How you can lower your bills in 2018

How you can lower your bills in 2018
Residents can chime in on Henrico's $1.3 billion plan. (Source: File photo)

(WWBT) - How would you like to beef up your bank account in 2018?

Well, if you want to save some extra cash this year, you can start with those pesky monthly bills.

Of course, that's easier said than done, right? Well, maybe not, if you know what you are doing.

Reducing your monthly bills doesn't have to be painful, and in some cases, it's as simple as a phone call.

A good place to start is with cable or satellite TV service. There are tons of options from antennas to streaming services to fill the gaps and let you drop a costly cable package without missing the shows you want to see.

The first step is to figure out what channels you watch regularly. The average cable customer pays for 189 channels, but only watches 17 of them.

Find out what your provider is offering new customers, and odds are there is a promo you could ask for too. The key is to call your service provider and ask for their retention department.

Say you think your bill is too high. Maybe even threaten to cancel, if you have to.

But be ready to negotiate. If you get an offer you like, make a note of when it expires so you can call back and go through the same process to keep the savings going, or start a new promo.

Another place to pinch a new pennies is on your cell phone bill. Specifically check your data usage and see if you're using what you pay for. Most people don't, so a quick reduction in your data plan can lower your bill fast. But be careful to stay under your new limit, or you could be hit with an overage charge.

A Consumer Reports survey found more than half of people who switched cell phone providers saved money with their new deal, so it's worth seeing what's out there, even if means switching carriers.

Next, take on your bad habits. You may not realize just how much money you spend eating out, having drinks with friends or shopping. Seeing those numbers in black and while could help motivate you to change those behaviors.

That goes double for the unhealthy ones. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate the average smoker spends between $2,000 and $3,000 a year just on cigarettes.

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