This is How to Save Money on the Expensive Monthly Bills You Can’t Escape

You’ve done what you can to cut back your spending.

You brew coffee at home, you don’t walk into Target and you refuse to order avocado toast. (Can you sense my millennial sarcasm there?)

But no matter how cognizant you are of your spending habits, you’re still stuck with those inescapable monthly bills. You know which ones I’m talking about: rent, utilities, cell phone bill, insurance, groceries…

Although we can’t swipe these off the table for you, we can give you a few tips to help you save on your monthly bills.

1. Save on Rent With These Tips

Rent — or a mortgage — is arguably the largest monthly expense you’ll face, so let’s get that out of the way.

Before you throw in the towel (which is probably dirty because you need to do laundry… ugh), consider negotiating your rent. That’s what San Francisco resident Davis Nguyen did. He managed to cut his rent in half with these tactics.

If you don’t have luck on that front, you might just have to suck it up — and hustle. We’ve rounded up nine ways to pay the darn rent.

2. Save on Your Electric Bill With a Reward Program

Have you already taken the basic measures to cut your electric bill?

At this point, you might be sitting in your too-cold living room (because you refuse to turn the heat on) wondering if you have any other options.

It’s time to contact your utility company. Many offer programs that’ll help lower your energy usage — and reduce your bill.

For example, Duke Energy claims to save EnergyWise Home customers $147 a year in bill credits. Check in with your utility company and see if it offers a benefits program. But be careful it won’t shut the heat down in the middle of a winter day…

Or, if you’re a California resident, look into an online service called OhmConnect.

Let’s get straight to the point: This app will pay you up to $300 for turning out the lights, shutting off your energy-consuming appliances and going outside for an hour.

If you have a utility account with PG&E, SDG&E or Southern California Edison, which cover nearly every single county in California, go grab a copy of your latest bill.

Got it? Good. Here’s the deal.

OhmConnect is a free app that will pay you to help save when the energy grid gets stretched. Once you connect your utility account, you’ll get notified about these earning periods called “OhmHours.” During this time, your job is to simply use less power.

Go outside. Take the dog for a walk. Or take the kids to the park. Wait to run the dishwasher, unplug the Keurig, turn off the fridge and switching the A/C off. If you can successfully reduce your energy usage, OhmConnect will send you a check!

Not only are you helping the environment, you’re also reducing your energy bill and getting rewarded in cash.

Take notes from Kim McDermott, who has made more than $6,000 using OhmConnect.

3. Save on Car Insurance With a Pay-Per-Mile Service

When the car-insurance bill is due each month, you might ask yourself, “Why the heck am I paying this much when I just use my car to go to the store?”

It’s eternally frustrating seeing that triple-digit number each month when, most days, your mileage might have stayed in the single digits.

But it doesn’t have to be this way with a pay-per-mile insurance company like MetroMile.

Philadelphia resident Susan Gibbons switched to MetroMile and lowered her payment to $35 per month after spending 30 years with State Farm. By paying by the mile, Gibbons estimates she saves $720 a year on insurance.

MetroMile is only available in California, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington right now. If you live in these states, snag a free quote. If you don’t, you can join the waitlist.

We’ve also got a few more tips to help you save on car insurance.

4. Save on Your Internet and Cable Bills With a Negotiation Bot

The price of internet — and cable, if you’re still into that kind of thing — certainly isn’t decreasing. If anything, prices are steadily climbing.

And if you’ve had to chat with a representative from your internet/cable company recently, you know how long you can sit on hold.

That’s why it’s time to call in a robot. A negotiation bot like Trim will negotiate your cable or internet bills down for you.

It works with Comcast, Time Warner, Charter and other major providers.

You can sign up simply with Facebook. Then, upload a PDF of your most recent bill, and Trim’s AI-powered system gets to work. If at first it doesn’t succeed, it’ll keep negotiating until it can save you some money.

Also, if you have any outages, Trim believes you deserve a credit, and it’ll handle that for you.

Trim takes 25% of the savings tab, but you get the rest.

5. Save on Your Cell Phone Bill With a Discount Carrier

Your phone buzzes. It’s your cell phone provider, which might text you more often than some of your friends.

“90% of your data plan has been used,” it kindly informs you. “We’ll add 1GB of shared data to your plan for $15.”

How nice. Just go ahead and add that to my already-ENORMOUS cell phone bill.

If you’re sick of of paying your cell phone carrier hundreds of dollars each month, look beyond the “Big Four” and into a discount carrier like Twigby.

That’s what Zak Wilson did. He’d been paying Verizon Wireless about $180 a month for two lines. So he tried Twigby. For both phones, he’s now paying $60 a month.

Plus, new customers get 50% off their first two months of service.

If you want to keep shopping around, use this free tool to find your perfect fit.

6. Save on Loans With Refinancing Options

Unless you’re one of the lucky few fortunate enough to avoid it, chances are you’ll need to take out a loan at some point.

If you’ve already done this, it’s worth considering refinancing or consolidating your debt, which could substantially lower payments you’re already making and help you save more money each month.

A good resource is consumer-financial-technology platform Even Financial, which can help match you with the right personal loan to meet your needs.

Even Financial searches top online lenders to match you with a personalized loan offer in three steps. Even’s platform can help you borrow up to $100,000 (no collateral needed) with fixed rates starting at 4.99% and terms from 24 to 84 months.

Sidebar: If you do decide to consolidate your credit-card debt, be sure you don’t close your old accounts. A huge part of your credit score revolves around the length of your credit history, and closing older, active accounts can definitely hurt it.

7. Save on Groceries With a Cash-Back App

Don’t forget food. You’ve gotta eat. And you’re usually better off stocking up on groceries than eating out.

There are tons of ways to save at the grocery store, but one of our favorites is with cash-back app Ibotta.

The easy-to-use tool has partnered with more than 50 retailers — just about anywhere you’d do any kind of shopping.

Some cash-back opportunities I’ve recently taken advantage of include:

  • 25 cents back for any item
  • 25 cents back on strawberries
  • 50 cents back on frozen fruit snacks
  • $1 back on a box of tea
  • $5 back on a case of Shiner Bock beer

The app works the same for stores like Walmart and Target, too — even drugstores like CVS. It’s free to download. Plus, you’ll get a $10 sign-up bonus after you redeem your first cash-back offer.

Pro tip: Use it in conjunction with in-store coupons as well as a cash-back card to stack the savings!

8. Save on Online Purchases With Price Protection

If you prefer to do the majority of your shopping online, be sure you’ve signed up for a price-protection service like Earny.

You know online prices constantly fluctuate, but you don’t really have time to sit there and monitor them. That’s where Earny can help.

The bot takes advantage of retailers’ price-match policies to negotiate a refund on your behalf. So you don’t have to do anything — just wait for a notification that you’ve earned cash back.

You’ll get a refund via your original payment method, store credit or a check in the mail. Earny keeps a 25% “success fee” — but only when it saves you money.

Find more ways to save money when you shop online here.

Carson Kohler (@CarsonKohler) is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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