Can bundling bills save you money?

January 28, 2009 4:43:37 PM PST
As the economy slows down, saving money is on the top of nearly everyone's to do list.That's why combining services might help you keep some cash.

If you haven't reviewed your bills for phone, Internet, and TV, Consumer Reports says now is the time to do it. Prices have dropped a lot in the last year, so you may be paying more than you need to.

We love our TVs, keeping in touch by phone and having quick Internet access. It's the expense that gets to us. Consumer Reports' Paul Reynolds says getting your TV, home phone and Internet service from the same provider could save a bundle.

"Prices for bundled services are down as much as 20% in the past year," Reynolds said. "And because of competition, your rate may not go up once the promotional period is over."

But Consumer Reports says most people don't need to pay extra for the highest-speed Internet plans.

"If you don't download or share a lot of lengthy videos or large files, it's probably not worth paying for that premium option," Reynolds said.

And if you're like Mary Linkowski and don't watch a lot of TV or make a lot of calls, you may save money buying your TV and home phone separately.

A just-published Consumer Reports' survey of its subscribers found the Internet phone service Vonage is a standout for value. It has plans as low as $17.99 a month.

"It can take a lot of time to sift through the offers for TV, phone, and Internet even within one carrier," Reynolds said. "But in today's competitive market, it can really pay off."

And, it can make your bills a bit more bearable.

The Consumer Reports National Research Center says subscribers were very satisfied with Internet, phone and TV from the fiber services like AT&T, U-verse and Verizon FiOS.

Not all areas of Houston can receive those services. If you are interested in checking out the potential savings, check the consumer blog.

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