A Few Cost Saving Options for Non-Essentials & Online Services?

A Few Cost Saving Options for Non-Essentials & Online Services?

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Jason Yang
Feb 13, 2012

Not much in life is free, and it's likely you're paying for it in monthly increments. After you're finally done paying the mortgage/rent/bills, what's (little) is left is "disposable income" - the amount we throw at cell phones, TV, Hulu Plus, Netflix, etc. So just how much are you spending each month?

Consider our must-have expenses: the mortgage/rent, car payments (or your alternate transportation costs), utilities (electric, water, gas), insurance (home, property, car, health) - the list goes on and on. It's a surprise we've got much left at all after our paychecks are deposited! Anything leftover we've gotta have our fun, right?

Telephone: We may be able to justify a cell phone as an essential service, but a $100/month smartphone bill is a luxury many of us are all too willing to spend. Looking at AT&T service for an iPhone the cheapest voice plan is $39.99 per month for 450 minutes. A required data plan is $20 for 300MB. Tack on a $20 unlimited texting plan and you're suddenly right up there at $80/month. For those sticking with a landline (whether it's in addition to or in lieu of a cell phone), your traditional options are just as expensive, with Verizon charging $44.99 monthly. New(er) options such as MagicJack bring your service down to a cheap $40 annually.

Internet: Whatever type of internet connection is, chances are you're on the internet, with over 77% of America hooked up and online. A quick peek at Verizon's FIOS offerings shows the cheapest plan starts at $54.99 per month.

TV: Again using Verizon as an example, a starter plan sets you back $64.99 per month. You can bundle services together for cheaper packages, but it's still going to cost you. Do you miss your bunny ear antennas with custom aluminum foil extensions yet? You could also go online for TV, with options like Netflix. For $7.99 per month you get access to unlimited streaming movies and TV shows. Add another $7.99 for DVDs and $2 more per month for Blu-Ray discs. Starting to sound expensive? It's interesting that Netflix almost hides away their physical disc options, really funneling you towards their streaming service. Hulu Plus for $7.99 gives you access to a wide array of TV shows with limited commercial interruptions. You'd think anything with a monthly fee would be completely devoid of advertising...

Music: When did we stop just listening to whatever was fed to us on the radio for free? SiriusXM has started coming preinstalled in many cars right off the lot, touting a free year of service but then hitting you with $14.49 monthly charges. Services like Spotify brings online music streaming for $4.99 per month and up.

Ourselves, we spend about $200 per month: $80 for our iPhone via AT&T (split on a family plan) and $120 on internet and television via Verizon FIOS. So what are you spending your hard earned dough on? Let us know how much your monthly tech bill is!

MORE MONTHLY BILLS ON APARTMENT THERAPY:
Survey: How Much Is Your Monthly Rent or Mortgage?
Stop Paying Monthly Rent For Your Expensive Cable Box
The Streaming Services Showdown: Hulu Plus vs. Netflix
How To Determine if Hulu Plus is Right for You
Best Internet Music: MOG, Spotify or Pandora?
Cut Your Cell Phone Bill From $400/Month to $30/Year
How to Live without a Cell Phone or Tablet

(Image: Flickr member Casey Serin licensed for use under Creative Commons, FuzzBones/Shutterstock)

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