5 Ways to Consolidate Bills

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Getting bill after bill in the mail every day does nothing to boost your morale. You get to the point where you feel like you’re working simply to pay off your debt. By following these tips and consolidating your bills, you’ll get fewer envelopes in the mail…and may even have some Benjamins left over.

5 Family Plans

Family plans can be your best friend. If you and your other half each have separate gym memberships, consider going in together on a family plan. After all, there’s no sense in each of you having separate withdrawals out of your bank accounts if you’re both going to the same place to get your workout on. While you’re at it, push your cell phone plans together and start sharing your minutes. Getting on the same plan can work for health insurance as well, if you’re married or live in a state with common-law marriage rules. By joining forces with your partner and combining plans, you’ll drastically cut down on your incoming bills.

4 Refinance Your Cars

If you have more than one car payment in your household, it might be time to refinance. By getting the loans through the same bank, you’ll throw all of your vehicle expenses into a single payment. You won’t have to remember which car is due on which day any longer. Use a bank you have a solid history with, either with a long-standing bank account or a trail of on-time loan payments. You’ll be more likely to get a lower interest rate, saving you some dough right off the bat.

3 Combine Communications and Entertainment

Having one bill for your Internet, another for cable, one for a landline with long distance, and yet another for your cell phone amounts to enough paper to wipe out a small portion of a rainforest each year. Call your local cable company and see if they have a bundle so you can combine all of those bills into one. Your cell phone carrier could offer all of those services, too. Be careful, though, if you’re currently on a contract before you switch over. Sometimes those early termination fees can be quite costly.

2 Consolidate Student Loans

When you go to college, federal agencies disperse loan funds for you if you applied for loans anyway. But they don’t pay out big lump sums; rather, they’ll break them up into many smaller payments from different lenders. If you have a stockpile of federal student loan payments, for a small fee, you can consolidate them all into one single small bill, giving you as long as 30 years to pay off if you need, Federal Student Aid reports. The funds are all going to the same place, so you might as well make it easy for yourself. But the longer you take to pay them off, the more you’ll be likely paying in interest in the long run.

1 Combine Credit Cards

Getting all of your credit card payments into one single bill will surely give you peace of mind, since you’ll be less likely to forget a payment. If you qualify for a new credit card, open up an account that offers an introductory zero- or very-low-interest rate. Move your other credit card debt onto this new card and close some or all of the old accounts. Another way to go is to apply for a credit card consolidation loan. Your lender will pay off all that debt for you, and you’ll just have one monthly bill instead—the one to the lender. Ideally, you should opt for a reputable lender who doesn’t charge fees—you don’t want to rack up more debt. If you do decide to close out some of your old credit cards, keep in mind that in some cases, closing lines of credit can hurt your credit score.

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