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03 Nov 20:35

10 Ways to Improve Your Memory

by Brett & Kate McKay

vintage man looking down with pensive look on face

Editor’s note: The following except on “Memory Aids” comes from Increasing Personal Efficiency (1925) by Donald A. Laird. Some re-formatting and condensation have been applied to the original chapter. 

The strength of your memory depends upon the way in which you memorize rather than upon how much it is used. What you want to do is to learn the best ways of memorizing. After you have learned these, follow them rigorously until you have them ingrained as habitual ways of memorizing that you use without thought or effort.

Memory itself, probably, cannot be improved. We are limited by our natural gifts, but the ways in which we memorize can be improved. Therein lies the secret.

1. Be intentional in remembering.

The man who first said “it is the little things that count,” may have wanted to be funny, but he stated a truth of improving memory. The first “little thing” for you to correct is your intention in remembering.

Try to remember this phrase: intention has a lot to do with retention. Be sure to remember this because it is illustrative of one of the first steps in putting memory on a serviceable basis.

When one tries to remember, his memory works much better than when it is left to drift for itself. It has been found that, when one tries to remember, he does remember 20 percent better for a few hours. This same little effort improves memory for longer periods of time by as much as 60 percent.

Apply this every time you run across something that may be useful. When you are introduced to a person say to yourself: “I must try to remember him”; you will remember him much better. When you chance upon a bargain in the advertisements say: “I must remember this” and you will save your pennies, and the embarrassment of forgetfulness.

It is not fair to complain of a poor memory until you have really tried to use what you have in the best way. The ability to remember is there. It is up to you to make the most of it.

2. Memorize the new through the old.

Can you recall the shape of Italy?

Can you recall as accurately the shape of Germany?

You can remember the shape of Italy much better because, when you studied about Italy, its shape was nothing new. It was merely an old-fashioned boot. When you learned this, you had nothing new to remember. What you did was to connect the new notion of the shape of the country with an old idea already in your head.

The secret of your better memory in this case is that you had memorized the new through the old. This is a very important memory aid to use continually.

When was the Chicago World’s Fair? You probably cannot recall. I am going to show you how to connect this new with the old so that you can remember this date easily. This fair was to celebrate the four hundredth anniversary of the discovery of America. Of course you know that America was discovered in 1492. That is an old memory. For hundred years later make the Chicago fair in 1892 but, because the buildings were delayed a year, the actual year of the fair was 1893.

Isn’t that much easier than repeating 1893 over and over again? It is not only easier; it makes a more lasting memory. And it is not only more lasting. Doesn’t it mean much more to you now than it would have if you had merely used brute force and memorized 1893 as the date without having the new memories connected with the old ones?

Do you know the German word for dog? It is hund. This can be easily remembered by connecting the new with the old in this way: Hund is much like hound, and hound is an old memory of yours. With one stroke such as this, you have a memory of a foreign word that will last some time.

Not every new thing can be so easily connected with old memories. The point for you to follow, however, is to look for any associations you can possibly find. Do not memorize things as being entirely new; refresh your old memories until you run across some connecting link. You will thus make the new easier to remember, and you will also have strengthened your old memories by reviewing them.

How can you remember this memory aid by connecting it with the others we have given?

When and why was the Chicago World’s Fair?

3. Cultivate a broad range of interests.

At the circus, you saw many people who were strangers to you. Of all these, which ones would you recognize if you were to see them again? Probably the fat woman and the human skeleton.

Let the fat woman teach you something about improving your memory. She was remembered when hundreds were forgotten because you gave her more attention than you did the normal-sized persons. She was unusual and interesting. This caused you to fix your attention upon her and a more vivid impression was made than if she had gained only casual and passing attention.

What did you read in yesterday’s paper? You can probably remember only the items that attracted your attention. That is why most readers remember the novelties of the news rather than the more significant events. You will notice, too, that the advertisements you remember were the large ones or the unusual ones.

