Summer fun greetings to all my millionaire readers. It’s time to take a look at an expense that really used to irritate us: our cable-internet-phone (CIP) bill. Back in the day, we used to pay almost $2,000 a year for our various service packages, but those days are gone forever. The last time I wrote about our CIP bill we had it down to a measly $59 a month.
Since that time our living arrangement has changed…dramatically. In August of 2016 we packed out of our apartment in Douglas, Georgia and put all of our belongings in a 10′ x 15′ storage unit. (By leaving our apartment we lost our $20 a month internet bill for our 3Mpbs service.) From there we stayed with family in Georgia and Tennessee until we made our way to Cancun, Mexico in October. Sometime in December my Republic Wireless cellphone stopped working, so I discontinued my cellphone plan with them. This resulted in the shedding of another ongoing monthly expense of $7-$13.
Let’s take a look at our current expenses:
“Cable” TV: $8
Come on, you already knew we’d never sign up for cable TV again, right? Instead, we pay for a rock-bottom Netflix subscription at $8 a month. This subscription allows us to stream content on one standard-definition screen. For us, this minimal plan is more than enough viewing content for us.
Now that we no longer have our own place Stateside, we also don’t have an Internet bill. It’s amazing how ubiquitous WiFi connections are these days, so we’re able to access the Internet at our relatives’ homes, the public library, and any other locales that we frequent.
Cell Phones: $12.91
The only cell phone plan we have these days is Edwina’s Republic Wireless plan (affiliate link for those interested…you’re welcome!) for her super sweet Moto G cellphone. Once again, it’s a minimal plan that allows for calls and texts but no data. Since she’s usually near a WiFi network, a data plan isn’t a necessity.
As I already mentioned, my Republic Wireless cellphone, a Moto E, stopped working sometime in December of 2016. There was something wrong with the antenna, so the phone couldn’t access WiFi networks or cell towers…it was kaput. Luckily, I had a free gift phone that a buddy had given me. The phone, a ZTE Speed, only works on WiFi since I still haven’t put a SIM card in it yet. The beauty of this phone is that it costs $0 a month. This technological clunker is quite useful: I can use Google Hangouts to make calls and send texts, check my email, surf the ‘Net, and use any Android smartphone app. All for nothing per month! Of course, if I’m far from a WiFi network, I’m screwed (especially if my wife won’t let me use her phone for an emergency call).
“Landline” Phone: $6.90
After letting our Skype subscription lapse a few years ago, we decided to sign up for their service again. A 12-month, unlimited subscription for U.S. calls (with a real phone number) costs us $82.76 a year or about $6.90 a month. I use this number when I open credit cards for our travel rewards (see link below in resources).
Total U.S. CIP Bill: $27.81
For my table aficionados (you know who you are), I have created yet another table masterpiece. The final tally shows a total monthly bill just under $28; let’s take a look at the breakdown:
CIP Bill in Mexico
In August we’ll head back to Merida, Mexico for the 2017-18 school year. No, we won’t be teaching there, but Eduardito will attend a small private school for his sixth-grade year. In May we signed a lease for a 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom apartment located a short walk from the school. Our $500 ($9,000 Mexican pesos) a month rent includes WiFi and cable television…not bad, huh? Here’s what our CIP bill will look like in Mexico later this year:
“Cable” TV: $10.08
Going forward we’ll have our Mexican cable package and our minimal Netflix subscription. Of course, I’ll see if we can get Netflix at a cheaper price in Mexico. Until then, I’m still budgeting $8 a month for our current Netflix subscription. The remaining $2.08 of our monthly budget is a possible Amazon Prime membership in Mexico. For $25 a year ($449 Mexican pesos) we’ll get “free” 2-day shipping and access to Prime’s video library. While we don’t plan on buying tons of stuff through Amazon in Mexico, we’ll probably benefit from Prime’s streaming service.
We don’t plan on having an Internet bill next year since WiFi is included in our rent. Woot!
Cell Phones: $15.57
As soon as we arrive in Merida, my wife will downgrade here Republic Wireless cellphone plan to the “WiFi only” option for $7.24 a month. I plan on getting a low-cost plan from Telcel for about $8.33 a month. My understanding is that before I can use one of my free phones with a Mexican SIM card, the phone will have to be unlocked first. My friends in Merida say that it easy to “jailbreak” a phone in Mexico (more on that in a future blog post).
“Landline” Phone: $6.90
We’ll keep our Skype subscription while in Mexico for two reasons. First, it’s a low-cost way to make U.S. calls from anywhere in the world. Second, we’ll continue to need our Skype number for our travel rewards activities. (My only complaint about Skype is that its texting service charges for every text message sent…NOPE, not gonna use that service!)
Total CIP Bill in Mexico: $32.55
Here’s our best estimate for our CIP bill in Mexico for the upcoming year:
What do you think? Are we paying too much? I look forward to reading your CIP tips in the comments section below…
Eternally Yours in FIRE’d Frugality,
Check out my Useful Resources table below. I highly recommend using Personal Capital to track your net worth. If you sign up for the service, please click through the affiliate link below and I stand the chance of getting a little moolah.
|Health Savings Account: We use Elements Financial to access commission-free, low-cost Vanguard ETFs at TD Ameritrade.