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Hidden Costs

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iPhone, Vsco Cam edits, Dupont Circle, Washington DC

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been discovering how much the companies we use for things like internet and phone are essentially screwing us over. Granted, this has taken me a while and I feel like a complete doofus, but at least I’m realizing all this now, right?

I’ll just keep telling myself that.

I should say I already knew they were screwing us over by trying to take as much money from us as possible, I just didn’t know that there were other hidden costs that I could cut out of our bills.

Take for example last week. Our internet kept going in and out, which is quite frustrating since we depend on it a lot. I called the internet/cable company (there is only one provider we can use in our area and yes, they have cut out all the competition so we have no other choice – bastards) and explained the situation. Turns out, we need a new modem because the one we have is old and should be replaced.

I come to find out, from the lovely person who was helping me over the phone, that we could save about $7 a month by not renting the modem and that we could buy one ourselves.

I actually didn’t even know that was an option because no one ever told me. So you can imagine how furious I was. We went out and bought one, but suffice it to say, it wouldn’t work (it wasn’t registering with our internet/cable company for some unknown reason) so I had to return it.

We still need a new modem, but I’m definitely buying one so we don’t need to rent it anymore.

Last night I was looking at our wireless phone bill and started poking around in places we could cut down on our bill. When you start doing that, two things happen:

  1. You are shocked at the add-on costs they incur on you and then get furious and stomp around.
  2. Everything on there gets more and more complicated the more you poke around. Which means we need to go to the actual store and speak to a person.

I think we tend to get so busy with our lives that we don’t have time to sit and really look at what we are being charged for services (or at least some services). I highly recommend sitting down one weekend (make the time) and looking at places you can cut costs. I bet you $5 there are little places here and there you can cut a couple of dollars off. And those dollars add up at the end of the month.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to continue fuming until I get all this resolved (fingers crossed this weekend).

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10 Comments Post a comment
  1. San #

    Oh Marie! I am with you on the fuming part… I just recently lowered our cable/internet bill by $30 and our phone bill by $70 (!) just by looking into the bills a little more closely and complaining to the companies. It’s amazing what they’re trying to pull off!!

    I wish there was a better way to monitor data usage on our phones. I have NO IDEA if what they charge us is remotely what we’re actually using. I used to be ok with 2GB per month – but ever since I upgraded to an iPhone 5s, I am almost always over 3GB… nobody can explain that to me. Since we’re having a shared plane (me, J and my MIL) and have a bigger data package, it’s fine, but it still irks me that I don’t understand why my data usage went up like that…

    We always have to be vigilant and pay attention and ask questions… the companies won’t tell us voluntarily where we can save money.

    November 12, 2015
    • Marie #

      They are AWFUL. Just AWFUL. You never know when companies change things – sometimes they’ll inform you and sometimes not. And when they do, it’s not always very clear.

      Matt who has a Moto G phone so he uses the Android operating system, has an app that tells him how much data he is using during the month and informs him which app on his phone is consuming the most. My guess is there should be something similar to that app on an iPhone (or rather in the iTunes store).

      We try to hook up to wireless when possible so that we don’t use our data on our phone, but it’s not always an option (we do so at home so that usually helps a lot).

      It’s so frustrating and maddening that they try to squeeze literally every single penny out of us.

      November 12, 2015
      • San #

        Oh, I do the same. I keep track of my usage as I go and we do use wireless at home – I just don’t know how all of a sudden I use more than 1 extra GB by just switching phones. My using habits haven’t really changed. Either way, I just think the whole thing is not transparent.

        November 12, 2015
        • Marie #

          There might be something they added on the newer phones which is sucking data. I wouldn’t doubt it. What it is though, I don’t know. That’s what is usually good about data tracking apps, they can tell you what on your phone is sucking the most data.

          November 12, 2015
  2. San #

    I should look into it a little more. I didn’t really care too much as we were still within the limits of our data package, but it just left me very curious…

    November 12, 2015
    • Marie #

      I need to see if I can find something for my iPhone as well. It could help to see what eats up the data.

      November 13, 2015
  3. I hate all the fees and taxes on Internet and wireless bills. Can’t do anything about it. What upsets me most is I want to cancel cable & only keep Internet but my company would actually charge us more! The way around it would be to cancel & sign up with a new company. What a hassle. Ugh.

    November 12, 2015
    • Marie #

      I totally believe it Lisa. They are just so terrible. I know some people who will switch accounts every year once the promotional period ends so that they are not charged the high rate because it really is too high. That’s just too much work though, but I admire them for doing it! I just wish we had more options and that the cable/phone companies didn’t have such a monopoly.

      November 13, 2015
  4. These companies screw us upside down and backwards. But I do need to call AT&T to get our rate plan lowered.

    November 13, 2015
    • Marie #

      Such buttfaces. And yes definitely do call! I did so last week and got it lowered some (which is totally better than nothing).

      November 16, 2015

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