questionshow much do you spend on your "communication…

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I pay under $55 monthly for my landline, internet, cell phone, and TV combined.

Landline: $5 for Ooma VOIP
Internet: $40 for 12 meg downloads rom ATT U-verse
Cell: $8-10 for Page Plus pay as you go minutes with no data
TV: Cancelled the cable 14 months ago.

I put up an antenna and spent $20 per USB tuner to use my PC as a DVR with Windows Media Center. I use a couple of Xbox 360s around the house to stream recorded and live TV from my PC.

Obviously it'll cost you more if you need more landlines, cell phones, and DVR inputs, but you can do much better than $6000 per year.

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That leaves a monthly bill of $500 average. The first and easiest thing to do is call AT&T if they literally are your sole provider for everything and ask about bundles. Threaten to cancel. Doesn't always work, especially with a company so evil, but it might help. If not, do a little research into what parts of your bill are the highest and what can be eliminated/cut back. At least one of your landlines, if not both, could easily be handled by OOMA or Google Voice. I can't NOT recommend MagicJack enough, but you can buy a used device off eBay for a couple bucks and arrange to have it work with your Google Voice number. Cut back on the TV. 15 HBO channels showing the same dozen movies for three months at a time doesn't do anybody any good. And even though it may appear you are getting a deal with a grandfathered unlimited data/text plan...look at how much you are paying for it. Figure out how much you actually USE, you might be surprised..

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PS: Even though I did say look into bundles, also consider getting some of your eggs out of that one basket. Look at how much tv/internet and maybe even phone are through your local cable provider. Did the cable company REALLY make you made enough to give all your business to AT&T? REALLY REALLY? Think about it, $500/month. Even Time Warner hasn't pissed me off THAT much, and trust me, they have seriously pissed me off multiple times.

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I'm not sure how much DVR's are for AT&T, but at Time Warner they are about $20/DVR. Going with that figure, you are paying $80/month just for DVR's. I would look in to just getting one or two DVR's instead of four.

Otherwise, as others recommend, call AT&T. They might give you a break. You will have to threaten to cancel and talk to the retention department though.

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1) Look at the channels you are paying for on your cable to see if you really need all of it. You may be able to adjust what packages of channels you subscribe to in order to lower your bill.

2) Could you possibly live with a slightly lower home internet speed? You may be able to slightly lower your bill that way.

3) The most important thing to do is to look at each of your bills in detail and examine each charge. That's the best way to see what you can cut out. On my bills, I found charges that were basically insurance on various hardware components (cell phone, "inside wire" coverage, etc.). These ranged from $6-$8 per month, but they're wasting your money unless you have to regularly call technicians to repair your service.

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Got a very rough monthly breakdown on the services:

2 Landline phones -- $60
(We need to keep at least one of these. Hurricanes take down cell towers too often.)

Internet -- $40
(Much better service than we had with Cox.)

U-verse Television -- $135
(It's probably the four DVRs that drive this up so high. We don't get HBO or any of that stuff.)

Four cell phones -- $245
(Unlimited texting, a couple with extra data plans)

This totals $480 month or $5760/year. Wow!

DH is thinking that no one but he needs an iPhone, the rest of us should just have a basic cell phone with no real data plan. Argh! How will I Woot when not at home on the network?

This is already supposed to be bundled, but it's ridiculous to be spending this much. And it doesn't even count his hot spot that he needs for work and his iPad.

My thought is that we should reduce (but KEEP) the data plan for my phone since I use it on the network at home and can usually use his hot spot otherwise.

continued

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Does AT&T offer a whole house DVR. Verizon FIOS does and its cheaper than even 2 individual DVRs. That may be a way to save some bucks. With FIOS, there is an approved list of external hard drives for more storage of recorded shows, if needed.
Will any of the TVs accept a cable-card? That is usually a much cheaper option than a set top box or DVR.
Can one of the landlines be switched to a limited call plan? If you rarely call out and only receive calls, that is another savings.
Do you have a PC that could be used as a DVR? I believe there are USB tuners available that will accept a cable-card. With a few ROKU boxes and Plex you could do your own whole house DVR.

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It's very difficult to find out exactly what I pay for what w/Brighthouse (aka TWC). The breakdown of my bill seems to be elusive. BUT, my total monthly bill is around $140 (inc. taxes). This includes cable TV (no premium channels), 2 DVRs, phone service w/unlimited long distance, & a very good internet connection.

