Ideas to lower your phone and cable bill

By John Matarese

Posted by LS - email

While we're all watching our budgets, have you added up your phone, cell phone, tv, and Internet bills? Many people now pay $300 a month or more to be plugged in to the world.

You don't have to pay that much as some savvy customers have found out.

Tara Riehle counts every penny at her small farm, even picking up cheap expired bread to help feed her cows. That's why she decided she was paying too much for phone and Internet. "It was like $159 a month... cable, Internet, and two phone lines."

So she called and was stunned to learn she was paying for everything -- like caller id -- separately, with no discount. "I was a la carte. That's why I was paying so much. I was being billed separately for each feature."

As soon as she switched to a "bundled" plan, combining local, long distance, and Internet, her bill dropped to well under $100.

Tim Langston also decided $40 a month was too much for a land line phone he barely used anymore. "I was very rarely making calls. I was paying telemarkters to call me."

So he called the phone company and discovered an option few people know about: a low usage plan for just $12 a month. Local calls now cost him 3 cents a minute, but that's fine by him.

Thrilled at his success, Langston targeted his cable tv bill. "I called and said, 'I noticed Dish Network has a great package with more channels. Can you match this?' And they agreed to do it."

Tim and Tara both discovered that providers are more willing to make a deal than ever. Of course, if times get tighter you can always drop a service. You don't need both a land line and a cell phone, and you can watch free tv with an antenna.

Before you get to that point, try working with your existing providers. You won't know about their hottest new deals unless you ask.

So don't waste your money.

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