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Web sites to help shrink your bills

May 20, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Billshrink.com, is just what its name implies: a place where consumers can shrink their bills on cell phone plans, credit cards, and at gas stations. By inputting where you live and how much you spend for these services,the Web site instantly computes the amount you could save.Leslie Kahlenberg is looking for ways to save money for her young family, including her 4-year-old son, Max. Like many consumers, Leslie and her husband are thousands of dollars in debt and looking for every possible way to cut costs.

One of those ways is through the Web site Billshrink.com, which analyzes costs of cell phone plans, credit cards, and gas stations. It's one of several Internet shopping comparison sites, including Letstalk.com, Wirefly, Lower My Bills, Gas Buddy, and Bankrate.

"Right here you can kind of see your usage, about 1500 minutes, all your call volume, which network all those calls are made to," said Peter Pham, Billshrink.com.

Pham looked over Leslie's cell phone bills to see if the Web site could save her money through another plan or on a different carrier.

Billshrink.com allows you to import your own carrier's monthly bills, then breaks down your call patterns, including who you place the most calls to, what time of day, and what cell phone networks you call and receive the most calls from.

It even analyzes text message use, then gives recommendations on which plans offer the most savings, even factoring in switching fees.

"We could switch you into a plan sticking with your current carrier and save you anywhere between $1100 and $1500 in the next two years," said Pham.

Billshrink.com also compares credit cards rates and shows you the best reward cards for cashback, travel and other categories.

And, it shows you the prices gas stations charge along your daily commute. By inputting the year and make of your car, and what type of gas you use, it also lists lower-priced stations that are a few blocks, even several miles off your most direct route, and calculates the total price of filling up your vehicle, including the cost of the detour.

Leslie Kahlenberg says she was surprised to find out how much money she could save.

"I think the cell phone was $1500. Gas was a couple hundred dollars. The credit card was like $700 -- so at least $2000," said Kahlenberg.

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