You spend more every month on bills than you have to. But knowing that and knowing what to do about it are two different things. There are lots of options out there for Internet, TV, phone, utilities, and credit cards. The trick is knowing which options are right for you and your family.
The trick that’s used so often is to sell you more service than you really need or use. Ultra-high speed Internet, 200 TV channels, unlimited data … all with the high costs that come with them.
Many consumers aren’t using what they’re paying for. So we’ve compiled a list of tools and calculators that will help you learn how much you consume, and how much you can save every month on the essentials.
Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) will try to sell you more Internet speed than you really need. Because of market share lost to cord cutters (a trend you should be looking into—see below), ISPs have made available speeds skyrocket. They know full well that the vast majority of people purchasing 105 Mbps will not likely use more than a quarter of that. This tool will help you take account of how many people and devices are connecting to your home network, and tell you how much speed you’re likely to need. As a bonus, they’ll even find ISPs in your area who can offer an appropriate (and cheaper) plan.
Cord cutting is a big deal, and it’s getting bigger. Millions of consumers are ditching traditional cable and satellite TV packages and opting for an à la carte approach. It’s new territory for most people, so knowing the options and costs can be tricky. This handy tool from Slate lets you see an example monthly bill after cutting the cord, compared to what you’re paying now with traditional TV.
EnergyMayor.com and Move.org partnered up to bring you a powerful comparison tool for saving on your utilities. It’s not available in regulated markets, where a single provider handles all consumers. But in deregulated areas, you can compare different utilities providers’ rates and save good money on electricity or gas bills every month.
Similar to the Internet speed hikes mentioned above, cell phone companies like to sell plans with tons of data allowances. They’ll happily charge you more, knowing that you’ll likely only use a fraction of what you’re paying for. Wirefly’s Data Plan Estimator helps you understand how much data you’re likely to need on a monthly basis so you can pay accordingly.
5. Credit Cards
Paying off credit cards should be at the top of anyone’s financial to-do list. But we can get so consumed with paying them off that it digs too much into our monthly budget. Use a calculator like this one at CardHub to compare your current monthly payment to what you could be paying at a lower interest rate. Then take a look at low-rate cards that can be used to help consolidate and pay off those debts more quickly and easily.