How to Save on Your Monthly Bills

You can sign up with Web sites like overmyminutes.com, which is a free service that sends an e-mail or text message to let you know when you're about to run out of minutes.

Cable Bill

Lifeline Cable Could Save You $420 a Year

According to Leamy, what many cable companies call basic cable is actually their midrange offering and includes dozens of channels.

But there's an alternative to basic cable that the companies don't always advertise. It's called lifeline cable or broadcast basic.

For an average savings of $420 a year with lifeline cable you can get your local network affiliates like ABC as well as the local PBS station and some extras like college channels or government access stations.

Not all cable companies provide a lifeline cable, but chances are there's one in your area that does.

Cancelling Cable Could Save You $720

This might seem drastic, but with the rise of television shows on the Internet, more and more Americans are turning away from the cable box and toward the computer. The average American's annual cable bill is $720, so cancelling it means real savings.

Generally you can still watch your favorite shows, Leamy said, soon after they've been shown on air.

At Hulu.com, you can find thousands of episodes of hundreds of shows, all free.

Another Web site, cancelcable.com, has a show-finder tool to help you watch your favorite show in a number of ways.

Eliminating Mailings Could Save $12 a Year

Many cable companies offer incentives for you to eliminate mailings, Leamy said.

Time Warner Cable, for example, offers a $1 credit each month if you go paperless and receive their statements and notifications by e-mail.

Web Extra Savings: Car Costs

Regular Gas

Ask your mechanic if your car can use regular gas even if premium is recommended. The vast majority of cars are designed to run on regular octane.

Your car's owner manual should say the precise octane level your car requires. Then, try to find that exact level of octane rather than using the generic terms "regular" or "premium."

Fill Up on Wednesday

You might think that gas costs are fairly constant from day to day, but research shows that there's a weekly trend to gas prices, Leamy said.

It turns out prices tend to rise toward the end of the week, when people are preparing to travel, and they start to drop again Sunday, so filling up on Wednesday is the cheapest way to go.

Pay for Parking Pretax

If you commute to work, the federal government allows you to use pretax money to pay for parking.

After you fill out the paperwork, money is automatically deducted from your paycheck. Ask your employer and parking vendor to participate in the program if they don't already.

WageWorks.com is one company that processes the necessary paperwork.

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