Bessie Hassan | Money Expert at finder.com.au
Bills can make up a big portion of your total monthly expenses, so finding ways to cut them down can save you lots of money in the long run. Monitoring your expenditure and finding ways to spend less can make a huge difference.
According to new research from finder.com.au, 42% of Aussies are too lazy to question their provider about an unexpectedly expensive bill, which suggests that we need to get more active when it comes to saving money on our bills.
If you’re ready to make a conscious effort, read through our simple tips for saving money on your household bills.
Find a better deal
The first thing you can do to cut down on costs, especially after receiving a massive bill, is compare the prices of similar products. You may be able to find another provider that can offer you the same features for a lower price.
If you do find something better but you’d rather not switch, you can call your current provider and ask them to offer you a better deal (and if you’ve been a loyal customer you can use this as leverage in your negotiations). Providers don’t want you to leave for a competitor and will often be willing to make some changes in order to keep you. If they can’t, then it may be time to move on.
Only pay for what you actually need
If you haven’t been keeping track of what bills you’re paying and how much each of them cost, it’s time to go through your bank statements and figure it out. You can then create a draft budget that should give you a better idea of where your funds are going and whether you’re paying too much for features or services that you don’t use.
A lot of the time, you’ll find that you’re paying for things you don’t need. For instance, you might not need 10GB of data or 100 minutes of international calls a month. By switching to a different plan, you could save yourself over $100 a year. You also might find that you’re paying for services such as Netflix or Spotify that you can cut out altogether.
Once you’ve figured out where you can cut costs, your budget should be looking a lot better.
Pay your bills on time
Remembering when your bills are due isn’t always easy, so it’s a good idea to have a system in place to help you do so. You could do something as simple as setting reminders on your phone for when your bills are due. You could also set up a direct debit via online banking so that your bills are automatically paid at the right time each month. Just make sure that you’ll always have enough in your account to pay your bills every time. If you don’t pay your bills on time, it could negatively impact your credit score.
You could also try setting up automatic payments with Gobbill. This tool allows you to have more control over your bill payments without having to worry about remembering to pay them on time.
Set up bill smoothing
Bill smoothing can be extremely useful for those large bills that only come round a few times a year. Electricity providers will generally allow you to set up bill smoothing so that you can pay in smaller increments.
In cases where bill smoothing isn’t available, you can setup your own makeshift system. For example, if your quarterly electricity bill is $2,100, you could set aside $700 a month or $350 fortnight to prepare.
Be savvy with your water and electricity usage
Doing little things around the house to save on water and electricity can definitely help to reduce the cost of your bills. Usually, the largest portion of your electricity bill is for heating and cooling, so try putting on another jumper or a pair of pants before resorting to switching on the heater.
For water usage, make sure you turn off the tap while brushing your teeth and try taking shorter showers.
Making a conscious effort to reduce your household expenses and to think about how much you are spending is the best way to save on your bills. By making a small effort now, you can reap the financial benefits well into the future.