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Is Bundling Services a Good Idea?

Jun 7, 2008
You've probably seen the ads often on television. Bundle your telephone, cable and internet (or similar services) and save money. Does it really work?

Not always!

In most cases you can do better by picking the best price for each service you want. The bundled price is simply better than if you bought the individual services from the company offering the bundle. They may not be beating the individual prices you can get.

Now prices can vary from one area to another, so it's hard to say what the best companies will be for you. It can also depend on what level of service you really want. DSL, for example, may be quite acceptable for some people as an internet service, while others will only want cable. If you're compromising on the quality or features you need, you are not going to be happy with a bundle.

Similarly, you may have had a bad experience with a particular cell phone carrier, or you may not get good reception in your area. And of course you may still be stuck in the middle of a two year contract that it's not worthwhile to break.

This of course brings us to the point of "do you really need all those services?" And the answer is a very individual thing. You may have a good reason for needing both a land line and cell phone. You may need the high speed internet so that you can work from home more easily. But if you don't need a service, bundling isn't going to change that. Don't use a bundle to add in a service you don't actually want or need.

These days you have a lot of choices when it comes to land line telephone service. If you shop around, you can often do better outside of a bundle than in one. Similar for cell phones.

Cable television service, on the other hand, you often only have one choice, or else you have to go to satellite which not everyone wants to do.

As you compare, make sure you find out what the prices are after taxes and fees. If you look at your land line telephone bill, for example, you will see a number of fees and taxes added to the cost. These would be an issue when you bundle too.

It can be difficult to get an estimate of the taxes you will pay for some services when you order. It may not be at the customer service representative's fingertips. But you can estimate based on what you pay for each now and do your best to get more information on the services you would be changing.

The one convenience many people state for bundling is that you get only one bill to pay. For me, that's not much of a convenience, as bills can be paid automatically. Each still needs to be reviewed, but it's not like you have to painstakingly write out a check for these services every month unless that's still the way you prefer to do it.

As with anything else, bundling is only worth it if you've shopped around and you know what the deal really is. Don't assume the commercials will tell you everything.
About the Author
Stephanie Foster blogs at http://www.homewiththekids.com/blog about being a work at home mom. Get more tips on spending less money at her site.
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