Take a good long look at your phone (cell and landline), TV and internet services and assess your communications costs. As Internet and wireless use grows, many consumers are overpaying for unneeded communications capacity.
- Be aware of your cell phone costs and how to reduce them. Cell phone use has dramatically increased communications expenditures in many households.
o Make sure your calling plan matches the pattern of calls you typically make.
o Double check your "need" to be connected to the internet and your email from your cell phone. You can save a bundle by dropping the internet from your cell phone. Most people find they can get by just fine with calls and simple text messaging, without the wireless internet connection.
- Some people will “bundle” and change their landline to a VoIP home phone or eliminate their landline altogether, to save money. However be sure that is good for you.
o Most cell phones have GPS locating capabilities, even if the customer is not paying/utilizing it. This is true of all cell phones, but most and 9-1-1 calls from a cell phone DO NOT need a warrant by public safety to activate the GPS.
- Buy Your Next Cell Phone from Amazon: It may seem odd to buy a cell phone from Amazon, but they offer all of the newest phones (e.g., Droid, Storm 2, Vibrant from AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless.) Amazon offers free 2-day shipping and low prices without the hassle of mail-in rebate forms. Search for AmazonWireless.
- Communicate by e-mail rather than by phone. If you're on-line, e-mail communications are virtually free. Even for subscribers, landline and wireless calls often carry per-minute charges.
- Consider writing letters instead of making frequent phone calls. Thoughtful letters are usually far more highly valued than phone conversations, and they are often saved by recipients for future reading.
- Consider purchasing a refurbished computer, laptop, notepad, etc. It is a great way to buy not only computers, but iPods and iPhones as well.
- Ask to purchase the stores "demo" PC, TV, stereo, etc - you know the one that has been in use on the display floor? Often these are sold for a lot less or with 2 years of free insurance on the product.
Use Open Source software when possible. Example: use GIMP instead of Photoshop. GIMP is free and even though it isn't Photoshop by a long shot. Check out these freeware sites:
The 23 best freeware programs for windows
30 Essential Pieces Of Free (and Open) Software for Windows
Your new PC needs these 22 free, excellent programs
The Best Free Software
The Best Windows Software
Best Free Windows Desktop Software - Editors Choice Selection
Lifehacker Pack for Windows: Our List of the Essential Windows Apps
Top 10 Incredibly Useful Windows Programs to Have On Hand
Next week we will cover potential savings on various insurance policies.