Freeing Up Money from Services

Personal Finance September 30, 2015 Print Friendly and PDF

Worried man and woman.

Utility Budget Plans

You can work with your service provider so that your monthly bill is based on an average of the previous year’s monthly bills. This is usually called "level billing."

However, if you exceed the budgeted amount, you could end up owing money at the end of the current year or your fixed payment will increase next year. In some cases, a utility company may make an adjustment during the year, if useage is greatly exceeding the estimated amount.

This strategy provides short term relief to the monthly budget if utility costs are rising.

Banking and Paying Bills

Consider using online bill‐pay; this option eliminates the cost of stamps, checks and envelopes and usually saves you time. Banks or credit unions may even waive service fees if you pay online.

If you have your paycheck, disability, or retirement check directly deposited into your account, your bank may reduce service fees.

Automated withdrawals also can save you time and money. Funds are taken directly from your account by your service provider. It is common for the provider to provide you with an incentive to do this.

However, if you request automated withdrawals to pay your bills, you need to track your spending carefully so that you do not overdraw your accounts.

Avoid using payday loans, cash advance, or title loans; these options are extremely expensive.

Too much insurance?

Whenever possible, increase deductibles in order to lower premiums. Make sure that you have enough money in an emergency fund to cover the deductible, should the need arise.

Check to see whether you have duplicate or excess coverage that you can eliminate.

Certain policies such as disability insurance require a waiting period. Increasing the length of the waiting period also tends to lower premiums.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.