Monday, August 19, 2013

Trimming Back the Budget

In my quest to spend less so I can save more my goal has been to find creative ways to reduce, or even eliminate, some of the bigger monthly bills.

The first monthly expense to go under the microscope was my cable bill, which was coming in at $160 a month. When I moved my cable company gave me a "deal" on a bundle, phone, internet and cable, all for $99 a month. Once I began paying attention to what we were actually consuming, I saw we rarely used the phone and were watching more on-demand than regular cable.

The evidence was clear, it was time to dump cable and go with streaming media instead.

Things got a little ugly with my cable company when I called them to make the change to internet service only. They wanted me to renew my bundle at the promotional price, but would not let me access any of the more affordable internet-only promotions they were running for new customers. After a lot of fruitless fighting negotiating I picked up the phone and called the other of our two area service providers. Their deal wasn't great either, but I could get high speed internet only (no bundle) at a slightly better price of $55 per month. While I'm glad I had that option, it still pisses me off that my cable company wouldn't negotiate. It would have been easier for me if they had, plus they wouldn't have lost a customer.

Once I had the internet provider question nailed down I opened up a Netflix account at $7.99 a month and a Hulu Plus account, also $7.99 a month. The two Roku boxes (media streaming devices) cost me $50 each, plus there will be a monthly rental fee on the modem of $6.99 and a one-time installation fee of $15.

Here is the final break down:

Click to enlarge image
There were some up-front costs, and I had to go through the hassle of changing internet providers, but the monthly savings gained adds up to $984.36 a year. By my three year house-buying deadline this one change alone will have added $2,953.08 to my down payment fund.

Now, the question that remains is will this arrangement truly meet our needs? Only time will tell. I'll report back in a month or so to let you know how dumping cable has worked out for us - or not!