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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Lowering Communications Costs AND Retaining Services

The cost of communications has gotten out of hand for many of us. I remember forty-years ago when I was stressed by a $12 telephone bill and could still get TV without a cable or antenna. For the last few months, I have been actively seeking cheaper sources for home phone, cell phone service, tv and internet.

*The first thing I did last year or the year before was to get an antenna. Now, it seems every month I get fewer channels. I am down to two channels that don't get religious channels, most of which are in Spanish some nights. Then, both of those two good channels had football games last Saturday. Aaaargh!

*I thought I was getting a cheaper cell service from ATT last year. But, no! It is higher because I have to pay for the phone monthly, besides the fee for the service. I am looking at PCMetro. I would have to pay $150 dollars left on the phone to leave ATT. Does anyone have or know anything about PCMetro? I need to beat $57/month ATT bill.

*Yesterday, I had internet service that was soooo slow for about $40/month. I switched and at midnight was receiving a faster and cheaper internet service--$10/month + taxes and fees, making the total about $15.

*Magic Jack works for the home phone at less than $3/month. Plus, the phone never rings. An email is sent to me. If it is not a 30 second message, I delete the call. I love it and the price. If I want the phone to ring, that is possible, too. It did ring for many months and then I must have sent the phone to email. Plus, you don't need a computer to access Magic Jack.

The phone does ring! You have to choose the email route.

 I am wary of calling any of the many phone numbers listed in various internet sites for Magic Jack. A friend who has used MJ for a long time gave me this number which is a legitimate number: 844-866-2442.

*Getting more channels or programs was the next project. I heard about Hulu for $5.99 and signed up for that. Today, I signed up for Amazon Prime, getting something similar to Netflix, not sure. I had to buy a $28 Roku box, which I did several weeks ago. The $99 charge will be put on exbf's credit card in one month. I have that long to pay him $99. I can do it with the savings on other communications' lower rates. Amazon Prime can be paid with $9.99 a month. (I think that price is correct.)

Additionally, Amazon Prime gives me free two-day shipping. I order little from Amazon and only do so when there is free shipping. This will make it easier to take advantage of cheap prices.

Immediately, I cancelled Hulu. Since I am in my first month, cancelling meant I did not have to pay that $5.99. Plus, with Hulu there is no contract and a person can cancel at anytime. Hulu was a great deal, but I think Amazon Prime is better. If you use this, can you tell me if it is worth the money for the programs you can access?

I am breathing a sigh of relief as my costs have been lessened by a little over $30/month today just with the addition of cheaper and faster internet. I have plans to increase my benefits on other programs. Stay tuned!

Your turn
Do you use Amazon Prime for free shipping? For streaming and getting programs? Do you use a Roku box? Hulu? Antenna? Do you, too, think the prices for communications are exorbitant? Do you have any opinions, good or bad or caveats, about any of these programs?

31 comments:

  1. I bought a Fire stick to use. It was about 40 bucks and works to get Amazon streaming, and Netflix. I have mostly been pleased with it.
    We are shopping for a new tv service. Even with a digital antennae we get nothing

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  2. Anne,
    The guy mentioned Fire stick and then became very excited when he saw the new Roku on the shelf. However, it was out before the release date, so I had to wait five days to purchase it. Supposedly, it is better than anything out. I don't know. I am surprised you cannot get much with digital tv....hmmm. Now, I don't feel so bad.

    Have you tried mohu leaf? It is supposed to be good if you live nearer the station than I do.

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  3. We have a digital antenna for local channels that we watch mostly for news. We have a Roku and subscribe to Amazon Prime and Hulu. They overlap when it comes to movies but Hulu offers more TV shows. We pay extra for high speed internet with extra GB so we don't run out at the end of the month. Also, if you choose slow shipping (instead of 2 day) with Amazon, you can get credit toward digital purchases like movies. All three of us have a Tracfone Smartphone. It costs almost nothing to use. Pay as you go. Buy data, texts and minutes as you need them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lorraine,
      Thanks. The shows are what I want...Criminal Minds, Modern Family for example. Maybe I need to investigate and maybe get Hulu back while I can get it for $5.99. Thanks.

