By Stas Bekman.
Published: 16 July 2006
It's possible to save a lot of money, but making your bills smaller. Here is how to do it:
Take all your bills and go over them every few months. Do you really need all the extra features that you are paying for? Are you even aware that you are paying for the extra features? A good example is a telephone company, which will usually try to bundle a hell lot of features, most of which you aren't using anyway. But you pay for those anyway. Granted, it could be just a few dollars a month, but those things quickly add up.
Especially review those freebies that you get every so often, and which are no longer freebies after a certain time. A cable company representative gives you a call, telling you: "Hey, would you like to try the faster version of our Internet package? You can try for free for the next month". What they don't tell you is that they will automatically start charging you, when this month is over. And of course you won't remember to call them and change the extra features back to normal. One way to avoid this trap is not accept their proposal in first place. Now you don't need to remember to cancel it.
As technology advances and there is more competition between companies, there is a tendency to cut prices every few months. For example Internet access prices get cheaper all the time. But your company won't offer you these reductions (especially if they try to get you into a multi-year fixed price plan). So it's well worth to check what other companies have to offer. Sometimes the competitor might be even willing to compensate you for the money lost while leaving your existing plan. Don't forget to ask.
You can also save on electricity: turn the lights off when you leave the room, turn the heating off or lower it when you aren't using it. Turn electrical devices off when unused, rather than having them on stand-by. All these will save on your electricity bills
There are certain services that you may want to completely eliminate. For example, do you really need caller-ID, call forwarding and three-way calling? Probably not. Cancel those. Don't pay long distance charges, use VoIP phone (e.g. skype (http://www.skype.com) is free anywhere in North America). Finally if everybody in your family already has a cellphone, why paying for the landline too?