Tuesday, February 21, 2006
7 News Features: Kill Bill
So much to buy, so little money. For many of us, paying the bills is a constant battle. But when it comes to the internet and the telephone, there may be a way to get more and spend less. Tom Haynes tells us how in this special assignment report.
WSVN--Tom Haynes: "If you can't get your services for free, you might as well get them for less. Next time before you put a check in the mail, take a second look at what your paying for. Tonight, we're going to show you how to take out your agrression and finally kill those bills."
Internet, telephone, cell phone.
While many americans aim to save money most of us never hit our target goal.
Today, the average household spends thousands of dollars a year to be logged on, dialed in, and charged up.
But if you really want to kill your bills, your best weapon is your wits.
Experts say don't be scared to square off in a duel with your provider.
Ernie Hartman: "The best thing you can do is follow the market. At least twice a year you should call up your company."
You could call accountant Ernie Hartman a hired gun.
He helps his customers by keeping them fully loaded with knowledge.
Ernie Hartman: "When you call a company, dont expect them to just roll over and give you a better rate or a discount."
Tom Haynes: "You also have to consider what's best for you. Like picking a horse, you must weigh all the variables...size, speed, even pedigree. Ask yourself, do I really need a faster broadband? Do I really need a deal that's heavy with expensive accessories? And am I willing to take a risk on a smaller, lesser known company?
Now when it comes to talking on the phone, Miami has the most expensive bills in the country. Because a lot of people have relatives in foreign countries. But wild horses couldn't drag Scott Barnett from calling his family in Costa Rica.
Scott Barnett: "I'm always trying to find the least expensive way to use the services that are available."
The long distance may make Scott feel like a lone ranger but there are options. Such as losing your landline phone and making all calls - even international calls - on your cell phone.
Or, like Scott, you can try exploring a fairly new frontier and saddle up your phone service via the internet.
Sometimes, the voice quality suffers but you can take your service anywhere you can take your computer.
Scott Barnett: "Basically, I was able to save hundreds of dollars in savings."
As for cellphones, most of us suffer from a fear of going over our minutes.
But the average american only uses 40 percent of their plan.
Callie Schmitt: "I'm paying a set amount each month and using a third of the minutes that i pay for."
As a fairly young gun, 26-year-old Callie Schmitt thought getting a better deal was a shot in the dark.
But there are choices.
You can split minutes by signing up for a family plan - even with people who aren't family members.
Or you can purchase a prepaid cellphone like Callie, where you only pay for what you use.
Callie Schmitt: "I won't be wasting my money on things im not using."
And finally, everyday at Tamara Kalmis' house can feel like the wild, wild west.
She runs an online business from home while taking care of two sons.
Tamara Kalmis: "If my internet isn't running, we have a serious problem."
Another problem - paying nearly 50 dollars a month to go online.
If you're like Tamara, you could sign up with one of the many new telecom companies.
Or if you don't want to take a risk on an upstart, try negotiating with one of the more established brands.
Tamara Kalmis: "I called them up and spoke to someone in the cancellations department and said how it work out if i gave it to you for $17.95 a month."
Now for Tamara, cyber trails are happy trails
Like the others... She's learned how to kill her bills.
Also keep in mind, most taxes are a percentage of the service. That means when you lower your bills, you're also paying less in taxes.
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