I did have phone service w/o long distance and a slower internet connection w/my local phone company. Had the cable w/Brighthouse. Was offered a Brighthouse package deal inc. all of the above. It was about $30 less than what I was paying to both companies. Guaranteed for a year. After that, it may go up $20. Still ahead. With, IMO, excellent service & additional options. BTW: I have never been a fan of TWC/Brighthouse. Am now.

I have a pay in advance cell phone w/Virgin. $20 every 3 months. I do not use the cell...it's for 'emergencies' only.

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continued

We probably need to cut it down to two DVRs and consider other options that some of you have suggested. I'm behind the curve on some of this stuff. Maybe we should just put up an antenna, get something to stream from the network through the TVs for Netflix or Hulu Plus or whatever (Heaven knows we have enough Xboxes and Wiis that can probably do this), and completely eliminate cable. DH is concerned that we can't get ESPN without cable. If anyone knows the scoop on this it would help. I'm happy with the major networks, SyFy, TNT, TBS, the CW, FX, and USA. Of course, we probably need whatever channel shows the hunt for Bigfoot shows (DH is addicted). I suspect that there are ways to get most of these without cable.

I showed DH your suggestions and he thanks you. Tomorrow he is calling AT&T to hash it out, first. Amazing how expensive this has gotten just by adding a bit here, a bit there. $5760! Amazing! Argh!!

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@tbgolladay: I guess technically we probably have a whole house DVR with four boxes. I see that they're now offering a wireless TV connection (I forget the terminology) so it makes me wonder whether we could eventually get away without the boxes.

I guess it's silly to have four people here and so many blasted televisions! We obviously watch too much mindless television!

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http://www.amazon.com/OBi110-Service-Bridge-Telephone-Adapter/dp/B0045RMEPI Buy this and port your number to Google Voice. Eliminate your phone bill entirely.

Look into unlimited prepaid cell service. Chances are even with your grandfathered in plan you're paying too much.

Scale down on your TV needs. Do you really need that many DVRs? Seriously? I'd say cut back to basic cable and just rent movies from Redbox rather than pay for HBO and other things. Also, shop around and see if you can't get better rates. AT&T isn't exactly known for being the cheapest around. I know I had their internet service before and I seemed to pay an awful lot.

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We spend approximately:

internet - $40/mo (this is the fastest speed that they offer... it should be $55/mo but I called and threatened to leave them last year and they reduced it to $40 for a year... I'll have to call again next mo)
Cell phones - $60/mo (t-mobile... that's 750 minutes, 200M data... 1 smart phone, 1 regular cell phone) Not the best plan but I'm locked in until next month and then my 2 years are up.
tv - $0... We watch basic cable for the news and I watch my 2 tv shows online
Movies - about $200/year which includes all the movies I could ever want to watch. $10/mo to blockbuster for as many trips to the store that we can make per month to check out 1 movie at a time and $80/year for amazon prime.

Sooo... $1400/year. This is for a young family of 4. Ohhh... and I love to talk on the phone... I mean... seriously love to talk on the phone. So, to not use my minutes on my cell phone, I call through my computer using g-mail.com. Completely free anywhere in the US!

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wow your getting jipped on cell phone service and cable.

Get your kids straight talk or virgin mobile at $35-45/month per phone for unlimited data & text.

Why dont you have one DVR with a huge hardrive? 1 or 2 TB should cover all of you,

Why don't you have On Demand? That way anything you miss you can watch on the internet or bring it up on the tv.

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I know your over spending on cable cause we pay like $130 but we are in a bundle and we get HBO and Starz and internet. I always call them up every 4 months and ask what the specials are.

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Interenet: $5/month for 20Mb down, no cap
Cable TV: $9.95/month with all channels + 2 DVR boxes
Cell Phone: $100/month for 2 lines with unlimited data

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Cable with full channel list
2 digital boxes with DVRs
15Mb down
1 landline

$88/mo

2 iPhones
1 unlimited data
1 2GB data

$120/mo

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$47 a month for DSL, and about $10 month for Tracphone. I got rid of the satellite dish and just stream TV or watch dvds/blu-rays.

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$0.00
2 Cell phones w/ unlimited voice, text, data. (Both our works cover costs for these)
home phone line
home fax line
100Mbps download 10Mbps upload Internet
Home Alarm System (Let monitoring expire, configured system to call my cell when it goes off)

$54.95
DirecTV All channel list not including movie channels.

