By Heinz Bulos
1. Lower long distance charges. When you call friends or relatives abroad, call them at night and on weekends to save on your long distance phone bill. Avoid using directory assistance; dial direct. If only call occasionally, use a prepaid overseas phone card, which has cheaper rates. Broadband service providers also offer very cheap international rates on international calls using Voice-over-IP (VoIP). Better yet, consider alternatives such as e-mail, online chats (install a web cam even), or using Skype or Yahoo Messenger With Voice.
2. Choose the right plan. Match your plan with your usage. Whether it’s your phone or Internet access, use prepaid cards or pay-per-use plans if you’re an occasional user or you’re on a budget. Otherwise, using a monthly service will be cheaper if you’re a heavy user. If you rarely use a landline or hardly make long distance calls, use a prepaid phone card. If you use your cell phone a lot for voice calls, switch to a monthly unlimited plan. If you’re not a heavy Internet user, don’t subscribe to monthly plan. Use prepaid cards, get a per-use plan, or surf at an Internet café.
3. Compare service providers. Competition in the telecommunications sector is good for you. Compare their per-minute rates, monthly plans, extra services, area coverage, and other charges. If you don’t want to be tied down by two-year post-paid subscription plans, adopt prepaid plans so you can switch anytime.
4. Downgrade your package. Switch to a lower and cheaper package for cable television or Internet service. Maybe you can live without those extra channels or extra speed. Drop extra services you might not need from your cell phone provider.
5. Think twice about bundled services. Cable companies bundle both cable TV and broadband Internet, giving you discounts on your monthly fees. You can also get VoIP phone service for cheap international calls. But consider getting these services separately. You can subscribe to cable TV separately from broadband from a DSL provider, and it could come out cheaper.