Save Money on Utilities

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Save Money on Utilities

save money on utilities
Need to save money on utilities? Read on and this frugal gal will teach you some ways that the everyday cheapskate can get cheap utilities.

Are your utilities costing you hundreds of dollars each month?

If so, then you are in the right place.

This page will teach you money saving mamas some tips on how you can save money on utilities such as your phone (both your home phone and your cell phone), the internet, cable, and water.

If you would like to learn how to save money on power and electric/energy, go to this page: Go Green and Save Some Green.

Are you new here? This page on dirt cheap books is part of the $5,000 Money Saving Mama Challenge. We'd love for you to join us!

Simply click the link for more information on how you can participate, and save some money this year.

Save Money on Utilities: Home Phone

One foolproof way to save money on your home phone/landline is to drop it altogether. Especially if you have the internet and/or a cell phone. With either or both of these other devices are at your disposal, having a landline is rather redundant and, therefore, a complete waste of money.

There is nothing you can do on a home phone that you can't do with a cell phone. And these days, your computer can also double as a phone with programs such as Skype, Vonage, and Magic Jack (which utilize Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology). If, however, you prefer to keep your landline, there are some tips on how you can add this to your list of cheap utilities.

The first thing that you should do is to review your phone bill. Look at every single fee that you are being charged and find out what each one is for. If you find that you are paying for a service that you never use and do not need, call the phone company and ask to have that feature removed. Another way to save money on your home phone would be to purchase a bundled package. You can often find a package that bundles the home phone, cable, and internet. By doing this, you typically less money than you would if you were to pay for each of these utilities separately.

If you have been with your home phone company for a while, it may be worth your while to take advantage of your loyal customer status by asking them if they would be willing to lower your rate. If you ask nicely enough, and hint that you cannot afford the current rate, you may luck out and strike bargaining gold.

Another option, if you are very satisfied with the company, would be to negotiate a lower rate if you agree to remain with the company for a certain amount of time. Some companies are also willing to offer you a discount if you agree to set up an automated payment that allows them to automatically withdraw payments from your bank account each month.

If all else fails, you always have the option of switching companies. Do some research and shop around for the best deal available in your area.

Save Money on Utilities: Cell Phone

Another bill that the everyday cheapskate would like to see reduced is their cell phone bill. Fortunately, there are a lot of tips that can help the frugal gal save money. Below are several ways to add your cell phone to your list of cheap utilities:
  1. Stop going over your prescribed limits. If you only get 1000 minutes each month, stay under that. When you go over your proscribed limits, you rack up fees that, quite frankly, add up. If you find that you are consistently going over your limits by a significant amount, it will probably be less costly to simply choose a plan that will provide you with a bigger limit.
  2. Skip the insurance. If you are paying a certain amount of money each month to insure your phone, by the end of the year you may very well have paid more than it would have cost you to simply buy a new phone. And the kicker is that you may never even have to use the insurance, so you have really just been wasting your money.
  3. Check out your phone bill. Are there any features you are being billed for that you don't even use? Feel like you have been charged too much for something? That is what customer service is there for. Don't be afraid to call them, ask questions, and (politely) demand answers. If there is something you have been paying for that you do not use or need, ask if they can remove that feature from your monthly costs. If you work it right, you may even be able to get them to credit you back at least a portion of the fees that you have been paying needlessly.
  4. Go prepaid. If you do not want to be tied down to a yearly contract, or if you only use your phone sparingly, your best bet may be to get a prepaid plan. This way you pay only for what you use. You can even get unlimited plans for an affordable rate. However, you should always get the plan that will fit your needs. If you only use 100 minutes and 250 texts a month and there is a plan offering that, there is no need for you to pay more for unlimited features. However, if you know that you will use much more than that, your best bet would be to get the unlimited package and avoid costly overage fees.
  5. Ask for a better deal. When it comes time to renew your service, never just accept what you have been using. Always try to renegotiate a better rate. As a loyal customer, you have some leverage. Also, the deal you got when you originally signed your contract may not be the best deal that they are offering when it's time for renewals. Be sure to ask them about current special offers and packages before you commit to anything.
  6. Avoid frill features. Although having a different ringtone for every important contact in your phone is cool and using 411 to find answers to questions you may have throughout the day is useful, these features are ones that are not necessary to use and which can incur fees that build up more quickly than you may realize. Instead of dialing 411, you can dial 1(800)FREE-411.
  7. Combine plans. If every single person in your family has a cell phone, which is a reality for many families, you may want to strongly consider getting a family plan that will allow you to save money. Typically, the more lines you have, the less you pay per line. So having more means you pay less. Funny how that works, right?

