Virgin Media has today upped prices on its broadband, phone and TV prices. But you can cut costs by following some clever techniques

Virgin has introduced a £1.25 charge if you want to receive paper bills. Yet simply opt for online billing and this charge can be avoided.

Some telephone charges are up too. Calls to mobiles now cost an extra 1p per minute, making them 16p per minute during the day and 11p per minute in the evening. And the cost of dialing 0844 numbers has jumped by 2p per minute. There's no change to the cost of calling landlines.

The communications giant has also hiked the cost of its 'XL' TV package and its 'M' broadband package by £1 and £2, respectively.

Yet there are ways to sever the cost of both phone calls and package deals to beat the price hikes.

Slash call costs: You can cut the cost of calling mobiles, landlines and overseas numbers, at any time of day, by using special override providers, such as 18185. Dial the overrider's special pre-fix and it'll give you access to mobile calls for 10p per minute during the day and 4p per minute in the evening. You'll sometimes have to sign-up before using these services.

Haggle for a cheaper package: If you are out of contract it is possible to cut a large chunk off the cost of your package just by calling your provider and explaining you are not happy. Often threatening to leave will earn you the greatest negotiating power.