The unusual house or the loud automobile is remembered better because they arouse our interest. The interesting public speaker is remembered because interest holds attention, and attention increases the vividness of our memories. Interest and the attention it brings makes otherwise ordinary things vivid. The person who has many and strong interests remembers better than the ones with only a few weak ones.

You probably have trouble remembering names because you are embarrassed when introduced and give attention to complexion and clothes rather than to the name. Hereafter whenever you make a new acquaintance invariably make it a special point to remember their name and their face.

Test your interests in this way: what can you remember from the daily paper? Is it mostly sport news? If so, it is because your interests lie there. Is it the theatrical news? If so, there are your interests too. Or is it the really worthwhile things you remember?

Improve your memory by cultivating an interest in everything you read or hear. Maintain this interest through life, and add further to the vividness of your memories by giving attention only to one thing at a time, and by going slowly until you can feel that a vivid impression has been made. Haste makes waste and not vividness.

One vivid impression is remembered better than three ordinary impressions.

4. Talk over the things you want to remember.

Do you reinforce your memory? When you want to remember some facts, do you just look at them or do you repeat the figures? Do you write them down and think about them for a while? If you look at them and think: “How interesting, I must remember this,” you are improving your memory by this added effort. But you will not have reinforced it.

Reinforce your memories of the news of the day by talking over what you have read at the table. Reinforce your memories of the best markets by talking over the advertisements. Reinforce your memories of the movies you see by talking about them from time to time.

A student of mine recently performed some experiments which revealed that one remembers 15 percent more a week after memorizing things that are heard as well as seen. This is a very simple way for anyone to improve his memory by merely talking over what he has read or heard. Not only will this aid your memory efficiency but it will give you something about which to talk and perhaps change you from a conversational bore into an interesting person to have around.

Among my friends is a physician who is superintendent of a hospital with twelve hundred patients. This a great accomplishment in itself. More important from the psychologist’s point of view is the fact that he has a tenacious memory for names.

He reinforced and improved his memory for names by getting each name through his eyes, his ears, his mental pictures, and by writing it. After he had become adept in this, he never forgot a name memorized.

When you are introduced to a stranger and want to remember the name do not just say “how ‘de’ you.” Repeat his name as often as possible. Disregard etiquette and say: “Glad to know you, Jones.” Repeating the name as well as hearing it reinforces your memory.

If you have been in the habit of laboriously writing down things you want to remember, you are reinforcing your memories slightly, but stronger memories have been found to result from repeating and talking over the things to be remembered. Try this out yourself by talking over the significant news of the day, then think the same news over tomorrow and you will be surprised how great an improvement you have made.

5. Revive your recent memories.

Here is an easy test for you to try on your memory: What did you read about in the last section? Can you remember the section before that, and the one before that? If you go back over your reading, in memory, you will note that you have great difficulty in remembering what you have read even six hours ago. It is but little harder to remember what you read six hours ago than it is what you read two weeks ago.

This illustrates an important and very practical law of memory. For some reason or another, one forgets most rapidly immediately after memorizing. The first day after memorizing one forgets more than he will forget the next thirty days unless he refreshes his memory in the meantime. This rapid fading away of memories is usually disastrous to them.

The principal method to use in order to avoid this rapid loss is to brush up on your memories soon after having memorized. If you have read an interesting article, do not wait until you want to talk about it to revive your memories. The time to revive them and make them permanent is within half a day after the first impression has been made.

If you have children in school, spend some of the time at the evening meal talking over with them the things the teacher taught them during the day. The knowledge retained by the children will be rendered much more useful as well as more permanent if you do.

Take advantage of your spare moments by reviving your recent memories. Whenever you have a minute on your hands, you can turn it to value by offsetting the rapid forgetting of your new memories.

When you are walking recall worthwhile things you have read, seen, and heard. On the car do not read, but devote the time to your personal progress by thinking over your memories. It is easy to day dream, and as easy to dream over your memories. It will take some conscious effort to start the habit of dreaming over – or reinforcing – your memories, but when once started, it is an easy, worthwhile, and interesting habit.

