A while back on the site, I blogged about my monthly nut. That was still pretty early in my debt repayment journey and my monthly nut has changed quite a bit since then – so I may make a new post. After removing all of the things in my monthly nut that were non essentials or debt related (except for the student loan) I’ve finally found the motivation to go after the things that I’ve never really looked at before.
The first thing that I went after was our cell phones. This has been annoying me for a while. It’s one of our highest monthly bills, and I suspect that if we dont make a move before the winter is over, it will still hold that position. It’s never been the highest monthly bill every month (the heating/electricity bill beats it in the colder months), but now that we’ve done a lot of energy upgrades (like windows, washing machine & dryer, and light bulbs) our energy use could be lower than our cell phone over winter.
We have more or less made a decision on the cell phones (I’ll update on that in a bit) and now it’s time to move on to another thing that H and I probably could never get rid of, but I’m looking to lower expenses for: internet. Really, it’s something that we probably could live without if we were in a situation where we needed to cut expenses into the bone, but since we dont need to do that, I’m just looking for a lower cost. We’ve had our current deal for ~18 months, and we got an introductory rate for 49/mo, which has since moved up to 55/mo. I could call and ask for a discount, but I figured that if I was going to do that, I’d need a credible threat. I want them to actually believe that I’m considering moving to another service provider.
Honestly, this is the first time that I’ve done this for internet. For as long as I’ve paid my own (or paid a portion) of the internet bill, we’ve always had internet through the cable company. We’d get the TV and the internet from the same person (typically with a discount) and move on with our lives. I’d never really think about it unless it wasnt working right.
I never bothered to look for competitors (I assumed there were none) and I never bothered to look at different speeds. This time though, I finally decided and realized that I do have another option. Enter DSL, something that I had thought went away sometime in about 2005 or so. I guess they can claim comparable speeds to cable (so the phone rep tells me) and they are currently charging way less than what we are paying now (20/mo).
Of course, that initially looked interesting, but there are a few “catches” to that price. First, (like always) it’s just the “introductory price” so it will be that for a year, then move up to 35/mo (I think – all I remember is that it was quite a bit lower than what we are paying). Even that though, wasnt the only thing we will have to change. We can “lease” a modem from them for $7 per month, or we can purchase one of our own. After doing a bit of digging, I’d guess that we could get one of our own f0r somewhere between 100-150 (apparently that was for a modem/router combo, just a router costs less than $50). Since I like to compare everything, I decided I’d make a little table going over the costs for each, over 12 and 24 month periods.
|Current Provider||New Provider|
|Monthly Charge||$55||$19.99 for first 12 mos, then 29.99|
|Cost over 12 Months||$660||$270|
|Cost over 24 Months||$1320||$480|
Since I’ve used this company for a while, I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt and at least let them make me an offer so that I’d stay with them. I called them up, told them I was thinking of switching to a new service and they said they would see what they could do for me. Eventually, they ended up offering me a 15/mo discount for 12 months, which is still more than what I’d be paying with the newer company. I declined the offer, then went to amazon and ordered a modem that would be compatible with the new service. Once it gets here, I’ll call and make the switch to the new provider.
Overall, I’m pretty happy with this, and the way things look is that we are going to have this switched out before we get new phones. We will be saving quite a bit of money over 2 years – which will be nice. Now I need to figure out where I should turn next to lower our monthly nut. Right now our mortgage payment cant really be lowered (though I supposed it could if we got it reappraised, then refinanced based on the new appraisal and what we have already paid) but if we do that, interest rates have gone up quite a bit since we locked, so I’m not sure it’d be worth it. There’s also the utilities (water/sewer/trash) or the lights (gas/electricity) or the car insurance. Right off hand, the car insurance will be easier as it will just take some shopping around. The other two could take some upgrading and/or behavioral changes, so those may take a bit longer to have an effect on our balance sheet.
Readers: When was the last time that you looked at your monthly nut? How low is it now, and do you think you could make it go lower? Is there anything that you’re not using or could do without that you’re paying for it?