Pocket an Extra $600 a Year With These 10 Questions

Most people pay about eighteen percent of their rent on utilities each month. In 2015 the average utility bill was $240 a month (Link 11). Many contracts with utility providers are two-year contracts which means you could easily get stuck with an ugly bill for two years. On the contrary if you buzz through this post, apply these handy tricks, and set your utilities up with myutilities.com you could join the average My Utilities user and save $600 a year on your bills.

1: How do I set up my utilities? #1 piece of advice is don't waste your time scraping websites and sitting on hold to compare and connect your utilities. Compare and connect all your utilities instantly at myutilities.com and get on with your life. Time is money so save your time and use My Utilities. My Utilities researches each home to discover the best options available for internet, gas, electricity, tv/cable, water, home security, and phone. You can type your address into the website and almost instantly see and compare your options. You don’t have to sift through confusing websites; you can compare raw data in one place.

2: Is your home regulated or deregulated? Gas and electricity are either regulated or deregulated depending on your city. If your area is regulated that means you have just one company that services your home. Regulated areas are great because you don’t have to worry whether or not you are getting a good deal because you will automatically get the best deal available! If you are in a deregulated area you will have up to 90 different options for electricity and gas. If your area is deregulated you will want to be very careful with choosing your gas and electricity services because some contracts lock you into paying a certain rate for an entire year.

3: Did you read the fine print? Everyone can fly with magic dust, but the real heroes are the ones who can fly without any dust at all. Electricity providers have marketing ploys figured out. Everything looks cheap and great until three months in when, bam, hidden fees, and increased fees hit you like a ton of bricks. Make sure you read the fine print on electricity plans. Free nights don't come without a cost. Electricity all comes from the grid, which means it all is actually the same quality so look for your sweet spot price that matches up with your usage. Don't worry about the quality, it will be good, just make sure you aren't swallowing extra fees.

4: What is a kilowatt-hour? Electricity rates are measured by kilowatt-hours. A kilowatt-hour is equivalent to one kilowatt of power used for one hour. Plans will vary from around five cents to fifteen cents per/kWh. This means if you turn on a 100 watt light bulb for 10 hours you just used 1000 watt-hours which is equivalent to 1 kWh. So if you use that one light bulb for ten hours per day over thirty days you will use 300 kWh. You then can multiply your rate, say 10 cents, by 300 kWh. That one light bulb costs you about $3 a month. 100W lightbulb * 10 hours/day * 30 days * 10¢/kWh = $3. You would use a total of 30 kWh with that lightbulb for a month. It doesn’t take much imagination to see how your electricity bill can kick you in the teeth if you aren’t careful.

5: Can't I just have the same internet I had before? It ain't that easy. Not every internet company services your home. You would think with AT&T’s advertising budget they would hand-deliver the internet to every home in America. The reality is that there are limited internet options at each home and it is not much you can do about it. In fact, just because your next-door neighbor has Spectrum doesn't mean it is available at your home. Don't waste time visiting every website and checking your address, just type it once at myutilities.com to see your options and make your selections.

6: How fast does my internet need to be to watch Netflix? Internet plans are divided by megabytes per second (Mbps). It is important to face the facts about your usage or you may be disappointed. When thinking through an internet plan consider what you use your internet for, how many people will be using your internet, and how frequently you will be using it. For Netflix alone they recommend 1.5 Megabits per second for viewers with a broadband connection and 3.0 Megabits per second for SD quality. Whether you have many users on your plan, stream videos often, need quick speeds at all hours of the days, or you hardly use your internet at all, consider looking into bundling options. Often times providers offer better deals on services when you purchase multiple services like internet, tv/cable, and phone.

  • 5 Mbps should be good for basic web surfing and email
  • 5-10 Mbps should be good for a few shared devices simultaneously web surfing and emailing, with occasional streaming and online gaming
  • 10-25 Mbps: It should be good for several shared devices streaming moderate high-definition (HD), online gaming, and downloading files.
  • 25-40 Mbps: Should be good for many connected devices streaming heavily, online gaming, and downloading
  • 40+ Mbps: Should be good for a large number of connected devices streaming intensely, online gaming and downloading

7: What is Fiber Optic Internet? Fiber optic internet is the fastest internet option available, on average 20 times faster. Fiber optic options have much greater bandwidth than metal cables. The greater the bandwidth the more data can be transferred at a given moment. The more you require of your internet at one given point, the greater bandwidth you will need. If you plan on using multiple devices at once fiber optic will be of great value to you. Fiber optic is not available at every home and at this time their coverage is relatively small so don’t get your heart set on it.

  1. What does your TV contract lock you into? The main cash sponge in the TV/cable plans shows up year two of your contact. Many TV/cable companies give you flashy deals, promising you discounts and waiving install fees only to double your charges the second year. Make sure to double-check your pricing for the entirety of your contract. Make sure you understand what you are paying for too, how much is your monthly base rate? how much is your box? Will you have a dish mounted on your home? What happens to the dish when you move? You can compare each provider's cost breakdowns at myutilities.com

9: Is my security system really this cheap? If you are the type of person that gets hearts in their eyes when they see cheap deals be careful when you're shopping for security systems. Most providers have several options for security systems. Some vary mainly on special features but the two things to really look out for are the type of monitoring and if they are monitored. There are three main types of monitoring systems, cellular, wifi, and landline. Landline is the age-old way but the problem now is that most people no longer have landlines and for those who do, they are paying additional fees for that landline service. Wifi systems are not as reliable as being connected to your internet service and signal. Cellular is sometimes the most expensive form of monitoring but the most reliable and most difficult to bypass. It is also especially important to make sure that each home is indeed being monitored. Some systems advertise cheaper prices but for a cheaper offering. Make sure your system includes monitoring if you want your home to be monitored by a third party and police to be notified upon a break.

10: Does your city require a permit? Many cities require you to have a permit in order to service your home in the case of a break-in. This is going to cost you about fifty bones upfront but could save you thousands in the event your home is broken into. If you don't have a permit when your home is broken into the police will not come out to your home. Prior to requiring permits for security systems 98% of burglar alarm calls were false wasting taxpayers' dollars and the police force's time. Many cities now operate under, "no permit; no response" which means police will not respond to your alarm if you don't have a permit. To make sure you get your money out of your alarm system, get your permit.

When you're stressed at work you might dump fifty dollars at happy hour to forget the day but when you are stressed about moving most people dump more than fifty dollars. In fact many people overpay an average of $600 a year on utilities. The stress of moving can haunt you for years if you aren't careful. Make sure you ask yourself the questions on this list before signing your utility contracts and don't forget that MyUtilities.com can make it all easy for you in one place. Visit myutilities.com or talk with an advisor on the phone to make sure you are getting the best deals and prices on all your utilities.