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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Throwing Money Away, Part 2 - Home Communications

How long has it been since you calculated the amount you are paying each month for:
  • Telephone (land line)
  • Telephone (cell)
  • Pay TV (cable, satellite, etc.)
  • Internet access
There's no time like to present to do this. Once you've determined monthly charges, multiply by 12 to get the annual amount you are paying. Do you enjoy paying this much? Probably not!

A couple of years ago, I was searching for ways to decrease the amount each month I was paying for everything, including the above expenses. Because of contracts and "deals" I had in place, the only place I could see significant savings was in my pay TV service. I was a subscriber to the traditional cable TV provider in my neighborhood. I did not have any of the premium channels such as HBO, but I did have the HDTV option with DVR boxes for two televisions. After searching around, I settled on one of the popular satellite TV companies. For essentially the same service, my bill was reduced by about $30.00 per month. That's $360.00 per year, year after year!

When all my contracts expire, I'm going to search again for the best deals. It could be that a package of services from a single company will be the best deal but I'm not going to take that for granted. And, I'm looking hard at using the Internet for my TV service. I'm not technically savvy enough to know how all this works but I've got friends who are. So, I'm about to learn!

Here are some things to ponder, especially if you are in a pretty bad financial situation:
  • Do you need your land line telephone? If you always use your cell phone, why do you need a land line?
  • Do you really have to have Internet access at home? It's available for free in public libraries.
  • Do you really have to have Pay TV? Broadcast television only requires you to have an antenna and is essentially free.
  • Is that fancy cell phone really necessary? Calculate how much you are paying each month in service and check to see what basic plans would cost in comparison.
I don't have any specific advice to offer here other than you have to set aside a block of time to research what's available in your area. It's awfully easy to just continue doing what you've been doing but it may be costing you money.

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