Ten Ways to Save on Your Monthly Bills

Slash & Save Ten Ways to Save on Your Monthly Bills
ESSENCE.COM Dec, 17, 2008

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By Tanisha Sykes

Either make the switch to a plan for $99 that includes telephone and Internet services, cut back to a lower plan with less channels, or try Netflix or Blockbuster instead. You might also consider cutting out TV altogether—at least for a short period of time. Use the money saved to start an emergency fund.

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Last year, African-Americans spent an average of almost $1,200 a year on telephone services.

Save money on your home phone bill by simply getting rid of it and use only your cell phone instead. Even better, use your cell after 9:00 P.M., when calls are typically free or buy a pre-paid cell phone so you’re only dedicated to spending a certain amount each month.

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Paying your mortgage twice a month can save you thousands in interest, reduce your principle and shave years off a 30-year loan. Plus, don’t forget that you can cancel private mortgage insurance once your mortgage reaches 80 percent loan-to-value.

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Do you know how to read your own meter? Well, find out so you can see if you’re being overcharged. Try a programmable thermostat which will allow you to automatically adjust the temperature according to the preset reading of your choosing, saving you tons monthly on heating oil charges.

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Start cutting coupons! People who combine manufacturer coupons with supermarket specials save tons on their monthly food expenses. Log on to the Grocerygame.com which will do all the work for you by combining the lowest prices available in your local supermarket with your coupons.

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Avoid late fees and the embarrassment of being caught over your credit limit by paying your cards on time. Transfer high-interest cards to lower-interest cards by calling your credit card company and asking for a better rate. If you have extra funds at the end of the month, accelerate the payment so you can quickly reduce what you owe.

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Join Upromise, where you can earn rewards to help pay off your student loans or save up for college. See if consolidation is an option. Call your lending institution to find out if it’s possible to defer the loan for up to a year without penalty and use the additional cash for savings or debt reduction.

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African-Americans spent an average of $872 a month on car insurance in 2007, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

It may be time to check for discounts like college or employer affiliations. Did you know taking a defensive driving course could also lower your insurance rate? Consider bundling your auto, home, and life insurances under one provider for a group savings. Check out Insurance.com for the best rates.

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Got an extra bedroom available? Take in a student studying from a foreign country who wants that full American experience or a college student who is having major roommate issues. For example, Kaplan Aspect is an international language school which offers foreign students the opportunity to learn English while living with an American host family. The students are screened and an accommodations manager will match you with someone who suits your lifestyle. The program offers compensation for room and board.

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Try eating at home more often. For an average family of four, the cost for a meal out of your kitchen could average $70 or more. Pocket that money and spend half on a Mexican, pizza, or Spanish night that you’ve prepare yourself.