6 Devices That Can Help Lower Your Monthly Bills
I’m on a super tight budget. Like insanely tight. Like I don’t have cable or the internet and I keep my heat at 56 degrees even when it’s below zero outside.
Whether you’re on a tight budget because you’ve taken a pay cut, lost your job or are just looking for ways to simplify and save money, here are six things you can use that will actually help you save money and lower your monthly bills.
Eliminate your home phone bill by using Ooma Telo ($175) - most people have already cut their home phone and reply on a cell phone, but something you need a home phone for whatever reason. If you’re in that boat, check out the Ooma Telo. The Telo hooks up to your internet router and a normal phone handset, allowing you to make voice calls all over the country. Oh- and if you stick to the basic plan (unlimited US calls, caller ID, call waiting, voicemail) your bill will be a flat $3.77. It'll pay for itself in no time.
Cut your cable bill by using a tablet or antenna ($50 - $400)- if you don’t already have a tablet, you might want to think about getting one and connect it to streaming media services to get your content. A good antenna will also help you get free TV channels (I got a really good one at Walmart for $20). Keep in mind that outdoor antennas are more powerful than the indoor ones (which is what I use) and will give you dependable reception even in a rainstorm.
Cut down the A/C bill with a Nest Thermostat ($249) - one of the biggest monthly expenses is the electricity required to run the A/C. Install a Nest thermostat in your house to easily program your thermostat to be efficient and turn off when you are not in the house and if you have an iPhone, you can change the settings remotely! The device can even track motion to set a schedule automatically. One little known feature of the Nest is "Airwave." When the A/C turns off, this feature keeps the fan running to use air left in the tank for cooling.
Free wireless access ($50)- this might be obvious, but you really need a reliable wireless router. This will give you the flexibility to take full advantage of services and features for mobile devices as well as give you the ability to be a good host for guests who might require it when they visit. If you didn't cut your cable, your provider will likely offer you a package that gives you 'wireless internet throughout your home' for about $5 a month. Guess what, all they're doing is giving you a wireless router you can buy for about $50, or even less if you acquire one through Craigslist. They're not that hard to set up, and they'll pay for themselves in about a year's time. The internet isn't going away any time soon.
Extra hard drive space- Cloud Music Services (varies)- time is money, and so is hard drive space. A lot of users have their drives loaded down with music they've been carrying around since their high-school days. If you're already a subscriber to cloud-based services like Spotify, Rdio, or iTunes Match, use them to store your music and get back some hard drive space. Free services like Google Music and Amazon Cloud Player are also available. The songs stream wirelessly and reliably, and you won't even know the music isn't coming from a hard drive.