Bills & Utilities

I just received my water bill in the mail and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was $15 lower than normal.  This is likely due to having a new toilet installed last month to replace my perpetually leaky one. The cost of the toilet was around $250 (I know, I splurged) and the installation was another $150 or so.  If these results stay consistent, that means I will have paid back the investment in a little over two years. Not bad!

One place to see if this might be an opportunity for you is to benchmark your actual water bill against what you think you might be using.  Calculate your water usage at a site like  http://www.csgnetwork.com/waterusagecalc.html.  Then compare your hypothetical water usage to your bill and see if there’s a big disconnect between the water that you think that you’re using and what your household is actually consuming– if so, you too may have a leak!  It may be worth it to call your plumber (or find a great plumber on Angieslist) and have all of your fixtures checked.

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I hate shelling out $115 every month to Comcast for cable television and high speed internet.  Not only does  their customer service leave something to be desired, but the bills seem to keep going up year after year.  Here are three simple steps I took to reduce my bill.

1.  I bought a cable modem instead of leasing it.

I was paying $6 a month for 7 years to lease a Motorola Surfboard cable modem from Comcast.  That’s $504 [I’m including taxes and fees in this calculation]. Since a cable modem only costs $50 or so, I could have bought 10 cable modems with all that money.  All I had to do was purchase the new modem, call Comcast to set it up, and then drop off the old one at the local Comcast service center.  If you’re still leasing your cable modem, do yourself a favor and buy one on Amazon.

2.  I explored my options

Check out your cable or internet service provider’s website and see if there are different plans or options.  See what competitive offerings are.  Comcast has an option where you can subscribe to “Economy Internet” instead of “Performance Internet.”  This would have saved me $20 a month which sounded like a great option.  However, I switched over and found that the bandwidth didn’t meet my needs.

3.  I downgraded to upgrade

When I logged on to Comcast.com to switch my plan back, the Comcast rep gave me an option to upgrade (back to my old level of service) for a $20 discount for six months.  Try this – switch to a cheaper option, for instance from digital cable to basic cable, for a few days. Then call them and  switch back and ask if there are any promotions you’re eligible for.  Because of your “switching behavior” you’re likely to be eligible for a promotion.

We’re all in this together –please comment if you’ve had any success reducing your cable/internet bills.

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