How are the bills going for you?

don_socalNovember 28, 2012

We have Time Warner for basic cable, ATT for land line and internet and Verizon for cell phone. They all cost way too much and are very poor service and quality. Don't even think of upgrading or bundling with the horrible prices. Looking at some of the super cheep cell phone companys possibly through aarp or the VA.

"Americans are paying high prices for poor quality Internet speeds � speeds that are now slower than in other countries, according to author David Cay Johnston. He says the U.S. ranks 29th in speed worldwide.

"We're way behind countries like Lithuania, Ukraine and Moldavia. Per bit of information moved, we pay 38 times what the Japanese pay," Johnston tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies. "If you buy one of these triple-play packages that are heavily advertised � where you get Internet, telephone and cable TV together � typically you'll pay what I pay, about $160 a month including fees. The same service in France is $38 a month."

Here is a link that might be useful: A Close Look At Your Bills' 'Fine Print'

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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Yet another subject area where companies are allowed to rip us off here in the States.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 8:30PM
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elvis

Telephone for us is $74.00/month; unlimited domestic LD & high-speed internet.

Don't bother with cable; maybe when we're old couch potatoes...

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 8:38PM
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pnbrown

triple-play about 150 a month. I'd get rid of cable and phone if it were up to me....

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 9:42PM
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elvis

Crazy. My step-kids have a cellphone each which cost them more than $100/month each. What?!

I've got a trac phone; about $20/month. Works for me.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 9:52PM
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labrea_gw

Cable/internet/phone $250 Time Warner

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 10:19PM
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Circus Peanut

We have no tv and try and fail each time to explain it to the drone at Time Warner, who invariably charges us for cable service anyways.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 10:35PM
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PRO
Brushworks Spectacular Finishes(5)

High Speed Internet. $49 mo.(TW)
Direct TV. $39 mo. (we have $50 mo. referral credits for one year)
2 Cells, unlimited talk, text, data. $99 mo. (6 members on family plan $297 mo.) Son is primary with military discount.)

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 8:01AM
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esh_ga

It is amazing how much cell phone plans cost - and the mandatory data plan requirement for smartphones has really upped the ante. We have a four person plan with some discounts (because one member is a phone company employee) and the monthly cost is $165. That includes unlimited texting for the youngsters.

I guess that sounds like a good deal to some but it seems high to me even with the discounts.

Our water bill is the best. We are on septic with no sprinklers so it is usually $20 a month, sometimes as low as $15 or as high as $30 (I don't think they read it every month). And we finally got a handle on the electric bill by remembering to change the filters every 4-6 months. That made a big difference!

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 8:18AM
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demifloyd(8)

Hmm, from memory, cell phone $54-120 depending on how much I travel and use roaming and text.

I am going to upgrade my phone this month and get these expenses down.

Land line and internet $103.

Satellite and channels for televisions and HD receivers $143.

Electric this month was $198, that Techshield and wearing sweaters and using fans really pays off.

Propane bill is absolutely ridiculous and I am going to have to decide how to change my system to reduce this expense.

Water bill is usually $35 if I'm here.
Since my daughter arrived to visit it will go up to around $48. She takes long showers. ;)

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 9:52AM
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vgkg(Z-7)

Comcast cable here -
$137 total/month for land line phone, HDTV with all premium channels, & High speed internet. Too much fer $ure.

ATT cell phone (1) $37/month

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 9:56AM
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markjames

We know many people that can't afford broadband, cable and phone, so they connect to unsecured APs with high power USB wireless cards with antennas, then watch or download television and movies online. Many will run VOIP phones on these connections as well.

Many APs are unsecured, still use WEP which is 100 percent hackable, they use their phone number as a WEP key, or have a weak shared WPA key easily hacked by school kids.

Many people reset their secured APs when they can't connect, then never secure them again for years.

Many tenants and neighbors are sharing the cost of broadband via wireless as well. With the new high power cards, repeaters and antennas they can connect to very distant APs.

We've had a record number of customers dropping or downgrading cable/internet/phone bundles once the promotional pricing expires.

In 10 years, the cost of standard cable through Time Warner has more than doubled.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 9:58AM
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PRO
Brushworks Spectacular Finishes(5)

We pay absurd prices for water, sewer and refuse.

We pay $512 quarterly for the combination above. But it's better than what we left behind. Cleveland water rates (which serves 90% of suburbs) soared 82% to rescue the pension and benefits of water works retirees and employees. The sewer charge was fixed at $35 per month.

We're actually penalized for conserving water. When water usage goes down, prices soar. That fixed overhead only rises with time, it never decreases. Our minimum water bill is $38 per month (two inhabitants), even if the meter doesn't move.

The local homestead discount for seniors 65+ allows a 7% discount (if senior is retired).

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 10:09AM
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esh_ga

We're actually penalized for conserving water.

I have heard of this in other places - what a crime!

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 10:11AM
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TxanGoddess

It annoys me that I can do better with cable and internet by always being a fairly new customer than by showing loyalty to any particular company.

