Budgeting Your Electronic Gadgets Billings: Part IV
What Services Can You Budget?
I asked this question in one of my my first posts about Budgeting Your Electronic Gadgets Billings: Part I: Are electronic gadget utility bills a major budget concern for you? Do you want to save money on your electronic gadget service provider bills each month? Can you drastically reduce the amounts you are paying now? I will relate updates to what I did then and what I know now.
Once again, I am going to name providers because it ties in with my story. It also makes it easier to delineate between a service that works and is cost-effective, and one that doesn’t fit the bill. Sometimes you second guess yourself, but decisions properly made usually work out in the long run.
In my previous article, “Budgeting Your Electronic Gadgets Billings: Part II“, I basically talked about the cost of dealing with the gadgets themselves. This blog will expand on that topic as well. In“Budgeting Your Electronic Gadgets Billings: Part III“ I discussed the cost of, and the need for, mobile device insurance.
Mobile Communications Update
When I did my fact findings and decided Verizon was the best choice, I can now say it still is. When I discussed the option of buying insurance to protect my wife’s and my own phone in “Budgeting Your Electronic Gadgets Billings: Part III“, I still stand by the decision to cancel the insurance.
My wife’s mom passed away recently and we inherited her iPhone 7. Our son replaced the battery in it recently (He owns Computer Mechanics in Canton, New York), because the original had swelled up and popped the case open. It works like new now and is an option for my wife if her iPhone 6 quits or becomes outdated. That will save about $400 to $500 over current pricing.
To upgrade to newer phones does not make sense for us now because newer technologies available to make it worthwhile are just not there yet. Maybe camera capabilities or some functionality issues have improved but not enough to make the transfer worthwhile. Also, the lack of a headset plug-in port on newer iPhones means we would have to use Bluetooth or WiFi enabled headsets to hear output beyond that of the device speakers themselves. Which brings me to another issue.
Don’t buy cheap headsets, period! I have purchased 3 different brands of wireless-capable headsets on Amazon that were priced in the $30.00 to $40. range and they all failed, one way or another. The first set broke in half, and the last 2 quit taking a charge. Fortunately, an Amazon rep refunded the monies on the last set, even though the set was out of warranty.
Our son likes to impress us with his latest and greatest electronic gadget purchase and did so with his wireless headset announcement. It was a $300. plus set of Bose Wireless Headphones with noise cancelling, Alexa-enabling, and app controlled features that boggle the mind. That’s too rich for me, so I just plug in the last pair of headsets that I own and forget about the wireless function.
But they work and keep on working (and charging for future use). Plus you get high quality sound which I can attest to with the Bose speaker system that came with my hybrid Chevy pickup that I bought in 2005. So you get what you pay for.
Hurricane Michael that hit Northwest Florida in 2018 did not damage our house but threatened our finances and ruined our Internet service performance. Along with causing our homeowners insurance to almost double, internet functionality deteriorated rapidly.
Endless trips by CenturyLink technicians to our house did not solve the problems. The Internet went down so much, we had to install a radio-signal-controlled shutoff switch to turn our modem off and on to reset it. This happened several times a day. So I began to look for another provider.
Another Choice_ Yaay!
You don’t have many options when you live out in the country. My alternate choices were Hughes Net and EarthLink. Even though I heard horror stories about Hughes Net, they are still the best satellite-based internet service available based on reviews that I read (independent reviews, not paid ones). But when I discovered they locked you into a 24 month contract, I forgot all about them. I didn’t want to be saddled with lousy internet service for 2 horrible years. Yikes!
So I discovered EarthLink and let the Pakistani based customer rep wow me with all the great features his company had to offer. Forget the fact that I would only get half of the transmission speed of CenturyLink, and only pay $13. more per month in monthly billings. I needed reliable Internet service and was getting desperate.
I signed up with an installation service charge payment of $69.95 (looks better than $70.). He did offer me the option of a 1 month look-see cancellation period, and that was the clincher. I could use their terrible service for 30 days and then cancel. Perfect!
In the meantime, I got to know the names of all the CenturyLink reps because they came over so much. I followed one of their suggestions and relocated our “leased” wireless modem to the room where we used most of our electronic devices. I saved money by running the wire they gave me by myself. After changing out several more modems, still no good.
D Day For New Internet Service – But Wait A Minute!
So, a week and a half after I signed up for the new service, I heard the anticipated knock at the door. I ran to open it and low and behold it was one of the CenturyLink technicians. What!
Turns out, EarthLink piggy-backs their service over CenturyLink’s lines. So I get the unenviable honor of paying more money for the same transmission problems as before. No thanks! I cancelled the EarthLink service and they gave me a refund. Whew!
So I stuck it out with CenturyLink, but told the technician it was an incoming line transmission problem and they need to concentrate on that solution instead of multiple trips to my house. A week later a repair specialist called me and said the main junction box on the other side of the highway had computer card malfunction problems and he would have the whole mess cleaned up in a few hours.
When he called back to confirm the repairs were completed, I gave him a big thank you and hung up. The Internet service has worked perfectly ever since. Yaay!
As I said in a previous blog, I love writing my blogs on my iPad and laptop. I use my phone on the go for map functions, local information, and weather. My wife communicates with friends and we both pay bills online.
I avoided the mistake of engaging a new Internet service contract, learned to live with cheap headsets, got my original Internet service provider to fix their problems (and mine), and am fine with the mobile phones I bought over 3 years ago. And I don’t worry about keeping up with the Joneses!