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MoneyRates Monthly Resolution #3: Saving on Cable, Internet, and Phone Service

March 04, 2010

| MoneyRates.com Senior Financial Analyst, CFA

At the beginning of 2010, MoneyRates.com published a list of 12 monthly resolutions designed to help Americans improve their savings rates. For March, the focus is on telecommunications--specifically, cutting cable, Internet, and land line costs.

Slimming Down on Telecomm Bills

Although cable, phone, and Internet bills seem small potatoes relative to the mortgage payments and paycheck depositing tips tackled in January and February, remember that these are costs that many Americans carry month after month. Shaving some of these costs can add up to big bucks over the year.

If you've found your cable, Internet, or telephone bills steadily creeping up, here are three things you can do to fight back:

  1. Take advantage of convergence. Over the past decade, the trend toward telecommunications convergence has meant greater competition, and the opportunity to save money via package deals. If you are still paying for cable, Internet, and phone services separately, look to see if you could save by combining them through a single provider.
  2. Examine your television habits. A Harris Poll in early 2010 found that 22% of Americans surveyed had cancelled or cut back on cable television service within the prior six months. Looking at your cable bill, you may find that you are adding $20 or $30 a month just to watch one or two programs. It might be cheaper switch to a cheaper tier of service and simply to rent the DVDs of those programs when they come out.
  3. Question whether your land line is still relevant. In the same Harris Poll, 15% of Americans reported that they had cancelled land line service in the prior six months. If you mostly use your cell phone, then why still carry a land line? If you're afraid to go cold turkey, try this experiment. For six months, encourage friends and family to use your cell phone number. Then, spend a month tracking who calls on your land line. You may find the only calls you'd miss are ones you don't want anyway. If you want to have your land line available for emergencies, call your telephone provider and ask for the barebones plan. They may try to talk you into add-on features, but insist on the no-frills option if that is what really meets your needs.

Making these changes may not make a big immediate impact, but MoneyRates.com monthly resolutions are all about shaving dollars off your expenses month after month. Taken together over time, these changes can help build up the balance of your savings account sustainably and painlessly.

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