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Posts tagged with: cutting cable

Prices are a’rising

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This is nothing new. Happens every year, am I right? You get the letter from (insert name here) and you discover that the prices are rising.

I just got this letter from 2 different companies.

The first is my water company. They instituted a price-increase that was effective July 1st (thanks for letting me know after-the-fact). Since this is a basic utility and we only have one service provider to choose from, there’s nothing I can do about the price aside from simply trying to conserve (which is difficult in summer since it seems like grass and plants need extra water in order to survive the terrible death-heat in Tucson).

The second letter was from our cable company. All of the rates are being raised across the board. When I first started blogging this was one area that everyone said we should cut entirely but I stood my ground that we were going to hang onto our cable. This is mostly for my husband’s sake (he’s the real cable-watcher in the family), but I also mentioned that the price wasn’t too bad when you consider that internet, alone, was costing us $55/month and our combined package (cable & internet) cost $85/month, so it was really only an extra $30/month. Not a big price to pay for the marital happiness. But now we’re looking at closer to $95/month. And, on principle, the price-hike makes me angry.

I called the company, 100% certain that if I called and complained they’d surely lower my rate. This is standard practice, right?

Apparently I was WRONG.

Not only will they absolutely not touch my price, but I was also informed that my personal price is about to get a huge hike because we were locked into some 1-year promotional package that expires the end of this month. Come August, we’ll actually be looking at a price of $115 (not $95. If this is confusing – as it was for me – the “promo” price was being raised to $95, but my promo was set to expire so I’d be getting the “normal” price of $115).

Shut the front door.

So suddenly the $85 that I was barely okay with paying is about to morph into $115. I just can’t swallow that type of bill.

I talked to my husband about it and – sigh – the man really, really, really wants to keep his cable.

So what should I do? Here are what I feel my options are:

  1. Say “too bad” to the hubs, cancel our cable, and go to war with each other over the issue.
  2. Cancel with our current provider and try to find a new provider (although, the only other service provider in our area requires an initiation fee, a 2-year contract and only does TV so I’ll have to pay through a separate company for internet, eliminating any “bundle” savings)
  3. Try to go into the cable office to talk to someone face-to-face and see if that will make a difference in trying to get a reduced bill.

For obvious reasons related to marital happiness, I would like to avoid option #1. My preference would be to stay with our current provider simply because it would be the easiest option of all. But I also can’t stomach paying $115/month, so I could only do it if I somehow talk them into giving me a price-break (which, the customer service rep on the phone made seem like would NOT be happening. Period.) We’re also renters and currently have cable (Comcast/Xfinity), so if we have to switch to a dish provider, I’d have to talk to our landlord regarding whether we could even mount a dish somewhere.

I know the popular option is going to be canceling our cable all together. I totally agree that this is the most cost-effective and obvious choice for a couple trying to get rid of their debt. But let’s also take the marital relationship into consideration.

Update: I wrote this on Sunday and today I called (again) to try to get my bill lowered. Lo and behold, apparently it all depends who you speak to because last time the woman swore up and down there was nothing she could do. This time the guy knocked a flat $5 off my bill (from the monthly cable box fee) and said he would lock in a rate (no contract required) for $89 after our current promotional rate ends (side note: apparently our promo rate is actually $79, but with taxes and such it amounts to about $85….so I’m assuming the $89 rate will come out to closer to $95ish). It’s still more than I want to pay, but much better than the $115 (before taxes & fees) we were looking at. So I guess I’m happy with the situation and it looks like I won’t have to be switching cable providers.

What do you do if you and your spouse/partner disagree about finances? How do you settle things?

This is an area I would tend to “pick my battles” and let my husband win simply because it clearly means a lot to him. Also, we rarely (if ever) go out – can’t remember our last date, trip to a movie, etc. So this is one of our only paid forms of entertainment (we also get a Redbox probably once or twice a month). Still…..I know its not a popular idea to keep cable when you’re trying to cut expenses and pay down debt. What are your experiences with balancing cutting expenses and keeping a partner happy???


I Am Thomas Magnum

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When we first became serious about this debt reduction thang we decided that cutting out cable would be an easy first step.  Honestly, it wasn’t just about saving money though.  I had become more and more unhappy with the type of things my girls were watching, and the shows my husband and I watched had to be viewed when the girls were out of earshot.  They watched a lot of Disney, which sounds like it would be okay, but the more I paid attention to the Disney channel the more I noticed an unsettling theme.  On all the shows that my girls watched the parents were made out to be bumbling fools that the children could “get one over on”.  There are a dozen other reasons I didn’t care for cable but the bare bones of it is that it seemed like getting rid of it could benefit us both monetarily and keep our girls from getting messages that we didn’t care for.

The cable package we had was pretty basic and cost about $65 a month.  After we got rid of the cable we relied on Netflix and Redbox for our television. There is still stuff on Netflix that I don’t want them watching but I feel, somehow, like I’m more aware of what they are watching and can put a stop to things I don’t like sooner than I did before.  It’s been almost a year of being cable free and it’s worked fairly well.  My girls had Disney withdrawals for a few weeks but then settled into the Netflix offerings and were pretty satisfied.

It started out innocently enough.  We’d watch Family Ties or My Little Pony.  Then, the unimaginable happened.  My husband started watching Magnum, P.I..  Do ya’ll know how many episodes there are of Magnum, P.I.? A lot.  We watched a couple of episodes every single night for, I swear, at least a couple of months. I’m all for 80’s television but, oh my goodness.

Picture this:  it’s Easter, a couple of weeks ago, and there are children playing, adults sneaking candy out of aforementioned childrens’ baskets, and everyone having a wonderful time.  Then, all the kids start playing with some play mustaches that they got in their baskets.  It’s all fun and games until I see this:

lilamustache

and I hear, “No, I am Thomas Magnum!!!”  Ya’ll, my 11 and 8 year old daughters both had mustaches on and were arguing over who looked more like Thomas Magnum.  At one point my oldest daughter yelled “Higgins!” to prove that she was the one that was the most worthy.  The other kids were so confused.

Now I ask you, is it worth $65 a month to have your children turn into Tom Selleck impersonators?  My husband thinks so, and I grudgingly agree.