Like the rest of middle income America, you’re probably looking for ways to save money, now that gas and consumer goods costs have gotten so out of control. We change light bulbs, reuse water bottles, travel less and purchase less overall, but have you thought about your technological expenses as well? With cell phones, internet, cable, satellite and other tech needs, Americans are spending hundreds of dollars a month on ‘necessities’ that didn’t exist twenty years ago. In a changing world, no one is asking you to give up these handy resources, but taking a good, hard look at them and deciding what is truly needed versus what is nice to have can save you a ton of money each year. Here are three tips that could leave you with extra money in your pocket each month.
1. Evaluate your communication needs.
Many people are choosing to opt for using their cell phones as their only phones. If you have a landline, why not take a look at your cell phone provider’s other rate plans and see if they could cover where your land line leaves off? Most all major carriers including Sprint, Nextel, T-Mobile and Verizon are offering unlimited rate plans for about a hundred bucks a month. Many of those plans include unlimited minutes, text messaging and internet usage. So, if you’re spending more than a hundred dollars between your landline and cell phone lines, you may want to consider switching to an unlimited rate plan to save extra money.
2. Evaluate your internet connection.
Sure, it’s nice to have an ultra-high-speed internet connection, but switching to a slower (although still high-speed) connection can save you as much as forty dollars a month. For example, my cable company offers a high speed connection, which features speeds of up to 6Mbits downstream and
384Kb upstream, for $43.99 per month. They also offer what they call ‘broadband light’, which features speeds of up to 256Kbits downstream
and 128Kb upstream for $18.99 per month. Having had both, I can tell you from experience that unless I was downloading a huge file such as a movie, I couldn’t tell the difference between the two in basic internet applications. Speed is nice, but you have to ask yourself and a penny pincher, which do you enjoy more- the extensive internet speed or the extra 25 bucks in my pocket every month?
3. Evaluate your cable or satellite TV package.
Many of us have become accustomed to having a billion and one TV channels at our fingertips. Channel surfing has become an American pastime, and the symbol of a ‘real’ American man has become the biggest remote control you can get your hands on. But what are all those extra channels really costing you? Why don’t you sit down and analyze exactly what channels really mean the most to you. You’ll probably be surprised at the fact that you and your family only watch ten to fifteen channels on a regular basis.
Downgrading your cable package can save you up to fifty bucks a month, in many cases. Taking pay-per-channel options off can also save you a ton of money. My local cable company charges $56.85 per month for their basic digital cable package, which includes a lineup of 65 channels, plus 40 digital music channels. The digital supreme package is offered for $103.85 per month, which offers 140 channels, including premium movie channels like HBO, Cinemax and Starz. There comes a time when penny pinchers must ask which means more to them- more channels than one person could possibly ever watch in a lifetime, or an extra fifty bucks in their pocket each month.
Analyzing your technological needs can help save families several hundred dollars a year. Deciding the difference between what you need and what you want can further the savings even more. So call up your phone service provider, cable company and internet provider and check out your available options to save.