Sep 3, 2012

Cable bill bliss

I think hating your cable company is part of being an American. There are constantly connection problems, service appointments are only given with 3-5 hour time windows, their customer service is annoying, and their prices are a complete money suck. Did I miss anything?

While we can't change the attributes of our cable company, we may be able to do something about the price we pay for our services. 

I wanted to set up cable at my house (basically so I can watch football), and because I am American and a complete tight wad, I hate this entire process. So I did some shopping around and finally called Fastrack* to set up cable. I asked the man on the phone what his absolute cheapest plan available was. He told me about their $29.99 plan, which is also what I saw on the website. I asked him if he had anything cheaper, and he replied no. Then I told him I had previously had a $14/month plan about 2 years ago when I was a customer...was that still available? He said, oh yes we do have that plan. Funny how he didn't mention that. Excellent, I said, I would like to purchase that one. He said that is only the most very basic channels, and I said that was fine.

A few days later, the cable company comes out to install the receiver and the service man tells us we'll be getting more than just basic stations, and after checking, we in fact do receive over 30 tv channels, which is not what we were initially told. The story continues...

I happened to stumble on an incredible TV deal on woot.com, the best place to buy electronics for cheap, and all of a sudden I needed to upgrade to HD Cable. A little frazzled, I assumed I would need to upgrade to that $29.99 plan I did not want. So I called the company back.

They informed me I would only pay $2.40/month to upgrade to HD...no that's not a typo. And then for the kicker. I go to cable company's office to upgrade to a digital receiver and the woman at the counter tells me my plan includes the company's on demand service where you can instantly watch hundreds of new tv shows and stream free movies, oh, and it also includes 40 music stations. Frankly I didn't believe her. But I didn't want to question why I would receive all these incredible services for $17/month. So I just simply said thank you and went on my merry way.

I go home, set up my receiver, and to my udder and complete shock, I did have the on demand services and the 40 music channels the woman told me I would have. I went on their website and found out that the $29.99 plan doesn't even include these services! Is this real? I successfully found a loop hole.

The moral of the story is being stubbornly cheap can really work in your favor..but doesn't always come this easily. For instance, I spent hours making phone calls and arguing with different internet companies so I could get the cheapest deal possibly and eventually did get the best deal, but it came with a great bit of hassle. But all these efforts are just part of my belief that the key to economic freedom is lowering your monthly costs so you have money for everything else. I will hold strong to this belief even when it's completely time consuming and stressful. But, hey, saving money comes with a different sort of a cost. The question is: are you willing to pay it?


*not the actual company name. I'm afraid they will find my blog, change my services, and destroy my life. Please don't find me, please don't find me.

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