6 Ways to Reduce Household Bills While You’re at Home
If the COVID-19 situation is causing you to feel stressed about your finances, you are not alone. With everyone practicing physical distancing, you’re likely spending a lot more time at home and may not realize some of the financial implications of this. That’s where we come in!
Here are 6 things to consider to try to keep your monthly household bills down.
While it’s easy to fall into the habit of ordering take out, those bills can really start to add up. Cooking at home and meal planning is a great way to save money as well as reduce food waste. Since physical distancing means shopping for groceries less often and more efficiently, you’ll need to put in some forethought.
Look at what you currently have in your fridge and pantry and identify what may be missing or will need replenishing soon. Then, when you’re creating your grocery list, think of items that freeze well, snacks you’ll actually want to eat and items that you can use in multiple ways (for example, spinach can be used in smoothies, salads, pastas, etc., and is freezer friendly).
Ideally, plan out what meals you’re going to make, plus what ingredients you’re going to need and try to buy 1-2 weeks worth of groceries. While ordering out is still fine (and a great way to support local businesses), try cooking at home more to save money. If you’re ordering food delivery, select contact-less delivery if possible and ensure to wipe down the packaging.
One of the best ways to save money on bills is to consciously cut down on your electricity consumption. However, since we’re at home basically all day, it can be natural to unknowingly waste electricity. The easiest way to reduce additional electricity usage is to avoid leaving lights on for long periods of time and unplugging electronics and appliances that are not being used.
If you live somewhere that has “time-of-use” pricing – where prices change throughout the day – attempt to use appliances, do your laundry, and run your dishwasher when the prices are lower, which is typically in the evening.
With the weather being as up and down as it is, be aware of the heat settings in your home. Lowering your thermostat even by just a few degrees can make a substantial difference to your heating bill. If you’re trying to reduce your heat bill while at home, try lowering the temperature inside and putting on a sweater or using a warm blanket to keep warm instead. In rooms that are unused, close vents and if you notice any cold air coming in from outside (around windows or doors) try to seal those drafts.
During this extended period at home, try to be mindful of your water usage. While washing your hands as much as possible is necessary, you can reduce your water bill costs by avoiding super long showers, excessive laundry and dishwasher loads and by turning off the water while shaving and brushing your teeth. Also, try washing most of your clothes in cold water, and air dry if possible.
Depending on your existing home internet plan, you may be seeing your usage skyrocket. Luckily, many major Canadian telecom companies are waiving their overage fees for residential internet. If most of your home internet usage pre-quarantine came from weekday evenings and weekends, the new change to #WFHLife may mean that your current internet plan doesn’t support your new usage needs. Ensure to check with your provider for details on what they’re offering during this time.
If it’s been a while since you last reviewed your insurance policies, you could get much lower monthly bills by renegotiating them. Currently, many car insurance companies are reducing their monthly rates or providing partial refunds, since most Canadians are no longer driving and the risks on the road have been significantly reduced. When it comes to home insurance, mortgage payments and all those other larger bills, contact your providers to evaluate your options at this time.
The bottom line
Paying bills on time is important, after all, it accounts for ~35% of your credit score. Since we are in the midst of extremely challenging times, it’s important to try to reduce costs where you can to ensure you are able to make your bill payments. If you want to be aware of all your payment options, or notice you may be short on funds, contact your providers and ask what they are doing to help with payment relief.
Hopefully, these simple tips can help keep your bills as low as possible, increasing the chances that you will be able to pay them on time.
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