I had a conversation with my parents the other day that I am hoping will help some of you out in cyberspace.
I called my brother (who still lives at home) to wish him a happy birthday. I called the land line thinking that both of my parents would be at work, but my brother (who is disabled and doesn’t have a job) would answer. My mom answered (she was under the weather) and mentioned that William had his own cell phone and I could just call him on that.
I talked to William for five minutes and then got back on the phone with my mom. “I have some bad news, Mom,” I said, “All four people who live at home have cell phones… it’s time to ditch the landline.”
She replied that there are sometimes people and/or companies that they don’t want to have their cell phone number. They keep the land line for that reason.
So Mom and Dad, this post is for you :)
First things first. I will never tell anyone to get rid of their high-speed internet. I am a blogger and a homeschooling mom who enjoys having the world wide web at her fingertips. As such, all of these tips are based on the assumption that you currently have high speed internet. If you don’t, chances are you don’t have cable or unlimited long distance either. If that is the case you are saving far more money than I am :)
1. Ditch your landline without ditching your landline.
I would like to introduce you to Phonepower.com.
Phonepower is a VoIP provider. VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. You get a box that you plug into your internet modem. You plug your phone into the box and boom; unlimited local and long distance. As long as your internet is fully functioning (and you have power) you have phone. Vongage is another VoIP provider. I have used both. Phonepower.com is cheaper but I have found no difference in quality between the two. I know not everyone has had the same experience but I have also not noticed a difference between VoIP and regular phone lines no matter where I have lived. Phonepower.com currently has a special where if you pay for two years up-front, it comes to $8 a month for unlimited local and long distance (plus taxes). You can’t beat that.
Depending on where you live, you can usually transfer your current phone number over to your VoIP phone. It takes a few days, but it’s worth it :) You can’t beat the cost savings!
This is especially helpful for those of us who prefer to talk on our regular phones instead of our cell phones because they are more comfortable.
2. Ditch your cable without losing your TV.
I am not a big TV watcher but I used to be. We had DishNetwork for years but in an attempt to cut down on our bills we cut our content down to local only (bet you didn’t know you could do that). Doing that cut our bill down to $12.99. After a few years of that we just cut it all together. We didn’t watch much TV at all anymore and the only show we DID watch regularly (Psych) we had to watch on our computer because local channels didn’t carry it.
So we ditched Dish all together.
It was super easy for us. For those of you who enjoy your shows and don’t want to cut back there is an easy option for you as well. There are two little black boxes out there (and several blu-ray players) that you can stream Netflix on. Apple TV and Roku are both great streaming boxes that work pretty much the same way. You hook them up to your TV with an HDMI cable (Roku also has a non-HDMI option, so if you don’t have an HD TV, get the Roku) and you can stream Netflix, radio and other things from the internet. Apple TV is a great option for those mac fans who have a lot of movies on their computer that they want to watch on their big TV. You can also send anything you can play on your iPhone or iPad to your Apple TV. If you take a video of your kids playing on your iPhone, you can watch it on your TV, find an interesting video online? Pull it up on your iPad and watch it on your TV.
Roku does not allow you to stream your movies from iTunes, but you CAN stream digital movies that you have bought from amazon.com (which you cannot do with Apple TV because Amazon and Apple are direct competitors). Roku also allows you to download additional channels, most of which offer their content for free. For example you can get BYUTV and The Mormon Channel for free on Roku. You can watch BYUTV live AND you can watch it’s past programming on demand. I also have a paid subscription to The Blaze TV (big surprise) so I can watch that on demand and live as well on Roku.
That being said, all of those channels also have apps that I can send to my Apple TV.
Roku and Apple TV are comparable in price (around $100 one time payment, Roku does have cheaper options though) so do your research and get whichever one works best for your needs. We have both because we had two TV’s that needed them (our regular TV in the living room and the TV in the garage where my treadmill was). I like them both for different reasons.
For those of you who like your TV shows and don’t want to wait for the new season to come out on Netflix, Hulu+ is a $7.99 a month subscription. You can watch almost every show you can imagine and all past seasons. You can download the Hulu+ app for your iPad/iPhone AND you can watch Hulu+ on both the Roku and Apple TV. You will still have commercials (though not as many as on cable) and you will have to wait until the day after the newest show premiers to watch it, but the cost savings can’t be beat.
There you have it.
I don’t know the bundle prices everywhere but I do know that the starting bundle price where I live is $90 a month plus tax for the first year (after which it would probably go up to at least $120 plus the HD fee, the DVR rental for each room you want it in and and and…
The way we do it costs us $50 (including taxes) for our high speed internet + $7.99 (including taxes) for our Netflix streaming subscription + $8 a month (plus taxes) for our VoIP phone (which we probably won’t renew once our contract runs out, we haven’t even set it up since we moved here).
That comes to a total of $66 a month for internet, phone and entertainment. If we wanted to add Hulu+ (which we don’t) it would still come to less than $80 and we could have all the TV we wanted at home and on the go (with the apps).
Ok guys. Time to call up and cancel your phone/internet/cable bundles! They are better and cheaper alternatives out there!