Money can help explore this option with you.
💡Read more: 5 reasons you might want to refinance
12. Pay annually rather than monthly
If you can, it’s worth making annual payments on your insurance, car finance or subscription services rather than fortnightly or monthly. Check with your provider if they offer discounts for annual payment – it’s always better in your pocket rather than theirs.
13. Controlled use of Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) or credit cards
There are different views on the use of credit cards and BNPL services, but there is no doubt that they are popular. A cautious use of these services will create a better spending habit to keep you out of debt and reduce your impulse purchases.
For example, keep a credit card limit that matches your monthly budget and pay it off on time. It can be an effective way to track your budget, improve your credit score and possibly receive reward points.
14. Check for extra benefits on your current services
Did you know that there are types of credit cards that have in-built travel insurance and rental car insurance? If your credit card has such benefits, you can save on those costs the next time you go on a holiday.
Other services such as your car insurance or roadside assistance can have reward programs and offer discounts on movie tickets or online shopping to their members. It may be worth checking out what is available to you.
15. Check for rewards on things you already do
Did you know that major supermarkets (well, at least Coles and Woolworths) have rewards programs? Coles use the Flybuys brand to provide rewards and Woolworths have their Everyday Rewards program.
Taking the everyday rewards program as an example, for each shop you do, you can earn rewards. You can then bank those rewards to use towards your Christmas shopping and if you do this every time you shop, you could have hundreds of dollars ready to use every year at Christmas. All for just doing the usual groceries that we all need anyway.
Reducing your household bills is not only achievable but can also lead to significant savings. By understanding your bills, setting a budget, and following these 10 tips, you can start saving today. Remember, every little bit helps when it comes to your hard-earned money. For assistance, speak with a financial adviser who can help with cashflow management, provide access to online budgeting tools, and most importantly, guide you to achieve your financial goals.