Save on Routine Expenses with Minimal Effort
By Michelle P. Sharrow, MBA
Are you still using paper checks to pay your bills? How frequently are you writing them? Well, thanks to my son's daycare, which recently announced a new program by which weekly tuition payments can be paid online, I am a little less reliant on my checkbook. In this day and age of debit cards, bill pay and automatic withdrawals, the number of consistent providers of service for whom I consistently write checks has now dwindled to one; that is the church for my tithes and offerings.
Now, without much effort on my behalf, the expense of ordering checks has all but disappeared. That's about $15 to $20 a year I will now save. If you are still looking for ways to save money and time around your house and you haven't taken advantage of checkless procedures, now is a great time to look at all of your debtors and take advantage of every time saving service they offer.
Pick Up the Phone
If you are leery about bill pay or debit cards, why not consider paying your bills over the telephone? A number of utility service companies such as electricity and telephone service providers, allow you to pay over the telephone with a credit or debit card for free. The good thing about paying over the telephone is that you get a confirmation number acknowledging receipt of your payment before you hang up. Similar to bill pay, depending on company policy, you may need to call a few days in advance of the due date to ensure that your payment is posted by the required due date. With one simple step you can eliminate the need for a postage stamp and a check by picking up the phone and making that local call once per month.
Prepay if You Can
Do you always read the fine print on the bills that you pay every six months or once a year like homeowner's insurance and automobile insurance? Did you know that many providers of insurance offer you additional savings when you pay in one lump sum rather than monthly? If you are up for renewal and don't have the money to pay it all this time around, make a plan to save up enough by cutting back in other areas so that you can pay it all and save that extra $50 to $100 or so. Once you've done it once, when you rework your budget, rather than spend the money that would have gone towards that monthly expense, set it aside so that you can pay in a lump sum every time the insurance is due. Over time that $50 to $100 savings could really add up.
You don't have to earn more money to have more left over after you pay your monthly expenses. You simply have to consistently consider options available to you for saving on your existing expenses. By taking advantage of bill pay, automatic withdrawal of payments, and paying yearly expenses in lump sum, you can realize great savings without having to exert much effort. None of us can control or force our income to increase at the drop of a dime, but we can control what goes out. In these times of economic turmoil, it is important to consider all of our options if we want to save a little more money each month.
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Michelle is a freelance writer based in Waldorf, Maryland. Her areas of expertise include finances and parenting. .
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