Each evening a most profitable half-hour can be spent by thinking over the effectiveness of the happenings of the day. The memories thus systematically revived will change those of iron into steel.

6. Repeat what you want to remember.

Would you like to have your memories one and a half times as strong as they are now? You can improve them by this amount if you repeat everything you want to remember twice.

How would you like to have your memories twice as strong as they are now? You can more than double their strength if you repeat what you want to remember three times.

Repetition, which is the old stand-by in improving memory, thus is found to be of considerable value, even though there may be diminishing returns. Repetition alone, however, is not the most desirable memory aid. One should understand thoroughly what he is to remember before it is repeated. The layman can memorize difficult medical terms by repeating them alone, but is the memory worth anything if it is not thoroughly understood?

Do not entertain the notion that it is childish to repeat the things you should remember. If you want strong memories you must repeat them. Do not think that your memory is weak if it will not retain things when you read them or mention them only once. You must strengthen your memories by repeating the material you want to remember well. That is the way you memorized the multiplication table, which is probably one of the strongest memories.

When you are introduced repeat the name several times by saying, “Glad to know you, Mr. Jones. We were just talking about the tariff, Mr. Jones.” Thus you have repeated the name twice. Jones feels complimented when you mention him by name, and your memories are strengthened every time you do.

If you care to have all your memories as strong as our memory of “two times two equals four,” use repetition freely.

7. Memorize meanings.

Your sense will improve your memory and your memory in turn will improve your sense, if you go about it in the right way.

One who does not understand the language of finance has a sorry time remembering when he reads the market pages. Likewise, if he is not well versed in sports, a description of a game in the sporting section is scarcely remembered. This is because he does not understand and sense these particular subjects.

A few days ago I was with a group of chemists. The day after, my friend and I talked over the conversation. I remembered but little of it while scarcely a phrase had faded from his memory. I could not remember it because I had not understood what they were talking about. My friend, the chemist, had remembered it because the conversation had made sense for him.

Give your memory an additional lift by memorizing meanings. Can you remember this: Use sense to improve your memory? Can you remember this: Sense memory to your use improve? You remember one because it has sense for you. The other has the same words but is many times harder to remember because there is no meaning that you can attach to it.

You can remember quicker when you look for the meaning; you will also remember longer when you have memorized the sense. Use the dictionary to help you get clear meanings. If the sense is not clear to you, study over the word or phrase until you understand it. Read your papers and magazines for meanings rather than for words. Look for the meaning in conversations and speeches. You cannot possibly remember all the words of the minister, but you can easily remember the sense of his talk.

Put this into practice now by turning to the editorials and reading one for its meaning. It will put more sense into your head and the sense will make it easier to remember. Try for the next few days to develop the habit of reading for the meanings. Neglect the words for they are important only insofar as they give the meaning.

8. Memorize early in the day.

When does your memory fail you most, in the morning or in the evening? Can you memorize as quickly in the afternoon as in the forenoon?

Last year I experimented with 112 of my students so that I might answer these questions. The experiments lasted six weeks and required almost five thousand tests.

I found that one can memorize for ideas best in the forenoon. It is about 5 percent less efficient to memorize in the afternoon, and about 6 percent less efficient to memorize in the evening. From eight until ten in the morning was found to be the best period to memorize for those who arise at seven.

It is probably easiest to memorize in the forenoon because fatigue is least then, and because there are fewer new impressions in the nervous system.

Sunday seems to be the worst day of the week to use one’s memory. This is probably because we take things so easily on that day that our mental machinery is not warmed up and working at its best. Early morning memorizing, immediately after rising, is not effective because the mental machinery, as it were, is not warmed up.

If you are doing some serious study, why not rise an hour earlier than usual, exercise a bit to get warmed up, and study then rather than in the evening when efficiency in memory is 6 percent lower?

Remember that your retentive powers lose in strength gradually from waking to retiring, so do your serious memory work accordingly.