On the other hand, my mobile phone company just gave me a loyalty discount that took my usual bill--around $75--down to $2.50 which I believe is just taxes and fees. So I am in no real position to complain this month. Nice Christmas present eh?

I am thinking I ought to drop dish tv and cable in general though ... I have always loved to read, and I am just realizing that I use the TV for background noise to reading ... a radio is a lot cheaper. I even get a fancy package so I can have Link TV and BBCA, but I bet I could find those programs on the internet.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 10:31AM
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markjames

I've always been annoyed that a new customer with a single account gets a better deal than a customer with multiple accounts and literally decades of loyalty.

We run our businesses just the opposite. We show great appreciation for years, decades or generations of loyalty, plus give discounts for quantity, customer referrals etc.

That's what you have to do if you don't have a monopoly, or near monopoly.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 10:53AM
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david52 Zone 6

Where I live, the internet options are pretty limited, so I have a 1.5 meg max-if-I'm-lucky thing with a radio signal into town 7 miles away. Freakin' $70 a month for that. We can barely stream video. That I consider a necessity for DD in high school - she does most of her work via the internet.

Domestic Water - $22 a month unless the horde shows up, dusty and stained from pillaging the pantry, freezers, and kitchen shelves, thus in need of loooooong showers. Then its $35 a month.
Irrigation water: 20 acre feet/season, $350 year. Eat your hearts out, southern CA.
Electricity - $70 - $110 depending on season, even though my Kw usage has halved
land line - $25 local, long distance via Primus, about $5 a month
Family cell phone with 4 phones, texting blocked except for college son, $119, but he pays $30 a month into the kitty.

Septic and compost.

So communications, phones and internet, are around $250 a month. Seems high to me.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 11:07AM
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markjames

Most of my bills are reasonable with the exception of property taxes, water, sewer, electric, heating oil etc.

Good thing most are paid by tenants and customers.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 11:23AM
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PRO
Brushworks Spectacular Finishes(5)

Goddess,

If you like background noise, satellite radio is inexpensive when compared to the other services, except AM/FM.

We have Sirius XM in both cars and wireless XM in the house.

After multi radio discount, the monthly is only $16.97. Tons of news channels to go along with music of every genre.

NPR, World Radio Network, BBC, PRX, CBC are just a few of our favorites to listen to while working.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 11:28AM
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david52 Zone 6

I forgot to mention propane - thats $500 a year, just for one hot water heater.

If I use propane for winter heating, that would be an additional $300-$400 a month. So I burn wood - 6 to 8 cords, $90 a cord, plus another hundred or so a season for chimney sweep logs and stove cement and an occasional new splitting maul*.

* Santa? Are you listening?

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 11:58AM
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hamiltongardener(CAN 6a)

We've sat down and figured out that once the boys finish school and are off on their own, we will save hundreds of dollars a month on bills.

Who would have thought teenage boys would spend so much water on bathing and have to wash and dry their clothes so often... how many sets of clothes can a boy go through in one day? Having two extra cell phones we agreed to pay for because I want their money to go toward saving for college... that costs us a pretty penny. And the insurance cost on the car of having a teen driver in the house? ARGH!

Not to mention all the FOOD two teenage boys can eat ...holy crap! And clothes...

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 11:59AM
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markjames

Between property taxes, water/sewer, heating oil, propane, electric etc, many middle class locals in some regions are looking at 8K to 10K per year.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 12:10PM
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esh_ga

I've always been annoyed that a new customer with a single account gets a better deal than a customer with multiple accounts and literally decades of loyalty.

I agree! And that is the reason we switched our gas provider (Georgia has competition for "marketers") last year. I was tired of "not being appreciated".

The new one gave me a great rate and this year they sent a one month reminder before the contract ended and offered me another great rate to stay with them.

Sold!

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 12:29PM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

In NM:

Phone: $90 a month for land line and internet.
Cell-phone: Virgin mobile, we pay $40 every 3 months to top up the prepaid phones, I use mine minimally. If Dh runs out of minutes, I just hand him my phone.
Electric: $90-115 a month, I will be on the warpath on this one soon.
Natural gas: $60 a month (average across the year). My house has good solar gain so we use the radiant heat minimally and burn wood every other day to knock off the chill, probably use a cord or 2 a year of wood but would love to get Dave's price on it.
Water: $30-75 depending on the time of year, obviously more in the summer for the garden. Rainwater harvesting will hopefully be in my future to help mitigate that. This also includes a $5 septic fee which covers having the septic pumped every 3 years.

Probably my biggest complaint is the administrative fees for the water, gas and electric. Between the 3 of them, we are paying $50-60 a month in administrative fees and no matter ho much I reduce consumption, that will not go away. They are all cooperatives so are not regulated by our states public utility commission. The gas company took advantage of the drop in prices to raise their administrative fee to $20 a month.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 2:44PM
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ohiomom

Internet, basic cable (basically just an antenna for the TV) and land line $89 a month. My gas bill (cooking) is $23 a month. My electric is $35 a month. Heat is included in the rent.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 3:41PM
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jillinnj

I think land line, cable tv, internet and 2 cell phones (husband's cell phone is paid for by his company) is about $200.

