The Subscription War: You're Bleeding to Death

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The crew at Gizmodo have an interesting editorial posted today on the topic of how much money people spend on subscription fees. Cell phones, Netflix, internet and cable bill all add up, do we really need all that stuff? Interesting reading.

Here's why: a well-equipped geek will, in our research, have a subscription and service bill total of between 200 and 750 dollars a month. Let me break it down. You've got your smartphone bill, your cable bill, your home broadband bill. Those are unavoidable expenses—there's not much you can do about them.
 

Nemesis999

2[H]4U
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Smartphone bill is unavoidable? and Cable? I can't remember the last time I watched TV. 3G dongle?

It looks more like "List of crap that most people don't actually need, but like to pay for anyway because it makes them feel cool.
 

Falling Anvil

[H]ard|Gawd
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I can see someone going without a cable bill, I rarely watch TV nowadays myself though I think that's more because the rest of the family tends to hog the TV.

Home Broadband is a non-negotiable I agree(it's a good substitute for TV all around), while if you're not a huge mobile fan you can probably get away with a pay as you go cellphone plan.
 

Shalafi

Fully [H]
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I don't subscribe to anything, not even internet access

I use my neighbors, with their permission of course

Frugal Living 101 is me
 

nutzo

Supreme [H]ardness
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Either their estimates are way too high, or I'm just too cheap :)

T-Mobile Service - 600 Minutes, Free night & weekends, unlimited data, and can even use the phoneas a modem for my laptop. $73 (even better, my work pays for it)
Wife's phone - low usage - Prepaid, less than $10/month

Cable, Broadband Internet (Cox - 10mb down), and landline phone - $108

Netflix - Put it on hold for 3 months since they wheren't shipping me anything at the top of my list. Will probably switch to $9/month just show I can use the streaming movies.

Looks like $200/month for not just me, but the rest of the family too.
 

Nemesis999

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Heh, I just realized it was an Applemodo article. I guess that explains why useless gadgets are considered "essentials".
 

heatlesssun

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I admit I probably fall into this category, I have a LOT of telecommunications services and of course bills. I don't have any credit card debit either.
 

Jutsu

[H]ard|Gawd
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These days between the internet and OTA HD now there really isn't a point in having cable or satellite. Almost all the TV show that are worth watching are streamed online for free, and with an antenna you can pick up all your favorite local station for free in HD.
 

Shalafi

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BINGO JUTSU BINGO

with the internet, if you . . . . go to the right places, you no longer need access to satellite or cable anymore

See, what this has done for us is empowered us to NOT make our schedule revolve around "seeing that show" or "watching that game" at a specific time, instead we are free to watch it online at sites like hulu or even the network's own website at a time we want to

and when you can connect your PC or laptop to your TV via S video or HDMI, you really have nothing to lose by ditching your cable bill

I save $80 a month by not paying for cable or internet
 

Json23

[H]ard|Gawd
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Good read.

I have cable (for my wife and kids) 15 meg timewarner service, and just switched to a straight talk $45/month unlimited cell plan (that is saving me right at $800/yr over ATT). I am thinking about cancelling cable since I have the streaming netflix which would save me another $800/yr and just stream stuff over netflix for the kids.
 

Shalafi

Fully [H]
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thats $1600 right there

enough to dump into your kid's college funds or whatever
 

hardware_failure

[H]ard|Gawd
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Sadly, we are on the trend of subscription based services getting more and more common place.

Someday OTA TV will be gone (not that I use it)

If companies like M$ had their way, OS's would be a subscription based service as well.

Cell phone bills make me the most angry. There needs to be more laws in place to keep the carriers in check. For example - paying for unlimited data AND paying ridiculous fees for TXT/SMS messages. (I know they use different pipes but still, TXT messaging costs the carriers 1/1000th of what we pay)
 

Team Obi Juan

Your Local Postmaster
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Can you keep your phone number and switch to a pay as you go or prepaid call/text plan?
 

Arainach

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Smartphones are "essential"? In what alternate universe?

