These People Managed to Shave a Collective $395 off Their Monthly Bills

Jesse and Tanya Williams, watch their children play at a park in Visalia, Calif.
Jesse and Tanya Williams, watch their children play at a park in Visalia, Calif. One of the Williams family activities during an Ohm Hour is a trip to the park. Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder.
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All of your bills really add up, don’t they?

You pay for cell phone service. You’ve got cable and/or internet (gotta stay connected). Of course there’s car insurance. Then the power bill shows up every month like a bad penny.

Month after month after month. It never ends. After you pay all those bills, it’s no wonder you have no money left.

You may think you’re stuck paying through the nose, but you’re not. There are ways you can change things up and cut your costs.

To inspire you, we found four people who have found innovative and surprisingly easy ways to shave money off of all those bills.

Portland Man Saves $120 a Month on Cell Phone Service

A man holding his cellphone.
Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder.

With a wife and two kids to support, Zak Wilson is a guy who has to stick to a budget.

But when it came to cell phone service, he could never find the sweet spot — reliable service he could afford. Every carrier he tried was either too pricy or too glitchy.

Wilson got frustrated with Verizon Wireless because it cost so much. He was paying around $180 a month for cell service for him and his wife.

So he switched to a discount carrier — and his savings were extreme

“Now, for both phones, we’re paying maybe 60 bucks,” says Wilson, a 43-year-old salesman and entrepreneur who lives near Portland, Oregon.

There are several of them out there, but one we like is US Mobile, where the average user’s monthly phone bill is $15. This can save folks on average more than $670 a year.

US Mobile buys wireless service wholesale from the big wireless carriers and resells it to you. It operates on two of the largest cellular LTE networks — T-Mobile and Verizon (heard of them?) — and covers more than 320 million Americans.

Indiana Man Lowers His Bills by $1,265.42 a Year With This Tool

Closeup of a man hand holding cellphone with internet browser on screen.
Ridofranz/Getty Images

William Ellis, of Ellettsville, Indiana, needed to negotiate his Dish, Comcast and Sprint bills, and thought there was nothing to lose by trying a bill-negotiation app.

And he was right. He lowered his bills by:

  • $385.20 a year on Dish
  • $800.18 a year on Comcast
  • $80.04 a year on Sprint

Ellis’ bills were reduced by a total of $1,265.42 per year — or about $105 a month. 

Want to try negotiating your bills?

Use Truebill, an app that’ll help you identify and cancel unwanted subscriptions. We’re not just talking your cable bill, either. It’ll also negotiate your internet and cell phone bills.

Simply connect your bank account to Truebill (It uses bank-level security!), and it will review your recurring payments. Find any subscriptions you don’t need anymore, and click to cancel them through the app. The more accounts you connect, the more likely you are to find those sneaky subscriptions.

When Truebill successfully negotiates on your behalf, it keeps an upfront fee equal to 40% of your first year of savings, and you keep the rest.

Just sign up for Truebill for free and let the app get to the bottom of it for you.

Texas Man Knocks $360 Off His Yearly Car Insurance Rate

Aerial view of traffic on an overpass
Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder.

Until Artie Januario’s recent cross-country move, he’d never considered shopping around for car insurance.

When he lived in Boston, one of his best friends was his insurance agent, so he just went with it. At the time, the 32-year-old paid about $95 a month through Liberty Mutual.

But then he moved to Austin, Texas, where he had to re-register his car, get a new license, secure new car insurance — all that jazz.

He decided he had nothing to lose and compared insurance quotes through The Zebra’s online search engine. It compares car insurance quotes for you, all online. It combs through more than 200 providers to aggregate your best offers.

In about half an hour, he had new insurance — and managed to knock off about $30 a month in a state that, on average, has higher insurance rates than the one he’d moved from.

California Mom Saves $1,700 a Year on Power Bills

From left, the Williams children Jesse, 18, Joshua, 22, Noah, 4, and Thomas, 12, play cards in during an Ohm hour without power in Visalia, Calif.
From left, the Williams children Jesse, 18, Joshua, 22, Noah, 4, and Thomas, 12, play cards during an Ohm Hour with the lights off in Visalia, Calif. Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

Tanya Williams recently earned an extra $1,700 in one year — more than $140 a month — and all she had to do was power down her home for a couple hours.

A few evenings each week, the 45-year-old stay-at-home mom rounded up her kids and shut down her home’s electrical panel. The house would go dark.

The family pulled open the blinds and, in the last glow of evening sunlight, played board games. Sometimes they propped up an already-charged laptop and huddled around to watch a movie. Or they’d head to the pool.

Hailing from Visalia, California, the Williams family signed up with an online service called OhmConnect. It rewards consumers in cash and prizes for cutting their energy consumption during specific times, called #OhmHours. These typically occur in the afternoons or evenings, when the energy grid is overworked.

OhmConnect users are notified via text or email when there’s an upcoming #OhmHour. That’s when they can take steps to reduce their energy usage by waiting to run the dishwasher, unplugging the Keurig, turning off the fridge or switching the A/C off. Just for an hour.

Earnings depend on the amount of energy you save and how often you participate.

Williams has since bought three smart plugs and a smart thermostat from OhmConnect. These automatically turn off certain devices and air conditioning during #OhmHours.

Now she doesn’t have to do anything when an #OhmHour swings around; her smart devices handle it for her, and she’s still able to earn money.

Let’s Tally It Up

So we’ve got a guy in Portland who’s saving himself $120 a month on his cell phone bill with Twigby. We’ve got an Indiana man who’s using Truebill to save himself $105 a month on Dish, Comcast and Sprint.

A Texas man knocked $30 off his monthly car insurance bill with The Zebra. And a mom in California knocked about $140 a month off her power bill.

That adds up to $395 a month, collectively.

All you have to do is make the first move. You’ve got nothing to lose!

Mike Brassfield ([email protected]) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He’s got bills.