Saving Money

I’ve taken a keen interest in financial planning, and what better way to get some experience with it than planning my own, personal finances? I’ve set myself the goal of being self-sufficient. My co-op terms make this goal quite possible, despite the regular plundering the University of Waterloo tuition performs on my bank account. I’ve been tracking my spending, prioritizing big purchases, and watching my co-op salary increase with each subsequent semester. But sometimes growing that top line just isn’t enough. Sometimes you just have to cut expenses.
So, I recently decided to start with one of the easier things to control, and with two quick phone calls, I saved nearly $400 per year on internet and cell phone expenses. It makes me cringe to think how much I’m spending to be able to save that amount.

The first call was to Rogers Wireless. I had read about a $20/month promotional plan that seemed to fit my calling patterns a bit better than the $30/month plan I had at the time. Most of my calls were made after 6pm, and most of them to other Rogers Wireless customers. Here’s what I had and what I switched to.

Previous:

  • 100 daytime minutes
  • Unlimited incoming
  • 1000 weekend/nights after 9pm
  • Unlimited Rogers to Rogers

Current:

  • 150 daytime minutes
  • 1000 weekend/nights after 6pm
  • Unlimited Rogers to Rogers

I tallied up my daytimes minutes for the past several months, and without the unlimited incoming feature, I realized I only make around 100 minutes of calls before 6pm. As a result, switching to the $20 plan wouldn’t affect my calling and I shouldn’t run into much if any overages. Unfortunately, I had to sign over another 3 years of my cellular life to Rogers, but hey, what other GSM choice do I really have?

I made another call today, this time to Bell Sympatico, regarding internet services. I’d been reading about TekSavvy, a regional ISP that delivers DSL server over Bell’s network. Their $29.95/month plan is much cheaper than the almost $50/month I’d been paying Bell to deliver essentially the same service. I initially called to cancel the Bell service to switch over to TekSavvy, but the customer service representative presented me an offer I couldn’t refuse – unlimited downloads/uploads and $29.95/month for a year.

The rep wanted to offer me the $29.95/month offer for 6 months only, and had to move me to a new plan, that included a 60GB download/upload cap. When I signed the initial contract with Bell Sympatico, it was still in the heydays of truly unlimited line usage. Even back then, they were one of the only providers to not cap usage, and shortly afterwards, they did move to a capped service. However, I reasoned with the representative and was able to renew my grandfathered plan for another year, all at the lower price.

With the two recurring expenses reduced, I’ll be saving just about $400 per year, after accounting for taxes. It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside. I can now look at buying a replacement for my (still) broken Sony Ericsson K790a (that’s another story for another time) without feeling more guilty.

Oh wait, I thought the whole point was to save money…

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