15 March 2009

The Economy and My Direct TV

During these economic times, when we are all tightening our belts and pulling-in the reigns of our credit card spending, there are difficult choices that need to be made about our spending habits. Not only are people deciding to hold off on future purchases, but they are also looking into ways of "trimming the fat" in their current lifestyle. I recently wrote an article that discussed our journey down this road and I feel that it is now time for an update.

As with many others throughout the world, we are struggling with finances and as such, have had to make some tough choices. Some of the items we had to look at was our water delivery service, Direct TV, and our phone service. Over three years ago, we decided to rent a water cooler and have water delivered to our house. This was great, because it allowed us to give filtered water to our animals and we also had hot or cold filtered water available all the time. However, it was expensive, averaging $40.00 per month, so we decided to cancel the service and purchased a Brita. The money being saved is currently being redirected to a credit card bill.

As with the phone service, it is also costing us over $44.00 per month and we are currently in the process of canceling it and just using a cell phone. My wife currently has a cell phone, so we decided to pay $10.00 more each month and get one to use around the house. Again, the money saved, just over $30.00, will be redirected to a bill. Now, that just leaves DirectTV to consider. As you may know from reading my profile, I am a stay at home dad and I also home school our kids. In addition to preparing lesson plans and teaching myself the material (so I can present it in such a way as to be understood), I also have general housework to do, and I still need to devote time to writing articles and generally maintaining my site. With this being said, about the only thing I feel like doing at the end of the day, is watching television.

Our family has a few favorite shows such as Ghost Hunters, Ghost Hunters International, Deadliest Catch, and Top Gear, to name just a few. Luckily, Direct TV Options are many, as they have a wide variety of services from which to choose. These packages range from the lower-priced family-friendly channels to the mega-priced, “I have money to burn and way too much time on my hands” packages. We currently have the Total Choice Plus package, which is a mid-range package, and it includes all the channels we like, plus many others we could care less about. It would be wonderful if they would allow us to customize our own package and adapt it to the lower-priced services, but until I see pigs flying through the air, that probably won’t happen.

I realize that everyone’s lifestyle is different and we each will have different areas in our lives where the fat can be trimmed. It is a difficult choice, because these services have become so ingrained in our lifestyle, that it can feel like parting with an old friend. As we think about where we have been and where we are going, it is imperative to try and make these decisions from a budgeting point of view. Basically, try to look at the bottom line and see what you can cut from your monthly budget, yet still maintain an emotionally healthy lifestyle. As for us, we will revisit our decision regarding Direct TV at the start of each month. For now, we can still afford to keep it but, as with anything else, that too may change. Good luck to you all and remember: you are not alone in this.

3 comments:

  1. That's great that you found ways to save money on the water and also the phone. I know that dealing with TV is much harder. We evaluate our cable service but tend to keep paying more just to keep the channels to watch the "important" things like NASCAR races or HGTV!

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  2. First of all, Top Gear rocks! Second of all, congrats on effectively saving some cash. I did want to add that you might want to look into some ways to lower your cell bill. Not to blatantly plug, but I work for the consumer advocacy website http://www.fixmycellbill.com, powered by a company called Validas, where we slash the average cell bill by 22 percent. It costs five bucks to implement our suggested changes to your plan (the average consumer currently saves around $450 annually through us) but we will analyze your bill for free without any commitment of purchase, just to let you know exactly how many dollars your carrier is ripping you off by. I could go on and on about how shifty these cell companies can be in their attempts to make you overpay. We stop them, and have currently put nearly $4.7 million back in the pockets of consumers. You can check out Validas’s fixmycellbill.com in the national news media, most recently on Good Morning America at http://www.abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=6887412&page=1.

    Good luck on further regaining control over your bills.

    Dylan

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  3. BeadedTail: Thank you, even though it was difficult, giving up the water delivery was the right thing to do. With Regards to the Directv, that is going to be very difficult, because of all the shows we like to watch. We don't go to movies, so this is the bulk of our entertainment and without it, I would probably go nuts (not a long journey).

    Dylan: Thank you for the information and your support, I will drop by and check it out. Have a great day!

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