Saturday, August 21, 2010

My Annual Bill Update

Each year I take a bit of time to update my bill list. I do this for a number of reasons--first, I can check each bill and see if there are ways that I can lower the bill or maybe even get rid of it all together. The second reason I do this is to make sure I have all of the most current information about the bill on a list I keep in my computer; this includes the account number, the mailing address, and the contact number in case I need to discuss the bill with the creditor/company. There's been more than a few times when I was out of town or just didn't have the most recent bill with me and needed to contact the company--it's is a major hassle if you don't have the contact info and your account number to do this. Here is my bill list and things I have done to try to reduce these bills:
  • Mortgage payment. Since our interest rate is at 4.25% and we are on a 15 year fixed rate loan, there is not much more I can do to make this payment lower without stretching out the term which I don't want to do. I want to get this bill paid off AS SOON AS POSSIBLE! We did change our house insurance to bundle it with our car insurance so that saved us about $200 per year off of this bill.
  • Cell phone bill. We have a very old plan from TMobile which gives us two lines, text messaging, and internet for around $70 per month. There are cheaper plans (like the $25 per month Virgin Mobile pre paid plan) but then we would have to cancel both lines and pay a $400 early termination fee. I think we will just wait until the contract ends to switch to a prepaid plan.
  • Tithe. I tithe every month to the Unity Church since I do not go to a local church. Oddly enough, it seems like the more money you tithe, the more money you get and if you stop tithing, the money stops coming in too. Tithing is a good thing.
  • School bill. We pay $40 every month to send one of hubby's grandchildren to school in the Philippines. We think this is a solid investment in the family's future and will make a big difference in the child's life so we are happy to pay this bill each month.
  • IRS. Being self employed, I need to pay my own taxes. A few years back my accountant made a mistake which put me a year behind paying my taxes which I am still trying to catch up on. I recently made a deal to get these back taxes paid off by next spring. Unfortunately, taxes are one bill you can't lower unless you quit earning money!
  • Health insurance. We pay $38 a month for very comprehensive health insurance for the hubby and I. This is an extreme bargain considering what other people pay for health insurance so I am happy to pay this bill.
  • Car insurance. We changed our car insurance about six months ago to liability only because the car was getting older. Since we only have one car, we pay $53 a month for insurance. I could try calling around and getting quotes from other insurance agencies but I think this is a good price plus we get a discount on our mortgage insurance because it is through the same company.
  • Cable TV/internet/phone. If you read some earlier posts, you know that our bill for these services shot up to almost $180 per month. I called the company and took off a bunch of TV stations so our next bill should be around $110. I would love to cancel all of these but hubby loves his TV and we both love our internet and the price would have been the same with or without phone service.
  • Electricity. Electricity is about $55 a month. It goes up about $20 more than this in the winter because we tend to use space heaters instead of heating the entire house. We could probably make a bit more effort to lower this bill such as unplugging and even selling appliances (a big freezer, a second refrigerator in the garage) that we don't use.
  • Garbage. Garbage is $42 every three months. We already switched to having our garbage picked up every other week as opposed to every week because we really don't generate much garbage and this cut our bill down from what we paid for weekly service. The only way to get rid of this completely would be to haul our own garbage to the dump and that seems yucky so I will keep this service.
  • Sewer. Since we aren't on a septic tank, we pay our sewer bill of approximately $104 every other month. This is the base residential rate and won't go down no matter what we do.
  • Water bill. We pay $50 every other month for water and again, this is a base residential rate so we can't lower this bill either.
  • Gas bill. Because we have gas heat and hot water, our gas bill ranges from $20 in the summer to $100 in the winter.

The only other bills we have are a couple of hubby's credit cards that we are working diligently to pay off, and annual bills for my business (PO box rental, licensing, website hosting). I would LOVE to sell the house and sell everything and see almost all of these bills disappear but we are waiting until (hopefully) the economy improves and home prices rise before selling.


  1. I switched to Virgin Mobile from T-Mobile in mid-July. I have been pleased with the service and the low cost. It's $40 for 1200 minutes and unlimited mobile web and BlackBerry-esque email. Since we ditched our AT&T DSL the other day (because they raised the monthly fee without advance notice) it's nice to have the mobile web.

    I'm glad you mentioned about tithing--I experienced the same. Also glad because I checked out the Unity Church on the internet and I like what they say.

    Best wishes on continuing to whittle down your debt!

  2. I live within the city limits and pay for a lot of the same services you do. My health insurance is $204.- per month for a family of three, so you are definitely getting a great deal there! We tithe to Joyce Meyer Ministries because we don't attend a local church either. More things do seem to go wrong or break when not tithing, so it's refreshing to see you included tithing in this list. The cable company can also give you a temporary reduction in your bill if you commit to six months, so it might be worth a try to tell them you're considering switching to another company and see if they offer you a better deal to stay with them.