How To Save Money on Transportation
When it comes to certain costs in our lives, we tend to expect them to be non-negotiable, especially when it comes to insurance or utilities. As for banking and credit cards, most Americans believe there’s little they could do to save money. But we’re here to tell you that’s simply not true!
Let’s look at how you can plan your savings better by checking out these incredible money-saving tricks. We’ve turned this into a series, so check out these articles to find out how you can save in other areas of your life.
Spending top dollar on transportation? Here are some clever ways to reduce costs depending on how many vehicles you own and how often you drive.
Auto Loan Payments
Auto loan payments come to an average of $563 per month. Reducing this number happens well before you buy your vehicle by paying a bigger down payment- as much as you can afford. Shop around for a car that fits your needs but doesn’t cost an arm and a leg and, finally, look for a longer loan in order to reduce monthly payments. Finally, is it feasible for you to lease instead of buying?
If you already have a loan then refinancing is also an option. Some banks will let you check your refinancing options without a hard credit check, so why not?
With car insurance costing the average American somewhere in the ballpark of $128, we prepared 6 tips on how to cut down costs, starting with maintaining a clean driving record. The fewer accidents you have, the less a company has to pay. When they make savings, so do you.
Since your insurance policy is based, up to a degree, on your score, maintaining a good credit score is key!
Again, make sure to bundle your insurance, as we mentioned before, so you can save money on each. But you can also ask for discounts. Being part of a special category will open up possibilities towards discounts, such as if you put very little mileage on your car, if you’re a veteran, a good student, or if you’ve taken a defensive driving course.
But before you do that, shop around. It’s OK to switch companies if you get better benefits and pay less overall, even if it’ll take some time to research them all.
Can you afford to pay the deductible in the event of an accident? If the answer is yes, then you can raise it!
Looking and sticking with a reputable local mechanic can save you far more money than always going to the dealership for maintenance.
But more and more people have taken to doing several tasks themselves, for good reason. Air filter replacements, windshield wiper replacements, tire rotations and oil chances can all be done at home and there are thousands of resources online on how to do them, even for beginners.
A lot of people think they have to replace the oil far more often than they really should. Does your car have an indicator? Then listen to it and stop guesstimating your next oil change! There’s a reason it’s there. It’s been cleverly engineered that way, despite plenty of dealerships offering you reminders to change the oil more frequently.
The average monthly cost for car maintenance comes to around $73.91, but by making these changes you can make them even more affordable.
We spend around $174.50 on gas, per month, with the Average American spending as much as $2,000 per year. The bigger the city you live in, the more you’ll spend, no thanks to traffic congestions congestion.
If you already own a car then there are some steps you can take to reduce this expense, such as avoiding aggressive driving. The more you break and the more bursts of speed your car goes through, the more fuel you’ll use, costing you around $1 per gallon. Idling, using the wrong type of oil, using your air conditioning too often and carrying a lot of extra weight also have a way in how much gas your car consumes.
But if you’re planning on buying a new car, make sure you research ones that use regular fuel and that have good fuel economy.
GasBuddy is a great app for gas price comparison in your area, so use it as often as you can!
Say you’ve decided to rely on public transport. It’s true that this is the more affordable option than driving yourself around town, but it’s no secret that prices can add up over time.
Luckily, you can look for discounts if you’re a senior, veteran or student. Reloadable fare cards are also a great alternative, as they can help you avoid surcharges on rides. If you find a good deal on passes in bulk, don’t let that opportunity slip by, either!
In the U.S., though we spend around $65.08 on public transport per month, there are ways for us to reduce costs!
Ride sharing services have firmly ingrained themselves into our lives. On average, Americans spend $82.75 per month on these services, but it’s not impossible to drive the costs down.
Lyft and Uber are the two biggest companies in this field, and if you want to save money when using them it’s a good idea to have both apps installed on your phone. That way you can compare rates and pick whoever one has the cheapest option. Forget about brand loyalty for a moment and think about your wallet!
