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Bundle Up for Savings—But Be Careful

'A la carte' options may be cheaper than options you won't use or need.

As temperatures fall outside, it becomes time to bundle up and save some money. No, I'm not just talking about wearing a sweater around the house so that you can set your thermostat a couple of degrees cooler (although I highly recommend that, too).

Rather, I'm talking about the marketing practice called "bundling." The Web site InvestorWords.com defines "bundling" as "The practice of joining related products together for the purpose of selling them as a single unit. ... Bundling arrangements usually feature a special pricing arrangement, which make it cheaper to buy the products and services as a bundle than separately."

That sounds simple—and good—particularly since InvestorWords.com mentioned my favorite word: "cheaper." In many cases, buying bundled products and services really can be a good value.

For example, bundling your insurance policies, such as homeowner's, automobile, and other coverage, into a package policy with a single insurance company can often lower your total premiums by 10 percent or more. Bundling is also popular and often cost-effective in the telecom industry, where you might get a discount by buying phone, TV, and Internet service from a single provider.

There are also some good values to be had on bundled consumer products, particularly if you're in the market for a home computer or other consumer electronics.

But be careful when you consider buying specially priced bundles of products and services; they're not always the best deal. Here's what to watch out for: … Back to Article

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