Category Archives: Get Frugal

5 Simple Ways for Cutting Business Costs and Remain Competitive

All companies need to keep adjusting to the market trends and get as much competitive as possible, not only to boost their profitability as to be able to survive in the toughest market conditions.

There are multiple ways for cutting business costs and take your business competitiveness to the next level:

1 – Splitting Advertising Costs

If you have a local shop, you can split advertising costs with your neighboring businesses. This is an old way for small companies to be able to get some exposure and more visitors together. If you’re just advertising your own services you’re spending much more than you could spend in this type of marketing campaigns.

2 – Partnerships Might Reduce Your Marketing Needs

A partnership might be the perfect replacement to some of your marketing campaigns. If you close a deal with a related website or company that’s not your competitor, he can send you customers, and you can send him customers, and you both get more business for free.

3 – Save Money on Printing

If you need to print flyers, documents, or anything regularly, working with the right printing business can save you money and reduce your printing costs budget. The best thing is that you can leverage those savings to order more printing ads for example, and that way you can get much more exposure and reach a bigger audience, just by working with the right printing business.

4 – Spread the Customer Feedback

If you have happy customers you can use that to your advantage in multiple ways. First, a happy customer will buy from you again in the future, and it’s cheaper to sell something to a repeating customer than to find a new customer. New customers are more expensive and reduce your advertising budget, so you can try to keep in touch with your current customers and turn them in repeating customers.

But another useful aspect of having happy customers is that you can use their feedback not only to improve your products and services as to show others how good your products or services are. Testimonials and customers feedback improve your conversion rates, so they save you money in finding new customers. And nowadays, you can easily get customer feedback on your own website or on social media, and share it with other prospect customers.

5 – Always Compare the Real Costs

Make sure you always compare the real costs of doing something in-house or by outsourcing it to a professional vendor. This one is closely related to the “save money on printing” tip. Just like in that example, if you do the math you might conclude that working with the right printing business can get your printing costs down, and probably below how much you would spend to print in your own office. The same can be applied to other tasks you’re doing yourself.

Always include your time costs too! If you’re spending the exact same money to have something done outside your company, you’re already saving hours and hours of work that you can use to work on other tasks.

How to Grow Your Business and Maximize Your Marketing Budget

Any business needs more customers to grow. One of the biggest challenges for a company is in growing the business in a sustainable way and maximize the marketing budget to make sure they get the best return on investment and maximize their growth opportunities.

Here are some strategies you can implement to make sure you’re investing your marketing budget wisely:

#1: Get some feedback from your customers

If you’re running a website or an e-commerce store, you can easily have a small form after your customers make you a purchase and ask them how they found you. You can also do it easily by sending a survey to your newsletter readers.

But even if you’re running a local store without much web presence, you can still gather feedback from your customers. A smart way to do it is to have a tablet or an iPad at the counter and let people interact with your app and give you some important feedback. Make it as interactive as you can, and be sure you ask them how they found you. With this information, you’ll easily evaluate which marketing channels are sending you most of the traffic and most of the customers.
#2: Get closer to your customers

The smartest businesses have been trying to get closer to their customers for some time. They invest on customer support and they make sure they keep in touch with the previous customers.

The goal of getting in touch with your previous customers is in getting more business from the same customers, without spending any portion of your marketing budget. If a customer bought something from you in the past and he had a good experience and support, he might be interested in buying from you once again.

You can implement for example loyalty programs to reward your current customers and to make sure they’ll be interested in buying from you once again.

You can also invest some time and some of your marketing budget on social media so that you can interact with your potential customers and your current customers, and keep them updated on your new products, services, and special discounts or sales.
#3: Be consistent and diversify your investments

On average, a customer has to see your image or interact with your brand up to 10 times before he buys something from you. So, you need to try to get exposure on multiple channels and keep interacting with your potential customers as much as you can to make sure they get to know you and your brand. This way, they will more likely to buy from you.
#4: Old school marketing might give you the best bang for your bucks

While most businesses are focusing their marketing strategies online, and spending most of their money on PPC or social media advertising, there are some old school marketing opportunities with much less competition and that deliver a much better return on investment for most businesses.

A great example of one of the best marketing strategies that your competitors might not be using yet is to hire a marketing company to post flyers for you, door to door. That’s a highly targeted marketing strategy for local businesses since you’re spreading your message and brand locally. It can be an effective way for growing your business and is typically less expensive than other marketing methods.