      Delete
  4. We have Amazon Prime and, quite frankly, hardly ever use the movie/tv part. We do use Subscribe and Save for many foods at a better price. We also use Amazon Prime for most gifts as we do not then have to pay for shipping and returns are easy for the recipient (had a toy received broken and would have been very difficult and expensive to mail back and return).

    We have a Roku box and subscribe to Hulu and to Acorn. We love it. There are many free "channels" to choose from ex History, Lifetime, A&E, and it has Amazon Prime too if you have signed up for it. As with Sam's Club I compared prices with and without to be sure I was saving enough to exceed the cost of membership.

    Our antenna is basically some wire, foil and a piece of 2x4 stuck in the attic. It gets us the 3 major channels, sometimes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tom,Thanks.
      I looked at the price of foods that I might buy from Amazon Prime. The cost of Quaker Old-Fashioned oats was exorbitant. Even after I checked several more items, the cost is still lower at WM. I suppose that if I lived in the wilderness, these prices might look better. Amazon Prime is what I signed up for, I think. Well, I am practically positive.

      Acorn? Will have to check on that.

      I have had the equivalent of wire and foil!

      Thanks!

      Delete
    2. Linda, prices on Amazon change ALL THE TIME! Put things on your watch list and check them daily...sometimes prices drop dramatically. It all depends on supply/demand.

      Delete
    3. Linda - Acorn is 'the best of British TV', we like the mysteries.

      The food items we buy at Amazon are mainly for Brenda's vegan diabetic diet - like flaxseed meal, shelf stable tofu, vital wheat gluten and organic herbs like turmeric and cumin. The list is somewhat the same monthly with herbs being the main rotaters.

      We buy WM brand rolled oats and pay about $1.50 less for the same amount as Quaker and cannot tell the difference.

      And as Clamco pointed out - Amazon's prices change all the time so we do check.

      Delete
    4. Lorraine,
      I didn't know about the changing prices. I will put things on the list to watch. Thanks.

      Delete
    5. Tom,
      Thanks. I dislike British comedy intensely. I probably would like the mysteries. But, I think I will not get Acorn.


      I am afraid of Walmart brand of anything. I fear they are using oats or things from China. Since China uses fresh "nghtsoil" on produce. When I am assured I am wrong, I will still not buy WM brands. China lies!!!

      Now, I do buy the WM brand oats for my hen. Sometimes, she gets Quaker. Oat containers are so difficult to get into the house for me. I really would like to buy Quakers in bulk and put in quart jars.


      Thanks.

      Delete
    6. Have you tried the bins at Sprouts? My store has a lot of foods that can be bought by the pound.

      Delete
  5. We have DirectTv and Roku. I love Netflix because there are no commercials. How soon we get spoiled. Having to fast forward, what a p ain! We have cheap phones from the dollar st o re. Our land line is at&t. Our internet is time warner.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. carol,
      After this, I may go with the dollar store phones! So, you subscribe to Netflix? There are lots of things to explore in these posts! Thanks.

      Delete
  6. So nice to not have a cable bill! I have a roku my kids bought for me 2 years ago and a Hulu account. I tried an antenna but I got no stations so the Hulu gives me some network shows. I rarely watch movies and can always reserve them at the library, so Hulu suits me well. My cell phone service is $$ but I have to have it for my job and it's a legitimate business expense just like internet. I don't care about the newest phone- mine is an iphone 4 and I dropped the landline. Our cells worked fine during the recent hurricane and power outage.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nan,
      It is nice your children gave you the Roku. The Roku that came out this Nov is supposed to be better, but I don't know.

      I watched all the movies at the library. Plus, there are no R-rated movies, some of which I want to see. The library said they cannot carry R-rated because a child might check one out and watch it! ??? What about books on the shelves that are not appropriate for children? It's great you have things that are business expenses. Cells are great during power outages, thank goodness. Thanks for the info.

      Delete
  7. I'm proud of you for working at lowering your bills. It isn't a fun process but it is satisfying when done.
    We only have an antenna, sometimes its ok others not so much but I will take it so I don't have to pay a bill.
    We are very happy with Tmobile but I'm not sure if you could get a lower rate. Check it out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sonya Ann,
      That two nights of nothing but football kicked me over the edge. A guy at WM clued me in to Roku and Amazon Prime when I was complaining. Otherwise, I would have been clueless. Exbf has expensive cable so never looks around for anything different. He paid for separate internet service for years after he was able to use it. I finally convinced him to drop that expense. There is a reason I don't have TMobile, but I cannot remember the reason. I did check into it. Thanks!

