So I totally forgot to share the results with y’all last month on our cable bill stuff. Truth be told, I got all TV hacking tired out so it was probably my brain’s way of telling me to quit thinking about it for a while until I got re-excited again.
And here we are today getting re-excited again!
Why? Because our updated bill came in and it shows a cool $50 savings. Woopee! Now it’s not *as* sexy as some of y’alls setups you’ve scored, what with your eliminating of TV altogether and/or super smart concoctions, but for a family who enjoys their TV and doesn’t want to get too hardcore yet, we’ll take a crisp
Benjamin Grant any day of the week. Or, for that matter, every MONTH OF THE YEAR! Hubba hubba!
But while I did spend many a hours trying to game the system by messing with streaming internet contraptions (that didn’t work on my old TV) and scoring free over-the-internet phone lines (that did work, but now I have 2 lines!), at the end of the day all it really took was a single 20 minute phone call to get the job done.
So before any of you go adventuring off to save your own money, do yourself a favor and call up your current provider first and *then* try hacking the system. That way you get the quick savings implemented ASAP, and then if you figure out a way to ditch anything it’s all extra gravy on the money train. As long as you don’t have to sign up for any extended contracts in the process…
How We Cut The Bill Down
The short answer is I just called up Verizon and asked, “Can you help lower my bill?” :) But how we got from point A (no savings) to point B ($50 savings) is a bit more on the wild side. Mainly because I had to UPGRADE more services than I did DOWNGRADE because apparently everything’s based on “the more you have, the cheaper they get” type deal – as crazy as that sounds. A perfect example being when I asked to drop our landline, thinking we’d save a quick $30 off the bat, but instead it had the reverse effect and jacked UP our bill!
So about mid-way through our call I gave up on trying to understand it all and just let the Verizon rep do her thing. Or, as she called it “work her charm.” Which tells you right there how confusing the whole thing is – probably very much on purpose.
Anyways, here were the two areas we upgraded:
- Our internet (which is now faster – I’ll take that!)
- Our premium channel package (double the fancy pants channels)
And here’s what we downgraded:
- TV channel package (went one level down to get less channels)
Phone line(I’m still bitter)
Now the premium channels we can actually kill at any time (we couldn’t at first to get the deal they said, but now that we’ve activated it apparently we can nix at any point), but since we can’t get streaming internet/Netflix/Hulu we’ll probably end up keeping it for a while to continue watching our favorite shows. We went from having only HBO and Showtime for $15/mo to having HBO, Showtime, Starz, Cinemax, and Epix (whatever that is) for half the price @ $7.50. Which is much less than 1 month of Netflix alone anyways, isn’t it? (We’re probably the only people left who’s never used them)
These two upgrades resulted in about $40 worth of savings – including a “Valued Customer” one – and then they gave us two other random $5’ish discounts too which to this day I still can’t understand. Even after reading the bill three times (I’m telling you – confusing on purpose!).
All this results in a bill of about $122.00 instead of $170.00. Which used to be $150 at some point last year until it all crept up more and more without my realizing it. As much as I’d love to bitch and moan about that, I really can’t since we all know it’s our own faults for not paying attention and calling up as soon as we notice it. The increases always seem random, but of course none of us ever reads our contracts/bills where it states very clearly when these deals end, haha… If we were smart enough we’d mark it on the calendar to avoid any future increases!
(*Hits pause to go and add the end dates to his calender*)
So to recap:
- We still have TV (just less channels)
- We still have our dang landline we don’t use
- We have faster internet speeds now (yay!!!)
- We have double the premium channels (yay!!! yay!!!)
- And we’re saving $50 every single month going forward now (Yay!!! x 50)
Can we do better? Hell yes. Do I want to mess with it any more right now? Hell no. I’ve had enough fun to last me a while, and all I want to do now is sit on my couch and watch some damn TV ;)
That being said, y’all have TOTALLY opened up my eyes on what’s possible out there and I would like to get this well under $100/mo at some point. Maybe even $50. If you haven’t read any of the comments on our last part of this series, or even the first part, check them out because there’s some really clever hacks in there.
We’ll probably go the route Mike from Simplifiable recommends later which is upgrading our ancient TV to a newer (used) 720p unit which will get us right into modern technology again for only a couple hundred bucks, minus anything we’d make off the TV when selling it. According to Mike,
“Because the screen density technology is now two generations old, 1080p and the new 4K TV’s coming on to the scene are pushing down the prices of the 720p units dramatically. Personally, I can’t tell the difference between 720p and 1080p unless I’m within 24 inches of the screen… As the 4K TV’s proliferate, the next 12-24 months are going to be an incredible time for picking up quality 720p, flat panel TV”s with modern ports, for dirt cheap.”
I reckon that will be a good way to get us caught up, and then we can slowly start detaching ourselves from the dreaded cable/internet/phone bundle so many of us are caught up in… We’re not ready to let go of cable yet, but I can see the streaming of everything helping to move us in the right direction.
Challenge Tallies Thus Far…
All this now means we’ve successfully accomplished our 3rd major mission in this Challenge Everything series so far, and even more if you count moving my investments from USAA to Vanguard and literally saving *tens of thousands* of dollars over my lifetime in expense fees.
Here are the results:
- Cell phone switching: $100 savings
- Car insurance tweaking: $30 savings
- Cable/phone/internet upgrade/downgrade: $50 savings
That’s a total of $180 saved EVERY SINGLE MONTH going forward. And since it literally is going into savings, we’ll be able to see just how much of an impact it really does have over time. All for barely any work whatsoever!
I know only a small % of you reading this and taking action will ever comment, but I do hope y’all are following along and giving a lot of these ideas a shot yourself to save over the long run too. As you can see most of these challenges didn’t take that long to implement, and every time you cut your normal every day expenses by a bit it means you shave off a little more time you need to work later in life too. $180 a month can replace an entire full day’s worth of work (or even three!) depending on how much you get paid. And the beauty is you don’t lose any quality of life in the process!
That’s powerful stuff right there, friends… so I really do hope you’re playing along here.
If you have, how much have you saved so far? What worked and what didn’t? What other bills are you cutting back on to gain monthly – recurring – forever savings?
PS: I have come across one major problem so far with this new setup – we no longer get ESPN which = Monday Night Football!! And my ‘Skins are coming up soon!
CORRECTION: My wife says we actually have *two* major problems – No more Monday Night Football and no more MTV… Though we all know which is more important ;)