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Five simple savings tips

Published 10:43pm Thursday, November 29, 2012

By Dana Zeliff

Entertainment and communication costs may seem essential, but there are ways to reduce the financial hit.

Here are a few ideas to trim your costs:

  • Simply call and ask your cable, phone and Internet provider what discounts they are offering for existing customers. Sometimes even bundling your service can provide discounts.

Are you paying for premium subscription channels? How often do you actually watch the movies? You may save money by renting movies from Redbox for $1.20, instead of paying a monthly HBO fee. Make sure to sign up for Redbox Text Alerts to get one free rental per month to add to your savings.

If all else fails, you will be surprised how quickly specials become available when your provider knows you are considering canceling your service.

  • Canceling cable service completely is a viable choice for some families. There are multiple options for people looking to remove cable from their budgets.

You could use an antenna to watch local channels. You could purchase a Roku box to gain access to more channels and movies. You could use your Internet service to watch shows on Hulu through free or paid service. Or you could take advantage of services such as iTunes, Amazon Instant Video and Netflix.

  • Do you use your landline telephone? Many households rarely use the home phone and rely primarily on cell phones. Canceling or changing your phone plan could help free up extra cash each month.

Look into VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) to use your Internet like a landline. There is an upfront cost for the device, but the monthly service is inexpensive.

Don’t forget about Skype and FaceTime to communicate for free through your Internet service.

  • Cell phone plan fees are on the rise. Determine if you are using all the data/minutes you are paying for or if you getting stuck with overage fees every month. If you make calls to specific people each month, a “friends and family” discount may be for you.

Don’t forget about switching your phone to Wi-Fi when you’re at home or in a free Wi-Fi area. This can save a large portion of your data each month. Take a look at wififreespot.com for service while you’re on the go.

It is always advisable to check out the competition and compare rates. Companies typically have great offers for new customers. Just make sure you are fully aware of the program terms and cancellation fees. It’s not a deal if you save money for the first three months then pay more over the next nine.

Evaluate your entertainment and communication needs to watch your saving add up without changing your lifestyle.

Dana Zeliff lives in Chesapeake and writes a blog full of money-saving tips, coupons and advice. Visit her blog at www.thecouponchallenge.com.

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