We’ve just finished our Thrive Series at River, so Kim and I have been looking around for ways to save money. There are of course the obvious things we can’t seem to shake: house payment, auto loan (only one of those left though), power bill, water bill, insurance… But as we were looking through our monthly expenses, there were two areas we found which would make a long range impact! To the tune of $2000 a year! That’s substantial.
Where did we find it? Cell phones and cable. We LOVE Apple products. Kim is a HUGE fan of her iPad. I think I could sell a Bedouin from the desert of the middle east on an iPhone. Not to mention the MacBook pro. I’d have a hard time functioning without either. So how could I possibly drop the iPhone? Television? How could we possibly cut our lifeline to the world?
A good friend gave me a challenge back in September – bet you can run Straight Talk on your iPhone! After a bit of Internet exploration and soul searching as to the legalities, I made the jump. After all, AT&T will unlock a phone in good standing…mine had been out of contract for 6 months. I did my homework, spent about a month with the first switch, then brought Kim over.
Obviously there would be ways to abuse Straight Talk on an unhindered iPhone. But for four months now, we have had unlimited texts, calls and nearly unlimited data – even tethering when needed! All for $45 a month on a contract free iPhone! That’s a drop from $120 a month for mine and $80 a month for Kim’s! A substantial savings.
How about cable? I’ve added a flat digital antenna to the tv – that only yields a handful of local channels. But for some reason I’ve been living under a rock and have totally missed the HuluPlus, Netflix ticket! Last week we made the jump. No more Time Warner Cable for us. Of course we need Internet, but Cable TV? I started researching streaming options: Computer, BluRay, Sony and then I remembered the AppleTv! Not only can we stream content from the MacBook wirelessly over the ATv, but nearly unlimited radio stations, rss feeds, and NetFlix as well without making any changes to the ATv. Netflix is $7.99 a month with the first month absolutely free! Unlimited movies and tv shows!
Of course after a bit of tinkering, my jailbroken ATv now has XBox Media Center running on it as well which allowed me to install Boxee and several other really cool aps for streaming from Hulu or HuluPlus. Yesterday I felt rather empowered as I delivered my cable box and remote to the TimeWarner desk in the mall. That move alone saved us over $600 a year!
While not for the faint of heart or non-techno minded types, both switches have not only saved us $2000 a year, but have actually been pretty fun! I’m still looking for other areas we can cut. What have you done to save money in 2012? I want to create Margin in our finances. How about you?