9. Approach memorization with a positive attitude.

Do you dread memorizing? When you have a name to remember, do you dislike memorizing it? When you have a speech or some shopping items to remember, are you bothered by the fear that you will forget them?

This attitude really makes memorizing harder, and increases your chances of forgetting the very things you want to remember. Your attitude has much to do with your mental efficiency.

At the University of California, it has been found that one’s mental efficiency is improved when he makes believe that the work he is busy at is fun and not hard. The work itself, of course, cannot be changed, but the efficiency of the mental life in going at the work is greatly increased by making a pleasant approach to it.

You no doubt have seen some one of your acquaintances stand with his heels to the corner and bend over to touch his forefingers at the level of his knees. Now this can be done easily so long as he does not think it is unusually hard or an impossible stunt, but just as soon as there is a crowd around insisting that it is a hard stunt and that it is impossible for him, he finds himself unable to do it. His attitude has made an easy stunt impossible.

It is much the same with memorizing. The child who thinks that the piece he has to learn for Sunday school is hard, will take twice as long to memorize it as he would if he thought it easy. So with your memory; things will be remembered easier and longer if you look upon using your memory as fun rather than as drudgery. No child should be brought up to think that mental work is hard or irksome, and any adult who feels that way should speedily change his attitude.

If you cannot actually and genuinely change your inner attitude, merely “faking” an attitude of pleasure will be of help. Try assuming this attitude that assists your efficiency the first time you note the “drudgery” attitude creeping over you.

After you have fallen into the habit of looking upon memory and all mental work as being great sport, you are likely to find that it is fast becoming a real and permanent attitude. It should.

Why not pretend that work and memorizing and thought are fun?

10. Make “overmemorizing” a habit.

Students especially, and all of us to a great extent, seem to think that too much memorizing is bad. In consequence we find the student studying his lessons just barely enough to be able to remember them the following day, and we find the salesman remembering the name of his new customers only a day or two.

Much forgetting is due to the fact that we seem to seek the easiest way and memorize only enough to remember for a few hours or days. Never stop memorizing as soon as you can repeat the name, or date, or information accurately. Spend some additional time memorizing it even after it is apparently well learned.

What can you recall of the Civil War history you were taught in the grades? Probably but little because, at the time, you were, like the rest, studying just barely enough to be able to remember the lesson for the recitation on the following day. Much education is wasted in this way. Education should be a life-long acquisition, but unfortunately it fades rapidly. This is because students are not taught the value of too much memorizing.

Information that is memorized well enough to be remembered tomorrow will not be remembered a week later unless it is overmemorized or other precautions are taken to keep it from fading. After you can remember what you are reading or studying, memorize it a little more. It is this additional memorizing that will make the memory permanent.

The physician who has his information in his head is the one who overmemorized in college; the one who has to consult his books again and again is the one who memorized just enough to get by in his examinations. The engineer who has to use the pocket manual continually is the one who failed to overmemorize.

You can remember certain things you have read in this book today. If you want to remember these tomorrow and make them a part of your permanent information, review them at once and overmemorize them.

Make overmemorizing a habit; it is a “factor of safety.”

The post 10 Ways to Improve Your Memory appeared first on The Art of Manliness.

16 Aug 17:46

3 self-help tricks to felieve anxiety

by Buzz60
14 Apr 16:43

Steven Roberts: How to pay for college without student loans

by Jacob Amezcua

Steven Roberts: How to pay for college without student loans

BYU students are missing out on a goldmine of free money because they don’t know where to find it or have no motivation to apply for it. BYU students are eligible for hundreds of scholarships they don’t know about.

On Thursday, April 2, Steven Roberts, author and motivational speaker, addressed BYU students on the topic of how to pay for college without student loans. Roberts unveiled expert advice and techniques on how paying for college can be easier with the help of scholarships and grants.

Roberts explained that he relates to BYU students who are paying for college.

“When I was preparing to go to school, there was just no money, so I had to figure it out,” Roberts said. “It forced me to learn about all kinds of resources to save money.”

