Taming the Cost of Communication

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Communication services have become a major player in many household budgets in the past several years. How much do you pay--in total--for all those? When was the last time you checked? As you added services over the years, did you ever review what you have and how much it's costing you? In these days of rooting out savings wherever you can find them, this area is ripe for inspection. 

How long ago did you set up your landline phone service? What does it include? Are there options on your bill that you no longer use: conference calling, automatic callback, call blocking, an unused fax line, monthly fee plus per-minute long distance charges? Maybe you use a third-party provider that is no longer the bargain it used to be. Maybe you don't need a landline at all. Phones are available from satellite and cable providers now, as well as from traditional telephone companies. 

Check your cable or satellite bill? How many of those hundreds of channels do you watch more than once or twice a year? Perhaps you can cut back to a lower level of service that offers fewer channels. How, and how often, do you access the Internet? You might need a high-speed connection, but maybe dial-up would serve your use, instead.

Then there is your cell phone. Do you regularly run over your minutes and pay extra? Or do you pay for more minutes than you ever use? Neither of those options is thrifty. Check your cell phone bills for the past few months and see how many minutes you usually use. See if you can change your cell plan to match those minutes more closely. I rarely use my cell phone and I was paying for hundreds of minutes each month that I never used. I switched to a pay-in-advance plan and saved over $250 a year. 

All providers are hungry these days, not only for new customers, but even more, to keep the customers they already have. Call them up and see what they will do for you if you threaten to switch. The representatives who work in the section for service termination are likely to offer you better deals than the representatives you speak to for other purposes. The worst they can do is say no, but you are likely to find they will offer a variety of money-saving options. All-in-one packages can generate savings from $10 to $50 a month or more. Determine in advance which services you use most, which you really need, and which are frills that don't provide enough advantage to be worth the cost.

Ask for discounts. Surf websites for deals. Check out bundled services. Consider downgrading. Chances are you can save yourself a tidy sum each month.

Copyright 2009, Linda Manley

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Linda Manley has 1 articles online

Linda Manley, a retired university research director, writes website articles on topics that interest her, such as retiring in warm places, staying fit and healthy, and saving money while doing both. You can find more of her articles at http://www.GreatRetirementPlaces.com

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Taming the Cost of Communication

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This article was published on 2010/03/29