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Slash Your Bills

Sure, you can cancel your landline and opt for free, if spotty, Skype service. Or you can cut out cable and go on watching many—but not all—of your shows on Hulu.com. But there are ways to reduce monthly bills without having to cancel anything. We tackled the expenditures of one average Upper West Sider—a 36-year-old we’ll call Ivan—to demonstrate how it’s done.

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Cell Phone

Cable, Internet and Home Phone

Electric
Bills $54.80 per month $171 per month $92 per month (average)
$193 per month (average) in summer
Current Plan Ivan already has the lowest available plan ($39.99 for 450 anytime minutes) through AT&T, and he subtracts $8.80/month through his employer’s corporate discount. Government fees and an extra 20 cents per text message (he averages 70 a month) account for $13.60/month. Ivan is already wisely taking advantage of Time Warner’s reduced Triple Play package, which bundles three services for a base rate of $134.95 and is about $25/month less than he’d pay for them individually. He also pays $9.95/month for DVR service and $14.95 for HBO. Like the rest of us, Ivan pays whatever ConEd tells him to. The energy provider’s rates fluctuate within a government-approved range (10.2 cents per kilowatt hour on Ivan’s last bill); usage ordinarily spikes in summer, thanks to Ivan’s multiple air-conditioners.
How He Can Save Since he never goes over 100 daytime minutes, Ivan should find a carrier that offers a lower-price plan and also will buy him out of his contract with AT&T. Sprint’s new Credo Mobile network has a 200-anytime-minute plan for $29.99 and offers up to $200 to offset the termination fee. Ivan could then tack on a $9.99 package for unlimited text messaging (AT&T would charge $20 for this). Though there are New York cable companies with lower rates (such as Comcast’s $99 Triple Play package), none are available in Ivan’s neighborhood. However, he can sign up for Time Warner’s “Price Lock Guarantee” for two years. The deal will lock him in at a reduced base rate of $119.95 per month (plus taxes and fees for HBO and DVR service) for the full term for the same services he has now. The only way Ivan can curtail his ConEd bill (besides cutting his energy usage) is by selecting one of the dozen-odd ESCOs (or energy-services companies) listed on the ConEd Website (coned.com/escos). One company, Energetix, has a low cancellation fee of $35 and a per-kilowatt rate that’s currently a tenth of a cent lower than ConEd’s. It’ll also send Ivan a $25 rebate if he signs up with them.
New Plan $48.88 $155 $82/$172 (with rebate)

Annual Savings: $416
(Assuming summer electric bills and the ESCO rebate.)


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