100 Days of Christmas Savings: Day 75, Downsize Your Household Bills

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100daysbillsThe biggest bills in almost every household are ones that your home needs to run—water, electricity, and mortgage or rent. Can you downsize in these areas? If you can, you can add a significant amount of money to your Christmas fund in just a few weeks.

The majority of people just pay their utility bill in full every month. This leads to higher bills in winter months, when you tend to use more heat and hot water. Most utility companies allow you to do “budget billing.” They average out your last 12 months of utility bills and charge you that amount every month for 12 months. At the end of the year, they reevaluate your monthly bill based on actual usage. This can save you lots of money right around Christmas time, when you really need it.

You can also save tons of money on your rent or mortgage if you play your cards right. This is a tough market for landlords, and if you pay your rent on time every month you may be able to negotiate for lower rent every month. If you sign a one-year lease, some landlords give you one year free! Those who own their home might be able to save money by refinancing their mortgage. Mortgage rates are starting to rise, so you might not have this chance again for awhile. If you bought a $140,000 home at 5.25% interest and you refinance to 4%, you can save about $120 per month.

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