Consequently, I gots lots of bills that are generated as a result of my love of the integrated circuit.
I was reading an article in Gizmodo over the three-day weekend (The Subscription War: You're Bleeding to Death) and was interested in seeing how my stuff stacked up to the "norm"
Some of these are annual fees that I'm showing amortized over twelve months (Flickr, domain names, Xbox live, magazines). Sweet baby Jesus, I'm spending over $5,500 a year on subscription entertainment services. This doesn't count the cash I spend on music (a few hundred a year?), spur of the moment PPV movies/Blockbuster runs, trips to the movie theaters (again, a few hundred a year--a trip for a family of four to a flick is not an inexpensive proposition).
What can I do to stop the bleeding? My biggest monthly expense is Verizon Fios, which has my land line phone (and unlimited long distance), my Internet (20 Mbps symmetrical), & my TV service (a brazillian channels, including HBO/Cinemax/Showtime/TMC/Starz/Encore/etc).
My first step is seeing what I can live without from Verizon:
1a) Land line phone
The only time I personally use the home phone is when I'm passing it over to my wife or kids when I get stuck answering the phone. (Quick aside: why the fuck do I have to answer the phone? It's never for me, yet 75% of the time, I'm the one that has to get my fat ass out of my chair and grab it off the wall). All my friends call me on my cell. Most of the time, my wife uses HER cell. We could lose the land line and drop $50 off the bill.
My biggest hurdle is that my alarm monitoring is done over the land line. I could change that to cellular monitoring OR switch to a VoIP service (like Vonage) and do a bit of wiring magic to have it feed into the whole house through the existing wires.
1b) Decrease my Internet service speed to a slower bandwidth. The 20Mbps service currently runs me $61 a month after my "bundled discount"
1c) Kill some of the extraneous channels. Do I REALLY need 73 premium movie channels (NOT counting the HD channels)? I pay an extra $29.99 a month for those.
Apparently I DO need all those channels and I need a FASTER Internet service and I'm too lazy to do a five minute wiring job because instead of killing my services, I signed up for MORE when I hit Verizon's website yesterday. Under a two year contract. Sigh.
Here's what I have now. Same phone service, I now have a 35Mbps symmetrical Internet service, and a new channel package that has an EXTRA movie channel (EpixHD).
But I saved $18 a month by signing up for it! And I got 3 months of free movie channels! I got more for less! Yes! Fuck!
Alright, let's try something else.
Cellphones: $130 a month. I can't shave anything off of that. The $130 a month is for my G1 (including text & data), Laurie's phone (including texts), & Evan's phone. This bill will only INCREASE. Sometime in the next couple of months, I'm putting Laurie onto some type of smartphone (most likely moving her over to AT&T for an iPhone [$80+ a month]). Evan is getting to the point where he's texting his friends (need to add a texting plan for HIM). I'm sure Chloe will soon want a phone. Ok, scratch that one.
Netflix: $17 a month. Actually that one just went up to $17 a month from $9 because I changed to the two-disk a month plan with Blu-ray (can't watch NORMAL dvds now that I have a Blu-ray player. Posh. The intent is to stop getting shit from Redbox & Blockbuster. This will save me money. I swear.
Tivo: $17 (it's slightly less than that, more like $15 with taxes). In THEORY I could lose the tivo and replace it with a DVR from Verizon, but it's the same price and I like the functionality of the Tivo. I could actually roll my own DVR and use XBMC, but I'd have cough up the cash upfront to build a HTPC. I'd lose my On Demand stuff in the bedroom, but gain Netflix streaming, Hulu, website streaming, etc. Hmmm, that sounds fun. That's a big "maybe" sometime soon.
Xbox Live: $5 (that's slightly higher because I forgot to add Evan's account). Have to have this for Netflix streaming on my big screen and killing zombies with my friends over the Internet.
Flickr: $2 ($24.95/year). Easiest way to share pics with friends & family; easiest triple backup of my pictures (which are also backed up on my ipod and my online backup set). Nope, can't do it.
Domain names: $2 ($20 a year). $10 a year X 2 for my email domain & Laurie's too. This may increase when my free service on my photography blog dies next year. I like that domain name too much to get rid of it (http://www.littleretard.com/blog), so this will probably triple next year.
Online backup: $5. Shut your mouth. This $5 a month is the only thing that stands between my balls and Laurie's scissors if our PC ever dies. Can you imagine how much stuff a teacher keeps on her home PC? She'd have to start from scratch at the end of a three month summer break and that ain't happening.
Kid's games: $5. Webkinz are to Chloe what computers are to me. That's all I gots to say about that.
Audible.com: $15. I pay $15 a month for one audiobook per month (on top of the free ones I download from the library). This $15 assures my sanity in the 45 minute to 1 hour commute ONE WAY from Sachse to downtown Dallas. This $15 also assures the life of many individuals who share 75 Central with me. Without me being entertained by my books, I would cut a bitch every day. NOTE: This was a trade off from my "old" entertainment of Sirius.
Magazines: $10. This may be a somewhat conservative estimate. Laurie gets People, Soap Opera Digest, & US Weekly (which needs to be renewed). I get D Magazine & Wired, but I never pay more than $10 a year for mine. You want to tell Laurie she can't get her gossip? Me neither.
Newspaper: $29. Are you fucking kidding me, DMN? $29 a month for the fucking paper? I've tried to kill this, but Laurie is a newspaper fiend. I wish she'd get with the times and get her news off the Internet like I do, but whatchugonnado?
Man, I'm thoroughly fucked. I'm not willing to part with any of this. In fact, it's only going to go up.
Next Topic: The box full of surveillance equipment in my garage that I want to install on my house and why my wife won't let me.