Returning the Favor and other Slices of Life

Returning the Favor
Returning the Favor
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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

On Frugality

I know, two posts in two days. Don't even think about getting used to this. But I found some of my endeavors yesterday in reducing my monthly payments interesting, and thought some of you might as well. I'm not going to discuss too much my colossal fail at refinancing my house to a sufficient rate to make it worth doing (at least with Wachovia - I haven't given up hope entirely, but the ability to make a weekly mortgage payment by simply automatically transferring from my checking account to my mortgage account is pretty sweet).

But I looked at my cable bill, and again wanted to vomit a little. I do the digital cable thing, and I do the DVR thing, and I do the cable modem thing, so I appreciate the fact that I'm a pretty sizable consumer of their services. But I thought $134/month was a little excessive, so I decided to call and whine about it. After three or four phone trees and a couple of useless customer service reps I actually got to a guy who could help me, and when he looked at my bill he said that the best thing for me (assuming I wasn't planning on leaving my house or their service in the near future) was their new program that locks in pricing for two years.

Now this is a 2-year service contract, just like a cell phone. And it has a hefty early termination fee, just like a cell phone. But since I have no intention of leaving my house or Time Warner Cable's services within the next two years, a reduction of $30/month worked pretty well for me. i wouldn't do it if I were a renter, or if I thought I'd be moving any time soon. But since we've had digital cable for several years and have no real inclination to change, and I'm certainly not killing my cable modem any time soon, the potential to save $720 over two years was certainly worth it.

Then I moved on to XM Radio. After being one of the people who swore they'd never pay for radio, I quickly became addicted to XM when I got my Honda. Then I picked up a coule of SkyFi jukeboxes for $40/each at Best Buy, and signed them both up for service. So I was paying about $30/month for radio. Not bad, except that two of them never got used. So I called in to cancel the two portable radios, which will be finding their way to Craigslist soon. While I was talking to the customer service dude, he mentioned that they have a promotion going that would let me switch my quarterly 12.99/month service on my radio to a $30 every six months plan. So let me get this straight - I can pay $12.99/month, or I can pay $5/month? I'll take the cheap-o plan. Same service, just cheaper. Now it's a promotion, so I have to call back in August to extend the promotion for another six months, but it's worth it to me.

So there you go, a couple tips to save a little money. Cause a penny saved is a beer earned.

1 comment:

Short-Stacked Shamus said...

We recently ditched XM altogether, deciding ultimately we weren't using it enough to warrant keeping it. Interestingly, when Vera V. called to cancel, they offered her 6 months free to keep with them. (She cancelled anyhow.)