Decrease your Bills

By: Bob Guy

Are your bills out of control? Do you need help figuring out what steps to take so that your bills don't break the bank every month? Sometimes we get in over our heads or we just need to find ways to save a little money. You can cut your bills down to size with just a few phone calls.

One of the hardest bills to lower may be your cell phone bill. This is one that you usually need as many minutes as you already have, and you're most likely locked into a contract. Don't let that trap you into a high rate. Do your research and figure out what other companies offer. Call your current provider and just ask if they can match any of the other deals. If you don't have much longer on your contract, then you can threaten to switch providers. You should be transferred to the department that handles customer retention. These operators are determined not to let you leave. A lot of times their pay and bonuses depend on keeping you happy. Remember to be nice and concise. Angry or irrational customers generally get little respect from operators and remember that they can note your account. If you get deemed as unruly or rude then it could affect you the next time you need a favor.

Getting your power bill lowered is also possible. Call and see what discounts they offer. Most power companies offer discounts for upgrades on your energy systems, such as heating and cooling units or programmable thermostats. The best thing you can do about your power bill is to use less power. Make sure that lights aren't left on in rooms that aren't in use. Replace energy robbing incandescent bulbs with more energy efficient fluorescent ones. Turn off your computer, TV and stereo systems at the power strip to save power. Little things count too, like not leaving your cell phone charger plugged in while it's not in use. Just because it's not attached to anything doesn't mean that it's not sucking power. Make your home more energy efficient. Get new weather stripping for your doors and windows before winter. Add insulation to your attic. Close off rooms that you won't be using much.

Call and ask about refinancing options if you pay a mortgage. Sometimes the savings can be substantial, just make sure that you ask about any fees or closing costs going in. Call your homeowners insurance company and ask them how you can lower your rates. You can usually get discounts for things like extra locks, smoke alarms or fire extinguishers. A professional alarm system usually costs less that the cost of having homeowners insurance without one. You may be eligible for lower rates just by being with the same company for a long time or for going long periods of time without a claim.

Save on your car insurance by shopping around. Companies that offer coverage nationwide can sometimes offer lower rates than a local insurance agent can. But a local agent has a little more leeway when it comes to determining your rates. Do some research and get the rates for as many companies as possible. Then visit local agents until you find one willing to beat the prices that you've found. All auto insurance companies use statistics to determine your rates, but some take advantage of the fact that you think you'll be charged more for certain things. For instance, let's say that you get into an accident and it's your fault. You expect your rate to go up and it does. But the reality is that not-at-fault accidents happen way more often and statistically cost the insurance companies more, so most charge more if it's not your fault. Shop around and you may find out that the bad things on your record don't cost you as much as you thought that they would.

Avoid high credit card bills and if you find yourself in an emergency, consider a or . Keep your bills low and you could be on your way to a happier financial life.

Money Management
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