If opening your phone and utility bills each month makes you cringe, help is here. When you get serious about your energy and phone usage, you'll find there are lots of ways to keep those bills under control. Start using these tips as soon as possible and you'll soon see the savings.
- Insulate un-insulated spaces like attics, and use storm windows and weatherproofing materials to reduce heat loss. In winter, seal off unused rooms.
- Set the thermostat for sixty-five degrees and lower it when you go to sleep. Never set it below fifty-five degrees as pipes can freeze.
- Instead of turning the heat up, wear extra layers of clothing in the winter.
- Minimize air conditioner use and use fans instead.
- Reduce your water heater temperature and install water-saving shower heads.
- Cut back on watering the lawn or refilling backyard swimming pools.
- Turn off lights when you aren't using them, and encourage the rest of the family to do the same.
- Check with your long-distance carrier about discount programs that best fit your geographic calling pattern. Compare wireless plans versus long-distance call charges.
- Consider switching to a cheaper long-distance carrier. This can be confusing, so before you sign up for the "deal of the minute," compare the offered rate per minute with your actual average over the past few bills. If this checks out, ask about additional available financial switching incentives. BE SURE TO READ THE FINE PRINT.
- Eliminate any add-on services you can do without (such as call waiting, automatic messaging, automatic redial, etc).
- Ask about discounts for bundle services such as phone, cable, and internet service to save money.
- Listen to the podcast Making the Most of Pre-Paid Phone Cards. While these cards may seem convenient, especially during overseas deployments, they are also fraught with scams and hidden fees.
If you have experienced an unresolved issue with a company about a financial product or service, be sure to submit a complaint on the Consumer Complaint Database on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau website. Your complaint will be forwarded to the company or an agency for response. Through these reports, the government can see companies or services where consumers have the most difficulty and adjust or enforce consumer financial laws. And you may get a resolution to your problem!