This post is short and sweet and to the point.

Folks, I cannot stress how important it is to check all of your accounts for possible savings at least once a year. This includes your bank accounts, your credit accounts, your utility accounts, and more. Basically, you should review every account that involves a financial relationship at least yearly.

It’s easy to do this. Just call the customer service number and ask if there are any better deals than the one you currently have. You may have better results if you do a bit of research (on the web or in person) before you call, but it’s not strictly necessary. Taking one hour out of your year to do this can yield huge savings.

What prompted me to write this? Well, my mother just got a new laptop computer with a wireless card. When I offered to set it up for her, I asked what she was paying for internet service. For dial-up internet and phone service, she was paying $79 a month. This seemed high to me. (I’m willing to be that she’s had the same plan since signing up for internet service over a decade ago.)

“Do me a favor,” I said. “Call the phone company and ask what it would cost to get DSL.”

“I don’t understand,” my mom said after she did some research. “They say that I can get voice mail, DSL, and phone service for $60 a month, but that’s less than I’m paying now.”

That’s right: For $19 less per month than she’s paying now, my mother can get a faster internet connection and voice mail. That’s a savings of nearly $230 a year — and improved service — simply by asking. (Plus, they provided a wireless router for free!) But the phone company had no incentive to tell her this. They simply waited until she called to ask.

Remember: Nobody cares more about your money than you do. If you don’t take steps to improve your financial situation, nobody else is going to do so either. In most cases, wealth isn’t about luck. Wealth is about taking charge of your money, telling others what you want instead of letting them tell you what you’re going to get. And it’s about taking care of the little stuff, like how much you’re paying for DSL and phone service.

So, go out there and call the phone company and the cable company and your bank. Find out if there are any better deals waiting for you. Don’t wait for a discount — ask for one.