When you are ready to cut some costs I think the best first step is to go old-school and get a pen and paper and list out each and every recurring expense you have on a monthly basis (or weekly, whatever works best). I have always been a big visual learner so for me to see the list of expenses and their monetary corresponding value would really drive the point home. In many cases it helps to expand the expenses and breakdown the details. For example, when it comes to cable and internet, if you are paying a $130/mo Comcast bill what is the $130 for? Is it $40 internet, $80 TV and the other $10 is rental of the modem and fee’s? While the breakdown might be different depending on what internet and TV package you have, the key to notice here is the rental of the modem fee! Are you really paying Comcast money each month just to rent the modem to provide the service you are also paying them for each month? This always sounded outrageous to me, but a while back when the fee’s may have been .99 or even $1.99 many people didn’t even notice. More recently, these fee’s have been increasing and can reach upwards of $5.99/mo just to rent a cable modem to have internet! That’s $71.88 a year! I could easily find better things to do with $70.
Whether you have Comcast, Time Warner, Cox or any other regional provider, check your bill, because odds are good that you are renting your modem and paying a fee each month for it. Sometimes companies will even give you a hard time when trying to stop renting and buy your own instead, they make you jump through hoops to make the switch, don’t let this stop you. Many times you can get a great deal online on a cable modem which will replace the rental equipment without a hindrance to performance for around $40. While the $30 savings initially in the first year isnt too much, how long did you plan on having internet for going forward? Probably forever right? Yes, the modem probably wont last forever, but they tend to last many years and the cost savings far outweigh the investment.
Reader Question: Do you rent your equipment? If so, do you plan to stop now?