More info on Saving Money on Your Cell Phone

Save Money on Utilities: Cable

As with the home phone, cable is a utility that many people these days can do without for the simple fact that the internet is a great source of entertainment. From Netflix (which offers both streaming and DVD options) to Hulu and a wide variety of sources in between, there's very little on TV that you can't access online - for a lower monthly cost. However, if you feel that cable is a necessity for you and your family, there are ways that you can add this to your list of cheap utilities.
  1. Your first option would be to buy a bundled package. When you combine your cable, internet, and phone, you end up saving money on each one.
  2. Talk to your cable provider. As with the cheap utilities above, it never hurts to make a phone call to your cable company's customer service line to see what they can do to help you save money. If you are a loyal customer and have a good track record when it comes to payments, many companies would rather cut you a bit of a deal than have a disgruntled customer or lose a customer altogether.
  3. If you are looking for a cable company, definitely shop around for the best offer. Use promotional codes when signing up (most companies have them). If you find a company in particular that you like, but find their costs a bit too much, ask them if they can match or beat one of their competitor’s offers. You may be surprised at the answer.
  4. Only pay for what you actually watch. If you are paying $10 a month extra for premium channels but only watch premium shows a few times a month, you should probably consider cutting the premium channels from your package.
  5. Always review your bill. So many people will only open their bill, glance at the amount due and the due date, and then set it aside. Go over the fees. Know what they mean and why they are being charged. That way you can combat the company when you are being charged for things you did not authorize or know about.
  6. Again, never underestimate the power of the package.

Save Money on Utilities: Internet

  1. Share with a neighbor. No, I don't mean hack your neighbor's internet connection. Rather, if you have neighbors you are on great terms with, ask if they would be willing to share the internet connection and split the monthly bill.
  2. Utilize free Hotspots. If it is not necessary to have home internet service, but you need to have internet access, you can keep a log of local Hotspots such as your local library, McDonald's, bookstores, college campuses, and some cafes.
  3. Use your phone. Many phones allow you to access the internet. Especially if you have a Smart Phone.
  4. Again, look for bundled packages to save you money on cheap utilities.

Save Money on Utilities: Water

Your water bill is based mostly on how much water you and your family use each month. And you might be surprised at how much water your family consumes on a daily basis. Think about it: you take showers/baths, you brush your teeth, you flush the toilet, you wash your hands, you wash dishes, you fill pots with water for cooking, you do laundry, and you drink water. You wash your car and water your lawn. All day long your family has several opportunities to use water. Below are some tips on how to lower your water usage:
  1. Take showers, not baths.
  2. Use a low-flow showerhead in the bathroom.
  3. Instead of letting the water flow continuously during showers and baths, only run the water long enough to do what needs to be done.
  4. Avoid flushing the toilet every time you go. "If its yellow, let it mellow. If it's brown, flush it down." It may sound gross, but it helps cut down on the water consumption. Especially in large households.
  5. Wash full loads of laundry, not a series of small loads.
  6. When you run the dishwasher, run a full load (though not an overload).
  7. Put leftover water to use. Water your plants (or your pet) instead of pouring it down the sink.
  8. Skip the daily lawn watering and let Mother Nature handle it.
  9. Set out a bucket to collect rainwater for watering plants.

Do you have more advice on how the everyday cheapskate can save money on their utilities? Have a success story on how you slashed a bill? Please share in the comments here:

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Sneak Peak at Next Week

Like this section on how to save money on utilities? Next week we'll be talking about how to barter and trade, one of my absolute favorite topics.

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