Electric/gas is off the charts -- somewhere between $350 and $650 month depending on how hot or cold it is outside.

Property taxes are even worse. I think it's about $12K per year now.

I clearly need to move to a smaller house in another part of the country where property taxes are much less than here.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 5:29PM
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valtorrez(6b)

I have Charter Cable and everytime it is time to sign new contract they say they no longer cover the package you currently have and you have to upgrade. I cannot wait until ATT comes to my subdivision to switch.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 6:11PM
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dadoes

Grandfathered on an old cell plan, no longer sold. $29.99 + fees = $35 to $36 and some change. It provides only 250 daytime minutes and 1000 weekends per month but I rarely come close to the limits.

Landline is $26 month for local calling.

I have MCI for long distance which is $14-ish/month, but I *rarely* use it so I suppose should cancel the service.

Don't have any TV service.

Internet, which is Comcast resold through the local TV service is $35.95/month for the minimum plan, which is speedy enough to stream Netflix.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 10:14AM
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steve2416

Valtorrez, I had Charter Cable until a month ago. When my 2 yr. contract ran out, the bill jumped from $152/mo. to $188 for the same service. ATT sold me the same package + DVR for $135/mo. (U200). The jury is still out on reliability but I love the DVR and no complaints so far.
Natural gas for heating and cooking - $10/mo. summer, $80/mo. winter.
Electric - $60/mo.
Water/sewer - $35/mo. (minimum billing in our town based on 2000 gal/mo). I use between 450-1200 gal/mo depending on season.
Garbage pickup @ street is $81/yr. included in property tax bill.
Cell is a Trackfone, to be used for 911 or connecting with family while on trips. Costs about $7/mo.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 1:29PM
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dockside_gw

We live in an area where there is NO TV reception (surrounded by hills) so have to get cable or satellite for TV. I'd be fine without TV but DH absolutely has to have it. We have Comcast with telephone and internet, HBO for about $140/mo. I'm going to discontinue HBO for a couple of months and bring it down about $10 or $20. One thing about our Comcast that I like is that there is no contract - something that turned me off Direct TV. I had a long-running dispute with Direct TV when I switched to Comcast and would never go back to them.

Our natural gas (heating, water heating and clothes drying) bill is $72/mo. Electricity is $70-$100. Water and sewer is ridiculous - averages about $100 per month. Garbage pickup is $26 a month.

I had Tracfone for about $7 a month. Forgot to renew it on Tuesday so now I don't have a cell phone, which I don't need since I'm home in bed or, if I'm out, DH is driving so no need for a mobile phone. Don't know whether to upgrade but I don't want a contract as I use it very little. $80 a month for a smart phone is not in our budget (recent medical costs have put a very large dent in it).

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 2:11PM
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markjames

Over the next several years I'm going to sell off most of my properties with high property taxes before they get so high that I can't sell them, or get so high that one rent won't cover taxes.

When I sold a 4 family recently I had to install 4 new boilers, 4 new water heaters, 4 gas meters and isolate 4 zones (not an easy job) to make the sale.

My taxes were $14,000 per year.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 2:43PM
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jodik_gw

We're lucky in that phone/tv/internet are part of our caretaker arrangement. The phones are nothing special, but useful in emergencies and for general communication... the tv was already in the apartment, and the internet is necessary to much of the work. We pay by working.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 2:52PM
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lily316(z5PA)

Cell phone is prepaid minutes with TMobile. I was tired of the bill every month and now we buy minutes at the end of the year. Verizon bundle..internet ,cable, and phone anywhere in the country..$160. Gas about $25 and electric $125.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 2:12AM
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jodik_gw

From what I understand, Comcast and a few other companies are willing to negotiate to keep customers... I know a lot of people that have severely dropped monthly bills through negotiation.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 6:08AM
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markjames

Although I'm a Time Warner customer of over 20 years with numerous Time Warner accounts, when I've tried to negotiate better deals, Time Warner hasn't offered me "substantial" discounts - not even remotely close to the deals they offer new customers with a single account.

Often what they've offered me are free, or reduced price additional, or upgrade services for an introductory period. I don't want additional cable channels/premium channels (we rarely watch tv and when we do we only watch a dozen or so channels), I don't want a DVR and I don't want digital phone, security or any other services/upgrades, so their offers are worthless to me.

To get a better deal, I have to drop services and/or downgrade services. Shortly after I do this I get many of the same offers new customers get.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 10:20AM
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pnbrown

That's right, I very easily negotiated a better deal with comcast a couple weeks ago.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 12:41PM
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lily316(z5PA)

Electric bill jumped from $125 to $152 this month.

Verizon Fios is hard to negotiate with even for a power outage. But I read in Sunday's paper that they had one of the best customer service records, and Comcast , one of the worst.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 2:35AM
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jmc01

Comcast lost us as customers because they wouldn't negotiate.

AT&T has negotiated every few months. We ask for lower rates because the billl for our bundled service increases every month. Currently $140 per month for service.

Our cell phone costs are covered by our employers.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 3:57AM
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