This is republished from 2012- people asked to see it again!
I got my lovely cable bill from Cox Communications today and my internet and cable rates have gone up AGAIN.
It makes my head want to explode.
For the time being internet will stay as it is. It’s a business expense for me so while it is painful I’m not ready to mess with that yet.
Cable is a different story.
Let me start all of this by saying “I Love Television.” I am sure many of you think it’s bad for me to say but when you live alone the television or radio are on pretty much all day long to keep the quiet from driving you mad. While most people would consider cable an expendable service in my house its a little farther up the list of bills.
But I’m not exactly rolling in money here (especially after being hacked two weeks ago) so when a bill goes up it catches my attention.
I sat down to do some math about one particular part of my bill- Expanded Service. Expanded service are the shows beyond ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox and those channels.
The Expanded Service part of my bill is $41.99. I basically have it on there so I can watch three channels- USA, TNT and A & E. So I went to Amazon to see if I BOUGHT each of the episodes (to keep forever) how much would it cost me per year. Most of the shows I watch have an abbreviated viewing schedule so they do not have 22 episodes per year.
The Glades (current season not available to watch online for FREE) 13 episodes per year X $1.99 = $25.87
Falling Skies (not available to watch online for FREE) 10 episodes per year x $1.99 = $19.90
Franklin & Bash (not available to watch online for FREE) 10 episodes per year x $1.99 = $19.90
Leverage (not available to watch online for FREE) 18 episodes per year X $1.99 = $35.82 (plus then I don’t have to buy it on DVD which I usually do)
Rizzoli and Isles (not available to watch online for FREE) 16 episodes per year X $1.99 = $31.84
Each of these below is on USA so I SHOULD be able to catch them online for FREE at some point. But just in case I figured out the math:
Psych (5 episodes at a time online to watch so may be able to catch some for free) 13 episodes per year x $1.99 = $25.87
White Collar (5 episodes at a time online to watch so may be able to catch some for free) 13 episodes per year x $1.99 = $25.87
Covert Affairs (5 episodes at a time online to watch so may be able to catch some for free) 13 episodes per year x $1.99 = $25.87
Suits (5 episodes at a time online to watch so may be able to catch some for free) 13 episodes per year x $1.99 = $25.87
Royal Pains (5 episodes at a time online to watch so may be able to catch some for free) 13 episodes per year x $1.99 = $25.87
Burn Notice (5 episodes at a time online to watch so may be able to catch some for free) 13 episodes per year x $1.99 = $25.87
Fairly Legal (5 episodes at a time online to watch so may be able to catch some for free) 13 episodes per year x $1.99 = $25.87
Okay so lets look at the numbers:
Total Paid for 12 Months of Expanded Service Cable: $41.99 x 12 months = $503.88
Total Paid for Digital Copies of Each Episode: $314.42
And since I have my Kindle Fire I can take these episodes with me everywhere I go with no hassle.
So I get on the phone and I call Cox. Their customer service people were great. Please remember these operators didn’t raise your rates- be nice!
I explain to them I would like to drop my Expanded TV Service. I discover this also means I would have to get rid of my DVR (which makes my head want to explode) but I tell her I am okay with that on the principle of the thing. And, LO AND BEHOLD, they have a promotion! It will drop my bill $21 a month thus making it cheaper for me to KEEP the cable rather than download episodes on Amazon and keep my DVR.
So total saved for 15 minute phone call- $252 a year.
This promotion lasts 12 months and then next year I get to try again. I am going to make a more conscience effort to see what I can find online, do research on Roku and see if I think I can survive without DVR.
When was the last time you called your cable company?
Be careful! They dropped mine $30/month when I called only to get a bill the very NEXT month forty dollars HIGHER than when I got the “discount”….the lady said that the price increase came at the same time as my “discount”….REALLY….HONESTLY…and you expect me to believe that!!!! She reduced it back but now I got my bill and will have to get back on the phone.
Hulu and Hulu Plus PLUS On Demand (Channel One) will have the shows that you mentioned….
I did what you did last month, except I wasn’t looking to cancel services completely — I was calling to complain about now being charged $5+ per month for packages that otherwise had never been ON my bill before, or had had a $0 charge next to them for years. This price increase came while I was PRICE LOCKED (until this coming August).
Mind you, the one gentleman I spoke to (and he certainly was an awesome guy — better than the one who originally took my call that called me a liar, blah blah blah), did try to talk me down on my internet services. Ummm…no. Hubby wants those a certain way. Heck if I change them on him! And he didn’t try to sell me the idea of bundling a phone line after I told him we don’t have landlines. What he did do was save $60 per month which brought my total lower than the original price lock from two years ago! If you call back now, the deals are actually BETTER than they were 1-2 years ago. But, seriously…. $60/month (or $720/year) was WELL worth my time on the phone with them.
