Turbo Tax

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Strengthen Your Budget - Utilities

Tuesday's Tips Button

Utilities are an expense you will never be rid of.  They are the monthly expenses that you must maintain to keep the heat, lights, and phone on.  While getting out of debt, it's best to cut down to the very basics.  After you are out of debt, just make sure you have a realistic budget set up.

Telephone and Internet

Call your phone company periodically to see if there are packages that better suit your needs and save you money.  We are able to get a much better deal when we bundle the phone and internet together.  If you pay for TV service there are often packages along with telephone and internet that will save you money by buying them together rather than separately.

Extras for your phone service are just that, extra, and you have to pay for them.  For the short term, while getting out of debt, do you really need caller id or call waiting?  For some people it's an added security that makes them feel safer, but if that's not you, let it go. 

Cell Phones

Cell Phones can be a necessity for some jobs.  Just remember, as stated above, anything extra you will be paying for, so cut costs to a minimum if getting out of debt.  If you don't use it that often, check out a prepaid phone.

We have a prepaid phone by T-Mobile.  The reception in some areas is not the greatest which can get frustrating at times, but it's much cheaper than a contract route.  We have realized that while my husband must have one available for work, it doesn't need to be the latest or greatest, although it does hurt the pride a little!


If you have cable, cut it back to the very basic package for getting out of debt.  You're probably too busy to watch much TV anyway.  Once you're out of debt you can bump the package back up, just make sure to put it in your budget.

Gas & Electric

For the gas and electric, it's things you know already.  In the winter bump the thermostat back a few degrees than normal and put on a sweater.  In the summer, turn the AC up a few degrees.  Make energy saving choices when you can, such as hanging your clothes out.  Every little bit helps!

In the winter, since we live in the north, our gas bill goes up.   Planning goes a  long way to make that season of bills easier.  Early spring, I make a report in Microsoft Money for the last year of gas & electric bills, then I divide that by twelve to find how much I should budget for each month.  Then during the spring, summer, and fall any money left from the gas & electric budget gets put into savings.  We have a line on my Breakdown of Savings sheet from The Total Money Makeover to keep track of how much we have available for this  expense.

Post from this Series

This post is linked to Works for Me Wednesday and Frugal Friday.

I hope you've found this post encouraging.
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Annie Kate said...

Glad to see you're back!

As far as utilities go, the Swiss Family Robinson had it made! :)

Annie Kate

Lori @ Couponomic Stimulus Package said...

Annie Kate, Thanks for the welcome back:) Completely agree, being the Swiss Family Robinson would be a great saver for our utilities!!!

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