Let’s Make 2015 GREAT!

My last e-mail to you was almost 2 weeks ago. Although I did work over the Holidays, it’s what you might call an abbreviated schedule. I hope that you and your family had some down time and that 2015 is all that you could hope for it to be.

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In that e-mail I talked about how television was free when I was a kid and how you could reduce your costs. The fact remains that even though we could probably all cut our costs in half, we won’t. Why? Well, partly because we’re simply used to having what we have and there are other priorities or maybe it’s just too much hassle to start changing services and waiting for service people to arrive between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. I understand.

So, my advice, is to do at least the following. Call your service providers every 90 days and simply ask them to review your account and determine if there is any way you can reduce your bill. I do it and have found most representatives to be very helpful. I am not always able to reduce my bill but even if it happens once a year, it’s worth it.

A few days ago I decided to do this with my cable, internet and cell phone providers. It turned out that my cable and internet provider had a year-end special package on the same services that I now have but it was $22 a month cheaper for the next year. Then I decided to purchase (on e-bay) my own cable modem (for $9.95) which saved me an additional $8 a month. I then moved onto my cell phone provider. Some of you may be aware of a special that was available through Verizon Wireless. If you upgraded to the 10 Gig Data plan, you received 30 Gigs for the same cost. I did this because I use a ton of data (I’m a Hotspot freak). However, in reviewing my cell phone plan, the representative told me that they now have a 15 Gig plan.  This was not available before. In reducing my data plan to 15 Gigs, my cell phone bill was reduced by $30 a month. Given that my average data usage is 10 Gigs, I did it.

It took me a total of one hour to speak with both Time Warner and Verizon Wireless and as such I will now have $720 more in my pocket in 2015. Do you make $720 an hour? Hmmm, I wonder what I could do with that money? New TV, mini vacation, retirement fund, college fund, debt reduction…………… The choices are limitless!

Wasn’t Watching Television Free?!

Do you remember when television was free? Based on the demographics of many of my readers I would have to believe that you do. For those of you that are a little younger (my kids are 10, 10 and 12 so they don’t remember although I guess it’s free to them now as I pay for it!) you may not remember. That’s right! Television used to be FREE. When we were kids our televisions were really small and heavy and had rabbit ears sticking out of the top. In England, where I grew up, we had three, yes three, television channels! Imagine!

So, let me ask you this question, did you know that you can watch television now for FREE? Now to be clear, I’m not saying that you can get all of the hundreds of channels that you may now receive using your cable or satellite television service but you can get quite a few depending on where you live.

A few years ago (in the United States) television stations stopped sending out an analog signal. Now they send a digital signal. So, if you have a newer television all you have to do is go to your local store and purchase a digital antenna. If you have an older television you will also have to purchase a digital converter box. Depending on the quality you will spend $10 to $100. Hook them up and you will be watching FREE television. How many channels you receive depends on many issues including the quality of your antenna, where the television stations are located, where you live, whether or not you live around mountains etc……… Whether or not you are happy with the results will also depend on a number of issues such as what you like to watch, how much you watch, when you watch etc….. Also, if you want to record something you will have to resort to a recording machine of some kind.

So, now you have FREE television (with the understanding that you have incurred some one-time costs for equipment, which by the way, you now own rather than rent). However, let’s say that you’re not getting the channels you want and therefore cannot watch all or any of the programs that you like. Next, it’s time to look at services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon. These are all web-based, streaming television options that can be viewed through your existing television. By the way, the FREE television that I spoke about above does not have to be used at all to use these subscription services. As of this writing Netflix and Hulu Plus are available for $7.99/month and Amazon Prime is available for $79/year. Now, I fully understand that these services are not FREE. However, even if you had them all, I feel very confident in saying that most people will save 80-90% on their television viewing costs. In other words, if you are now paying $120/month for television, your new cost (without the antenna version), for all three services above will be $22.56/month, a savings of 81.2% totaling $1169.28 a year. So, what would you do with an extra $1169 each year? Take a family vacation, put it in savings, add it to your college or retirement fund, pay down some debt etc….. There are many uses for that money, right?

I know that some of you are spending way more to watch television and I would think that some are paying less. Either way, there is a plethora of ways to save money in this area. Don’t simply assume that it’s all the same. It’ll take some time and probably some frustrations but just think about what you could do with the money you’ll save. Your comments are always appreciated. Thank you.

Neil has been involved in the world of money and finance since 1983. Having begun his career as a life insurance agent, Neil soon added securities to his expertise, becoming a financial adviser and then an Independent Registered Investment Adviser. He has worked with hundreds of families and businesses over the last thirty years with one goal in mind; to support them in building the life of their dreams. Today, Neil is the owner of the Wealth Creator Company for Women. This company, which was born in 2005 and transitioned to its current form in 2008, is dedicated to supporting ‘Women in Transition’. Specifically, women who are thinking about, are going through or who have been through a divorce, a legal separation or the death of a spouse. Neil is working diligently to take his process across the globe over the next five to ten years. Neil has been married to Stacie for almost twenty seven years, has three beautiful children and lives and works in West lake Village, California.