There’s a famous saying which goes something like this: “Life sucks, and then you die” although its a true statement, a truer statement though would be “Life sucks, you pay bills, live paycheck to paycheck, go into debt, then die.” But that doesnt have to be the outcome for you! I hear so often of people who make the same or even more than I do and say how they barely make it paycheck to paycheck and are just struggling to get by. Now every situation is different, but for the most part there are a few general expenses that I’ve noticed everyone seems to be overpaying and not realizing it.
Another issue I see is people are afraid to change a setup that they are used to because they are afraid of losing that same quality of life, so for this list I have focused only on expenses that you can cut and STILL keep that same quality of life we materialist Americans are so focused on…So lets begin!
1. The Cable TV Bill
Netflix and Hulu and Amazon Prime are all fantastic LEGAL alternatives to cable TV, but for some, they are all missing the important parts, like crashing on the couch and watching endless live TV, or being able to watch ESPN or your favorite sports channel. And to that I say, let me introduce you fine folks to a neat little service called Sling TV.
Sling TV is a streaming alternative to Cable TV, it gives you three options to choose between, for $20 you get the basic channels like History, ESPN etc. or for $5 more you can get double the channels. Sling also offers additional channels in $5 packages, to meet literally anyone’s taste. In testing, I found Sling TV to work particularly well when playing the live channels, I had no issues, BUT the on demand shows seemed to at times freeze or crash (but is that really any different than cable on demand? ) So for $20 you can get literally everything you could want from Cable without the soul selling contract and the high bill! Win win.
So lets get to the important part, how does Sling add up (or subtract)?
The average American cable bill in 2016 according to Fortune was about $103!(yikes)
Cable = $103
Sling = $20
Total Savings = $83 per month!
2. The Internet Bill
Ah the glorious monoply that is Cable internet in the US of A, unfortunately we are all being screwed by the big cable companies since we pay the highest AND we get the slowest speeds in the modern world . Also despite what many republican politicians would have you believe, internet is NOT a luxury anymore, in 2017 it is a necessity. And that is just another reason why its so important to shop around and save on it, these ISP’s know that you need their service, so they are going to do all they can to sucker you into a contract and make you pay the highest premium possible.
The first thing to think about when trying to save on your internet bill is: How much speed do you actually need? I mean really, you’re paying $100 a month for 80 Mbps, but could you work on 50? 20? What about 10? HOW LOW CAN YOU GO?! Well lets look at some actually data here:
According to a report by Lifewire on Netflix streaming, the recommended speed for streaming HD content is surprisingly only 5 Mbps! And that’s to stream HD content, you could totally stream netflix just fine at 480p on only 2 Mbps! What about 4k? Oh you just need the crazy high speed of…10 to 15 mbps!
So when it comes down to it, why the hell are you spending hundreds of dollars on premium internet speed when all you really need is at most a low cost 15 mbps speed?! Another thing to keep in mind, is contracts, I recommend STAY AWAY from them, because they may give you a discount now, but they now own you and you cant just pick up and leave, and they can raise your rate whenever they want.
100 mbps plan = about $80 (before taxes and fees)
10 mbps plan = about $50(before taxes and fees)
total savings = at least $30! and you get to keep your soul (no binding contracts)
You can make these numbers even lower by checking out some of the local internet providers in your area, in my area I was able to find a provider with no contract offering 12 mbps internet at $35 a month!
3. The Cellphone Bill
I know just reading that headline probably made you angry, and I am right there with you, or atleast I used to be… This one is such a no brainer but I am constantly surprised by how ignorant most people are to the many cheaper and better options out there!
Right now, you are likely with one of the four large providers, you likely share a plan with your family, and you guys likely share a pool of data (10 gb maybe?) or its even worse if you’re by yourself, because according to Time Magazine in 2012 the average individual plan was about $80….Yikes
So what are you paying for? Better reception? More reliable service? Ehhh think again.
according to BGR, Tmobile for example has significantly expanded their network in the past couple years, and when looking at the coverage maps of all the carriers, most of them have maybe a 1% coverage difference…Which is crazy when you consider the premium someone like Verizon is charging for just 1% difference! So if you’re looking to save and want to stay with a big provider, why not go with T-mobile?
But to hell with the big carriers, we are determined to save as much money as possible, and thats when another hugely overlooked option pokes its beautiful head, PREPAID. And there are SO MANY prepaid options out there that are a fraction of the cost of the big carriers its insane, but out of all the plans I found, the best one in my opinion would be MetroPCS.
MetroPCS rides on the T-Mobile network which actually according to Tom’s Guide who tested all the major networks, actually noted that MetroPCS greatly surpassed Sprint and all the other prepaid networks in coverage! MetroPCS also offers a starting plan of $30 a month! This plan gives you unlimited calling, texting and data (only 2GB of 4G LTE speed then after the speeds get throttled) so no overages! You also dont have to worry about your bill going up because since you prepay you can always just choose to not pay for the next month, and with MetroPCS they INCLUDE taxes and fees, so total AFTER EVERYTHING you’re only paying $30, and if you really need endless fast data you could always go with their $50 fully unlimited 4G plan.
Average individual plan on Verizon = $75
MetroPCS 2GB unlimited plan = $30
Total savings = $45! and without the contract!
We live in a money controlled world, everyone is trying to rob everyone else, you gotta constantly stay on your feet or you will get swept away. And even though these are just three of the many bills you pay each month, just by saving on them, you are putting yourself in a much better, less stressful situation, take all these numbers with a grain of salt, because each situation is different, but the main take away here is to do your research before you sign up for ANYTHING, look at all the options, and go with the cheapest option you’re lifestyle can afford. Best of luck out there!