Seriously, it wasn't that long ago that we all lived without cell phones of any kind. And in many ways, it was a better world. People weren't paranoid and checking up on everyone at every second, people actually had to get together at set times/places without being able to rely on calling someone to find where the group went, etc. It was far more civil.
 

Jakalwarrior

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All I have is home internet,
46
Cell line on parents family plan
10
Netflix
8.99


$65 total. Not to shabby. About equal to my electric bill (Cept those $100 summer months).
 

temujin987

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that's some estimate: 200-750 dollars. it's like saying: the guy who robbed me was between one and three meters tall and weighs 15 to 200 kilos.

you don't really *need* all this stuff. i'm very much interested in tech since my field of expertise is computer science and statistics and i'm a bit geeky, but i'm still more or less the neanderthaler of cool gadget owners. got a cheap laptop that i hardly use, a 1080p tv that isn't fancy at all and only used for dvds, prepaid cell phone (cheapo, no iphone), unsubscribed cable tv years ago because i never watch anyway, no bluray...

i think in 10 years we will laugh about all the crap that is hip nowadays. like all the pointless vlogs ("omg watch me sit in a restaurant and talk to someone"), the 95% digital garbage on youtube, the "i can't live without three iphones" mentality, the whole web 2.0 stuff (<tweet>done eating some burritos, now taking a smelly dump. poooot :/</tweet>...

btw, that list is missing all the pr0n subscriptions ;)
 

oROEchimaru

Supreme [H]ardness
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750 a month will help keep you a virgin for life.

cell: 50$ phone plan without internet, or 75-100$ if your smart about it
cable+15mb/1mb interenet: $120

=250$

but the cable bill might be split so your realy paying about 150 or so
 

Dougjwjr

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274
Hmm, I dont pay the bills myself, but lets see what I can come up with:

Comcast 12/2 internet: $44 or so.
Comcast TV: includes 2 boxes, 1 dvr, I believe around $75
Cellphone: Not sure what the plan's monthly fees are, but ther's Tmobile unlimited plan, data plans $25/phone (2 phones), tmo hotspot

Hmm.... I think that's it.. but that's still well over $300 I'm sure.
 

temujin987

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Cell phone bills make me the most angry. There needs to be more laws in place to keep the carriers in check. For example - paying for unlimited data AND paying ridiculous fees for TXT/SMS messages. (I know they use different pipes but still, TXT messaging costs the carriers 1/1000th of what we pay)

here in austria i pay 25 cent for an sms (that is the standard price at any phone provider unless you pay a couple bucks extra for some 1000 sms/mth package). an sms has 140 characters plus a header. i don't know, let's say 250 bytes? so they earn about 1000 euros per mb from sms and that kind of small traffic costs them close to nothing. now that's some serious profit margin. i pay 2 cent per minute on the cell phone. talking on the phone sure as hell creates more data than an sms. total ripoff.
 

RS3RS

[H]F Junkie
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Let's see...

Cable internet: ~45 a month
Dish Network: $90 a month (HD programming, DVR, top programming package)
Cell phones: ~$50 a month

Total: $185 a month

Not bad at all, considering I get a TON of use out of all three of the above. :) I'll probably make an upgrade to a data plan this summer, but that'll only add on about $40 to $50 a month.

If you can afford it, knock yourself out! :)
 

Ocean

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$30 for 8mbit down, and $60 a month for iphone. no tv, no landline, no netflix.
 

AVT

Supreme [H]ardness
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Let's have a look at that list:

Smartphone - $50 - 300mins, unlimited text-data - iPhone on T-Mobile
Netbook - $0 - W.T.F? Just tether!
Slate - $0 - no idea what this even is
Home Internet - $30 - 3.0mpbs down, they finally upgraded the minimum plan from 256kbps!!
Cable TV - $0 - who needs this? Hulu FTW, OTA FTW
Landline Phone - $17 - 8x8 VOIP FTW, unlimited everything + features
Mobile Internet - $0 - W.T.F? Just tether!
Wi-Fi Hotspots - $0 - uh, what?? Why in the hell would I want this if I have data?
Netflix - $0 - I really don't watch movies much, but when I do, it's with friends
TiVo - $0 - who the hell pays monthly for this?
XBOX Live - $0 - sorry, I don't play multiplayer games
Hulu - $0 - WTF?? Hulu's free, who the fuck pays for it??
Flickr Pro - $0 - I don't have a clue what this even is
Navigation - $0 - who the hell pays monthly for this?