He began by recounting a personal story from earlier in his life, which he described as his “biggest mistake.” He said when he was a BYU student studying electrical engineering, an announcement was given to the 800 students in his major about an opportunity for two scholarships that were worth around $15,000 each. He was unmotivated to apply because of the amount of people who were eligible for the scholarship and his demanding amount of homework.

Roberts described his disappointment when he found out that out of the 800 people who were eligible for the scholarship, only three of those students applied, which meant two out of those three students received the $15,000 scholarships.

“Wow, a 66 percent chance of getting $15,000 … what was I doing?” said Roberts.

Out of the three people who received the scholarship, Roberts said, he had the best academic profile; but they deserved the scholarships, because they applied and he did not.

“The biggest mistake you can make is to self-eliminate … to not apply,” Roberts said. “Those who actually take the time to apply will benefit the most.”

Roberts said it is a stereotype that only certain people have the opportunity to obtain a scholarship. He explained three types of scholarships everyone has the ability to apply for:

1. Background-based scholarship

This type of scholarship doesn’t require the recipient to actually do anything. The scholarship is based on the background of the individuals and what they have been born into. This scholarship may include the individuals’ heritage, childhood, school location, living in a certain part of the country, family status, religion, etc.

2. Project-based scholarship

This type of scholarship requires an individual to submit a certain project such as an essay, a video, photography, art, etc. It is based on something that is worked on and submitted to be able to earn the scholarship.

3. Merit-based scholarship

The recipient of this type of scholarship will be decided by an amount of cumulative work performed. An example of a merit-based scholarship would be a scholarship based on the recipient’s GPA.

Roberts said there are a variety of ways to find scholarships that fall into one of these three categories; once students know the type, they can focus in on one of those three points.

The first resource he listed were two websites he has found success with: and He explained how these websites allow students to find out every type of scholarship available for them to apply for. All that is required is for a student to make a profile and answer personal questions about subjects such as GPA, interests, major, etc.

“I made a demo profile on one of these sites and picked random stuff,” Roberts said. “I made a profile of a student with a 2.7 GPA majoring in agriculture and interested in bull-riding. After submitting the information, my demo profile was eligible for 184 different types of scholarships”

In addition to those websites, Roberts suggested that students should look for scholarships through their major’s department head, campus general scholarship advisement and the office of prestigious scholarships.

Roberts reminded students that not everybody applies and that it is worth it to investigate each one of these resources, even the office of prestigious scholarships. He said the amount of time spent looking for scholarships will be worth it.

“Even if you spent 40 hours applying for scholarships and only received $1,000, that’s still $25 an hour,” Roberts said.

He encouraged students to explore other scholarship opportunities like Utah IDA and FAFSA.

Roberts said it is easy to discredit oneself and to generalize when applying for scholarships. He gave an example of when a scholarship required him to write about an act of service he had done. Roberts said he didn’t just write, “I did a service project with my church”; rather, he described in detail how he participated in a 10-person committee that donated more than 20 hours of service to help clean a community center.

Roberts said the difference between a bad essay and a good essay was the description of the results told as a story. He said the presentation of a story as being valuable is what will make a competitive essay for a scholarship.

“If there is someone who can write a fantastic essay, they’re gonna give it to the person with a 2.0 GPA over the 4.0 GPA,” Roberts said.

Another tip Roberts gave for applying for scholarships was to create an Excel spreadsheet with demographic info and previous essays that can be copied and pasted into applications.

“Scholarships ask the same thing over and over again,” Roberts said. “Save time by copying and pasting.”

In addition to applying for scholarships, Roberts explained that some student jobs can act like scholarships. He gave a personal example that when he had downtime on his job working as a student, he would take advantage of his time by doing homework. Roberts stated that he essentially got paid to do homework, because he leveraged his time while he worked.

“If I’m gonna do my homework, I want someone to pay me,” Roberts said. “On campus there are so many jobs where you can do the same thing — parking supervisor, TA, janitorial worker … find somewhere you can spend your time wisely. Don’t just assume it’s OK, though; go check to see if that will be a resource.”

