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INSIDE MONEY: FAMILY FINANCESFINANCIAL CALCULATORSSALARY SURVEYLEGAL ADVICE

How To Save on Your Long Distance

• Call your carrier every three months and ask, "Am I on the cheapest calling plan?" New plans come up regularly, but companies don't bother to tell you about them.

• Be on the lookout for special incentives. Currently an online company Essentials.com will pay $50 for switching your service.

• If a competing carrier has a better plan, ask your carrier to match it. Sometimes they will. If they say no, switch immediately. Many times your old carrier will then offer you special incentives to switch back.

• If you decide to switch carriers, make sure you ask the new company to pay the telephone switching fee. This fee is charged by your local phone company and is around $5.

• Read your bill. Watch for monthly minimum fees you didn't expect. Also watch for "cramming" - when you're billed for special services you didn't order.

• If you travel a lot make sure you get a long distance plan that provides cheap calling card rates.

• Get a rate comparison at SaveOnPhone.com or LowerMyBills.com

See Also: Saving money at the grocery store


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