Grand Total: $97 - internet, phone, cell voice+text+data

Maybe it's because I just passionately hate monthly bills and refuse to get anything that requires them.
 

Asian Dub Foundation

Supreme [H]ardness
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Messages
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basic calling plan + text: $40 bucks a month.

that is it. I get anything and everything news/tv/info for free on the internet.
 

Derangel

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Jan 31, 2008
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19,651
Meh. I've got my internet bill and my phone bill, that's it. I have no reason to get any of that other crap. I haven't had cable for like four years this month, I don't miss it. I don't own a 360, so no Live there. I don't drive, no navigation. I don't have any use for the landline. Couldn't care less about shit like Flickr or WiFi hotspots. If I want to watch a movie I'll walk five feet to the video store and rent one there or go across the highway and use the Redbox. Verizon forces me to have a monthly data plan for my phone so I have that, but I don't use it.
 

Lebowski

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BINGO JUTSU BINGO

with the internet, if you . . . . go to the right places, you no longer need access to satellite or cable anymore

See, what this has done for us is empowered us to NOT make our schedule revolve around "seeing that show" or "watching that game" at a specific time, instead we are free to watch it online at sites like hulu or even the network's own website at a time we want to

and when you can connect your PC or laptop to your TV via S video or HDMI, you really have nothing to lose by ditching your cable bill

I save $80 a month by not paying for cable or internet

So you save money by leeching off of others. It may be frugal, but it's pathetic. If you can't pay your own way then don't use something. They may allow it, but they're stupid for allowing it. Letting someone on your network is like leaving all your information open for the taking.


I'm Chris Hansen...


I pay $260 a month in Cellphone, cable TV and internet. I could lower my cell plan rates and drop cable blah blah blah, but WANT internet, and I would rather Tivo a show and watch it at my leisure, instead of streaming it from hulu or some other site and have to deal with slow streams and buffering issues they all have. I can't even watch hulu between 6pm and 11pm.
 

RS3RS

[H]F Junkie
Joined
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Messages
8,198
BINGO JUTSU BINGO

with the internet, if you . . . . go to the right places, you no longer need access to satellite or cable anymore

See, what this has done for us is empowered us to NOT make our schedule revolve around "seeing that show" or "watching that game" at a specific time, instead we are free to watch it online at sites like hulu or even the network's own website at a time we want to

and when you can connect your PC or laptop to your TV via S video or HDMI, you really have nothing to lose by ditching your cable bill

I save $80 a month by not paying for cable or internet

I have a DVR, so I don't make my schedule around anything. DVR's are cheap. Also, even if I " . . . go to the right places" as you say, the bandwidth required to stream 720p/1080i + content adds up quickly if you watch multiple shows. My connection would be tied up all the time just downloading these videos. And there's no better way to waste a nice HDTV plasma/LCD than watching low-res content :)
 

xrealm20

[H]ard|Gawd
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Messages
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Sadly, we are on the trend of subscription based services getting more and more common place.

Someday OTA TV will be gone (not that I use it)

If companies like M$ had their way, OS's would be a subscription based service as well.

Cell phone bills make me the most angry. There needs to be more laws in place to keep the carriers in check. For example - paying for unlimited data AND paying ridiculous fees for TXT/SMS messages. (I know they use different pipes but still, TXT messaging costs the carriers 1/1000th of what we pay)


My 2 cents -- OTA TV will never go away - we will always have public broadcast systems. That's kinda like saying that radio will just get switched off as well. In the majority of cities and towns the intrastructure is already in place - the only cost is powering the equipment. You will always have local broadcasts to get news/weather etc.