Roberts explained that it is OK to be rejected when applying for scholarships and that the key is to just continue applying.

“No matter how many times you’re rejected, it only takes one to change your life,” he said.

19 Dec 18:47

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20 Feb 20:00

Keep Your Kids Out of the Entitlement Trap

by Josh Baron and Rob Lachenauer

Want to know what keeps the owners of the most successful family businesses up at night? The dread that their kids will grow up to be entitled.

This is the concern of most parents, but among the very wealthy, the anxiety can be sometimes paralyzing:  Will their children and grandchildren end up lazy, good-for-nothings, who are not contributing to society?  In other words, “trust fund babies,” the kind whose scandalous antics fill the pages of the New York Post.

That’s not paranoia; the fear is grounded in reality. In business families, it’s quite common for the next generation to grow up in a much wealthier environment than the current generation.  The problem is not limited to them.  A study of over 3,000 families found that when wealth is passed from one generation to the next, a whopping 70% of it is squandered. Speaking generally, wealth is a very difficult thing to manage well.

That said, in reality, money turns out to be a less important factor than one might think in the development of entitlement. Some very rich kids turn out to be highly motivated and engaged – we see this in our work every day. Our experience also suggests, however, that kids don’t mysteriously end up entitled; there are some common choices parents – all parents – make to a greater or lesser degree that substantially increase the odds that kids end up feeling that the world owes them a living. These choices are often made with the best of intentions, but they work against the long-term interest of our children.

How do you avoid the entitlement trap?  There are no pat answers. What we learned from our work with family businesses is that you can start by asking yourselves questions.  This is not a scientific formula, but the more “no” answers that are scored, the greater the likelihood that you are putting your children on the path to entitlement:

  • Do they hold down jobs?  Kids that have jobs – even part-time or volunteer jobs – are more successful, both personally and professionally, than those who don’t. In an informal study of what people shared who made it to the C-Suite, one major American bank singled out height and summer jobs. There’s not much you can do about height, but work brings enormous discipline and learning. Jobs are also tremendously grounding, psychologically: they keep kids from being bored, one of life’s great vices. What we also see with glaring clarity in our work is that parents are blind to the strengths and vulnerabilities of their children. It’s hard to be objective. Jobs give your child the chance not only to gain experience, but als0 to get honest feedback. Reality is one of the best ways to combat a false sense of entitlement.
  • Can they build careers? Sometimes the next generation just can’t get traction, and they’re not entirely to blame. Alarmingly, in about a quarter of the client situations we work in, we see adult children being set up to fail. Owners sometimes give members of the next generation hopeless assignments – for example, they are asked to turn around a losing business that has no chance of becoming profitable.  Typically, this is done out of a desire to have the adult children understand, even relive, the experiences of the parents, who have almost always had to overcome tremendous challenges in order to succeed. The same thing can happen outside a family business, when adult children are forced into careers and professions in which they have no interest, and often no talent. Not surprisingly, they often don’t do well. Paradoxically, too much disappointment can also lead to entitlement. When even our best efforts are not good enough, it often seems better to just sit back and wait for life to be delivered to us on a silver platter.
  • Are they allowed to suffer? Life is like the stock market: it’s up and down, and there is risk involved. Don’t set your kids up to fail, but don’t shelter them from fate’s hard knocks. Let your children feel the pain – it builds resilience. Indeed, research shows increasingly that resilience flourishes in an environment of tough love. But don’t make your kids suffer too much either.  The best way we’ve seen wealthy family business owners help out their grown children without creating a sense of entitlement has been to provide assistance with education and housing. The owners of a very successful family business we work with hold back dividends but have a large educational fund that pays everyone’s schooling. They also help out with “reasonable” housing costs.  After that, everything else is the adult child’s responsibility. This discipline wonderfully concentrates everyone’s mind on the vital difference between wants and needs, and nips entitlement in the bud.
  • Are they grateful?  Recent studies show that there’s an inverse relation between materialism and gratitude. This poses obvious challenges for families that enjoy great wealth.  In her pioneering work on the subject, British psychoanalyst Melanie Klein wrote that, without gratitude, there can never be any personal satisfaction; envy creeps in and desecrates everything. We all have something to be envious about, even the very rich – sometimes especially the very rich – but envy is a toxic emotion.  Gratitude can soften it, and Klein thought that gratitude was inborn. But new findings on gratitude show that it can also be taught. The key is that parents must model gratitude before kids can develop it. That takes work. Practice gratitude yourselves, and chances are that your children will end up thanking you for it.  That’s the first step out of the entitlement trap.