You need a little creativity and try to think outside the box. While all your competitors probably use Google Adwords or Facebook ads, probably not many of them use old school marketing strategies. And that’s where your opportunity lies.

Ways to prevent financial loss in your business

It doesn’t matter how well your business might be performing at any given time – the possibility of suffering from some form of financial loss always lurks around the corner. All aspects of business finances need to be handled with extreme care, and one of the most important is planning for the bad times as well as the good. With so many different issues and factors in play that could cause a turnaround in financial fortunes at very short notice, it is essential to have a good overview of where potential problems might lie.

In-house

The causes of financial loss for a business essentially fall into two categories, those that you can prevent and those that you can’t. Any in-house issue should be under your control, so this is a good place to start looking for possible problems. Financial strain can come about by growth and expansion that is too rapid, such as by taking on too many employees or buying too much stock up front. Having a good overview of wider market trends and conditions, and then adapting your planning in line with these is a key way to take proactive actions that can prevent possibly fatal financial losses for a business.

Outside causes

Any business that is part of a supply chain dealing with outside suppliers will always be at risk of problems occurring down the line. If a client company goes bust, you might find yourself left with expensive stock you can’t shift, whereas if a supplier lets you down, customers will go elsewhere and you lose sales income.

Putting back-up plans that cover eventualities like this into place isn’t too difficult, as simply spreading your purchases across a range of suppliers and trying to have a wider client or customer base are two simple steps that can be very effective.

Paper trail

Of course, making sure that you are paid on time is the single biggest factor in avoiding financial problems for your business. When you have supplied goods or services, you have done your work and completed your part of the bargain, but if there is a delay in payment, it can cause cash flow problems that affect your ability to move forward.

Having a robust financial system in place is an essential part of day-to-day business activity, and using receipt templates can ensure you have a clear paper trail that gives you an overview of exactly where things stand. Professional accounting practises are available to everyone by using these methods, and they can play a key part in avoiding late or non-payment from clients and customers. You can find out exactly how it all works here.

Hands on

The one thing in common with all of these suggestions is that they require a hands-on approach. For anyone running a business, this should be second nature, because in order to prevent financial loss, you need to know how all sides of the operation are running and be able to see where potential problems may lie. In that way, you will be able to take all the necessary actions needed to make sure that you trade profitably.

5 Solid Tips And Tricks To Get The Best Insurance For Your Dog

Will a pet health care crisis force уоu put a price оn love?
Iѕn’t thiѕ thе worry wе аll face, соnѕidеring thе growing expense оf veterinary attention, рluѕ thе chance оf unexpected illness оr accident? Yоur friend Boomer соuld lick uр anti-freeze, run оut intо thе road, оr bе attacked bу a Lyme-infested tick, аnd аll уоur savings соuld vеrу wеll evaporate. Or ѕоmеthing worse.
Mауbе уоu hаvе thought аbоut pet insurance, but didn’t knоw thе рlасе tо start. Sоmе basic guidelines will hеlр уоu compare thе vаriоuѕ plans оut thеrе tо gеt thе bеѕt dog insurance tо suit уоu аnd Boomer.

Tip #1: Know What You Want From Insurance For Your Dog
Thе bеѕt dog insurance will рrоvidе health care fоr уоur dog whilе protecting уоur ability tо pay thе bill. Whilе nо pet insurance policy pays 100% оf vet costs, thе reimbursement it рrоvidеѕ соuld make thе difference.
Bеfоrе уоu start researching, write dоwn specific information аbоut уоur dog. Breed, age, сurrеnt medical condition, date оf lаѕt vet visit, activity level, аnd аnу genetic оr recurring illnesses, аrе аll important in finding insurance fоr dogs.
It’ѕ аlѕо a good idea tо knоw whаt уоu сurrеntlу spend оn routine vet care, medications, аnd unexpected visits tо thе vet. Total uр a year’s worth оf vet expenses ѕо уоu саn compare thiѕ amount tо thе cost оf thе dog insurance.

Tip #2: Find People Who Know The Best Dog Insurance
Talk tо аt lеаѕt twо vets, mауbе more. Aѕk thеm аbоut thеir experiences with pet insurance. Mоѕt plans reimburse уоu rаthеr thаn paying thе vet. But find оut if уоur local vets соnѕidеr оnе tо bе thе bеѕt dog insurance.
Yоu might аlѕо contact a multi-specialty vet practice аnd аn emergency clinic. Thеѕе professionals саn рrоvidе estimates fоr thе big procedures уоu mау hаvе nоt уеt faced. Thе bеѕt dog insurance iѕ designed tо hеlр уоu pay fоr thеѕе kinds оf events.
Othеr sources оf information аbоut insurance fоr уоur dog аrе оthеr dog owners, thе breeder оf уоur dog, аnd еvеn a local kennel club. Yоu might find ѕоmеоnе with first-hand experience with dog insurance whо саn givе уоu a good idea whаt tо expect.

