Becoming Debt Free in 2009

December 3, 2008

Cutting 10-15% off Utilities

Filed under: Budget — ambercouric @ 9:51 am
Tags: ,

Taking a look at the next area of my budget on the chopping block.   I have decided to look at our utilities and other recurring expenses.  I would really like to cut these by 10-15% over the next 3 months.

Currently, the total for all of these bills is $564.05

Bills include:

  1. Cable – cable tv, internet connection -$114
  2. Electric – $142 – this is equal pay  – the company has a built in 20% extra so usually we get a either a check back with the overage or a reduction in payment
  3. Water – this also includes garbage pickup -we live in the city so no op-out -$70
  4. Gas – $50 – this is a little high – it is usually between $36-$50
  5. Car Insurance – this is paid every six months -works out to $158.05 per month  – includes two cars with a teenage driver and high coverage ( this is a sue happy country and I prefer to be prepared)
  6. Phone – basic with no long distance $30

Do any of these numbers look especially high?  Can you give me you best tip of cutting any of these areas? (Without cutting cable).  Do you bundle cable services?  Also, I’m a little worried that they give a guarantee of a price for two years.  Has anyone else change companies with success or with problems?  I would like to hear the positive and the negative.

 I would like to get these numbers to about $500 per month.

Advertisements

11 Comments »

  1. Do you have a cheap cell phone plan? Can you cut your landline?

    Comment by Money Minder — December 3, 2008 @ 10:19 am

  2. Hi there-do you have ‘comparision’ sites in the US? In the UK, you can compare utilities if you tap in your postcode (zipcode) and it brings up all different companies who offer services for gas, electric, phone,cable, water in your area. Good luck, utilities are one of the hardest areas to cut back on in my experience.

    Comment by sharon rose — December 3, 2008 @ 11:15 am

  3. Since you already have cable, try a voice over internet like vonage. You can pay for a year of service and it breaks down to about $20 a month. Or I dont know if you have any cell phone service, but I get my home phone through T-Mobile for $10/month.

    From what I’ve seen, bundling doesn’t usually save money past the initial six month “we wanna getcha” phase but it does sometimes offer better services for your money like faster internet.

    Comment by A.B. — December 3, 2008 @ 2:07 pm

  4. I chopped all my utilities bills big time. I used the energy saver bulbs and that helped. I also try and turn out lights when I’m not in a room. For car insurance, I called around and compared prices and got a good deal. Gas, I used mapquest to find the cheapest in my area and try to group all my errands. I also did the bundle package for cable/interent/phone. I got the cheapest plan they offered. Good luck!

    Comment by Budget Mama — December 3, 2008 @ 3:30 pm

  5. Do you have a competitor to your cable company? Check out MoneyBeagle’s savings by pitting one competitor against another. Unfortunately, you’ll have to keep doing this over and over when the introductory pricing ends. But I think it’s definitely worth it. But you may also want to consider bundling your phone with cable and hi-speed internet. Atleast you’ll get free long distance that way!

    Comment by Shtinkykat — December 3, 2008 @ 10:53 pm

  6. A programmable thermostat works well if the house is empty for a good portion of the day. If someone is usually there, a few degrees diffence in the thermostat can help a lot too. Try it gradual, and maybe wear a sweater to make up the difference.

    TVA has an online energy audit that asks some questions, and gives you a lot of tips. If your electric utility gets their power from TVA, you can qualify for a neat free kit too. Check it out:

    http://www.energyright.com/audit_kit.htm

    Comment by over the cubicle wall — December 3, 2008 @ 11:09 pm

  7. I work for the utility company. That bill is high for average pay. And to let them use your money interest free for a year then cut you a check is ridiculous! You can easily do your own plan & pre-pay a bit more in months when the actual bill is lower, then use up some of that credit when the bills are higher. Or even better, put that $142 each month into a high-interest savings account & only withdraw what you need for the bill. You will be much much better off! And the cushion can help in case you have a ridiculous weather month (like super super hot summer).

    CFL bulbs. I am serious, these are great. WalMart sells a 6 pack of them for about $8. Place these lights in fixtures that are almost always on (hallway, living room, kitchen). You will save that $8 in the first month of using them.

    Use your microwave more than the oven if you can. Or use the stove top & boil pasta – the heat & humidity will help make your home feel warmer.

    Depending on your comfort level with this one, dont shut the door all the way when you take a shower, but leave it cracked open & dont use the exhaust fan in the winter. The humidity will stay in the house & make you feel more comfortable, and the exhaust fan just sucks all your pricey heated air right out of your home. Not cool!

    Check out your utility website for more energy savings tips. And if your website does not have them, check out ours: http://www.kcpl.com.

    Comment by sarah — December 4, 2008 @ 1:41 am

  8. I work for the utility company. That bill is high for average pay. And to let them use your money interest free for a year then cut you a check is ridiculous! You can easily do your own plan & pre-pay a bit more in months when the actual bill is lower, then use up some of that credit when the bills are higher. Or even better, put that $142 each month into a high-interest savings account & only withdraw what you need for the bill. You will be much much better off! And the cushion can help in case you have a ridiculous weather month (like super super hot summer).

    CFL bulbs. I am serious, these are great. WalMart sells a 6 pack of them for about $8. Place these lights in fixtures that are almost always on (hallway, living room, kitchen). You will save that $8 in the first month of using them.

    Use your microwave more than the oven if you can. Or use the stove top & boil pasta – the heat & humidity will help make your home feel warmer.

    Depending on your comfort level with this one, dont shut the door all the way when you take a shower, but leave it cracked open & dont use the exhaust fan in the winter. The humidity will stay in the house & make you feel more comfortable, and the exhaust fan just sucks all your pricey heated air right out of your home. Not cool!

    Check out your utility website for more energy savings tips. And if your website does not have them, check out ours: http://www.kcpl.com.

    As for insurance, call around. Even after I wrecked my car, Geico gave me insurance that was 1/3rd less than what I was paying before I had my wreck. But, they were not the cheapest for my sister. It all depends on your personal driving record, credit, and track record with claims.

    Comment by Sarah — December 4, 2008 @ 1:43 am

  9. Sorry, not sure how I double posted 😦

    Comment by Sarah — December 4, 2008 @ 1:44 am

  10. We bundle our phone in with our cable… we have done it for a few years now & don’t have any problems. With our package, it actually turned out that we get it for free (bc of cable internet & cable together – just add in the phone & it was the same price, saved us $40 immediately!)

    Comment by jpkittie — December 4, 2008 @ 8:26 am

  11. @ Money Minder – unfortunately we can’t cut the landline – we have 3 prepaid cell phones that costs about $300 per year for all 3 but we have elderly neighbors who call 10 times a day and with teenage boys I like the security of a landline.

    @ Sharon Rose – I’m not sure if we have anything like that but I’ll do some investigating to see

    @ A B – I have thought about Vonage – I’ll have to check it out – I know the ads that we always get to bundle give two year rate guarantee

    @ Budget Mama – I’m going to start chopping. I’m going to evaluate everything

    @Shtinkycat – thanks for the link. I’m going to check it out.

    @Over the Cubicle Wall – I love my heat. I have a small space heater that I use mostly during the day since I am the only one home. I need to check the programmable thermostat

    @ Sarah – great ideas. I do use CFLs in about half of our fixtures. Also, I’m going to go back through our bills and maybe change the even pay. I do know that in our neighborhood the electric bills tend to run $200 -$300 er month.

    @

    Comment by ambercouric — December 4, 2008 @ 9:17 am


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: