Expense Reduction Project (ERP) Part 1: Cable, Internet and Phone

The Expense Reduction Project was started to eliminate our lifestyle inflation.  I call it lifestyle inflation although we were still saving and investing over 60% of our income.  It was buffered by our income growth. As we transition from two high paying jobs to one, it doesn’t make sense to have all the outsourced assistance.  In our previous life, we were time strapped.  Essentially working until sleep, with a two hour break to try to get something healthy on the table and put the kids to beds.  Our time with the kids became extremely valuable to us and our lifestyle felt like it was outsourced

This project is to take the responsibility back.  Lower our expenses and live a more frugal lifestyle.  I fear this won’t always be easy, but we will be happier because of it.  (I silently giggle about ERP acronym since I used to work on ERP systems.)

Annual Savings

In Part 1, we lowered our Cable/Internet and Phone                                                                                  $2,120

 

Call Your Cable Company and ISP

When is the last time you upgraded your equipment or called about your service levels?  For me, it has been four years.  Wow, times have changed.   Cable companies are really willing to provide some deals.  I believe with all the cord cutting and increased competition (Thanks Google!)

After analyzing our budget with the intention of me retiring (with the kids,) I started to examine how much we are spending for our household entertainment.  Starting with Internet, phone and TV.  Our expenditures in this are were out of hand.  Since I am soon to be retired, I am taking time to reduce our expenses in all areas.

All of our enrollment deals with Direct TV expired.  Even after getting some small benefit when ATT bought Direct TV and bundling our services, it was still extremely expensive.

Our Services and Cost Before:

Cable

I barely watch TV except sports.  I could easily live with Netflix, Amazon Prime and HBO Now apps.  However, the rest of the family has not progressed to cord cutting.  Our Direct TV bill was approaching $150 per month.  I almost gagged.

Internet

We had ATT DSL for $39 per month.  I feel the rate was acceptable but the service was horrible.   Good luck streaming anything on a Friday night.  Our bandwidth would slow from 12 megabits per second to 2 megabits per second.  After a phone call, they would speed it up

Phone

We had an old fashioned landline.  I know, its not 1980.  There was a reason for this.  When we moved here, I was traveling for work every week.  One of the conditions from Mrs. TPM of my occupation was to have a home security system.  In order to have a functioning home security system, we need a hard line.  This was costing an obscene $79 per month.

Our Services After:

We opted for Comcast X1 Triple play, basic channels with HBO.  (I can’t live without Game of Thrones.)  They had an introductory rate, plus leasing equipment that would be $159 for all three services.  Comcast also threw in a $200 Visa card for new enrollment.  The service is awesome.  Comcast truly has the be best user interface and  the voice prompted remote control is a couch potatoes’ dream.  Immediately  we save $110 per month or $1320 per year.  But wait there’s more.

To get the X1 service, our house needed some rewiring and required a $60 installation fee.  I did not commit to ordering until they waved the installation fee.  The service requires limited numbers of splitters.

Comcast’s downfall is customer service.  We had 3 outsourced contractors come to the house for three separate appointments and each of them made an excuse of why they couldn’t get the job done today.  On the 4th try, I literally helped the guy fish a wire in the basement.  It took about 2 hours of my time.  This was added ammo for my next call to Comcast.

In the meantime, our first bill showed up.  The $60 dollar installation fee was still on the bill.

I immediately called.

After one hour and speaking with three representatives, here was the outcome:

For the first 12 months, the service will be $109 per month.  This is an additional $600 of savings for the year.  Then it goes back to $159 for the second year of the 2 year agreement.  At the end of the second year, hopefully we will cut the cord or renegotiate.

In total we saved $1920 + $200 Visa card on its way, just by switching services and making a couple complaints about the customer service we have grown to love from Comcast.

My Parents

This prompted a discussion at my parents house.  They barely use the internet and have really no interest in it.  I believe the only reason they have it is because of the endless harassment from family members.

They have a local DSL provider and it is their only option for internet, really.  They have not changed their service since I lived in the house.  It is slow and only 4 devices can be connected at a given time.  You should see the holiday’s, everyone fighting to get their phones and iPads connected.  Arguments break out about how long you are allowed to surf the net or check work email.

They were paying $59 for 1 megabit per second.  This is robbery!!!

I called on their behalf.  The customer service representative told me that the equipment and service they were using is discontinued.  There were numerous upgraded modems with faster download speeds all for $29 per month. Would I be interested?  I said, “So they get new equipment at no cost to them and you will cut their bill in half just for making this phone call?”

Rep: “Yes of course.”

Me: “Why didn’t you notify them of upgrades?”

Rep:”Well… mumble-mumble.”

During that visit their speeds went up 10x and the cost was cut in half.

Please call about your services.  It is extremely painful for 1 hour, but you feel so much better when it is done.  And help you parents out as well.

One comment

  1. We recently did this with both our TV and cable. We were able to knock off $50 a month, which is great considering that I’ve been spending $50 to get in shape 🙂 So it was well worth the phone call and something I probably should have done a lot earlier 🙁

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