Cutting the Cord

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He and She have been on a quest lately to cut their expenditures. The downturn in the economy and the uncertainty in continued employment has been a big factor.

In the last few months, they have been successful in cutting way back. First, She began to clip coupons. They have been amazed at the money they have been able to save doing this. She must admit, though, to be successful, it does take a lot of time. She is now referring to the effort as her second job. However, when she’s able to combine coupons with a Buy 1 Get 1 sale, She gets quite a thrill! If you aren’t currently using coupons, you really should give it a try. Printing them from the internet has opened up a whole new world to her. There are several sites, such as, Smart Source and RedPlum where we are sure you will find some savings.

Our favorite coupons are for cat litter, cat food and dog food. She says She really hopes to never pay full price again for any of those! See what’s available that you might like to use, and if you know of something great, feel free to share it with us!

Another thing they looked into were their cell phone costs. Now, we realize they may actually be the last two people on the planet who don’t text or use other advanced features of their phones, but the reality is, they were paying close to $100 a month for two cell phones, and only using a tiny, tiny fraction of the air time they were subscribing to. After checking with all the major carriers, they found that none of them offered a plan that would meet their meager needs. So, they were introduced to Page Plus Cellular by a friend.

Transferring their service was simple. They were even able to keep their previous phones, as they were Verizon customers and Page Plus operates on the verizon network. He went on-line, “ported” their numbers, which in turn cancelled their previous service, prepaid for $25 for airtime for each phone, and was able to use the phone within a matter of minutes. Costs vary according to the amount of minutes you buy, but theirs has worked out to about six cents a minute for calls and eight cents a minute for texting (if you are so inclined). The result has been that $50 for two phones has lasted very close to four months. Prior to the change, that cost would have been close to $400. Wow. They haven’t even missed any services they had previously. While this exact plan might not work for everyone, if you are like them, and mostly use the phones to call each other in Walmart to say “where are you”, this is probably a great option. Page Plus also has other plans available that include unlimited talk and text that might meet your needs and save you a bundle, too!

The latest crusade She has been on is saving money on monthly “entertainment” expenses. For this household, that means satellite, DSL service and a phone land line. They do watch TV. They don’t spend hours and hours at it, but it is the one way they wind down each day, and She was not willing to give that up altogether.
However, there are other alternatives than expensive cable and satellite providers. After chatting with a representative of our satellite provider, Dish Network, she was able to change our monthly subscription from a plan that was running approximately $95 per month to one that will only run approximately $30 per month. While there are very few premium channels on this plan they will watch, they were able to retain the major networks and their local channels.

They are now supplementing by using the laptop connected to the television via an HDMI cable, and using our wi-fi service to access all the shows they are accustomed to watching over the internet. She has been impressed with the volume of programming that is available at no charge. Hopefully that won’t change too drastically any time soon. They even purchased a Roku player, to try out. The purpose of the Roku is to eliminate the need for a PC or laptop, as it will connect either wirelessly or via cable to your home network and stream to the television. There are several “stations” available and you have the option to subscribe to Netflix, or Hulu Plus. After having the Roku for one night, they determined that, in their situation, it really wasn’t necessary. The main reason they watch is for television. They watch very few movies on a monthly basis, so Netflix is not something they are interested in. Redbox has met their needs just fine. However, if you are a big movie buff and would love to have the option of streaming Netflix movies to your TV at a cost of $7.99 per month, you might want to look into it. The other reason the Roku didn’t work out for them is because the offerings of television shows without a subscription to Hulu Plus  (also $7.99 per month) is very minimal, new programming being fairly non-existent. She found that all of the programs they are most interested in are currently available for free in various places on-line, and the process of using the laptop for access is not so inconvenient they are willing to subscribe to something else.

They are going to do some further research, and if they are able to find an antennae that will allow them to pick up one particular local station, they will most likely cut the cord on the satellite altogether, resulting in an even bigger savings!

They also considered doing away with their land line service for phone. However, they nixed that idea when they found it is required for DSL. We were very happy to find they will be keeping the DSL service. How else would we ever be able to blog about all the exciting things that go on around here?

Luckily for us, there don’t seem to be any budget cuts coming for Milkbones or catnip, so we are pretty sure they will manage to keep us in the manner to which we’ve become accustomed!




4 thoughts on “Cutting the Cord

  1. I’ve considered cutting my satellite service out. Most of the shows I watch are reruns and movies, and not many movies. Then I think about bad weather and tornadoes and change my mind.


  2. We’ve done our share of cutting back as well. On the satellite front, we have the big dish in the backyard. The paid subscription programming offered on big dish has gone away, largely due to the inroads of DISH Network and DirecTV. The individual programmers figured out more money can be made by offering the programming through small dish and cable providers. In terms of cost, big dish was less expensive than small dish and substantially less than cable. When we lost the big dish subscription programming, there was some adjustment to the narrower choice of the over-the-air (OTA), aka antenna, but that was relatively quick. Some of the OTA digital channels offer old favorites of years gone by like Perry Mason (Raymond Burr), Mission Impossible (original), and Hawaii Five-O (original). So, we haven’t missed the subscription programming at all. What remains free and clear on the big dish are the usual assortment of religious programming, the shopping channels, a couple of regional news programming, raw feeds of all syndicated programming (at odd hours), and raw news feeds. The raw news feeds really gives you the unfiltered feel for what’s happening. No commentaries, etc.

    Sorry for the length, but this tells you we’re not absolutely tied to the computer. Not just yet. 🙂


  3. Back when we had our first Personal Economic Crisis, we dropped the satellite and started using Hulu in a big way. When the personal economy was looking up, we added a Netflix subscription.

    The other major change we made was switching the cats from litter to shredded newspaper – saves us about $70 a month (we used a low-dust litter). Every one had to make sacrifices. 😛

    It is AMAZING how much people can save with coupons! If I used any of the things they made coupons for, I would be much more into it. I flip through the Sunday sections for batteries, cereal, spaghetti sauce and the occasional crescent roll. Congrats on reducing your expenses!


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