Your Savings May Not Be As Much…But Hey, Even Half of That is a Nice Vacation!
We can agree that saving money is a good thing. At the same time, it can be carried to extremes. As author Robert Kiyosaki notes, it is more important to grow our income than reduce expenses. We can only reduce expenses so far, but we can grow income to the moon, if we choose.
So, it is important to keep this in perspective. Nevertheless, hundreds of dollars a year saved for a small amount of time and effort can be worthwhile.
I live in British Columbia, Canada so the companies you deal with may have different names, but the same principles apply. It is a competitive world now in the "connected" world and we can take advantage of that by negotiating a better deal.
I have had my phone with Telus forever, going back to the 70s with a few breaks for travel. So I was and am reluctant to change. Having said that, a friend said if I called them and said I was considering changing my phone over to Shaw, my cable provider, that they may reduce my bill. So I did and the bill went down from $27 a month to $17 a month. (These are all approximate figures and include taxes.)
After one year of that, the bill went up again, so I phoned them and they explained that it was a one year special from the "Loyalty Department." Aah, says I, I do remember that now. Can I please have that special for another year? Oh no sir, that was just one year.
OK, so at this time the Shaw bill for cable and internet had crept up to $92 from somewhere around the $70 range. So I called them and politely asked if there was anything that could be done. Very nice young lady explained about the new world of cable and how I could buy a "digibox" and with just the very basic number of channels, it would come down to $67. I forget how much the digibox charge was to be as I ended up with a free one! Here's how.
Shaw lady upsells me on their phone service. Only $15 a month and if I get it, I will also get a free digibox. Great, says I, sign me up. I then phone Telus back and explain this offer. They quickly connect me to their "Loyalty Department" who are now more than willing to reduce my monthly bill to $17. Ok, that sounds fine. So I stay with Telus and cancel the Shaw phone.
Savings so far (All approximate and including taxes) $25 a month on cable and $10 a month on the phone. Plus the digibox is free. Maybe $50-70 one time saving.
You might be thinking: Yes, but you now have fewer TV channels. Au contraire, mes amis.
The old analog signals are still being pumped through but the digibox does not pick them up. So…I looked up in Used Victoria online and notice many folks just giving away 27inch TVs as they are upgrading to flat screen. So I picked one up. I now have the analog signal on one TV and the digital signal on another one. So no loss of channels. No big deal really. Most of my TV watching is from DVDs I loan out from the library for free…another saving by the way. If you can stand to wait for the movies, almost all the popular ones come to the library when they are released on DVD. Free. Depending on how many movies you watch, that can translate into over a $100 or more in a year.
But wait, there's more. 🙂
Many folks call long distance these days. I call to Finland and the UK a lot and some US and Canada. Telus has long distance packages, but they are all more expensive than what is available elsewhere. My long distance carrier is Yak and their per minute charges are less across the board. But I hardly ever use them!
Skype to Skype calling is free. And Skype also has Skype to landline rates that are cheaper yet than Yak. The challenge is that calls to European cell phones are outrageous. Yak charges 35 cents a minute to Finland and 29 cents to the UK. Skype is a little better at 20.8 cents and 25.9 cents respectively.
BUT…Google voice is more realistic. You may know that a gmail account is free. When you have one, you can download a free app called Google Voice that then provides a dialpad inside gmail.
Google voice to European landlines is competitive, but their calls to cell phones are only 10 cents a minute instead of 20.8 to 35 cents.
Google voice calls to US and Canada are FREE.
Ok, so now you can throw away all those long distance plans and depending how many calls you make, save a few dollars a month to maybe as much as $20 -$30 a month.
There's a postcript of even more savings. I am loving this now.
My Telus bill comes in during the summer and it has increased from $17. So I phone them and they explain that all customers have had their bill raised during one of those periodic increases they have been granted by the authorities.
But, but but, I protest. I have a one year deal for a reduced rate. ….sputter, sputter. Let me put you through to the "Loyalty Department." Very nice young lady tells me that I have been a good customer for a very long time so she can restart a one year special deal for me again. The only hitch is they only can bill in $10 increments, so would it be alright if she made it $10 a month for me ($12 with taxes). I graciously accept.
I expect that at the end of that one year, I will once again spend a few minutes to renegotiate all this.
Hey listen. It's called capitalism. They are actually competing somewhat, so we are allowed to negotiate. Just takes a few moments.
Have fun with this.
$15 a month on the phone bill
$25 a month on the cable/internet.
Long distance savings are probably about $20 a month.
(and I save $30 a month by not having a cell phone. That may not be realistic for some.)
$60 a month is $720 a year. Over a decade, that is $7200 for very little time and effort expended.
If you ditch your cell phone too (you probably won't miss it), add another $3600 over a decade.
I just saved you over $10,000. You're welcome. 🙂
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