Every year, usually around January, I take a look at our list of monthly/quarterly/annual bills and see if there are any I can reduce or get rid of all together. Here's this year's review:
- Mortgage. We have debated refinancing our mortgage for a lower interest rate but we are paying it off pretty quickly so we probably won't do this to avoid paying closing costs on a loan we hope to pay off sooner rather than later. Included in our mortgage payment is home insurance (I call around annually to see if other companies can give us a lower rate and have switched companies a couple times over the years for a better rate). Also included in the mortgage is property tax which we reduce with hubby's veteran's tax exemption from the county.
- Electricity. We try to conserve energy as best we can; overall our energy rates are lower here than in our previous home in Seattle.
- Natural gas. Ditto.
- Sewer. We pay this bill annually and get a discount of about $20 over paying the bill quarterly. This is a flat rate and there is no way to reduce this bill.
- Garbage. We pay this bill quarterly. I saw a neighbor with a much smaller garbage can than we have so I am going to call the garbage company tomorrow and see if they have a cheaper rate than for their usual huge garbage can.
- HOA. I hate HOAs but there isn't much we can do about this as most homes in Las Vegas are part of an HOA. We pay our HOA fees annually just to avoid having to pay them every month.
- Water. We try to conserve water in order to keep this bill as low as possible. Again, the cost for water is much cheaper here in the desert than in rainy Seattle which I totally don't understand.
- Internet. We don't have a cable TV bill as we use an over-the-air antenna for free TV but we need internet so we pay about $50 a month for a middling internet service and any time the cost goes up I call and grovel and get a cheaper rate.
- Car insurance. The price for car insurance in Las Vegas is ridiculously high so I call around annually to see if we can get a better rate through another company. We have an OK rate now so are happy with it plus we pay the bill biannually in order to get a small discount over paying monthly.
- Health insurance. We get this through the military and definitely can't argue about the price (about $25 per month for me, hubby has Medicare so the fee comes out of his Social Security).
- Cell phone. We have Mint for our cell service and at $180 each ANNUALLY for cell service, we feel we are getting an excellent deal.
- Car registration. We pay this annually and get a steep discount with hubby's veteran's tax exemption through the county.
- Grandson's school. We pay for private school for one of the grandsons and thank goodness he is a senior this year so this bill will be ending soon.
- Domain name registration. I still have a half dozen domain names even though I do very little web development these days. I buy these domain names annual through Name Cheap and the cost is very reasonable.
- Tithe. I tithe to Unity on a monthly basis since I don't have a local church and have been doing this for years.
- Netflix. This is our only streaming service and until there is something equally as good but cheaper we will keep this service which hubby uses on a regular basis.
- Visa. We put all of our shopping on one credit card and pay it off monthly. With all shopping--food, clothes, tech, gifts, etc--we try to buy on sale, in bulk, with a discount or coupons, etc in order to keep costs low.
- Savings. We put a set amount into savings each month which has varied from little when we were paying off bills to about half our income now since we have no more bills to pay off. We may shift some of this money to pay off the house faster but with the current financial situation, we like to keep a good amount in savings not so much for us but to use if one of the five kids or 13 grandkids needs help.
That's it for all of our bills. In general we live pretty frugally and try to keep our bills as few and as low as possible!