Are you willing to carpool? This is also a great way to save, as is splitting the cost with friends when you’re going out or heading back home.
Prime time hours typically drain our wallets even more, so if you can try to travel earlier or later. If you can’t wait, it’s a good idea to walk to a less crowded area first and order a ride from there.
How To Save Money on Utilities
Utilities are needs that many people consider impossible to cut down on. But that’s not necessarily the case, and you can find effective ways to trim your expenses down by applying some of the following tips!
Pretty much everyone has become an active phone user nowadays. If you have a large family, each with a cell phone, it’s no wonder your bills are so high every month. On average, we pay $101.50 every month. One of these 8 tips is bound to work- even better if you apply more than one to lower your expenses!
You or your loved ones may want that new generation phone that everyone’s been raving about. But can you REALLY afford it?
Remember, you shouldn’t go into debt for a new phone, so stick to models that won’t drain your savings or that won’t make a huge dent in your monthly expenses. Just because some phone companies chose to come out with new models every year doesn’t mean you have to change your phone every year, too.
Always, always, always compare deals. Don’t buy the first plan that you find as it’s very likely that you’ll find an even better one with a bit of detective work. Also, when buying a plan, don’t pay for services you don’t need, even if they try to sell you stuff that sounds exciting!
Avoid extra costs by using WiFi as often as possible. Make sure you ‘kill’ apps after you’re done using them so they don’t run in the background.
Your employer might offer a discount through a particular carrier, so ask them if they offer this benefit.
Plans that have freebies can save you some money in other areas, such as those that offer complimentary screaming subscriptions.
Should you pay for phone insurance? Some people say yes, but we think that as long as you can put together an emergency fund for your phone, you’re all set. Even if you won’t need it anymore, the money will still be yours to keep.
Lastly, many companies offer discounts for customers that set their bills on autopay in addition to small discounts for going paperless!
On average, we pay $122.66 on electricity every month. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to cut these costs down. If you own your own home then making sure that there are no leaks, is the first step you should take- this allows cold air or warm air to stay in for longer so you won’t need to use too much heat, your CS units or your fans as much. Insulation is just as important for this step!
Then, unplug virtually any device that you’re not using, as many of them are energy sucking vampires that still use electricity even when they’re not in use. Trust us, this is a major reason why your bill is so high, as all these electronics, combined, can stack up quickly.
If you rent, you may be limited in terms of changes you can do to your apartment or house, but you can still opt for energy efficient appliances. Instead of using the oven, use a slow cooker or a toaster oven since they use less energy.
Don’t forget to turn of flights and to unplug devices, and only use the AC when you’re at home, making sure that it efficiently cools the entire space down without wasting any of that cool air with open windows or open doors you’ve forgotten about.
With an average monthly cost of $34.66, it’s no wonder you’re looking for ways to slash that natural gas bill. Running the heater continuously will cost you a lot, but here’s what you can do.
As mentioned previously, check for air leaks around your house. These are typically found around windows and doors. Use the old-fashioned method of lighting a candle around these areas and check if the light flickers. Then, you’ll know which areas around the house you have to work on.
Programmable thermostats can cost around $100, but the investment is well worth it. These can help your HVAC system, heating and ventilation. As for your water heater, now’s a great time to check if it’s working properly without expending extra energy.
Lastly, take advantage of any new discounts or promotions that your provider is offering. Just don’t get roped into tacking on unnecessary services in the process, as that defeats the point of saving money.
If you spend on average $61.07 on your internet, similarly to many Americans, but you live in an area that has several internet providers, you’re in luck. This is your chance to negotiate your bill. Your current provider would rather you keep your contracts, so they’re more willing to lower your bill. If not, you can always ask other providers for new customer discounts.
Don’t waste extra money by leasing a modem or router. Buy your own and, in time, the equipment will pay for itself.
