Whenever you are shopping for services that do not have fixed pricing it’s always a good idea to do some comparison before choosing your service provider. Be careful to compare similar services to get an accurate comparison. Be careful around deals that seem too good to be true, and watch out for bad customer service. If a price is too good to be true, it probably is.
Here’s a number of popular services people use in their homes that you could save money with some research and comparison shopping:
It used to be your options for television were either to get cable or not. Now you can choose from cable television service, satellite, and internet television options like Netflix, Roku, Hulu, and Boxee. When comparing your options for watching TV, think about how often you watch and what types of shows you really like. Most people find paying $150 a month or more for the typical cable results in having hundreds of premium channels they never even watch!
You may find streaming your favorite channels or shows from internet services is a better option. With the average price around $15 a month for various services (plus a one-time purchase of a special box) the financial savings are worth investigating the newer options before just selecting the typical cable or satellite connections.
If you have gaming systems, including the Xbox 360, Playstation 3, or Wii, you can download apps which allow you to use Netflix and Hulu services through your game console. Your PC or Mac can also be used and you won’t have to buy a new device. The only downside to these streaming services is your live events such as sports are severely limited if they are even available at all.
When thinking about your phone needs, consider whether you really need multiple types of phones. Many families have a landline service at home and a cell phone – but end up using their cell phone for most of their calls. Instead of paying a monthly fee for a landline, you might consider having only a cell phone with an unlimited calling plan. If you like the security of having a phone line at home, consider a cable phone – particularly if you already have cable television and/or internet – since bundling these services can get you a discount each month on their costs.
For people who want a cell phone for emergencies only, but don’t need the extra bells and whistles for texting, video, or internet from their phone – you might consider a prepaid phone and avoid paying a monthly fee all together. Most prepaid companies offer a basic phone that can be kept active for $10 per month worth of minutes.
When considering what services to use for internet, you should think about how often you use your internet connection and what types of activities you use it for. If you’re going to rely on the internet connection to deliver your television and movie entertainment, or music – you are probably not going to want a dial-up internet connection! High speed internet options are available through your cable company, satellite, and DSL through some phone companies.
On the other hand, if you mostly use the internet for checking email and browsing the web, you don’t need the absolute fastest speed option available. Cutting your speed in half could save you $15 per month and you would hardly notice a difference in the speed. You can also try switching providers — the new customer deal is always better than being a loyal customer.
The bank accounts available from different banks vary widely. Some banks charge monthly maintenance fees, some banks charge for specific transactions, some provide free checks while others charge, and some banks charge when you use the ATM card while others offer it as a free (or reimbursed) service. Shopping for a bank account requires that you understand how you use the banking services to know whether or not your use of that specific bank will result in fees. If you never use an ATM card, for example, it won’t make much difference to you whether there are ATM fees or reimbursement of fees. Watch for banks that charge monthly fees, since it’s an expense you can easily avoid simply by choosing a bank offering free checking accounts. When shopping for savings accounts and investment opportunities, make sure you spend some time finding options that will earn you the highest interest possible.
Photo by Quinn Dombrowski.
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I'm just an average mom, trying to live a frugal life and get out of debt. I write about things that have (and haven't) worked to improve my family's financial situation. What works for me may or may not work for you, and you should always consult a financial advisor before making important financial decisions.
In accordance with FTC guidelines, I state that I have a financial relationship with companies mentioned in this website. This may include receiving access to free products and services for product and service reviews and giveaways.
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