How we lowered our bills and you can too!

Bills are a part of life. You know they are coming. You know you have to pay them, but it doesn't make it any less pleasant. 

Bills are a huge chunk of your monthly budget, but you have more control over them than you might think. 

Today I wanted to share with you how our family has been able to lower some of our bills and add more margin to our budget and decrease our spending by $1,500 a year. 

1. We prepaid our electric bill. Our cooperatives allows us to prepay our electric services for the month and then track our usage on an app. We were able to forgo our initial deposit which saved us $200 up front.  

The app allows to monitor our usage, pay our bill and see the times in the day when we are using (or wasting) electricity and adjust our usage to stay within our electric budget. 

I know that not every electric service provider is going to offer this, but if you're in a co-op check and see if your company offers this program. 

2. We mind peak hours. Most electric companies offer lower rates during certain hours of the day. It is a supply and demand situation. 

Our power company charges more between 2 p.m. and 9 p.m. This is the time during the day when the MOST people are consuming power. The power company pays more for electricity during this time and passes off that cost to the consumer. 

I make sure to run the dishwasher, washing machine and dryer before and after peak hours. We end up saving about $2 per day this way. That is $60 a month!!

3. We cut our cellphone bill by $600 a year. We switched from Verizon to StraightTalk. We ended up with same phone plans for a fraction of the price. 

Read: 8 Ways to Stash Your Cellphone Bill. 

So we switched to StriaghtTalk. I was able to keep my phone (a dino of an iPhone 4) and my number. Jason opted to get a new phone but kept his old number. We were able to cut our bill by $50 a month! 

The transition wasn't the smoothest and their customer service is terrible, but our reception is better than it has been in months and we are saving a lot of money. 

I know that programs like Republic offer unlimited talk and text plans for as low as $10 and Cricket has a talk, text and 2 GB of data for just $35 a month. 

These discount providers often "rent" air time and bandwidth from the larger carriers, so the reception is pretty good. Just make sure you check their coverage map online. 

4. We asked for competitive rates. My husband called our internet carrier to see if we could lower our rates. We have been long-term customers and thought it wouldn’t hurt to see what they could do.

My husband just flat out said, “Your competitor has a cheaper rate and we are thinking about switching, what can you do to change our minds?” That got a quick response and a small discount!

If you have had your same package for a long time, rates may have changed. We found that was the case with our service provider.

5. We actually signed a contract. I hate contracts and I usually refuse to enter into them with service providers, however there is only ONE internet service provider where we live. 

We realized it was about $15 a month cheaper to just go ahead and sign one-year contract with them.

Since I use the internet to run a business from home, I don’t see us cutting that expense within the next year — so that simple change saved us another $180 per year.

6. We asked for a costumer appreciation discount. Some cellphone providers will knock a few bucks off your bill as a one-time discount if you ask politely. Politeness goes a long way.

What about you? What have you done to lower your bills? 

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