If you really want to cut costs, ask yourself what you use your internet for. If it’s mostly to watch videos and movies, you don’t need to pay for 100 Mbps when Netflix only recommends 5 Mbps for streaming movies, whereas Hulu recommends just 3 Mbps.
Water and Sewage
The average monthly spending for water and sewage in America comes to $53.75. The average individual uses 25,300 gallons of water per year, meaning 70 gallons per day according to Boston University.
Simply use less water than you normally use- or, rather, only use as much water as necessary. You may think that you are, but are you only using your dishwasher when it’s full or do you run it at half capacity sometimes too? Do you turn the tap water off while you’re brushing your teeth? When you clean the driveway, do you use the hose? Why not use the broom sometimes, instead?
Take short showers instead, and install a low-flow showerhead that allows you to use less water.
Finally, instead of watering your plants with the hose, start collecting rainwater!
How To Save Money on Entertainment
How much time have you spent in front of the screen during the past year? Quite a lot, we’re willing to bed, no thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2020, a survey by The Slee Sleep Guide found that we spend 8.6 hours a day staring at a screen, be it your phone, computer or tablet. This includes everything from watching movies to gaming. How much money have you spent on entertainment these past couple of months? How much money are you willing to save?
On average, we spend $34.79 on cable TV, and that’s despite the fact that there’s a huge cable cutting movement going on thanks to the rise of streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and HBO Go.
Still, you may not want to cut the cord just yet- and that’s OK! Still, there are ways to reduce costs. Start by negotiating with your provider.
New and existing customers can do this- if you’re an existing customer and your contract is up, your prices may increase so now’s the time to start negotiating.
Cable companies are worried about losing customers thanks to the cable cutting movement, so tell them you’re ready to jump in that bandwagon and watch them scramble to offer you a better deal!
Bundle your internet, landline, and cable for a discount on top of looking for other promotions. Also, are you really watching all those channels that you’re paying for? If you, like many others, stick to just a handful, there’s no reason to pay extra for 200 channels that you’ve never even glanced at before.
Gaming is quickly becoming a costly hobby, though it’s difficult to pinpoint how much we spend on average. That’s because these numbers vary depending on age groups.
For example, on top of buying a new console, new releases for that console could cost around $60 for AAA games, with specific exclusive bundles going for even more. Then you have to consider subscriptions, such as the PlayStation Now yearlong membership for $59.99 without a discount.
If you want to save money on games, wait for them to go down in price and don’t join the hype as soon as a new game is released. In the meantime, you can play indie games, which are much cheaper than big-name games.
If you can, avoid pay-to-play games. These know how to suck you into paying for content little by little by making it difficult to advance to the next stages without buying certain perks or bundles.
Don’t be afraid to buy used games! Why pay full price when you can find games for cheap nowadays? Also, just because a subscription sounds like a good deal, be honest about whether or not you need it in order to enjoy playing the games you already own.
You might think that $10 for music subscription services is not a lot, and you’re right, but you can still cut costs if you’re careful. If you’re using Pandora Premium or Spotify Premium, you can switch to free accounts, even if it means putting up with ads. Why not also listen to the radio for free? Just pick a channel that broadcasts music that you like!
Some services also offer discounts and sign-up deals for a fraction of the usual costs. If you have a college aged kid that wants a Spotify subscription, you can get them one for $4.99, and chances are they’ll even get a complimentary Hulu subscription.
Video Streaming Services
Finally, video streaming services. In America, we spend an average of $47 per month for these, especially since we like signing up for more than one- but is that truly necessary? After all, if you have Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video, you’re quickly stacking up costs that make no sense, especially if you prefer one over the other two and you barely use the others anyway.
Chances are you already have an Amazon Prime subscription, so use that instead of signing up for additional streaming services.
If you’re a longtime customer, there’s no shame in asking for a discount, too!
And that’s it for this list! If you haven’t already, check out our other lists in the series. Find them here: