Handling one’s finances isn’t as easy as people first think. When times were particularly hard, it is convenient to come up with ways to even a few bucks.
Whether you are finding yourself drowned by debts to pay your bills or just in need of some extra cash and savings, here are some techniques you can follow and try for yourself to reduce those numbers in your receipts and lower your monthly bills.
Monitor your monthly bills and receipts.
These electric companies and banks probably would not make mistakes in computing your bills, right? Wrong! There have been a lot of cases where accounts have been accidentally exchanged; customers are charged extra for things they did not consume or benefit from, and others situations like it. Therefore, you should never assume that what is stated in your bill is right and just pay them off without checking.
And when you do find mistakes, do not give in to laziness and go to the nearest branch to clarify instead. There will be some tellers and customer service representatives who will give you a hard time, and in times like this, you have to stand your ground and know your rights as a customer.
Always find ways to conserve and save.
From turning off the lights and unplugging appliances not in use to turning off your Internet data when you don’t need it, there are many small, hassle-free ways to lower those bills. While it is tempting to think these only amounts to insignificant value, those few cents and bucks, as they accumulate, can buy you the day’s meals and more.
The key, therefore, is to practice more than one of these conserving and saving habits and to make sure that you are doing them regularly to the point that they become part of your routine.
You might be thinking, what are specific examples of these habits? Check out the tips below which might enlighten you a little:
Lowering your electricity bills:
- Take advantage of natural light. Make a good use of those windows and open those curtains during the daytime. Turn off lights when you are not using them or when you don’t need them.
- While LED bulbs are more expensive, it will be worth it because they consume significantly less energy and will lessen your energy consumption by far.
- Unplug appliances that you are not currently using. You might not know it, but these appliances still waste energy when unplugged even if they are not in use.
- Go manual when you can. Don’t rely too much on machines; if you can do it yourself and you have the time, do it. Instead of using your dishwasher, wash the dishes yourself. Instead of using the vacuum every day, maybe you can bring out that broom once in a while.
- Go green. Try researching on renewable energy like solar energy and going for these options instead of the usual electricity. You should also go for energy saving appliances and change those that are too energy-consuming.
- Preserve your groceries as much as you can. Going to get groceries on big sales or being able to look for the cheapest products aren’t sufficient, especially if you can’t make them last. So the key is also to make sure none of them goes to waste: only cut fruits and vegetables that you will use and consume for the day, and cook food you can finish.
- When you do go to buy food and groceries, instead of looking for the cheapest ones, try to calculate which ones you can make the most out of. For example, instead of buying a small bottle of shampoo that costs $5 but would only last for a month, maybe buying that big $10 bottle that you can use for 3 months.
- Turn off the tap while soaping and scrubbing the dishes.
- If you have a garden or grow plants in pots, make it a habit of watering them earlier or later in the day. This is to avoid evaporation so that you will have to use less water.
- Take shorter showers. Limit it to 5-15 minute. Turn off the shower while you are shampooing and soaping.
- Make sure that leaky faucets and pipe problems are always fixed immediately. These problems usually boost your unused water consumption.
Plan your transportation.
You do not always have to use your car if you have one. If your country or city has a good public transportation network, take advantage of that. This way, you will not only avoid traffic but also regularly pay for expensive refuelling of your vehicle.
If public transportation is out of the equation, you should try carpooling with family, colleagues, coworkers, or schoolmates. This does not only significantly lessen wearing your car out; it can also save transportation costs for you.
Take advantage of automatic debt repayment plans.
This option isn’t just convenient; nor is it a good way to avoid getting drowned by debt from your bank loans, car & housing loans, or student loans. Many of these automatic payment plans offer rate reduction which will lessen the monthly fees you have to pay. This way, you will also avoid having to pay for incurring fees and other extras because of late payment, reconnection fee, and others.
She was nominated and selected for FORTUNE Most Powerful Women conference in 2016 (Asia) and 2015 (San Francisco, Next Gen).
Anna has 10 years of experience in the financial sector and is currently a Director in Tera Capital. Her previous work experience includes positions at Citigroup, United Overseas Bank, a regional role in Business Monitor and a boutique private equity firm based in Shanghai. She graduated from Singapore Management University (Finance and Quantitative Finance).