10 ways to cut $500 on monthly bills

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How to Slash Every Monthly Bill You Have

There are dozens of ways you can easily stop wasting money on discretionary expenses. But, what about those monthly bills that consume the bulk of your budget?

Here's some good news: There are plenty of ways you can cut these costs. By using the following savings strategies, you can lower your monthly bills by $500 or more. But keep in mind the actual savings you'll see will vary depending on which cost-cutting moves you choose to make. Still, these examples prove it's possible to cut hundreds of dollars off your monthly expenses.

1. Save Big on Groceries

Grocery spending can take a big bite out of your monthly budget. A family of four spends up to $1,284 a month on food at home, according to May 2016 data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. One of the best ways to save money on groceries is to stock up on items that are nonperishable or can be frozen when they are on sale, rather than buying just what you need for the week.

"When shoppers buy only their weekly needs, they are forced to pay full price for 50 percent to 80 percent of what goes in their cart," said Teri Gault, founder and CEO of TheGroceryGame.com.

Once you have a stockpile, you can plan weekly meals around what you have and perishable items that are on sale at the supermarket. Gault said that TheGroceryGame.com members reported average savings of $523 a month for a family of four by stockpiling sale items and using coupons.

2. Lower Credit Card Payments With a Balance Transfer

If you carry a balance on a credit card with a high interest rate, you could dramatically decrease the amount you pay each month by taking advantage of a 0 percent balance transfer offer. Depending on your current credit card balance and current interest rate, you could easily save more than $500.

But when you compare balance transfer credit card offers, pay close attention to balance transfer fees that might eliminate some of the savings you'll get by moving your balance to a lower-rate card.

3. Cut the Cost of Wireless Service

If you're not locked into a contract with a wireless service provider, you might be able to lower your monthly bill by switching to a smaller carrier that offers more competitive pricing than major carriers.

But if you don't want to switch to a smaller carrier that might have a limited coverage area, you still might be able to lower your monthly bill with a major carrier. Check your statement to see if you're actually using all of the data for which you're paying. When my husband and I did this, we cut our wireless service bill by $30 a month by switching to a plan with a lower data allotment.

Also see 20 unusual ways to make a quick buck:

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Money-saving online shopping hacks
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Money-saving online shopping hacks

1. Clear your browser history

Some retailers might sneakily increase prices based on your browsing patterns and demand - so make sure to always clear your history and cookies before shopping! 

Photo credit: Shutterstock

2. Use an alternate email address

When you log in to a retailer's site with a new email address, retailers will often welcome you as a new customer with exciting new promotions and discounts. 

Photo credit: Shutterstock

3. Note price changes throughout the week

Another pro tip: Prices and deals can fluctuate based on the day of the week. For instance, if you're purchasing a flight, monitor prices for around a week to see if they take a dip on any particular day before purchasing. 

Photo credit: Shutterstock

4. Let items linger in your cart

Here's a hack: Add items to your cart, but let them sit for 24 hours before purchasing. The retailer might attempt to lure you back with additional discounts.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

5. Check out multiple sites

Do some research! Don't settle for the first price you see - poke around on a search engine and find the best deal. 

Photo credit: Shutterstock

6. Bargain with customer service

Use customer service to your advantage. If you ask (politely!) about an expired coupon, you'll often find yourself pleasantly surprised by an extension or new code! 

Photo credit: Shutterstock

7. Don't purchase impulsively

Try this shopping hack - don't buy that shiny, new toy right away. Step away for a few hours, and if you find yourself itching to go back and click 'purchase', then you know you won't regret your investment!

Photo credit: FogStock

8. Avoid shipping fees

Take advantage of free shipping! If you are a few dollars below the free shipping price point, add a low-cost filler item you need anyway (like socks!) and make the math work out in your favor. 

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4. Eliminate Your Landline

Growing numbers of households are ditching their landline telephone service and relying only on wireless service, according to a CDC National Health Interview Survey released in 2015. If you rely primarily on your smartphone or cellphone to make calls, what's holding you back from joining the 47 percent of wireless-only American households?

Consumers spent an average of $353 a year on residential phone service in 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's Consumer Expenditure Survey. So, you'd save about $30 a month by dropping your landline.

