PRZOOM - /newswire/ -
Mountain View, CA, United States, 2009/08/13 - Mike Jude, Ph.D., Program Manager in the Consumer Communications Services group at Stratecast, a division of Frost & Sullivan, offers advice on how consumers can manage the rising cost of personal communications.
There was a time when communications costs for the average family amounted to nothing more than a monthly phone bill. A few lucky families might have had cable television for an additional $20 a month, but for most, communications expenses were one of the more nominal expenditures.
The times certainly have changed. Now, the average family can count on not only monthly phone bills, but wireless bills, cable television bills, and broadband access bills. If your total monthly outlay is less than $100, you probably don't have kids with cell phones or surf the Internet.
But if you do have kids and computers there is no need to despair. It turns out there are a few simple things you can do to reduce monthly communications costs, and in many cases, even improve the services you are receiving. You may already be using these strategies to manage communications costs, but if not, check them out...you may find that you can save substantial amounts of money:
1. Bundle, Bundle, Bundle!: Most cable operators and telephone companies offer significant discounts for communications service bundles. Buying a package that includes telephone service, cable or satellite TV and long distance can often reduce your overall outlay by 20% or more.
2. Assess your wireless service needs and adjust your wireless plan accordingly: You may be surprised to find that your wireless bill includes charges for excess minutes or data usage. If so, you are being charged dearly for overages. Most wireless carriers will never tell you that you can save money by buying minutes in bulk. Simply by tracking your average monthly usage you can adjust your plan to fit your needs and reduce overage charges.
3. If you have teenagers, you need a family plan: A family plan that allows you to buy minutes and data in bulk will save you literally hundreds of dollars over the life of the plan.
4. Buy insurance for your children's cell phones: It is a virtual certainty that your kids will either lose or destroy their cell phones. Buying insurance for a few dollars a month per device could (and probably will) save you hundreds of dollars on phone replacement charges.
5. Shop for long distance: Long distance used to be the premium service that supported local voice telephone service; Not anymore. Now, if you pay anything for long distance, you are paying too much. Unlimited long distance packages are available from many carriers, and for some wireless and cable provided calling plans, long distance is included with the basic service. If you are paying more than $40 a month for in-country calling, you definitely need to make changes in the way you buy your long distance.
6. Negotiate your Internet access plans: Most people don't realize you can actually negotiate for lower Internet access rates; it's true. Internet service providers are always running promotions, especially in areas where there may be multiple Internet service providers: You can usually get the promotional rate simply by asking for it. The service provider knows you have options and will usually give you the lowest rate to keep your business.
The bottom line: communications needn't be a budget busting expenditure. By using a little foresight and preplanning, you can reduce your costs and increase your satisfaction. Follow this advice and you will be on your way to becoming a power consumer of communication services.
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