Tip #3: Understand Dog Insurance Plan Options
Thеrе аrе mаnу types оf dog insurance plans. Sоmе cover accidents аnd emergencies, whilе оthеrѕ will reimburse уоu fоr routine vet care. Medication саn bе included in thе basic plan оr offered аt additional cost.
Lооk fоr a pet insurance plan thаt reimburses a percentage оf thе total vet bill. Sоmе plans оnlу cover “usual аnd customary” charges, whiсh аrе averages collected bу thе insurance company. Thiѕ iѕ оftеn muсh lеѕѕ thаn whаt уоu will pay thе vet.

Tip #4: Even The Best Dog Insurance Has Limits And Exclusions
Evеrу pet insurance plan hаѕ deductibles, co-pays, аnd policy limits. Thе bеѕt dog insurance will hаvе annual deductibles аnd limits ѕо if уоur dog iѕ sick mоrе thаn оnсе in a year, thеѕе limits wоn’t kick in еvеrу timе уоu gо tо thе vet. Yоu саn choose thе co-pay percentage thаt works bеѕt fоr you.
Twо оf thе mоѕt important factors in dog insurance аrе pre-existing illness аnd breed-specific exclusions. If уоur dog hаѕ bееn treated fоr аnуthing recently, mоѕt pet insurance plans will nоt pay fоr treatment with diagnosis fоr a сеrtаin period оf time.
Unfortunately, ѕоmе dog breeds hаvе hereditary оr genetic health problems thаt mау require mоrе vet care thаn оthеr breeds. Yоur firѕt choice dog insurance plan mау exclude уоur dog if she’s оnе оf thеѕе breeds. Thеrе mау аlѕо bе exclusions fоr older dogs оr thоѕе with chronic illness (like allergies). Bе ѕurе уоu lооk closely аt аll thе exclusions.

Tip #5: Decide Which Dog Insurance Plan Is Best For You
Choosing thе bеѕt dog insurance plan саn bе a difficult decision. Balance уоur dog’s health nееdѕ with thе plan options аnd thе total cost реr year. Yоu mау bе mоrе willing tо pay out-of-pocket fоr routine care thаn pay a higher premium еvеrу month. Or уоu mау wаnt thе security оf knowing thе pet insurance will hеlр pay fоr аll уоur dog’s vet care.
It mау bе еntirеlу роѕѕiblе thаt уоu mау conclude thеrе iѕ nо bеѕt dog insurance policy fоr you. Whеn уоu hаvе adequate money tо cover a worst-case illness оr injury, thаt mау bе thе right choice in уоur case.
Hоwеvеr уоu choose, уоu will knоw уоu hаvе dоnе еvеrуthing уоu саn tо guarantee thе health оf уоur bеѕt friend. And уоu’ll hаvе peace оf mind knowing уоu’ll nеvеr bе forced tо put a price оn hiѕ affection.

Rеаdу tо buy, but afraid оf gеtting ripped off?
Evеn аftеr уоu decide уоu wаnt pet insurance, уоu might bе hаving a hаrd timе deciding bеtwееn аll thе options. Insurance companies dоn’t make it easy tо understand, аnd уоu’rе nоt аlоnе in thinking уоu соuld pay tоо much.

The Four Situations Where Taking On Debt May Make You Richer

Any smart financial person understands that they key to financial freedom is the absence of debt. But the conundrum is that there are times when you have to assume debt to grow wealthy. Yes, as ironic as it seems, it may be those who take a chance on taking on debt who become the most wealthy in our society.

Debt is never a good thing, but sometimes it may be necessary to achieve your goals. There are only four real reasons ever to put yourself in debt. If you are spending and getting in over your head with any other than these four reasons, then you should think hard about your financial decisions going forward.

