Proverbs 22:7

The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Continuing to look for ways to save more money...

Recently, we made some pretty significant changes to our regular household utilities. For starters, when we bought the house, we got ADT security. For ADT to work, you either had to have it connected to a land line, or they had to install a cell box for it to be compatible with your cell phone. With the land line, there was no one time fee, and the monthly cost was $29. The cell box was a $250 one time fee, plus an extra $13 per month.

We figured we probably were going to need a land line eventually, and we hadn't really gotten a feel for the house, to know if we had crappy reception on our cell phones yet, so we decided to get a land line from AT&T for $37 per month. It was more per month than the additional $13 was, but it didn't include the $250 start up fee, which we just didn't have available at the time.

Well, in 8 months time, we BARELY ever used the land line. And on at least 4 previous occasions, when one of us would try using it to call the other, or vice versa, we found that it wasn't working. When I called AT&T to ask about it, they said they saw no issues on their end, and that if they had to dispatch a tech, it was going to cost us an additional fee. WTH? Usually, we got the phone back to working after messing with the connection on the wall, etc etc, but I finally got fed up! There was NO SENSE in having a land line, that sporadically didn't work, to where if my house was being broken into, they had no way to call.

So, we discussed it and decided that we don't really have a need for a land line right now, we should just bite the bullet, pay the extra $250 as a one time fee, and pay ADT $13 more per month and save $37 from AT&T. So we did. Good news? When we called, ADT was running a promotion on the cell box for existing customers, and it only cost $142, not $250. Score!

Then we started talking about cable and Internet. When we first moved into the house, Our cable and Internet was $80 per month, 6 month promotional period, for standard basic cable. After the 6 months, it jumped up to $108. I knew it was going to, but even after it did, I was still irritated with it. So I called to see if they had any promotions, any way we could cut it back down. Nope, nothing. Would not even entertain the notion. The customer service, frankly, sucked. She wasn't polite, wasn't accommodating, and wasn't even sorry (except in a condescending tone). Pisses me off that cable companies have such a damn monopoly. They are the only cable company we can get out here. Our other options are dish, direct TV.

So after a post on FB, and some research, we decided the hell with cable, we were going to get a Roku box (one time fee of $100), with Netflix (monthly $10) and Hulu Plus (monthly $8). For local news channels, we'd need a digital antenna (got one for $90...but there are cheaper options available). The plan was to drop cable TV, and keep only cable Internet, which I KNOW that cable companies have the ability to do, except yesterday, when I went to make the call to do just that, The same rude lady answered the phone again, and with her condescending tone said "we don't offer Internet only, you have to have basic cable as well. We USED to offer that, but people were misbehaving and rigging their cable line to get cable TV without paying for it."

Well, damn, I thought. What was I going to do now? Solution? Eat crow, and crawl back to AT&T, who I had just cancelled my phone service with, and sign up for DSL only with no phone line (which they clearly have marked on their website). Intro rate is $25 per month for 12 months. After 12 months it's only $48. The cable Internet portion of our cable bill was $50. It's a faster connection speed than the cable Internet, and it's a great intro rate, and still a good regular rate, which I wont be hacked off about after the first year is over because it's still affordable. Instead of renting a DSL modem for a small fee every month, I have to buy a modem. Through AT&T it was $75. Yeah, I know, I probably could have gotten one cheaper at target or walmart, or something like that. Whatever, I fell victim to the convenience of buying it through them. AT&T had better not disappoint me though - this DSL connection had better work, unlike the sporadic issues with the phone line!

So, in short, recent one time fees:

ADT Cell box: $142
Digital Antenna: $89
Roku Box: $100
DSL Modem: $75
Total: $406

Savings Per month:
Was paying:
Cable TV + Internet: $108
AT&T Land Line: $37
ADT Security: $29
Total: $174 per month

Will now pay:
Netflix: $10
Hulu Plus: $8
AT&T DSL: $25 ($48 after 12 months)
ADT Security: $42
Total: $85 per month

Savings of $89 per month. The $406 in one time fees will have paid for themselves in only 4.5 months. I think it's well worth the change :)

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