      Delete
  8. I've had Amazon Prime for years and couldn't do without it. We stream little from them, just not much I want to see. We have a Roku, not the box, that we slot into our tv. We use Acorn more, just signed up for Hulu, we'll see about it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Janet,
      I have the thing to plug in, too. I may get hulu back while it is cheap for me and then choose to drop it if Amazon Prime works for my tv viewing needs. Now, I am going to investigate Acorn. Thanks for the input.

      Delete
  9. Linda, does your laptop get youtube? They have lots of old tv shows. The other night I watched I Married Joan. Remember that one?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. carol,
      Yes, it gets youtube. I watched dvds from my laptop for about two years and got so sick of having movies in my lap. I don't want to go the route of connecting my laptop to the tv. I know it can be done, just want the laptop available while watching a movie. I remember that one...yes, I do. Thanks.

      Delete
    2. We have the Google Chromecast product. It plugs into the back of the tv. It enables me to send what is on my computer to the TV. I can then open another window on the computer to do what ever I like. Chromecast is not expensive somewhere around $40. There is no additional cost.

      Delete
  10. You can share Amazon prime with another person so if you could find someone else to go in half with, you could knock your price down to $50 a year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. KayB,
      Does that person have to live here? There is no one but me. There is only one remote. I will see about that. Right now at Christmas it might be easy to find someone who wants free shipping. Thanks for that idea.

      Delete
  11. I have Amazon Prime but have not used it for streaming TV. We use it for shopping. We still have Brighthouse Cable. My husband watches all the car/automotive, house flipping, house fixing up shows. My cell is with ATT and even with husband's work discount, I think the bill is quite high. I was grandfathered in with unlimited data and I use A LOT of data so I hesitate to change. No land line here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lisa,
      I don't think I can watch in real time with Amazon Prime. I will still have those two channels for a weather map that is real time. I was grandfathered in on an ATT plan and some guy changed it. I threw a fit and got it back even though it was supposedly not available ever again. Your husband's choice of shows are things I would probably watch, not that I can do any of it. Thanks

      Delete
  12. Linda, thankfully my son-in-law is my tech expert. He recommends things he think we will like, I buy them and he hooks them up. I had never heard of Roku and do not know enough to recommend it. I love British tv and subscribe to Acorn. I love the series Vera.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. carol,
      Lucky you! I am better with the tech stuff than exbf and he can no longer bend to do stuff even when I know what to do. I think the Roku stick is better in some ways instead of the Roku Express, which I have. I have seen few British tv shows and did not like them. So, I have not seen Vera.

      Delete
  13. I use Amazon Prime. The free shipping (on almost everything) is nice. Hardly a month goes by when I don't buy something on Amazon. I use Amazon Video some, I am looking forward to the new 'Grand Tour" with Clarkson, Hammond and May from Top Gear. I use Amazon Prime streaming music, at home and in the office. They have recently redone it and I really like the programmed commercial free stations. I am using Amazon Photo for a cloud back up for my digital photos - nearly 100-gigs of them. There are some free Kindle books available - I buy 2-3 Kindle books a month.

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  14. I don't know any of this, for Someone handles all of this sort of stuff. I always vote to throw it all out the window.

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  15. For phone, I use Republic Wireless. Expensive phones, $150 and up (I think) but only $12 a month for talk and text. No data because that would cost around $25/month and I'm too cheap.

    I share Netflix streaming and Amazon Prime with my mother. She lives in a different town. I am more familiar with Netflix but I have found some things to watch on Amazon and I love the 2 day shipping, although, I really need to stop buying so much stuff! I do have Roku for the TV and watch Netflix and Amazon through the Roku. I haven't explored the other Roku channels much. Just recently I watched some YouTube shows through Roku. I find it difficult to maneuver on my TV. It is easier to watch on my Kindle.

    My TV is old so I have an old converter box and a $12 flat antennae for local channels but hardly ever watch them. If a visitor wants to watch a sporting event or Macy's Thanksgiving parade, it is possible.

    It is amazing how many options there are now! I am really glad there are so many options besides expensive cable/satellite packages.

    ReplyDelete

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