Cutting the cable…

When we first moved into our house, the only reliable Internet service around was Comcast. We were running a business from home, so fast and reliable Internet was a must. And we threw in cable TV too, just because. Our monthly bill was… well, pretty high.

When we started looking at finances ahead of the arrival of Ben and Alex, we still were afraid to change our Internet to anybody else. We were more than happy to get rid of cable TV, except the crazy thing was, it was actually cheaper to keep the most basic of cable channels and get a deal by bundling two services. So we went that route. We lost all the good television channels, but at least our monthly bill had gone down a bit. And let’s face it, it’s not like we had that much time for watching TV anyway.

Well I recently sat down to review our budget, and while I will spare you the details, it was ugly. If you ever wonder whether annual raises really do keep up with inflation, I challenge you to compare spending over the last few years. The numbers will frighten you….

Okay, we needed some dramatic cuts to our spending, and fast. It was time to revisit with good old Comcast. I called and asked them what they could do for me. Then I went searching for alternatives. It turns out Century Link has been busy expanding in our area over the past few years. And while they cannot offer Internet speeds as fast as Comcast, we took a close look at our usage and found we didn’t need the faster speed. So after carefully comparing services and rates, we took the plunge and cut the cord, both figuratively and literally.

Best move ever.

Our upload speeds are a bit slower, but it’s nothing we can’t live with. We no longer have basic cable that can barely pass for cable. Instead, we have a nice little $10 digital antenna sitting on our entertainment center. Since we brought our monthly bill down from roughly $85 to $30, we decided it was worth the $8 a month to subscribe to Netflix, and now we have access to a ton of movies and television shows, which we can watch on the computer or our smartphones. In order to get Netflix on the TV, we bought a Roku streaming stick, which basically hooks the TV up to our Internet connection. After coupons, that was just $40 out of pocket. So if I break down the cost of the antenna and Roku over a one-year time frame, our monthly media costs have dropped to $43, half of what we were paying before.

If you feel like you are paying too much for services that aren’t worth it, I highly recommend you take a much closer look at your options. Do your research, ask your friends what they use, don’t be afraid to shop around. We are now saving ourselves about $500 a year by making this change… almost enough to pay for a year’s worth of diapers… almost.

 

Advertisements

And the Survey Says…

It is our goal that I not return to full-time employment until the kids are in school; we do not want to have to put the boys in daycare if we can help it. That being said, I still have to do whatever I can to help us make ends meet in these trying economic times. One of the easiest money-making opportunities I’ve found, particularly something I can do with limited time and energy, is to complete online surveys. I’ve signed up with several market research companies, and while the payouts are nothing astronomical, it does help to put a few extra dollars towards the diaper fund each and every month.

I decided I wanted to share some of the resources I found on my blog, for two reasons. One being that if anyone else, like me, is trying to find easy ways to earn a little extra cash, maybe this will work for you. The second, and I say this in full disclosure, if I can get any of you to sign up through my referral, I will get credit! So yes, I am putting this out there in hopes of it helping my own bottom line, I want to say that up front. If you are still interested, here are a few companies I have found that I like…

Opinion Outpost:
This is a great company because they are very flexible. You can log in and take surveys anytime you want. If you start a survey and end up not qualifying, they give you the option to donate to charity, so if you’re at all philanthropic, it’s a win-win. Once you get enough points, you can redeem them for cash straight to your Paypal account or for gift cards. I always take the Paypal route, because it is secure, and then I can just transfer the money to our bank account. This one doesn’t give me the option to refer new users, so if you’d like to sign up, just log onto http://www.opinionoutpost.com/ and register.

Mindfield Online:
When you sign up for this company, you complete a series of profiles. They will then contact you via email when there is a study you qualify for, they do all the work for you. Most of their surveys start with a very quick questionnaire that you get credited for, then you will get additional payments if they decide to send you follow-up questionnaires. So this could potentially be a high money-maker. If you would like to try Mindfield, please use my referral code http://mindfieldonline.com/referral/b277cc37, I will get credit when you sign up.

Vindale Research:
The vast majority or their studies pay rather well, so this one is particularly inticing. But they have the highest cash-out threshold I’ve seen, at $50. Still, I guess that’s okay if you’re not in too terrible of a hurry to get your funds. Vindale also offers regular contests where they will randomly give away money, never a bad thing. And they have something called reward mail, where literally all you have to do is confirm that you received the email, and they credit 10-cents to your account. Not too shabby for something that takes 1.5 seconds to do (since you’re checking email anyway). A word of caution about this site: they call their surveys “studies”.. those are zero-obligation. You will find they also have “surveys,” where you will be asked to pay something upfront. I’ve never done these, I don’t want to do them, you don’t have to do them.

If you decide to give Vindale a try, please use my referral code when you sign up. It’s http://tryvindale.com/VdfbMY7D. If you sign up and complete at least one survey or study, I get a credit on my account.

Inbox Dollars:
This site has surveys but a great deal more too. You can get paid for searching the Internet, watching videos, reading and confirming emails, completing FREE offers, completing simple tasks, etc. Most of these tasks only pay a few cents at a time, but trust me, it adds up pretty fast. And when you think about it, it only takes a second or two to click on an email, you’re going to search the Internet anyway, etc. I just got my first check from them, and I’m about ready to cash out for my next one, so I am a huge fan. Inbox Dollars will also pay me to refer people, so I would really love to have you sign up through me. My referral code is http://www.inboxdollars.com/?r=ref13484385.



It’s not my intention to offer these companies free advertising (though I realize that is a by-product); I sincerely hope that this post might be able to help someone out, who is in need of a little extra income here and there. And if you do sign up through one of my referrals, I will greatly appreciate it, it truly will help us out. So thank you in advance! (And let me know that you did, so I can thank you in person too!!!)