Marketers make it easy to want “more bang for your buck” such as up-sizing your meal at the fast food restaurant or upgrading a cell phone or cable package. It is very tempting to receive “more” for what appears to be a relatively small additional cost. Resist the urge to splurge as those extras definitely add up! For instance, if a family of four eats out three days a week, the family will spend nearly $4000 a year on fast food.
Every year, families should review their communication (cable, satellite, phone, internet) service plans to see if they are fully utilizing their contracted services.
Explore the following:
- Do you pay extra for an unlimited data plan, but only use a small amount of data every month?
- Do you send numerous texts each month, but only have a small number included on your plan?
- Do you have premium movie packages on your cable or satellite plan but find you do not watch any movies? If you do like to watch movies, be sure to compare the cost of adding on premium movie channels to using online streaming services.
- Do you have a land line phone with unlimited long distance and have a cell phone with unlimited minutes? If you have an unlimited cell phone plan, you may decide to completely cut your land line or that you only need a very basic land line.
- Do you need higher internet speeds? If you only surf the web and send emails, low bandwidth may be sufficient. If you stream high volumes of content or online gaming, you many want a higher bandwidth.
- If you decide to switch providers for better or different services make sure you check with your current provider first. Many will have customer retention agents who will work with you to offer you a better plan or a better rate.
- Bundling packages can be beneficial however evaluate each component of the bundle separately. For example, if you are considering a home cable, internet, and land line phone bundle, price each option separately for the exact service or product that would best meet your needs. Also, if there is a promotional pricing with the bundle, be sure and check long-term costs of the service (i.e. what will it cost when the promotion ends) and how to change your plan when the promotion ends. Be certain to mark the date on your calendar when the promotion ends so you remember to take action.
LEANNE MANNING, EXTENSION EDUCATOR | THE LEARNING CHILD
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