Cost Cutting – Another Update

It has been just about two years since I wrote about things we had done to cut costs and the things I had found out. This included cutting our attachment to cable TV, reducing the phone bill, and reducing our alarm system bill. In case you missed it, it turned out that getting the phone and alarm system bill reduced only took a call saying that I was going to drop the service and go somewhere cheaper for them to make cuts to our bill. (That was just irritating – why did I have to call to get the bills lowered if it was available so easily?)

In the meantime, we have now moved. As part of the move, we cut a bit more and found some other good deals.

CABLE TV

We still do not have cable TV. We do pay for Hulu and Sling TV. In case you are not familiar with it, Sling TV is a service that offers three packages of cable TV channels. We have a package ($20/ month) that provides ESPN and HGTV and many other channels. We subscribed so that we could watch more football games. When we subscribed, they had a deal that if you paid for three months in advance, they would send you a ROKU. We paid for three months and got the ROKU. The subscription to Sling can be dropped and restarted at any time. I fully anticipate that we will drop it outside of football season. While I was thrilled to have HGTV at first, I find that I don’t watch it now. I am not thoroughly sold on Sling. I had some problems with the audio not working from time to time. It is also very slow to load which can be irritating.

We just don’t watch TV very often anymore. We do put on the news each night and we try to watch CBS Sunday Morning. Other than that, we don’t really turn it on much. We watched some award show on Fox and saw all the commercials for their shows. We decided that we were not missing anything.

PHONE SERVICE

We switched to Vonage. It is an internet based phone system and the monthly charge is just under $19 per month. It has been fine. I don’t know that it is any better or worse than AT&T. The nice thing was that we got it right before we moved and it can go anywhere with us. You just need to plug into the internet. We could probably get rid of Vonage but honestly, I prefer to talk on a headset rather than a cell phone. The problem with it is that if the internet is out, you don’t have phone but that seems to be the same thing if you have your internet, phone, and TV bundled. Overall, that was a good monthly savings. If you would like to switch to Vonage, let me know and I will give you a referral code. I think we both get a discount.

CELL PHONE

This is my latest and greatest find. We had been with Verizon for years. In fact, we had always been with Verizon. Our phone bills went up and down depending upon how many of us there were on the account but it had gotten down to just the two of us. We had an account with two phones and 3 GB of data. Our bill (after a discount from my husband’s work) was like $141 per month. I had called and they blew me off about finding a lower cost.

If you are stuck on iPhones, then this will not work for you. We have always been android phone users. Our contract with Verizon ended in December. We were used to getting a new phone every two years and Silent Sam was having lots of problems with his phone. We needed new phones. In the past, we could get a deal on a phone on Black Friday from Amazon. We would get the newest phone for $1 and we would have a new two-year contract. As you probably know, those kinds of phone deals are gone.

We looked at Project Fi from Google. With Project Fi, you must buy one of the three phones that work on their system. After looking around, it seems that buying the phone from Google was the least expensive option. (by about $100) As with the other services, you can buy the phone outright or you can essentially finance it (interest free) over a 2-year period. Okay, so the phone set us back a fair amount. But the monthly cost is FAR more palatable. With Project fi, the first line with unlimited talk and text is $20 per month and the second line is $15. Data is $10 per GB. You pick how much you want. BUT THEN – are you ready? – if you don’t use it all, you get a rebate for the unused data. If you go over, you get charged on the $10 GB basis. Our phone service is the $20 + $15 + $10 +$10 because we each took 1 GB of data – $55 before taxes. Because of unused data, this month our bill was $44 after taxes. We are saving about $100 per month on our cell bill. We are happy with the quality of the calls and the phones. We do not have a contract with Project Fi either, so if we are unhappy we can leave.

The one thing that we didn’t know would happen is that since we use Google Hangouts for messaging, the phone calls come through on Google Hangouts also. The first time my computer started ringing, it was odd but once we knew what was going on, it was fine.

When I cancelled my Verizon account, they didn’t care. They did not try and keep a loyal customer or even ask why I was leaving. Yesterday they announced new pricing and unlimited data so that they could keep up with the competition. Guess we weren’t the only ones to leave.

Ebates

This is not quite in the same category as the others but it is my latest find. I had heard about it for years and thought it seemed too good to be true. With Ebates, they have stores that give a rebate when you shop. I have a Ebates Cash Back Button on my Chrome toolbar and if I shop at a store offering an Ebate rebate, it pops up to tell me what percentage or how much I get back for shopping there. When I joined, I got $10 for joining and starting to shop. My first check in December was for $13. Not huge but not bad for not doing anything I wasn’t doing anyway. I just got my second check. It is for $70. Now there was Christmas shopping on there and some other bigger purchases for our new house. (new desk chair, new lamps, eye glasses) Yes, I am allowing them to track my purchases. I guess I think it is done anyway so why not get paid for it. If you are interested, check out their web site.

There is also a way that you can save when shopping in person. I have not yet taken advantage of that program.

As with Vonage, if you would like to sign up, I can give you a code that will give you your $10 for signing up. I will get $25 if you signing up. This deal is available to anyone – I do not have a special deal with them.

That is the update for now. It is amazing how much we have cut from our bills in the last couple of years. I would not have thought that it would be that easy to do. Let me know any great cost cutting tips that you have found. I love to hear them!

Thanks for reading!

 

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About Carol Early Cooney

CPML Social is a social media management firm for small businesses. We are there to help you - we know that you don't have time to do it all. Whether you are a real estate agent, a musician, an insurance agent, a butcher, a baker or a candlestick maker, we can help you.
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