Buying a house

With interest rates at an all-time low, it is the best time to consider purchasing a house. The statistics for insurance in Winnipeg are a perfect example of an economy that is thriving from home buyers and proper mortgage investments. When you rent, you throw money out every month, and then at the end, you virtually have nothing to show for it. If you have the income and the credit score to buy a home, now is one of the best times to do so. Every month you will likely be paying almost the same in rent, but should you ever want to move along, you will have equity in the home that will give you money back on your investment. There are also some significant benefits to buying a home versus renting it. The tax code allows you to use the interest paid on your mortgage and write it off against your taxable income.

Starting a business

It is almost impossible to make something from nothing. The same is true of creating a business. If you want to start a business, then you normally have to invest in it. Sometimes that means your time, but often that means capital. Whether you are starting a business or expanding a successful one to corner more markets, you may have to spend some to make more. Try to minimize the amount you put up front so that you aren’t in the red for a long time. The sooner you can pay off debt and be in the black, the better. You can always reinvest to grow more after you are established and turning a profit.

Borrowing money to make money

Sounds silly doesn’t it? With interest rates being as low as they are, it makes sense to borrow money to invest in something that has a high return. If you can invest in a sure thing that yields you a percentage that is considerably higher than what it is to borrow it, then you are going to make money by borrowing money. Never before in history has it been as possible to get a loan to invest to make money on an investment. The key is to cover all basis to ensure that there are some guarantees. The last thing that you want to do is to borrow money at a particular rate and have the investment bomb. That will leave you with nothing more than high debt.

To earn an education

The price of a four-year institution has grown exponentially over the past decade, but it is still something that can get you on the road to a higher earning potential that will last a lifetime. If you are going to acquire an education, make sure that once you spend the money to do so, you are going to earn a benefit your long term situation. The key to an education is to get a degree or a certification that will make you a higher pay rate and pay off in the end. It doesn’t make much sense to get a degree in psychology for $120 thousand to get two dollars more than minimum wage an hour.

College is not the guarantee that it used to be. Before you decide to spend the money furthering your career, think smart and do your homework. The more specialized your education is, the more you are making yourself invaluable and ensuring your financial future. Also, it may once have been critical where you earn your degree from, but choosing a lower priced school is not going to demean salary considerably.

There are only four reasons that being in debt is acceptable and sometimes even profitable. Before you extend yourself beyond your financial means, just make sure that you have a plan and a good exit plan, if the first should fall through. The last thing you want to do is have debt killing your chance at a successful financial future.

Living on Boat – How do the costs weigh up?

Many of us may have wondered what costs are involved in living in a houseboat. I found this infographic which will walk you through exactly how the various costs such as electricity, boat moorings and other utilities compare to living in a conventional home. Enjoy!

Boat

Overuse of Overdrafts: The Most Expensive Form of Legal Credit

Overdrafts can be a financial lifesaver for individuals and small businesses alike. Many use overdrafts as a readily available and convenient form of credit, especially when more traditional sources of personal credit or additional operating capital are unavailable. The individuals and businesses who rely upon overdrafts to cover cash shortages often view the fees they are charged for overdrafts as an unavoidable cost of doing business, but those fees can get to be awfully expensive – more expensive, in fact, than other personal and business costs that the individual would reject as being altogether exorbitant.

Banks have a love/hate relationship with overdrafts…

To be sure, overdrafts and the fees they generate are a pretty sweet deal for the banks, as they are able to collect many millions of pounds in overdraft fees every year. Despite the inordinately high profit potential that overdraft fees represent to the banks, however, roughly £5million worth of overdraft services are being taken away from small and medium enterprise (SME) owners every day, according to a Bank of England report that came out in October 2015. The elimination of overdraft services often amounts to a significant reduction in the working capital upon which many SMEs rely for their business to function.

Small businesses are seeking out alternatives to replace their lost overdraft services
In response to the loss of this relied-upon source of working capital, small business owners have sought out and used alternative funding and finance options, including secured loans from the Bank of England, an increase to the tune of £76 billion in 2015 alone. Ironically, the same banks that have been eliminating the highly lucrative overdrafts are beginning to offer those same business customers more traditional, less expensive forms of credit.

Individual account holders are being hurt, both by high overdraft fees and the removal of overdrafts

It’s not just businesses that are suffering; individual consumers are having overdraft woes as well. Individuals often get too dependent upon overdrafts, and some don’t even realise how much they are actually paying for what they thought was “free” banking. Part of this has to do with the “culture” in UK banking, which includes a lack of transparency about the real costs, but part has to do with consumers not educating themselves about these matters. In some cases bank customers are actually trapped with bank accounts that offer poor value, but they can’t switch because they have to pay off their overdraft debt. And even if they could switch banks, there is no guarantee that the new bank will offer the same – or any – overdrafts on the new accounts.

