Now that the holiday season is over, you might be thinking that it is a good idea to relax. After all, with all of the big purchases out of the way, there should be no need to worry about your expenditure, right?
Unfortunately, it isn’t. As COVID-19 continues on its rampage of destruction to public health in the United States, another somewhat unlikely effect has started to emerge. The pandemic has taken its toll on utility payments, as nearly a third of Americans are having trouble keeping up with monthly bills as a result of the economic downturn. But, you don’t have to worry about these deductibles for very long and there are even some ways you can avoid paying too much for your utilities altogether. Here are three tips to try out, and keep a few extra notes of cash in your pocket as we head into 2021.
1. Keep everything in good working order.
Utilities cover a wide range of useful appliances in the home, but the main ones tend to be power, water, and communication-based. These three utilities will cover almost every appliance that you have, from internet access to heating systems, and will be the source of their usage as well. As a result, if you have a broken appliance then the likelihood of your utility bill increasing will follow suit.
Take your mobile phone as a prime example. When the battery is low, you have to charge it for a little while until you can use it again. However, as well as using electricity (and therefore, the power utility), it also connects to the wi-fi in order to help you stay in communication with others. If either element of this is broken, then there are consequences, usually requiring more reliance on one of your other utilities‚Äîand an increased usage normally leads to a bigger bill.
A broken battery often takes longer to charge, resulting in more electricity usage. A busted speaker will require more use of the internet connection, requiring increased bandwidth, and a higher amount of data either on the mobile or through the internet service provider. Although there are ways to get more bandwidth, particularly if you have a slow connection anyway, there are ways to avoid spending more money to deal with these issues by avoiding the issue itself.
Have you ever considered mobile phone insurance? Many people tend to wait until they can upgrade their tariff and replace their device with a new phone, instead of repairing what they have. What they don’t realize that this actually costs so much more in the long run.
Aside from the new tariff (cell phones are not getting any cheaper as the technology improves), the cost of your utilities will have also felt the strain. By having insurance in place, the handset can remain in peak condition for a small amount per month in premiums, instead of so much extra strain on your bills in usage costs.
2. Shop around when hunting for replacements.
It’s not just the cell phones and tablets that can be insured, as home and contents insurance can be applied to almost anything within the home. But, there are going to be times when an appliance that is putting too much strain on your utilities breaks down past the point of repair or is too obsolete to continue repairing. When this happens, treat the purchase of the replacement in the same way you should renew your utility contracts.
Think particularly of when you want to slash your internet bill. By getting the modem and the internet service separately, you might save a bit of money. The same idea applies here. Compare and contrast costs, look up various installers, and break the cost into tools and usage. Then when you’ve got your research together; call the relevant customer service team and negotiate a price that suits you.
3. Blend appliances together.
Almost every home has an HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system that is made up of separate appliances. But did you know that by installing a heat pump, you can use your air conditioner for both heating and cooling? Little changes like this allow you to use less gas for your heating, and just a little more electricity for one appliance, instead of two. Other examples include getting a hybrid washing and drying machine, combining a refrigerator with a freezer, and using the sink instead of a dishwasher.