Does it pay to stay with one service provider for a long time?
Have you ever noticed the commercials for some service that offers all of these great things with the fine print stating “new customers only?”
Cable used to be the one that would piss me off the most, as there is always new technology but, if you’re an existing customer, forget it unless of course you want to pay more. Now if you are going from one brand to another, you could get some number of months at a reduced rate and of course get the newest technology.
Problem: You’re bundled!
Here is the way to keep that from being a problem.
I don’t use the e-mail that comes with the account, at least not for anything important.
Get a Gmail or hotmail or some other account that does not require you to stay with a particular cable company.
Phone: This too can be an issue but by law that have to allow for porting the number from one carrier to another however; why have a phone through them at all?
Most of us have cell phones so do we really need a house phone?
I purchased a magic Jack and got 5 years of service for $100. The magic jack plugs right into the router and then into the base of a cordless phone that has several satellite phones. With Magic Jack they give you a flat Ethernet cable. Throw it out and get a shielded Cat6 cable and the interference problem that it came with originally; goes away.
Copper or POTS lines (plain old telephone service) is going away in most major cities. There is little need for them and they are hard to keep going as they frequently get water in the junction boxes etc. It is much less expensive for the cable companies to take care of phones through the cable via VOIP. Instead of several dollars a month and all sorts of fees and taxes; Magic Jack is the cheapest I have found.
Note: there is no 911 from magic jack. Check with whatever provider you use to make sure that you know what you are buying.
You can just about always strike a better deal as a new customer than an existing customer which is sad because it is much more expensive to get a customer, than keep one. As an existing customer I would like to be notified that a new service is available and they will be upgrading adding or what have you at no extra charge.
Alarm systems are the same way; and I recommend changing these every so often. Again technology is always improving and for your protection, you want the latest greatest. You want the cell back up option as well. If they try and sell you wifi cameras, and all of that, you can do it yourself for much less money and without the extra monthly expense. These cameras are going for around $50 online and they come with software in them which allows you to see them from any internet connection. Change the default user and make the password strong as to keep your private life private, and not on some Russian web site.
Shopping property insurance is also a good thing to do if you have been with a company for sometime. If you don’t have any claims you should be able to find less expensive insurance out there that is comparable to what you have currently. Some may find that they already have the best price but it is worth the effort. There is a price to pay for being lazy and that price can be pretty high.
Electricity may be something that you can shop as well.
www.powertochoose.org is a good site to look at. There you can price your current rate and shop for cheaper. That of course only applies to people who can pick and choose but, if you can you can save substantially.
With these new smart meters, some companies are offering free nights and weekends.
What you need to know about electricity is that the cost varies by time of day and demand. Encouraging you not to use it during peak times is now in their hands as they know when and how much you use and I am told that they can remotely shut your power off if they need the power for commercial customers. Don’t sign a contract like that unless you are never home during the day and you don’t have a swimming pool that requires the pump run during full sunlight days.
You are the customer and the companies that offer you their service would do well to be reminded of that from time to time. I was paying $300 a month for cable and the picture quality was not great, the internet speed was not great and the phone service went down often with the cable.
I switched carriers, half the cost, faster internet, more channels and better picture quality and the phone number stayed the same. On my third year the cost is still only 2/3 what the cable was and my outages are much less frequent.
Speaking of channels, do you really need them all? We have more options today than ever before. With streaming services like Netflix and Amazon and many others I would wager that there is more entertainment available than ever before without ever using cable. I actually have one “smart TV” that only has a small HD antenna on it, and what services I get from the internet.
I think we are seeing a transformation of the entertainment industry hence the fight for net neutrality. If Netflix is willing to pay for their packets to flow through the internet unobstructed by other traffic someone will gladly accept their (your) money. There are ways to allow certain packets more bandwidth than others.
There may be other things which I am not thinking of that can be “shopped,” and I would welcome knowing about them. This is just a quick list from the top of my head.
Banking service is a place that needs much investigation. They are the only game in town and act like it. There is no good vehicle for investment today that I have found, and the banks nickle and dime you for everything! Their credit cards are also equally taxing as if you should carry a balance, KACHING!
-Best to you and those that you care about!
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