Save big on groceries, lower credit-card payments with a balance transfer, cut the cost of wireless service, eliminate your landline, and cut or trim the cable-TV cord.
There are dozens of ways you can easily stop wasting money on discretionary expenses. But what about those monthly bills that consume the bulk of your budget?
Here’s some good news: There are plenty of ways you can cut these costs. By using the following savings strategies, you can lower your monthly bills by $500 or more. But keep in mind the actual savings you’ll see will vary depending on which cost-cutting moves you choose to make.
Save big on groceries
Grocery spending can take a big bite out of your monthly budget. A family of four spends up to $1,284 a month on food at home, according to May 2016 data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. One of the best ways to save money on groceries is to stock up on items that are nonperishable or can be frozen when they are on sale, rather than buying just what you need for the week.
“When shoppers buy only their weekly needs, they are forced to pay full price for 50 percent to 80 percent of what goes in their cart,” said Teri Gault, founder and CEO of TheGroceryGame.com.
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Once you have a stockpile, you can plan weekly meals around what you have and perishable items that are on sale at the supermarket. Gault said that TheGroceryGame.com members reported average savings of $523 a month for a family of four by stockpiling sale items and using coupons.
Lower credit-card payments with a balance transfer
If you carry a balance on a credit card with a high interest rate, you could dramatically decrease the amount you pay each month by taking advantage of a 0 percent balance transfer offer. Depending on your current credit-card balance and current interest rate, you could easily save more than $500.
But when you compare balance transfer credit-card offers, pay close attention to balance-transfer fees that might eliminate some of the savings you’ll get by moving your balance to a lower-rate card.
Cut the cost of wireless service
If you’re not locked into a contract with a wireless service provider, you might be able to lower your monthly bill by switching to a smaller carrier that offers more competitive pricing than major carriers.
But if you don’t want to switch to a smaller carrier that might have a limited coverage area, you still might be able to lower your monthly bill with a major carrier.
Check your statement to see if you’re actually using all of the data for which you’re paying. When my husband and I did this, we cut our wireless service bill by $30 a month by switching to a plan with a lower data allotment.
Eliminate your landline
Growing numbers of households are ditching their landline telephone service and relying only on wireless service, according to a CDC National Health Interview Survey released in 2015. If you rely primarily on your smartphone or cellphone to make calls, what’s holding you back from joining the 47 percent of wireless-only American households?
Consumers spent an average of $353 a year on residential phone service in 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Consumer Expenditure Survey. So, you’d save about $30 a month by dropping your landline.
Cut the cable cord — or at least trim it
The cost of cable TV isn’t getting any cheaper. In September 2015, the Leichtman Research Group released a report that found the mean reported monthly spending on pay-TV is $99.10, which is nearly a 40 percent increase since 2010. Cutting your cable cord can quickly save you close to $100 a month.
But if you’re not ready to give up cable TV entirely, you could lower your bill by forgoing pricey premium channels and opting for the most basic package. Then, you can get your movie fix with inexpensive streaming options, such as Amazon, Hulu or Netflix.