How to Save on Your Monthly Bills

For many Americans, paying the bills every month is downright depressing, but as "Good Morning America" consumer correspondent Elisabeth Leamy says, there are several ways to ease the pain and save big time.

Check out her tips on how to save on all your monthly bills -- from car costs to cell phones -- and click here to read an excerpt from her book "Save Big".

Home Energy Costs

Retail Energy Providers Could Save You More Than $2,000 a Year

VIDEO: Elisabeth Leamy offers ways to reduce your energy, cell phone and cable bills.
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One of the biggest ways you can cut home energy costs is to look into retail energy providers in your area.

Many states deregulated their power industries so alternative companies, or retail energy providers, can compete for your business. According to Leamy, they often offer large discounts off the old school power company rates and some will let you lock in a rate so you have the peace of mind that your power bills will not suddenly increase.

Jan Underwood from Fort Worth, Texas, saved $2,042 a year by shopping around for power services this way.

Additionally, if you do have a retail provider, check your rates against competing retailers in your area but make sure to check the company's reputation before committing.

Click here to see a list of retail energy providers across the nation.

Making Your Home Energy Efficient Could Save You $1,500.

If you install new energy-efficient windows, insulation and appliances, the federal government, the state government and your utility company will pick up part of the tab. Right now the federal government will kick in $1,500 of your cost for these upgrades in the form of a tax credit.

The government also offers separate bonuses for going solar, Leamy says.

Learn more about the government programs at www.dsireusa.org and www.energystar.gov/taxcredits.

Joining a Kilowatchers Program Could Save You $400 a Year

Your power company might offer a kilowatchers program, and that will bring more savings, Leamy explains.

Here's the deal: You agree to let the power company cycle your air conditioner unit off for short intervals during times of peak usage. This saves the power company's grid and saves you money.

The power company attaches a little radio receiver to your air conditioning unit to control it. Most users don't even notice the difference, but they do notice the average savings of $400 a year, Leamy says.

Cell Phones

Employer Discount Could Save You Hundreds a Year

Some employers offer discounts on cell phone monthly rates that could keep some green in your pocket, even if you keep the phone glued to your ear.

Josh Davis, from Manchester, N.H., saved $204 a year when he took advantage of his employer discount on his cell phone bill.

Switch Plans for Savings Up to $450 a Year

Ever had the inkling you were paying too much for how much you use your cell phone? You could be missing errors and some serious savings.

Enter Validas, a Web site dedicated to saving you money on your cell phone bill.

For $5 the Web site claims the service will "analyze your wireless bill for errors, disputes and savings" and says it saves customers an average of 22 percent or $450 a year for a typical customer.

Click here to visit MyValidas.com.

Track Your Talk Time

If you're going over your allotted minutes each month, it may be time to start keeping track of your gabbing, according to Leamy.

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