Much more can be said on many fronts, and we look forward to your comments on this issue.  But one last word:  in our experience, the way that the most successful business families curb the next generation’s sense of entitlement is by staying involved in their kids’ lives.  If they fail to get some quality time, your children turn to money as the next best substitute. That sounds trivial, trite, perhaps even a platitude.  But every child is entitled to love. The rest is gravy.

23 Sep 17:21

5 Ways To Save On Your Cable Bill

by Alexis Caffrey

When you’re living on your own on an entry-level salary, the cable bill can be one of your largest monthly expenses. Add in premium channels, a DVR box, and on-demand rentals, and you’re easily looking at $100+ dollars a month.

Fear not: if you’re looking to save on your cable bill, you don’t need cut the cord completely or replace your TV altogether with streaming options. There are a few tricks you can use to keep your monthly costs low, while keeping your entertainment level high.

1. Bundles

One of the biggest ways to save, no matter where you live, is bundling. Bundling with one provider means streamlining your services. Instead of paying one cable bill, one Internet bill and another separate home phone bill, you can save by combining them into a bundle.

You can choose to bundle what you want , so you eliminate the cost of the things you don’t. According to providers’ sites like, if you combine all three – TV, phone and Internet—you save the most dinero. With some providers you can even bundle your security system to save on literally all your home services.

Keep in mind:

  • Don’t pay for faster internet than you need. Internet speeds vary, and are affected by both your location and what you do online. The more you download, the more speed you need. If you don’t download much, then you don’t need to pay for the fastest plan.
  • Don’t pay for calling features you won’t use. Yes, it’s smart to bundle to save, but don’t get a plan with features that you know you won’t use – like long distance or international calling. If you know you won’t call internationally, don’t bother paying to have the option.

2. Movies

If you have premium cable channels, ask yourself if you get enough use out of them.

It can cost an extra $20 to $50 monthly to get a few movie channels (think HBO, Showtime, Starz) for your TV service– that money adds up. If you still want access to movies but don’t want to pay extra for premium channels, consider going with an online streaming site like Netflix, RedBox Instant or Hulu Plus. Each of those online streaming services costs $8 a month. Each offers movies, current TV shows and TV shows that are off the air.

3. Tablets

Using your tablet might not be a money saving tactic, but it’s a great way to actually take advantage of all the apps and features you get with your cable TV subscription.

There are apps available that take your TV watching to the next level – so if you’re already paying for the channels, you might as well make use of the TV provider’s corresponding app. You may be able to save yourself the monthly expense of a DVR box in your bedroom, for instance, if you can use an app to watch your shows from another DVR in the house on your tablet.

4. Antennas

Depending on how extreme you want to go with your saving, you can cut out cable entirely and buy a set of antennas (they run about $30 to $50). That will give you basic cable for news, weather, and sports—then you can catch up on your shows by subscribing to services like Hulu and Amazon Prime. It’s not ideal, and the picture won’t be hi-def, but it’s worth considering if you’re trying to drastically cut your bill.

5. Call Your Provider

If you’re determined to keep your TV subscription top-of-the-line, call your service provider and explain the situation. Often times they can help move you to a limited-time promotion to save some money, or give you some premium channels for free for a couple of months. If you’re having technical trouble with your DVR box or connection, many providers will throw in a few months of Showtime or HBO for free, simply to compensate for the inconvenience. It’s worth a shot.

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