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Saving money and a bit of sanity

Saving money and a bit of sanity

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JAY EDWARDS

KM thinks we need to save a few bucks every month, so I decided to take a look at my cable bill the other day. I currently have something they call the Digital Preferred Plan, which runs $65.94 a month.

I have this plan because a couple of years back my television set broke down on me and I headed over to Best Buy where I was easily convinced that my next TV should be High Definition. I ended up buying the only one that would fit into the entertainment center we have in our den, which was actually the smallest HD TV they had in stock at the time.

So that’s why I have the HD/DVR Service every month, which costs me $11.95, and if you add in the $2.99 monthly charge for the Service Protection Plan, the cable TV part of my bill comes to $80.88. There is also a $2.99 Service Protection Plan charge, so I won’t have to pay for service calls or equipment repair; you know, insurance. I’m always leery of insurance, and agree with Chris Rock who says, “If you never need your insurance then shouldn’t you get your money back?”

Next on my bill is a $45.95 charge for High Speed Internet, of which $3.00 of that is for the modem. Maybe I should get my own modem and not rent theirs. I wonder if that’s allowed?

Next on the bill is the Taxes, Surcharges and Fees section, where the first item is a six-cent FCC Regulatory Fee. I’m not sure what this is but it certainly seems reasonable so I move on. 

My Franchise Fee is $5.14. What’s this? And if I’m paying it doesn’t it seem like I should get a cut of the profits?

I’m paying $7.16 in sales tax to my cable company. If I pay their franchise fee it seems only fair that they would pay some of my taxes. But fair and monopoly aren’t ever like peas and carrots.

Then come the extras. We rented a movie about a woman who gets Alzheimer’s, and insists on quickly moving to an assisted living facility, away from her sad husband and cable company. It was uplifting holiday fare. It was a new release and cost $2.99. That brings this month’s bill to a total of $145.27. 

I think I’ll keep my High Speed Internet as it is. My first thought was to get rid of the Cable TV and get an antenna, but if I do that they will raise my Internet from $42.95 a month to $57.95, because I would be classified as a Non-Cable Customer. So I will keep Basic Cable, which is $9.75 a month, which will keep my Internet fee $15.00 less a month.

You may be wondering what I get for that $9.75. Well, there are 19 channels, including the three major networks, as well as FOX, PBS, The Weather Channel, and 13 others, most of which will probably never get looked at. The new bill by my calculations will come to around $60.00. But what am I giving up? Somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 channels, which includes the HD channels and 45 Digital Music Channels. I’m losing SPEED, Lifetime, Nickelodeon and The Style Network. Also SOAPnet, the Military Channel and all the MTV channels will be gone. I think I’ll survive.

If you don’t count HD, which I admit I’ll probably miss at first, there are only nine channels out of the 175 I’ll be losing that I ever watch, and three of those are 24-hour news channels, which is probably a good thing. So I’m going to save a thousand bucks a year and have more peace of mind at the same time.

As long as I keep FOX and CBS, for the NFL and The Masters, and the SEC Network, things should be OK, as long as KM approves it. Hey, she likes the NFL. What a woman.

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