5. Cut the Cable Cord — or at Least Trim It

The cost of cable TV isn't getting any cheaper. In September 2015, the Leichtman Research Group released a report that found the mean reported monthly spending on pay-TV is $99.10, which is nearly a 40 percent increase since 2010. Cutting your cable chord can quickly save you close to $100 a month.

But if you're not ready to give up cable TV entirely, you could lower your bill by forgoing pricey premium channels and opting for the most basic package. Then, you can get your movie fix with inexpensive streaming options, such as Amazon, Hulu or Netflix.

Read: 6 Basic Bills You Should Always Negotiate

6. Re-Shop Your Auto Insurance

Loyalty doesn't always pay when it comes to auto insurance. The J.D. Power 2016 U.S. Insurance Shopping Study found that consumers who shopped for better auto insurance rates and switched insurers saved an average of $356 on their annual premium.

Based on that figure, you could save about $30 a month by switching to a lower-rate auto insurance policy. You can get quotes and compare offers from several insurers at TheZebra.com, InsuranceQuotes.com and CarInsurance.com.

7. Lower Your Homeowners Insurance Premium

Raising your homeowners insurance deductible from $500 to $1,000 could shave 25 percent off your premium, according to the Insurance Information Institute. So if you pay $1,000 annually, that translates to savings of $250 — about $20 a month.

8. Slash Your Electric Bill

You can lower your heating and cooling costs by using a programmable thermostat to automatically adjust the temperature in your house when you're away from home. In fact, proper use of a programmable thermostat can save about $180 a year — or $15 a month — in energy costs, according to the Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star program.

You can reduce your bill even more by identifying and unplugging "energy vampires," devices such as cable TV boxes and DVD players that use electricity even when turned off. They can account for up to 20 percent of your electric bill, according to Duke Energy, the nation's largest electric power holding company. Since the federal Energy Information Administration found the average monthly electric bill to be $114 in 2014, you could save about $23 a month by unplugging all of your energy vampires.

9. Shrink Your Monthly Mortgage Payment by Refinancing

If your home's value has risen since you bought it and interest rates have dropped since you locked in your mortgage rate, you might be able to lower your monthly mortgage payment by refinancing.

According to a 2016 Black Knight Financial Services report, 3.3 million homeowners could save at least $200 a month by refinancing their mortgages, and nearly 1 million could save $400 or more each month.

Keep Reading: How to Pay Off Your Mortgage in 10 Years

10. Stop Overpaying Uncle Sam

If you got a big tax refund this year — the average was about $3,000 — that means you're letting Uncle Sam withhold too much from your paycheck each month. Sure, it's nice to get a big check every spring, but you'll have more spending money each month if you adjust your tax withholding so that you're not overpaying the IRS.

File a new W-4 form with your employer to claim more allowances because the more you claim, the less tax is withheld. If you received the average refund of roughly $3,000, you should get an extra $250 in your paycheck each month by adjusting your withholding.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 10 Ways to Cut $500 Off Your Monthly Bills

More from GOBankingRates:
21 Budgeting Tips for College Students
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RELATED: 8 tips to teach your kids about saving money:

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Tips to teach your kids to save money
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Tips to teach your kids to save money

Play money-centered board games or games on apps, like Monopoly or Money Race.
It's an interactive and fun way for your kids to learn about basic financial practices without feeling like they're being lectured.

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Give them an allotted amount of cash to spend on lunch each week.
Your child will learn how to budget accordingly throughout the week, figuring out how to balance spending money on food some days vs bringing their own on other days (something that can be directly translated into the adult workplace).

Photo credit: Getty

Have them write down or tell you their absolute dream toy.
Then, show them that it's possible to have that toy if they save x enough money for x amount of weeks.

Photo credit: Getty

Give them an allowance.
 

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Stick to a set time and date each month for giving your child their allowance.
Practicing giving your children their allowance every other week or on certain dates of each month will help them prepare for set paydays in the working world--it will teach them to budget out and how to know when to save up in anticipation.

Photo credit: Getty

Match your child's savings each month.
This will imitate a 401K and show your child ways in which saving can (literally) pay off.

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Have your kid organize their funds in to different jars to represent different accounts.
Examples could be "Saving", "Spending", "Charity", "Emergency", "College".

Photo credit: Getty

Take your kids grocery shopping and explain certain choices you make with your purchases to them.
Your children will benefit from knowing what's best to purchase name brand vs. generic, why some snacks are better to buy in bulk, etc.

Photo credit: Getty
 

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