It was great at first, but now...
When to Break Up With Your Bundle
by Shaunna Privratsky
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That little bundle was so cute and convenient when you got it. It is just one bill, probably on autopay, but your bundle has become bulky, unmanageable, and even dangerous to your bottom line. When fees and increases bloat your phone, Internet and television bundle, it is time to break up!
Home phones are almost a thing of the past. Most people have moved to a totally mobile phone package. If you do cling to that home phone, you could be paying up to $80 a month. (Centurylink rates) Instead, look into Magicjack. It's a phone service that only costs $30 to $35 a year. That is a one-time fee, once a year. It runs through your Internet, but it works just like a regular phone line. We have had it for four years, and it works great.
Having access to the internet is no longer a luxury, but a necessity. Basic rates have climbed from a mere $20 to upwards of $70 a month. Thankfully, there are a lot more companies available, so you can use the competition to your advantage. First, call your current company and ask for a loyalty discount. If that doesn't work, call up a different company and see if they have new customer incentives. Make sure you read the fine print. Often, you are locked into a contract for one to two years or face stiff penalties.
We are still with Centurylink, but only because we have been with them for 25 years and are getting a loyalty discount of $38 a month. Here's one tip. Don't let your discounts expire. We had to pay an extra $78 a month because of a holiday weekend. I wasn't too pleased to say the least.
A lot of households have "cut the cable" entirely and no longer have TV subscriptions. Instead, they take advantage of the many online streaming video sites like Netflix or Hulu for $10 to $20 a month. With today's smart televisions, you can tune into your favorite shows and movies or watch them through an Xbox or other gaming console.
Calculator: Home Budget Calculator
In our household, we do watch a lot of television since my husband is disabled, so ditching the cable bill was a bit more complicated. I looked around and compared prices and packages. We settled on DishTV, which has overall been a good decision. Whenever I have a problem, the customer service team has been very helpful and accommodating. They recently offered a flex package that can be customized. For $39.99, I got 50 popular channels and then I added $10 for various add-ons like local stations, sports, kids, variety, etc. I was pleased they offered it to existing customers, as it dropped our bill $20 a month!
Sometimes it makes sense to bundle services together. If one company offers the package that works for you, with decent discounts, by all means bundle. Just make sure you are getting the best bang for your buck, because plans change and fees can creep up if you don't check them periodically. Be an informed consumer and know when to break up with your bundle.
Shaunna Privratsky became an expert in personal finance out of necessity. Between writing, reading and gardening, she is always on the lookout for bargains. Please sign up for the free newsletters at The Discount Diva. You can also visit Shaunna on Google+.
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