Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Saving Money on Technology

Per request, a blog post on how I save money on phone, internet and TV.  Our choices are not for everyone so your story will probably be very different.  No matter where you fall on the phone/internet/TV spectrum, my best advice is to call your providers at least once a year to try to get them to lower your bill.

A year ago I took the plunge and did something I swore I'd never do.  I cut our land line.  I remember having a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach the entire time I was on the phone with AT&T.  I'd always had a land line.  I was rather attached to my home phone.  I loved to answer the phone.  I liked my answering machine.  But I wasn't so keen on that $30/month phone bill that seemed rather superfluous considering we also had cell phones.

So long land line

Less than a month later, I knew we'd made a good decision.  Only the people I actually want to talk to call me.  While everyone else was bemoaning all the political calls and sales calls, I was happy as a lark that I wasn't having any such problems.  Sure, we did have a bit of a rocky start because some of the people who we actually would have wanted to talk to didn't know our new number and it wasn't in any phone book.  They'd have to call my mom or mother-in-law to get our number.

Hello Cell Phones (And yes, that is a very basic flip phone without even texting--I'm old school)

A year later and I am still sold on being land line free.  My phone goes with me, so I rarely miss an important call.  I only have one number to fill out on forms.  My phone rings a third the amount it used to...which is nice.  It makes it a lot easier to get school done when I'm not constantly answering the phone.  We've saved $360 in the past year.

We need a lot of internet speed to keep all these computers running

At the same time that I cancelled our phone service, I also upgraded our internet service from 4 Mbps to 6 Mbps (the top speed we can get in our area).  Because we received an introductory rate, our internet bill actually went down by $15 despite increasing our speed.  This rate was locked in for a year.

Our year of cheap internet was scheduled to end at the end of this month when our rates would go up to the regular price of $44.95 a month.  My brother, who makes all call center representatives quake in their shoes, encouraged me to call AT&T and ask for a price break.  So I called them last week.  I told the woman that my deal was about to end and I wanted to discuss it.  She was so very helpful and quoted me the latest deals.  I am now paying LESS than before--$24/month for the very same internet speed--with the rate being good for the next six months with no contract (not that we have any other option since they have a monopoly in my area).  I will call back in March to talk to them again before my rates are set to go up.

If we subscribed to cable or another TV service, which we don't, I would also call regularly to lower my rates.  Every three months my Grandma calls all of her technical service providers and talks them into lowering her rate--usually only $5 each time, but that's $5 more in her pocket every month.  My father-in-law switches back and forth between DirectTV and Dish Network every six months so he always gets the cheapest rate available.  My sister calls annually and threatens to cancel her service if they won't lower her bill.  It usually works.

No Cable--Only Netflix

It pays big time to call your providers, ask for the lowest pricing.  If you can stomach it, you might even want to consider ditching your land line.  A few bucks here, a few bucks there, adds up to more cash in your pocket with very little effort.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't paid more than half price for my satellite radio subscription for the last 2.5 years. I've gotten them to give me free months, buy two get 3 free, or half off on 6 months. You just call them up to cancel service. When you cancel, they will always ask for the reason. The magic words are, "I can't afford it". I've also found that typically their first offer is not their best offer. They'll offer me 20% off or something similar. I'll say something like, "Well, that's still to much money. I don't think I can justify spending that much". They'll typically give an even better offer. If they don't and they go ahead to cancel your service. THey typically will ask for an end date. If you are having second thoughts, put the end date a week in the future. You can call back the next day to uncancel the service. I've saved a lot of money this way. The only places that I've found aren't willing to deal are cell phone companies. Internet and TV companies will fight for your service. Heck, we just signed up for UVerse TV again. They are paying me $300 to hook up TV. The best part is, we can cancel it after 2 months and pocket half of the money.