Bills, bills, bills! You can't escape them, but you can lower them. Follow these strategies to reduce the amount you have to spend on the essentials.
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Shop Around For Better Deals
Inertia is undoubtedly the most expensive habit you have. Yes, trying to hunt down a better deal for your power or your insurance is time-consuming. But the alternative is that you'll pay far more than you need to -- and keep paying that far into the future. Investing a little time now to find the deal that's best for you is absolutely worth it.
Whatever category you're considering, make sure you understand these key elements:
- How long are you contracted to the service for?
- What are the penalties if you cancel?
- Can the prices for the service be changed? (This is often the case with power, even when you're on a fixed-term contract.)
Go Prepaid With Your Mobile
It's tempting to buy your mobile phone on a 24-month contract -- that means you don't have to pay hundreds of dollars for a handset, and your costs look predictable. But the inclusions with contract plans are often relatively meagre. Buying a phone outright and then using a prepaid or month-by-month deal can save you money, and also gives you the flexibility to change providers if the plan inclusions shift, or if you change jobs and discover that there's no reception in your new location. Check out our guide to the best prepaid deals available on each network for more.
Be Careful When Using Your Credit Card
Paying your bills using a credit card has benefits: it's easy, and if you have a card which lets you earn reward points, you can get extra value from those payments. But that only works if you make sure you pay off the balance in full every month. If you fall behind, you'll end up paying high rates of interest.
Something else to remember: some companies will also charge you a fee for using a credit card. You can often avoid that by paying via direct debit, so make sure you've chosen the most effective option for your circumstances.
Automate Your Payments
Once you've applied these shrinking techniques, make sure you automate the payment of as many bills as possible. As we noted earlier in the week, scheduling your bills ensures you won't be slapped with late payments fees or interested charges.