Thursday, December 8, 2011

Lowering the cable bill

Cable is a sacred cow around here. My girlfriend has been very supportive of my new-found frugality, but she has threatened me with terrible consequences if I so much as talk about trying to axe television. I'm no masochist and so I've largely left this expense alone.

I was surprised when yesterday she suggested that we could save some money by bumping down our internet speed one or two levels. We have FIOS and are paying $95/month for a triple play plan, after her company's discount. I logged in to our account and priced out a few different options.

First, we're signed up for the highest tier of internet, 35 mbps up, 35 mbps down. That's total crap. We haven't seen anything approaching those speeds. Okay, maybe it's because we connect over wifi; I just ran a speed test and the downlink said 25 mbps. But still that's not 35 and the up was only 3.5. Not acceptable. In any case I don't need that much bandwidth. This isn't high school anymore and I'm not ripping off terabytes of illicit Hollywood wares, you know?

The top-tier internet is +$10/month. Bumping the TV down to a lower level would net us $20/month. The only interesting channel I found that we'd lose is G4, and we never watch that anyway. Even these prices are misleading since Verizon only shows you the "first month" price. After two months it's going to be $70/month, and after taxes we're looking at a savings of roughly $20/month.

I think I can do better by calling up customer service and giving them a hard time. I'm going to lead off telling them how they've gypped me on the internet. "I'm not paying you $10/month extra so you can give me 25 mbps down and 3 mbps up" I'll tell them. "This is not acceptable. How are you going to fix this?"

I wonder how much I can save per month. I'll report back with my findings.


  1. I know what you mean about the sacred cow cable TV. I would cut cable in an instant, but my wife is not down with that. Anyways, I assume you both have cell phones, so why bother with a triple play (land line phone). Is it cheaper to get the triple play than to get just cable+internet?

  2. I want to thank you for keeping me honest. I kind of assumed the triple play package would be cheaper than cable/internet, but I didn't do any research on it. I talked to my girlfriend, though, and it seems we do have a good reason for the land line. It has unlimited long distance and she uses it on conference calls when she telecommutes 2 days a week.

    Just for kicks though I'm going to check if Verizon's bundles are cheaper with the phone. I'll report back.

  3. I cancelled my internet, phone and mobile recently (have head out travelling for an unknown amount of time) and what was interesting was how desperate they seemed to keep me.

    I was offered very good discounts if I would stay. So I suspect if you just wanted to save money, attempting to cancel (even by just saying 'I need to save some money, so I'm getting rid of non-essentials', would result in a better deal.

  4. Oh now that's an idea. "Listen, I'd rather not cancel my service but I can't justify $95 per month." Good thinking!

  5. I recently cancelled my home phone (Vonage @ $30) and satellite (Dish @ $85). We are sporting Netflix with a Hulu Plus helper (18 / month which we had anyway). I could not deal with paying 85 bucks a month to watch an endless sea of commercials. DVR or no, it is annoying. I had to up my cell minutes since I use it for business, but unlimited minutes only added $20. Overall that is only $95 / month savings, but hey, I am happier with little or no commercials! Nice post, I am digging the Mustachian lifestyle myself.

  6. My husband and I love TV and watch way too much of it. But here's something you might be able to convince your gf to try: get an HDMI cord to connect your computer to your tv. Then you can watch virtually any show you want online (think Hulu) for next to nothing. We genuinely thought we'd miss our cable, but we've never looked back, and it's saved us almost $100/month!

    I'm enjoying your blog, thanks.