Managing your household bills is a vital part of keeping your finances and general life in order. Paying them on time gives you peace of mind and raises your credit score. It also sets you free to spoil yourself a little or invest whatever is leftover.
However, it is not often as easy as it sounds. Sometimes bills can come in much higher than expected or show up as random expenses. This can be disconcerting and disorganizing especially if you do not have spare funds to fall back on. As such, it is important that you find a way to rein in your bills and keep them in check. Do you wish to learn how? Here are some key tips.
Keep a Record of Your Bills
It is difficult to keep track of bills if you do not have an idea of their trends. It would, therefore, be beneficial to start keeping a record of your regular expenditures. Such data would give you a trend of how you consume different services and utilities. Subsequently, you would be able to decide whether to make changes or plan for such expenses.
Take your electric bill, for example. You may notice that in months of extreme weather such as winter or summer, your bill is higher. This is because you will likely need to rely on your air conditioner or heating system to manage the temperatures. Most people also spend much time in their homes during such seasons and thus end up consuming more power. If this is the case for you, you would be well informed to expect to spend more on your electric bill in those specific months.
Additionally, trends make it easier for you to know when you have been overbilled or when your home is running inefficiently. This is because you will notice from your records that a certain expense has spiked beyond anything you would expect. You could even use your records of data to question the billing company on the anomaly.
When you have an understanding of which bills are bleeding you dry each month, make an effort to change. Try and either change your habits or make your home run more efficiently. Sometimes you might even need to do both but either way, the rewards will be worth it.
On electric consumption, you may want to make a shift to energy-saving lighting such as LED bulbs. They are more cost-effective than incandescent ones and are now available in warm hues that look just as cozy. Consider upgrading old appliances as well to newer models that are designed to be more energy-efficient. Look out for brands and models that have high energy star ratings.
To curb high water bills, you may need to cut down on the amount of time you spend singing in the shower. True, long showers can be rejuvenating but the price tag that comes along with them is anything but. Alternatively, make an effort to switch to taps with higher pressure and lesser water output. Further, to avoid wastage through leaks, ensure that your water shut-off systems are effective. If not, consider upgrading to more dependable solutions like XHVAL ball valves that provide a leak-proof seal.
Compare Service Providers
Brand loyalty is a great thing but you may also find it to be an expensive affair. Sometimes when you prefer the services of one brand, you may close yourself off from others that offer fairer rates. If you are comfortable paying a premium that is entirely your prerogative. However, if you are hoping to cut down and save some money, weigh your alternatives.
It would, nonetheless, be a poor decision to switch service providers and go for one that charges less but offers low service quality. The inconveniences will cost you way more than if you had just stuck with a more reliable service provider. This tip applies to services that you consume and pay for regularly such as:
- A cell phone plan
- Home wifi
- A dry cleaning service
- Car detailing
Establish a Payment System
Adult responsibilities can get overwhelming from time to time. So much so that some bills can lapse and begin to attract penalties without your knowledge. You may equally forget and pay more or less than you ought to if you do not have a clear payment system.
Most people choose to automate the payment of their bills to save themselves the hustle of having to do it every month. On one hand, this is effective and time-saving. On the other, such a hands-free approach could see your bills spiral because you do not monitor them and pace your consumption.
A payment system where you reconcile your bills each month and pay them off would be ideal. It would give you a chance to record them and make any necessary adjustments. Moreover, with provisions such as remote banking, this can be done anywhere and at your own time convenience.
Following the recent eye-opening conversations around liveable wages, it is easy to see how overwhelming bills can be. Not having a plan to manage them can put your finances at risk and make it difficult for you to save or invest. Nevertheless, if you can commit to being more intentional about expenditure management, you might notice financial improvements within a short while.