Think you’re stuck with the amount you spend on bills each month? Think again. Find out how you can lower monthly bills in a few easy steps.
Problem: Your cable bill has skyrocketed since you opened your account.
Solution: Call your service provider to get the latest deals and discounts.
When it comes to getting deals on cable, sometimes simply asking to switch your plan can drastically lower your cable bill. Not long ago, I was on the phone with my cable provider discussing an installation fee, and the customer representative looked at my package and said, “You know you could be getting way more for less? Let’s see what we can do.” The customer representative then proceeded to upgrade my plan and knock $20 off my monthly bill.
Also, check with your providers on what types of promotions they’re offering seasonally. DIRECTV, for example, is currently offering huge discounts on regular and NFL packages now that football season is about to start. DIRECTV’s Choice package offers more than 150 digital channels, plus premium channels free for three months, and a 2013 NFL Sunday ticket (you can watch any out-of-market game on Sunday on your TV, tablet, computer or phone) for only $29.99 a month for a year, down from $34.99.
Problem: Your student loans are too high.
Solution: Consolidate, change your plan, or enroll in a cash-back program.
One option to consider is student loan consolidation, which brings all of your student loans together into one loan. The benefit of doing this is that it allows you to only have one monthly due date and it can often lower your monthly payment.
Another way to put more money toward your loans each month is to enroll in Upromise by Sallie Mae, a rewards program from which you can earn cash back on purchases and apply the money directly toward your student loan balance.
If you’re currently saving money for college or you’re a parent saving for your child’s college, also consider taking advantage of rewards programs that offer incentives for shopping at the places you already frequent. For example, you can bolster savings with cash back for college when you make purchases from the hundreds of companies that participate in Sallie Mae’s Upromise. Joining the Upromise rewards service is free and earnings can be invested in a tax-advantaged 529 college savings plan, deposited into a Sallie Mae High-Yield Savings Account, used to help pay down an eligible Sallie Mae college loan or you can request a check.
Problem: You’re overspending on your wireless bill.
Solution: Explore the available wireless promotions that may apply to you.
If you feel like you’re paying too much to have your cell phone each month, consider downgrading to a cheaper data plan. Check your monthly bill to see how many minutes you’re using. If lots of them are rolling over each month, it may be time to lower the amount of minutes you’re paying for, which can drastically reduce costs.
Also, check out promotions that may be available to you, such as the new AT&T international plan for students and teachers who are studying abroad. The plan, which is set to launch Aug. 9, will have two available packages: (1) A $60/month option that includes 250 minutes, 250 outgoing messages and 250MB of data and (2) a $90/month option, which gives you 400 minutes, 400 outgoing messages and 400MB of data plus 1GB of hotspot use.
Problem: You’re wasting money on late fees.
Solution: Set up automatic monthly payments or bill pay reminders.
One way to stop paying late fees is to opt for a credit card that has no fees, such as the the Citi Simplicity Card, which has no late fees, no penalty rate and no annual fee — ever.
Or, if you’re getting charged late fees on other bills, one way to ensure on-time payments is by enrolling in automatic debit payments. You can also avoid late fees by using a bill reminder and account organizing service, such as Manilla.com, which allows you to manage all of your bills and accounts in one place and will send you text or email reminders when your bills are due. This saves you money in late fees, which are unnecessary money wasters. By avoiding penalty charges, you’re putting more money back in your pocket and lowering your monthly bills.
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