Shopping Around is a great thing you can do once a year to make sure that you are not paying too much for your technology plans. So start the year right and start shopping now. Here's how...
Cellular Service: Cell phone carriers like AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and so on are always changing their plans. If you've had the same plan for the past couple of years, chances are that you are paying too much. Cell plans constantly change and usually get better and less expensive. I was paying $210 a month for 2 phones with AT&T. I didn't want to change because I had unlimited data but not unlimited phone or text. I called and asked them to check my actual usage. I never went over 2GB of data a month because I'm mostly on Wi-Fi. I changed my unlimited plan to 5GB a month, unlimited text and phone for $112 a month for 2 phones. That's a savings of $98 a month or $1,176 a year! I could have saved even more if I would have bundled my DirecTV but decided not to because I would have to get a new account and password and with 8 Apple TVs in this house that would have been a nightmare logging into each App on each Apple TV with my new User name and password. Also, if you can bundle your iPhones and your iPads, do it. It will save you $$. You had better call your carrier ASAP and start saving NOW!
Internet Service Provider: It could be Comcast, Frontier, Verizon, Wild Blue or any carrier that supplies the Internet to your home. Where I live I have the choice of Frontier or a Satellite provider and I would never go back to that. When I first signed up for Frontier DSL, it was $29.95, then they jacked me up to $50 when the honeymoon was over. I went on their web site to check things out a few months ago and noticed that they had 3 tiers of service. I checked my Internet speed on my Mac at www.speedtest.net to find out exactly what speed I was getting. I was getting the lowest speeds but paying the highest price. I called them and told them that since I was paying for the faster speed, I wanted it NOW! They said it wasn't available where I live and then lowered by bill back to $29.95 a month. That saves me $240 a year! You've got to watch these companies and make sure that you are getting what you pay for and if you aren't, then change it. Call your Internet Service Provider and ask for Sales and ask them if there are any promotions. Also, make sure you are bundling your services. That saves you a ton!
TV Services: Bundle, bundle, bundle! I know several of you that have Comcast for your TV and Frontier or AT&T for your Internet and or phone. I can tell you that you are paying too much. If you have the choice to have one carrier do it all, it will save you thousands a year! If you are already bundled, call them and ask for any promotions or savings. It doesn't hurt to ask and they sure as Hell aren't just going to tell you unless you call!
iCloud: Many of you signed up for additional storage on Apple's iCloud servers because you kept running out of space and getting an error. Some of the first plans were 20GB of storage for $10 a year. New plans have come out for 50GB of storage for 99¢ a month. That's $11.88 a year for 3 times the storage! If you have the old plan, switch now. On your iPhone, go to Settings > iCloud > Storage then tap on Change Storage Plan and choose the 50GB option. It's just a better deal.
Cutting the Cord: Are you ready to get rid of everyone except for your unlimited Internet Service Provider? That would save you a ton of money! With a Smart TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV or Apple TV, and a few Apps, you can. In order to do this, you must have high speed unlimited Internet speeds of 5 Mbps or greater. This leaves out Satellite or Wireless providers such as Verizon which are not unlimited. Streaming video takes a huge amount of bandwidth. Comcast, Charter, AT&T Uverse, or Frontier DSL all give you enough speed and are unlimited. Before you cut the cord, make sure you get a good HD antenna to receive local free channels like FOX, ABC, CBS, PBS, CW, and NBC. You might also want to invest in a TiVo to record the shows you miss. The new Apple TV is great for getting content. You can subscribe to Hulu for $8 a month and see tons of TV shows. For about the same, you can get Netflix and watch movies. For $14 a month HBO Now gives you all their own shows and great movies. So for about $30 a month you can watch tons of stuff! If my husband wasn't addicted to TCM and the Western Channel, I'd do it! We pay DirecTV $163 a month for this privilege and we don't even have any pay channels like HBO or Showtime and we don't watch sports! Maybe I can convince him some day. I'll keep trying.
Drawbacks: Comcast and Charter are Cable providers which is a party line. At peak times, like in the evening or when everyone is renting cottages in the summer, speeds can drop preventing you from watching movies. Also, I just heard this morning that Comcast is going to start charging people who use more data more money. Sometimes, you just can't win.
Frontier DSL is currently replacing all it's rotten and aging infrastructure with fiber optic cable and it will not be completed until later this year. If you have Frontier some of you are only getting 1 Mbps speeds which is not sufficient to stream video. Wait until next year to cut the cord when everything has been updated.
I hope this information helps you to at least recoup a little money as I'm sure we could all use it.