Breaking the overdraft cycle

Small business owners and individuals alike can free themselves from the seemingly unbreakable cycle of overdrafts, but doing so can be difficult. The most obvious solution is to avoid spending more than you have, but that is not always an easy course. The account holder who runs out of money before they run out of month might actually be unable to break the cycle, as the added cost of overdraft fees often equals or even exceeds the amount of shortfall in a given month, which ensures that the following month will also find the account in overdraft status. In worst-case scenarios, such as when the bank removes the overdrafts, the account might even go into default, resulting in its being closed and processed for collection.

There does exist a sort of saving grace that is becoming more available as banks are getting more liberal in their lending policies. For customers who lack the funds in savings to pay off their overdrafts (which would seem to constitute a majority of those who rely upon overdrafts), yet are still in good standing with their credit card accounts, a money transfer from the credit card to cover the overdrafts might be a viable alternative. While credit card debt typically carries a higher interest rate than other more traditional types of loans, that interest rate is still likely to be less expensive than the fees charged for overdrafts.

As a last resort, it might be possible to convince the bank to refund overdraft service fees that are deemed to be excessive or inappropriately applied. This is admittedly an unreliable process, as the lack of transparency into banking operations makes it difficult to prove that the charges were inappropriate.

Whatever method you choose to break free of the overdraft cycle, it is imperative that greater focus and commitment be made to ensuring that you don’t slip right back in. If nothing else, emerging from what amounts to a compounded cycle of overdrafts can be even more difficult to emerge from than was the original situation.

Recession update: How Businesses are coping

An economic recession can be described as a period in which the gross domestic product of a nation has not increased in two consecutive quarters but has instead decreased during those two quarters. An economic recession leads to the loss of jobs, loss of business opportunities and a depression or slump in consumer spending habits. It is important at this juncture to note that consumer spending is what drives most economies throughout the world. When people and households have disposable income, they will tend to buy things or pay for the chance to experience new sensations with friends and loved ones. This is what will provide businesses with capital, therefore driving the economy. Therefore, a slump in consumer spending is the last thing that any sane person would want.

Ever since the great economic recession of 2008, small and large businesses alike have had to deal with growth and survival in an environment that does not particularly favor entrepreneurial activity or business survivability. It is not easy to operate in an environment that does not have customers who are willing to pay for your goods and services. It is also disadvantageous to grow a business in an environment where getting approved for business loans from financial institutions is harder than passing a controversial bill through the legislature.

However, there are many businesses that have been able to cope with the great economic recession and are actually growing faster and better than ever before. Here is how they are coping:

1)      Seeking new market opportunities

Instead of locking everything down and focusing on the consumers that the business has, most business owners and managers are looking to expand their consumer base, even during the economic recession. This is due to the fact that having a healthy cash flow is one of the mandatory things that have to happen in order to survive the onslaught brought about by the economic recession. Many businesses have also started to focus on the public sector, with public private partnerships mushrooming in states all over the country, as this is a lucrative market that has unlimited earning potential.

2)      Using new technologies to cut costs

With the economic recession still looming in our minds, most businesses have endeavored to invest in technology, so as to hedge against the risk of another economic recession. Computers, machine and the internet have been used effectively to reduce dependence on human beings and other avenues of getting work done that are expensive and time wasting. Computers and machines do not complain and can live without pay indefinitely. The same cannot be said for unruly workers looking for more money to meet their living expenses. While this has led to the laying off of thousands of workers, the introduction of machines and other innovative technologies will drastically reduce the costs associated with manufacturing the product, therefore meaning that the end consumer will also get to enjoy the stiff reduction in prices of goods and services. This will end up spurring economic recovery and business activity.

3)      Making the most use of the financial leverage available

Businesses have also managed to remain afloat by tapping into incentives offered by countries and financial institutions. Some countries have provided numerous incentives for taking business loans, while banks have lowered some of the harsher interest rates that deterred many businesses from expanding. By leveraging these financial benefits, many small to large business enterprises have been able to weather down the recession.

Looking after your money the mobile way

Looking after your money the mobile way

Managing your finances abroad used to be a tricky business. You needed to ensure you carried sufficient funds for everything you planned to do during your trip. Often once you were out of reach of your nearest bank branch you had no way of keeping track of your finances, ensuring bills were being paid, or getting more money should you need it.

