Being savvy with your finances is a combination of spending less on things that aren’t that important to you, and earning more where you can. In this way, you can maximize your long term investing for life’s big goals. I track our family income, expenses, and investing pretty closely. And I’ve been seeing the costs of cable, internet and home phone rising every year. At the end of 2018 we decided to tackle this spending, and I’ll show you how we are saving nearly $70 every month!
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In our family, with two adults, three teens, and one tween, the TV is the least used screen in the house. Between us we have 5 computers in active use. We have 5 iPhones, 1 iPad, and the youngest has an old iPod.
We’ve had Netflix for years, and we all love the convenience of watching what we want, when we want it, commercial-free. In addition, Amazon Prime members get free movies and shows as part of their package! This includes some fabulous Prime Original programming.
Cutting the cable seemed like a no-brainer for us. We actually cut cable a few years ago, but then Rogers sucked us back in with their “bundle” pricing that was cheaper than just internet and home phone alone. Of course it didn’t stay that way for long. Those package rates seem to climb every few months, don’t they.
We had purchased an antenna several years ago, to get local digital programming over the air. Living in Toronto, we get about 30 channels, some from as far as Buffalo. It’s HD TV and the picture quality is better than we got with cable. Our antenna is about 8 years old, so it’s big and wiry as compared with the sleek options Amazon sells now. (I really hope Mr. Tea doesn’t see this or he’ll want to upgrade our antenna!)
Our Exact Savings on Cable
The cable portion of our Rogers bill was $48.58. By cutting the cable cord, that’s a savings of almost $600 per year!
But cutting cable isn’t sufficient. Without the package price, the cost of our home phone service would have gone from $28.24 to $50.80! That would eat up nearly half of our savings on cable if we left it at that.
So we didn’t.
We had been looking at VOIP systems for a while, and decided that Ooma was the right system for us. One of the biggest selling features is that we got to keep our existing home phone number.
They have a free home phone service, that only costs monthly fees and taxes. These include your 911 service fee and a regulatory compliance fee. Altogether it’s $5.07 per month where we live.
We opted for the premium service, at least for the first year. In part, because it includes free calling to Canada, U.S. and Mexico. With close relatives in all three countries, that was important to us. It also includes the free Ooma mobile phone app. While we don’t make a lot of long distance calls on our cell phones, if the teens move away to university or travel out of town, they can call us toll-free. We also get free voicemail-to-email audio forwarding. If someone calls and leaves a voicemail at our home phone number while we’re away, I can hear it on my phone. Very handy!
Home Phone Handset
I have our existing cordless home phone set from Panasonic connected to the Ooma device, so I can answer calls anywhere in the house. And I prefer the bigger handset that tucks against my shoulder, leaving my hands free while I talk. This Panasonic set is amazing because it has a bluetooth link to your cell if you wish, so that you can answer your cell phone from the handset. Very handy if it rings upstairs while you’ve run to the kitchen to get a cup of tea.
The computer doesn’t have to be on, to get VOIP calls. The sound of Ooma calls is crystal clear and we’ve never had a minute of trouble. Ooma also works with Amazon Echo and other smart devices, but our home is not that smart!
Our Exact Savings on Home Phone
By switching to Ooma, our home phone cost has gone from $28.24 per month with Rogers to only $5.07 per month! Even with the one-time cost for buying the Ooma device (which we picked up on a Black Friday sale) and the annual cost of the premier plan, we are still saving money over the course of a year. Plus our old home phone plan didn’t include long distance to Mexico, so we’re saving money there too.
Looking for more savings around the home? Cancel your rental hot water heater!
Our internet with Rogers had just jumped up from $88.13 to $91.94, and then to $122.03 after we cancelled cable. That’s an outrageous amount for internet, in my opinion! And the speed hadn’t improved in years. We were plodding along at 100mps, waiting for websites to load. Yawn!
Why we Decided to Spend Extra on Internet
We decided to switch to Bell for their FIBE internet, and splurge on a high speed product that costs $90.34. It has recently increased to $95.99. While this is a little more than we were originally paying in our bundle with Rogers, we are now getting speeds that are 10 times faster! Our new contract is 1,000mps! And with so many screens in the house – and let’s be honest, one boy enjoys online games – this seemed like a good area to spend a bit more. We also bought some Cat6 cable so now four of our five computers are wired, which gives faster internet speeds when working at our desks.
Cable, Internet and Home Phone
Altogether we’re saving $48.58 per month on cable, plus $23.17 per month on home phone. We’re spending $4.05 more on internet, but getting three times the speed! That’s over $800 per year in savings for cable, internet and home phone. Even with the one-time set-up costs for a Bell modem and an Ooma device and premier plan, we’re still saving over $500 this year alone. You can buy a lot of lattes with that kind of savings!
Related reading for more money saving ideas:
- Money saving tips for newlyweds
- 19 (nearly) free things to do with your friends
- Meal planning shortcuts
- Money saving recipes to make at home
- Save money on your rent or mortgage
I spend $80 internet (Videotron) which I share with my next-door neighbor (total cost $40) and I have a smartphone without data (wifi only) which costs me $20 per month.
I am thinking of getting a Skype-in phone number (About $5 per month) and drop altogether my phone plan.
Of course, I work from home so those changes are not a big burden.
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This was such a great overview of your home phone/internet/cable setup. We have a similar setup as you—no cable TV and we use a VoIP service (ours is Fongo).
One difference however, is we use a discount carrier (Lightspeed) for our internet. They buy internet services wholesale from Shaw and Telus, then resell it to consumers at a discount.
Our internet bill went from a non-promo rate of around $90 (from Shaw) to under $45/month! We pay for 75 mbps but actually receive around 80 Mbps. While we’d love to switch to fibre optic, we find this speed is sufficient for us right now. (But that may change as our boys grow and get more into gaming!)
I love reading about how other Canadians reduce their household expenses. It helps me to know that we’re doing the right things (or gives me ideas for more that we can do!) Thanks for such a helpful article!
Thanks Chrissy! That’s a GREAT price for internet!
These are great money saving tips on cable.
I live in Canada too and I understand the frustration with Rogers, Bell, etc. Lol!!!
I cut cable too because I wasn’t using it that much and it saved me tons of money. I also switch my phone plan for a much cheaper price without having to downgrade any features which was great.
I enjoyed reading this post! 🙂
Thanks Bee! It takes a bit of time to research options and make the change, but those savings keep adding up month after month with no more effort!
That’s amazing that you were able to save that much! For me personally, I keep my finances under control using budgeting.
Budgeting is also an important way to manage your finances!