We all have them. Every month, we get bills from various services like telcos and Singapore Power that we need to take care of just to be able to continue getting vital services we need to function normally. The problem, however, is that these bills are often very annoying to take care of, easy to forget, and can actually cost us quite a lot of money. According to ValueChampion's study, the average cost of monthly SP bill alone was about S$148 per household. If you add your bills for your mobile and cable TV costs, you could be easily spending at least S$200 to S$300 just on these fixed costs alone.
At ValueChampion, we are laser focused on helping consumers make informed financial decisions that can help them maximise the value of their money. Saving money on these monthly recurring bills is just one of those decisions. If you can save S$50 per month, you could saving over S$600 every year, which could help you afford a big purchase or an extra vacation. Below, we break down these monthly recurring costs into 3 major components, and provide some insights on how you can best maximise savings on each.
How to Save on SP Bills
According to our research on the average cost of monthly SP bills, approximately 90% of SP bill is composed of electricity and water bills. This means that gas only accounted for 10% of about S$150 people are paying every month to Singapore Power. Therefore, the best way to save on SP bill is to focus on reducing electricity usage and water consumption. Below are a few tips on how you can achieve this goal.
1) Reduce Use of Air Conditioning: Given Singapore's climate, it's impossible to avoid keeping A/C on at all times. However, A/C is also one of the most energy-intensive consumer electronic devices ever, and therefore represents an opportunity to save massively on your electricity bill. One way of reducing your A/C usage is by using thick curtains or shades. These can block out light and heat from outside, thereby helping you maintain the temperature in your room.
Another way to do so is by spending as much time as possible outside of home. Most venues like offices, restaurants, cafes, classrooms and gyms have good air conditioning. If you can spend more time at work, school, gym or even socializing with friends, you can either improve your performance at school or work, or increase your overall happiness by becoming healthier and spending more time with your loved ones. At the same time, you will be saving a ton of money on your electricity bills.
2) Air Dry Your Clothes: Dryers are another set of electronics that consume a lot of energy. If you wash and dry your clothes once a week, you are probably spending at least S$5-10 on your dryer every month. Instead, you could consider air drying your clothes. This has an additional advantage of saving not buying a machine and dryer sheets.
3) Shower Quickly: Since water bill accounts for approximately 40% of your SP bills, this is another good place to start figuring out how you can save on your monthly bills. If you are like me, you might love to take hot & steaming showers that list 10-20 minutes. If you just turn on your shower tap and plug your bathtub drain, you will be shocked by the amount of water that you are using while you shower. It is estimated that a shower consumes about 8 litres of water per minute. If you can finish your shower within five minutes instead of 10, that's 40 litres of water saved each time you take a shower. Depending on how many times you shower on each day, this could translate to a massive amount of savings.
4) Use LED light bulbs and Water-Saving Taps: these are smaller savings, but little savings can add up to a big sum over time. Using energy efficient appliances like LED lightings or water saving taps can definitely add up to an insignificant sum all year around, though definitely not as impactful as the measures we list above.
How to Save on Mobile Plans
The next big area of possible savings on recurring bills is your mobile plan. We found that popular mobile plans in Singapore cost about S$50 per month, and includes about 150-200 minutes of outgoing calls, 1,000 SMS messages and and about 2-3GB of data. Then, the most crucial thing you can do is to use your Wifi whenever and wherever possible to make calls and send messages to your family and friends. As you know, most places in Singapore have public wifi available for free. Not only that, you can now make free calls on services like Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp or Skype, so you technically never have to use your minutes or SMS.
Given that going over your limit for calls, SMS or data can be hugely expensive, utilising wifi can be a great way of making sure you never reach your plan's limits. For instance, Singtel, M1 and Starhub charge about S$10.7 for each GB that exceeds your data plan's limit. Not only that, it can also help you get a cheaper plan with lower limits or easily share your plan with your family, which can help you save S$15 or more every month.
Lastly, you should check to see if your company, school or associations ahve a special discount available.
Other Ways of Saving on Recurring Bills
Another neat way of saving on your monthly recurring bills is to smartly utilise your credit cards. There are a number of cards in Singapore that provide cash rebate on recurring monthly bills from telcos and SP. For instance, HSBC Platinum Visa card can save you 5% in cashback on your recurring mobile, cable TV and internet bills every month. Both UOB Delight Card and OCBC 365 Card can save 3% on your recurring telco bills from SingTel, StarHub and M1. POSB Everyday Card is also unique in that it provides a 1% rebate on your SP services bills, as well as other recurring bills like mobile and internet.
Lastly, if you are paying S$20-S$100 on your cable TV, you should consider cutting your cord. Unless you are a huge sports fan, most shows that you would find entertaining are available online either for free or on Netflix for just S$7.99 a month.