Use Price Comparison Sites
A big chunk of your income will be spent on your home, whether it’s through your rent or mortgage… or the bills you pay to keep the family home up and running. Strong competition in most markets is a great thing because it’s putting the consumer in the drivers seat. When you take a close look at what you’re actually paying for things, you’ll probably realize you aren’t getting the best deal you could be. Companies are relying on you to be too lazy to do your homework, research all the different options available to you and then switch to another provider. That’s where price comparison sites come in. They are popping up fairly regularly now and they can help get you to get a much better deal on these items below:
After your rent or mortgage, your energy and utilities are likely to take up the next biggest chunk of your income. When using a price comparison site you’ll just need to provide them with a few details (usually just your address) and they can show you prices from a range of companies. It’s estimated that the average family could save over $400 per year simply by switching their electric, gas and water suppliers. Look out for special offers from the price comparison sites too. Occasionally they will offer incentives, vouchers or cash back for signing up with a company directly through a link on their site.
Cell Phone Packages
Did you know that the average monthly cost for a cell phone is $114? That’s over $1300 per year. Ask yourself the following:
- Do you really need to have a new phone? The big networks are now facing competition from SIM-only providers or those offering SIM-only contracts similar to SMARTY in the UK. Getting the latest cellphone every time you renew your contract is probably adding about $45 to your bill over two years. Even stretching out the life of your phone just an extra twelve months could save you $540.
- How much data do you need? An unlimited data plan might seem like a good idea but are you really using enough to justify it? If you’re constantly streaming or using the internet, then it’s probably a good idea to stick with that plan. Check out your historical data usage. You’ll be able to see from your previous bills how much you’re using on a monthly basis. Use this as a guide to how much data you really need.
- Is the plan working for your family? If everyone in your household is on a separate contract, things are probably getting really expensive. Look to providers who offer family plans where data can be shared. It’s often easier when it comes to billing too.
Most families have a few different insurance policies such as home, car, travel, gadget, pet, life. There are pretty much insurance policies for everything. This is where price comparison sites really come into their own. You’ll need to put a lot more information into the site (all of your car details for example) but the search will return you a range of accurate costs you can then assess and choose from. Most sites will transfer the information you provided to the comparison site, directly into the supplier you are signing up with, meaning you’ll only need to do it once.
Sign Up To Cash Back Sites
Imagine earning some money every time you buy something online? Cash Back sites are extremely easy to use and it’s baffling why more people don’t use them. Instead of going directly to an online store, log in to the cashback site and search for your favorite retailer. If they participate in the program, just click on the link and shop as you normally would. Your items will still come directly from them, the only difference is that you’ll receive some money into your cashback account. You can make hundreds of dollars a year by doing this. One of the most popular sites is BeFrugal but there are many more out there so it’s well worth doing a bit of research. You could be receiving cashback on anything from home decorations to vacations.
Are You Not Entertained?
Entertainment subscription service platforms are popping up all over the place with Hulu and Netflix being joined by HBO Max, Disney+, Apple TV and who knows how many more. Most households will be signed up to multiple subscription services and this can easily cost hundreds of dollars a month. If you’re an avid TV and movie watching family, then the expense might seem worth it.
If on the other hand, you are only signed up to them out of fear of missing out, look at your viewing history and decide whether you really need them. Or, if you only want to watch a few new shows, sign up for a couple of months, watch them and then cancel. The beauty of most of these subscription platforms is that they work on a rolling monthly contract basis.
Cancel Unwanted Subscriptions
You might be surprised at how much money you’re spending without knowing about it. It’s estimated that the average American adult spends $237 on monthly subscription services. That’s $2844 per year. That’s a luxury vacation! Most of us have signed up for a free trial or subscription to a product or service. A lot of people have multiple. It’s easy to forget about them or just put off cancelling if the sum is relatively small. Go through your bank statements and identify any of the culprits. Most people have online banking now and that will make things easier. Go back a year and start looking through your statements. A year’s worth might sound like overkill, but it will help you cull out any unnecessary annual renewals that might be lurking around the corner. Be ruthless, if you don’t recognize something or don’t use it, then cancel it. Do the same with your Paypal, iTunes or whatever system you use to buy subscriptions on your phone, tablet or computer.
Get A Good Rate Of Interest On Your Savings
It’s good financial sense to save as much money as you can. Don’t leave it sitting in a basic bank account, doing nothing. By finding an account with a good interest rate, your money will be working for you. A rate of 2% or over is good to aim for. You may not get this rate at a standard, branch-based bank, but there are many financial services companies who exist totally online now. You don’t have to stand around in a bank with ID and proof of address. The entire process can be completed in minutes and run completely from your cellphone. Even with a 2% interest rate, $5000 of savings could earn you make you an extra $100 per year without you even doing anything.
Credit Cards With 0% Interest
The average American household has $16000 of credit card debt. The monthly interest added means that it can take years to pay off. Look to move to a credit card that offers a 0% rate on balance transfers for an introductory period. Most companies offer between 6 – 18 months. That way you can work on reducing the actual balance rather than just servicing the interest on it. You could save in the region of $150 per month in interest payments alone. Or, another option is to take out a lower interest loan with a fixed repayment amount and pay off your credit card with that. Just make sure you don’t start racking up spending on your credit card again.
Always Shop with a List
Most tips to do with shopping revolve around finding the best value shops or batch cooking meals in advance. These are probably the most useful in terms of saving money, however if you’re just not that organized or don’t want to spend most of your weekends cooking then the single greatest thing you can do to cut down on your unnecessary spending is to make a list. Sounds simple, but it really does work. Before you leave for the supermarket, sit down and write out what you need for the week. And stick to it.
By doing this, you’ll save money by not buying items on a whim that later just get thrown in the garbage anyway. You’ll probably make healthier choices too.