I recommend calling your "Communications Providers" every 3 months to get them to lower your bills. This may not work for cell phones, but it more than likely will for your Internet/phone provider.

TV: if you call to cancel, you typically get sent to customer retention who is pre-authorized to drop your price by $25/month (this is the case for Dish Network and DirecTV at least). Do your research on the other brands. I found that even with the cost to cancel my TV, with the competitors pricing I would STILL save money. This got my price dropped $35/month after some time sitting on hold.

Just remember, even when you are at their lowest price, their still making money!

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At that price for four cell phones, are you paying for four separate plans? AT&T definitely has family plans available, where you can add a line for $10+tax/month. Of course, this would mean changing your plans, and if each of those four individual plans is under a contract, there will be termination fees. But let's be honest...$250/month? Insane. This would be the first area to attack. Look at ACTUAL usage, not potential. I know people love unlimited plans, but do you have any idea how many people 'want' unlimited data, but when they look at their usage actually use like 100-200 meg a month? Of course you may not be in that crowd, for all I know you torrent the entire library of congress daily, all I'm saying is look at your usage to see which end of the spectrum you hover around. Even with overage fees, if you are 100-200 meg a month for 11 months and then download the entire library of congress in the 12th month, you might come out ahead.

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My expenses (my wife and I, no kids):

Landline: Voip-based, $13/mo. on average. Based on $5/mo. for fees for 3 phone numbers and 911 taxes and 1.25 cents per minute in actual usage. Can make many simultaneous phone calls as each phone in the home is a separate virtual line. Did invest approx. $200 in equipment, not including the old computer used as the PBX server.

Internet: $45/mo. for middle-tier cable Internet

Cell: $30/mo. for two Net10 prepay phones using under 150 minutes per month each.

Netflix: $22.98/mo.

Mobile Internet: $9/mo. for a Ting 4G mobile hotspot with up to 100MB usage. No smartphones, just a couple iPod touches.

Total $120. I don't use anything but antenna for local HD channels, no cable TV. But I have a computer-based DVR at no monthly cost ($20/yr for listings data). If I was buying new cell phones today, it would probably be two used smartphones through Ting, and we could get rid of the mobile hotspot for about the same total price we're paying today.

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Thanks for all of the feedback. DH called AT&T this morning and get the Landline/TV/Interwebs costs cut by $41 without changing any services, just threatening to quit. Excellent suggestion!

Cell phones get a bit more complicated. DH is required to have a certain level of service for work, and really burns up a LOT of minutes and data for work-related activity. His thought was to reduce the service for the rest of us. We are already on a family package, so the base cost of adding the three phones was $10 for each of us. The additional charges were for extras like unlimited texting ($30 -- we USE it!), and the data plans. We researched phones on the AT&T website and it appeared that we could get phones that had all of the features we want, but that don't require data plans. The idea was to get WIFI enabled phones that could access the internet only when we are in a hot spot. Unfortunately when we got to the store we learned these don't exist. Tomorrow, Plan B. Look at other providers!

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@belyndag: Have you looked at Republic Wireless? What you are describing sounds like what they use. They are $20 a month for supposedly unlimited everything. I was on their waiting list but when they got to me I didn't go through with it because that's double what I am currently paying and I am satisfied with my phone service. I am just hoping that Tracphone gets an Android phone soon so I can take credit card sales at my art booth on the weekends. That's the main reason I was looking at Republic, but I finally decided an extra $120 a year wasn't a reasonable expense to be able to take credit cards.

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$13.72 - Home Phone: Ooma w/Premier and Taxes.
$134.72 - Cable & Interernet
$42 - Cell Straight Talk Unlimited I buy it in group of 3 months
$7.99 - Netflix Streaming
$79 a year - Amazon Prime - streaming and 2 day free shipping

Ooma Premier - just the Black list feature alone is worth the $9.99 a month. The additonal second line is also great. If interested search deals.woot for a Ooma Code.

Purchased a Roku XS about a year ago. No complaints

Cable - I bought my own modem. I could go cheaper if I drop HD and a few other features. Not sure if I want to yet.

I have a spare PC and I'm considering getting a tuner and maybe XMBC to get rid of the cable box.

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@belyndag: Are you able to expense one of your AT&T cell phones through work (since it is heavily used for it. Also, when I used AT&T earlier I was able to get about $10 (maybe of by a few dollars) off my plan through work. Check her to see if you qualify https://www.wireless.att.com/business/authenticate/ and enter either your work or school email.