We just switched to FIOS and I feel it’s worth it, because we bundled computer, TV & phone and it’s only a few dollars more than COX. And all we had with COX was basic cable, no DVR . FIOS gives us so much more with phone, computer and TV services.
Also, regarding the deal COX was suddenly able to make for you. I have called several companies and wanted to cancel and then all of the sudden they can lower my payment significantly. lawn services, cell phones, and ADT did this for me, and I even got 3 months for free. NEVER hurts to ask!
Robbie B says
I’ve been a user of the cheaper packages of DISH network without any troubles – plus I get a dual tuner DVR! Only drawback is during severe weather there’s no signal – but I can easily tune to facebook to get the latest updates from the main station’s fb pages.
I have a Wii so I can stream Netflix through to my television.
Mary Dougherty says
hmm. food for thought. my husband watches so many channels, sometimes simultaneously. he would not like watching them on the computer. I am assuming that is where you watch the amazon, roku, netflicks, etc??
Same thing happens to us every year we call Sirius / XM radio to cut back on our service to save money – they find a way to lower the bill without cutting any service.
Amy G says
I negotiate with Cox each year, it’s amazing how a simple phone call can lower your bill. You can also do this with the Daily Press.
I love my Roku box that I received for Christmas. I also subscribe to Netflix and for the time being, watch HBO GO thru the ROKU. This means that I still have cable and am trying to cut the cord. I am hopeful that one day in the near future HBO and other premium channels will be available thru streaming on a pay per month basis, eliminating the cable company altogether in the area of television viewing anyway : )
I’ve proposed getting rid of the television bill to my husband and attempting the netflix/hulu track. My ranting seems to fall on deaf ears. Possbilly breaking it down like you did…show by show; he may start to listen! I’m tired of seeing the tv bill, having 500 channels, and only watching 5-7 channels max. Then again I can live without tv but NEVER think of taking away my internet! haha
Janet McCaskill says
You lucked out! When I called Cox almost 2 years ago FIOS was new in our area. Cox was not able “to work with me” on lowering the monthly charges. I had to drive to Greenbrier to give them their boxes. When I got there about 20 people were ahead of me doing exactly as I was ( returning cable boxes.) Almost all of them were switching to FIOS. Here is the scoop on FIOS: For the first year of a 2 year contract I actually saved about $160/mo. After that the bill increased $60/mo for the DVR “rental”. If I wanted to return those for non-use I had to drive to VB and would save $30/mo even though my increase was $60/mo. Go figure! Another rip-off and a “come-on” to get you to their services. All in all the FIOS phone is wonderful and the internet is MUCH faster than Cox. With the FIOS phone lines we are using brand new upgraded lines but with Cox they are using the old Verizon phone lines as well as regular Verizon phone customers(not FIOS). In a nutshell I really think that when it all comes down to it we are all still getting ripped off!
Laura McGuire says
Have you checked into Hulu plus? They usually have the shows the next day and it is only $8 a month.
We haven’t had cable in years either. We watch regular OTA TV with the bunny ears. In Virginia Beach that gives us 17 stations (3.1, 10.1 & .2, 13.1 & .2, 15.1 & .2 & .3, 27.1 & .2, 33.1, & .2 & .3, 43.1, 49.1 & .2 & .3). For the Cable shows that we miss, we do a mix of options. We use a Roku (www.roku.com) to stream internet tv. We pay for Netflix ($8 a month) and Amazon Prime (Student price $39 a year, normally $79)…the rest of the stations we use on there are free. Otherwise, we’ll fire up the laptop or Ipad and stream the free content on the tv, or I’ll use a program called Playon that will stream from my laptop to the Roku (Lifetime subscription $90)…this covers a lot of the cable stuff http://www.playon.tv/content-channels. If all else fails, then we’ll purchase/rent seasons or movies from Amazon or rent from the Blockbuster Kiosk.
So my intitial outlay for the Roku, subscriptions, etc, is still less than one year of cable. Annual costs after the first year run me about $150…with rentals. 🙂
Roku is so awesome! I want to get rid of TV all together but we ended up only keeping Cox Internet/Phone and went to Direct TV for everything because hubby has to have his sports..
Well with Roku you have so many options for movies and tv shows.. it connects to netflix, Vudu, Hulu, Amazon and so much more and some are free..
We haven’t had cable in years. We do however invest in Netflix for their streaming videos and I watch the shows that way. Redbox also has started carrying TV shows in their kiosks and if you track them they have regular free rental codes. We do have a tv antenna that we rigged up and most of the time gives us about 12 channels clearly including ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, and PBS. I used to miss some of the shows but have found we can easily live without cable and save the money!