Like most inhabitants of Earth, we love technology in all its forms. We have computers, smart phones, tablets, a Roku (for our 2002 unsmart TV) and a Wii. Of course, we need an Internet connection to bring the world into our home, so an Internet connection is a must. After enjoying a one-year introductory rate of $25 a month, I realized that our local ISP was now charging us $50 a month for a 25Mpbs Internet connection. Something inside me said that we were paying too much, so I began researching our options.
Realistically, most people in this day and age can easily get by with no more than 3Mbps service.” (Read it all here.)
What?! Well, after reading his guide, I emailed our ISP to learn about their lower-end options. Sure enough, there were two options: 3Mpbs at $20 a month and 10Mpbs at $35 a month. I immediately called our ISP and changed to the 3Mpbs plan. After a few keystrokes, the customer service rep changed our plan without the need of a service technician. The rep also informed me that we could change to another plan if the 3Mpbs plan was too slow for us. Okay, deal! Just like that, we cut our Internet bill from $50 to $20 a month.
I know you’re thinking, “Yeah, but isn’t 3Mpbs service slower than a drunken sloth stuck in quicksand?” Actually, it’s not, and it’s definitely enough Internet for us. While writing this post, we decided to push the upper limits of our 3Mpbs service. We used seven devices to stream two movies via Netflix, three videos on YouTube, a podcast on Stitcher, and some tunes on Spotify. With this many devices running, we noticed that the YouTube videos started having buffering issues, but the other videos and audio files played without any problems. Since there are only three of us, we’ll probably never stream seven devices simultaneously again.
As a 52-year old who grew up with three TV channels and AM radio, I am constantly astounded by today’s technology. For $20 a month we’re able to bring the entire world into our home…it’s truly amazing. However, unlike most people my wife and I refuse to pay big bucks for cable-internet-phone services. Here is the breakdown of our current monthly expenses:
Cell Phones: $26
Last year my wife started using Republic Wireless for her cell phone service. She bought a Moto G cell phone and opted for the $10 a month plan. When taxes are added in, the final cost of the unlimited talk and text plan is $13 a month. (We’re too cheap to spring for the data plan, but we are able to access the Internet via WiFi.)
Since my wife was satisfied with Republic Wireless, last spring I decided to buy my first cell phone ever. I bought a Moto E cell phone and opted for the same service plan as my wife. In total, we spend $26 a month for our cell phone plans. Even better, there is no contractual obligation with Republic Wireless…you can cancel at any time.
This is the awesome $20 a month Internet plan that we just started two weeks ago. Sure, it’s slower than 89% of all Internet connections in the U.S., but it does the trick for us. Check out our speed test results:
“Cable” TV: $8
Okay, the heading here is incorrect; we don’t have a cable TV subscription. Instead, we use Netflix ($8 a month) to watch TV shows and movies. We sometimes watch YouTube videos through our son’s Wii gaming system. All in all, we don’t watch much TV, so Netflix and YouTube are more than enough entertainment for us.
“Landline” Phone: $5
Once again, I’m misleading my loyal readers. We do not have a traditional landline phone with a phone company. Instead, we have a Skype subscription for unlimited U.S. and Canada calling for $30 a year. In addition to the subscription, we also pay $30 a year to have a phone number linked to our Skype account. When people call us, they assume they’re calling a “real” number since our number has a south Georgia area code. Wrong! This “landline” phone costs us $60 a year or $5 a month. Not bad at all if you need a number with a local area code.
The grand total of all of these services is a whopping $59 a month or $708 a year. For those of you who like my awesome tables, here’s the recap:
What do you think? Are we killing it, or are we just cheapskates? Does this give you any ideas as to how you could improve on your cable, internet, and phone expenses? Please share you cost-cutting ideas in the comments.
|Health Savings Account: We use Elements Financial to access commission-free, low-cost Vanguard ETFs at TD Ameritrade.