Are you taking a trip this summer? Consider putting a hold on some of your monthly services to save enough to offset the cost of some of those souvenirs and restaurant meals.
Services to Suspend
YOUR PHONE SERVICE: Ask your wireless or landline provider for a voluntary suspension- you'll still have access to 611 and 911. Also turn off your smartphone's data-roaming and auto-check functions to avoid paying for e-mail that comes through if you're traveling abroad.
YOUR CABLE SERVICE: Depending on the provider, you might be able to put this on hold, or score a "seasonal plan." If not, see if you can switch to a more basic, lower-cost plan during your vacation.
Related: Lower (or eliminate!) your cable bill
YOUR DIRECTV: As long as you don't have a balance on your DirecTV bill and aren't ending service for more than six months, it won't cost you anything to suspend it. Remember to ask before you act. When you request a hold on your services, find out if there are any fees or any time limits on how long the suspension can last.
Charges You Can Cut Off Yourself
ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES: Even when they're not in use, your television, computer and other devices draw electricity if they're plugged in. That's up to 10 percent of your monthly energy bill! Unplug anything that doesn't need to stay connected in your absence.
Related: Save more money all around with our guide to buying efficient and inexpensive appliances
COOLERS AND HEATERS: Switch your water heater to vacation mode and you can cut your home's energy use by up to 25 percent. Also turn up your home thermostat and lower your fridge's cooling setting (check perishables first).
See 11 More Ways to Save on Cooling Costs
HEAT-CREATING LIGHTBULBS: If you use automatic timers or motion sensors to turn lights on every now and then, switch those bulbs to CFLs, which last longer and use less energy.
Before you leave, run down this checklist:
- Close your blinds and curtains.
- Turn off lights and set automatic timers.
- Alert your credit card companies that you'll be traveling.