Saturday, January 14, 2017

Invisible Monthly Costs

The start of 2017 has been busy - too busy too blog.  But on a rainy, chilly, and dreary Saturday - why not start the first blog of 2017 whining. 

In an effort to clean things up (the classic get organized resolution), I decided to eliminate monthly costs of subscriptions or memberships that I have not been actively using. Or evaluate the year-to-date use to determine if it is worth the cost.

It is so easy to establish a monthly charge to a credit card (or direct debit to checking) and forget about the "forever charge".  Or even prepay a plan that automatically renews at the higher non discounted rate.

Examples include Sirius Radio, Netflix DVD, Netflix Streaming,  FiOptics extra boxes, magazine subscriptions, Amazon Prime, gym or dining memberships, computer stuff (Carbonite, Office 365, Cloud Data plans), AAA membership, On Star, Verizon extra data plans (e.g. tablet access), FiOptics internet speed, Charitable monthly giving,  even loan payments.

The frugal hint for the day is to set up a calendar reminder when plans expire (or renew) so that you can avoid this hidden inflation.  

So ...... here is my long story (and now gripe) about reviewing my FiOptics plan with Cincinnati Bell.

It all started with a lucky technical glitch when my DVR box stopped working and would not complete the boot cycle.  After calling tech support a technician was assigned to come out.  But given my relentless desire to troubleshoot, I decided to unplug everything and use my second DVR box (which was working) to systematically determine if the problem was my network configuration or one of my own complicated hardware integration switches.

The short answer to that solution was..... the adapter plug for the DVR box was defective.  WOW - go figure.  Now I understand why they ask you to directly plug the DVR box into your home outlet (vs an extension cord). 

Now for the gripe.   The above story provided the incentive to return my second DVR box (which we never use) to get the $15/mth off of my FiOptics monthly billing.  But the "need for speed" caused me to add $10/mth on to the plan to increase my data speed from 30 MBS to 50 MBS.  Sounds good right?

NOT!   I have been monitoring my download speed for the past two days only to discover my speeds are ranging from 5MBS to 37MBS with most of the time at about 10MBS.   THIS IS RIDICULOUS.  The general public is paying at least $29.99/mth (that's only if you are getting the promotional discount) for a download speed that they have no clue if they are getting and no ability to monitor the provider for proper quality control and value confirmation.

SO..... as Bob Edwards would say "What are you going to do about it"?   Stay tuned.

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