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VANCOUVER Many of us use cable or satellite television, the Internet, land lines and smart phones to communicate, get information and be entertained.

But all these devices come with a price, which can vary. And it can be tough to know where and how to save.

Ed Castellani and Theresa Kelsay, who are married with two school aged children, have done well to save where they can.

We try to pay for things in cash, we try to get the best deal on things, and even when we go on vacation we try and skimp -- that s what we do, said Theresa.

But there are always ways to save on some of your bills. Financial planner Christy Aleckson gave Ed and Theresa a financial checkup, and said the first thing to do is examine your bills, especially on all your communications and entertainment devices.

Reviewing bills is really important especially when there are categories like usage charges, one time charges, other charges -- what are these? What are these things that you re paying for and why? Aleckson said.

After reviewing your bills, see where you can save. Simple solutions from Aleckson include locking in rates, and negotiating before promotional deals end.

They want you to still be a customer and they may not be able to give you the exact same rate, but it will be less than what you re currently paying at the new non-promotional rate. So the call is worth the time, said Aleckson, who adds you should shop around, if your current provider isn t offering you a good deal on individual or bundled services.

Also, Aleckson recommends checking to see if the services you are paying for are more than you need. Will basic cable suffice over expanded services, if you are looking to save money every month?

How do you free something up in order to put something away for your future; you only get to plan for retirement once, said the financial planner.

Negotiating a better rate also holds true on credit card interest rates. Aleckson advices you shop rates, but not open and close credit card accounts every month, because it can hurt your credit rating.

Ed and Theresa found some ways they might save a few dollars. But they are on the right track, by setting priorities, and a budget to match.

I think that we tend to look at the big picture, because we re realistic enough to know that we re coming to the point where we need a new car, and then the big picture of course is college for the kids, said Ed.

Aleckson recommends several websites to help you plan and save, including mint.com and ratemyplan.com.

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