The situation has now changed dramatically, and the last few years have seen an explosion in online and mobile banking across the world. As Alex Bray, Retail Channels Director at Misys, has said:

“With the introduction of online and mobile banking, managing your finances abroad is simple”

Customers can now maintain control of their money from anywhere in the world.

Some countries quickly embraced mobile apps and online banking, while others have been slower to adapt to the growth of mobile technology. In many ways it has been countries in Asia which have been at the forefront of mobile banking. A good example of this is e-bank Japan, a bank with more than three million customers, no physical branches, and less than 200 staff. Opening an account with e-bank Japan can be done entirely on your computer or mobile phone, and identity documents can be photographed using your camera phone and transmitted to the bank using your mobile. This reduces costs for the bank, and speeds up the application process for the customer.

Similar operations exist in India where many rural customers conduct all of their banking using mobile devices. The Indian bank is one example of a bank which offers a mobile app for fund transfers and account checking, as well as a full online service.

Perhaps the biggest market for mobile banking exists in China where a host of different banks now offer downloadable apps to allow customers to check their balance and transfer funds. You can choose from well known names such as ICBC, or UOB (China), China Merchants Bank, or even China Bank, all of whom have mobile apps available. In most cases you will need an account with the bank before you are able to use the app you downloaded.

Kenya leads the way

Surprisingly, for many people, the global leader in electronic money transfers and payments is Kenya. Kenya leads the way due to M-Pesa, their system of money transfer using mobile devices.  Since launching in 2005 the M-Pesa app has changed money transfer in Kenya, and is now expanding throughout Africa, and even India. Electronic money transfer has proven to be particularly popular in Kenya due to the high number of workers who regularly send money home to their families. M-Pesa makes the transfer a quick and low cost option.

One sleeping giant in the world of mobile banking is Brazil. Brazil was one of the first countries to establish the principle of ‘branchless banking’ and can boast one of the largest agent networks in the world, but it has proved slower at adopting mobile banking. Brazil has very recently started to catch up with the trend with HSBC launching a Windows phone app early in 2014.

In many cases Western countries have proved slower to adapt to the changing world of banking – perhaps for cultural reasons or because of the extensive branch networks that exist in many countries. One western country where mobile banking has made a breakthrough is Canada where both RBC Canada and HSBC Canada offer mobile apps to their customers.

Of course, it is not just mobile banking that is growing. Banks are continually seeking new ways to stay in touch with their customers. One method that has proved to be especially effective has been interaction via social media.

According to Alex Bray, this is a case of:

 “Be where your customers are – and help customers to interact with your services via social media.”

If customers now spend time online, rather than in their local bank branch then it makes sense for the banks to follow their customers and engage with them where they are.

Beating the Increases — Broadband for Less

Beating the Increases — Broadband for Less

In recent days, several broadband providers have announced increases in their charges. Naturally, no-one wants to spend more than they need to on broadband costs, but most of us need a fast and reliable Internet connection simply to live our everyday lives. So how can you be sure you are getting the best deal, and how do you go about reducing your costs if you want to pay less?

Start by looking at the deal you have now, and check how much this is costing you. Don’t forget to include the cost of your phone line rental in this — it’s often included in your deal, but if not, you need to consider this cost as well. Think about what you use the Internet for. If you are a light user, perhaps surfing the net and sending emails, then you may not need a high monthly download limit. However, if you regularly watch HD movies or catch-up TV, enjoy online gaming, or have several users, then you will definitely need unlimited download. This is because the costs are high if you exceed your monthly limit, and your line speed could also be reduced. If you are a very high user, then fiber-optic broadband may be worth exploring, so check to see if it’s available in your area.

To see what deals are available, you can begin by using a broadband comparison site. You should note that advertised speeds don’t necessarily apply to all customers — in fact, only a minor percentage of customers need to achieve a very high speed for the provider to advertise it. You can do a broadband speed test online to check the speed of your connection. Enter your information and look at the results. This gives you a starting point. The next step is to contact your current provider to see if they can offer a better deal. You’ll be surprised at much you can cut your costs, simply by threatening — with real intent or otherwise — to switch to a different provider.

If you’re still not satisfied, go back to the broadband comparison site to see if there are any other decent deals. Check to see if there are any further discounts available. Sometimes you can get a reduction in price if you pay a year or more in advance for your service.

It never hurts to shop around, so have a good look at all the deals and offers before you make your decisions. Switching providers itself is usually quick and simple, so sign up and then look forward to enjoying reduced broadband costs.