December is one of the trickiest months of the year to save money. The reason? It’s when holiday expenses tend to come to a head.
But you might be able to take some steps to save money outside of your holiday purchases this month. Here are a few moves to consider.
1. Renegotiate your cable or home service bill
When you’re quoted a price for a given service, you may be inclined to just accept that price. But you’d be surprised at the amount of negotiating power you have in certain instances.
Take cable, for example. Cable companies are aware that consumers are increasingly cutting the cord to save money and switching to streaming content instead. If you’re paying $135 a month for your cable package, it could pay to call your provider’s customer retention department and express that you’re looking to cancel due to the cost. It might offer to reduce your rate to $105 for, say, the next year.
The same might hold true for the home services you pay for. The gutter cleaning service that charges $165 for 20 minutes of work? Contact them and see if there’s wiggle room to bring the cost down to $155. If the company doesn’t want to lose your business, it might agree to a modest discount.
2. Set your cellphone bill to autopay
When you have bills you’re responsible for monthly, sometimes, setting them to autopay can make your life easier. That way, there’s one less payment you have to think about. But in certain situations, autopaying bills can also save you money.
Many cellphone providers offer a discount for putting your service on autopay. T-Mobile, for example, gives you a $5 credit each month for automatically paying your bill through a checking account. You won’t get that discount, however, if you pay using a credit card.
3. Be strategic with utilities
Utility bills can be a huge expense. But if you’re strategic with your usage, you can lower your costs.
First, be mindful of electricity. The simple act of unplugging certain appliances, like your toaster oven, when you’re done using them can result in modest but meaningful savings over time.
Next, be careful with your heat usage. Turn down the thermostat at night when you’re bundled under the covers, and try to remember to turn down the heat when you’ll be out of the house for the day.
Finally, resist the urge to spend 30 minutes in the shower. The hot water might feel nice on a cold winter morning, but the ensuing water bill will really sting. Instead, give yourself a time limit. Incidentally, long, hot showers might be good for the soul — but they can dry out your skin in a serious way.
Any dollar you’re able to save is a dollar you’ll have on hand for a rainy day. So it pays to take these steps to bank some extra cash this December — and set yourself up with more money going into 2024.