And I agree 100% that cell-phone providers are screwing us sideways, everyday.
 

darkpaw

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May 29, 2008
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Well for me right now

My phone: $74 data + voice
zMy wife's: $40 data + voice + insurance
Cable/phone/internet: $175 I've thought of ditching the cable but not everything I'd want to watch is available online and my OTA options blow. I'd love to get rid of the home phone number, but wife insists on it, mostly since she is too lazy to keep her phone charged.
Netflix: $15, although suspended currently since hadn't been watching much
Xbox: $3
WoW: 2x$15

About $340 a month. I might be able to trim $100 off of that getting rid of non-essentials, but I'd consider that lowering my standard of living too and have no real need to.
 

krupted

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i like how nobody here pays for news servers yet there are 30 page threads about them :D i guess nobody plays WOW anymore either (yea, right), nobody has an xbox live account and nobody buys porn! and most of us could consider newegg a subscription service too :D
 

Blyss+

Weaksauce
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Oct 16, 2008
Messages
115
Nahhhh...

Internet(5MBps DSL, le sigh), Home Phone + LD for $88/mo.
Company Blackberry, so that's free. And limited personal use is okayed, too.
M$ Technet Sub: Free via going to Tech Days. (Thanks MS!!)
Astraweb(NGs): $13/mo

All prices are in CDN dollars.. heh...so 100 bones covers me in any given month.

I'm sure not being bled dry. Why would I pay for TV when I get better quality free OTA? Specialty channel be darned...TV is just not that important...that I would pay for at any rate.
 

Adidas4275

Supreme [H]ardness
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Messages
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These days between the internet and OTA HD now there really isn't a point in having cable or satellite. Almost all the TV show that are worth watching are streamed online for free, and with an antenna you can pick up all your favorite local station for free in HD.

THE point is watching SPORTS...... so i am guessing you aren't a baseball or college basketball fan.... since over 90% of those 2 sports alone are on cable/sat only, sure its not "essential"

BINGO JUTSU BINGO

with the internet, if you . . . . go to the right places, you no longer need access to satellite or cable anymore

I save $80 a month by not paying for cable or internet



okay so those of you who boast that you dont have these bills but use other peoples service..... are just letting someone else pay for you....

like the kid who said his cell phone is only $10 because its on his parents family plan..... but that mean he is allowing his parents to pay for the actual plan and he is just paying for an extra plan... which means that your parents are still picking up your bills......

you might be okay with that but i would not be....


most of you who are saying you have under $200 in subs probably dont own a home either..

water/sewer and trash = $70
Electricity/natual gas = $80-$170
TV/Internet = $70
Home Ins = $45
Auto Ins = $140 (2 people 2 new cars)
Cell Phone $120 (1 iphone 1 LG touchscreen something)
= $500+

I could drop Cable TV (if i didnt like sports) and i could drop my iphone and get something else (-$40)

but water, electricity, the Insurances and basic cell phone service is a must (no landline)
 

necrosis

Gawd
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Oct 21, 2004
Messages
758
All I am going to say is what some others already have.

There are so many redundancies on that list it is not even funny. Hotspot? 3G dongle? LANDLINE?!
 

Ponder

Gawd
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Jul 25, 2002
Messages
873
Cable/phone/internet: $175 I've thought of ditching the cable but not everything I'd want to watch is available online and my OTA options blow. I'd love to get rid of the home phone number, but wife insists on it, mostly since she is too lazy to keep her phone charged.

You could consider one of the bluetooth home phones that allow you to use your cell. She comes home plugs the phone into its charger and then can use one of the home phones to call out from then on... no need to worry about losing power mid conversation. You might want to consider a google voice account as well as it might make things easier if her phone constantly dies on the road.
 

Chiplg

Limp Gawd
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Apr 4, 2008
Messages
400
Can you keep your phone number and switch to a pay as you go or prepaid call/text plan?

Yes, I did this with my wife's phone. We had two lines on a Sprint family plan. I ported my number to Verizon, to get a BlackBerry with a plan. My wife rarely used her cell in favor of our VoIP line. I ported her number to T-Mobile pay as you go. Had no problems doing it either. When we dropped the VoIP line at the house, I ported her to Verizon and switched to a family plan agin.

In other words, if you are offereing a company money to port your number over, they will make it work.
 

jonathonball

[H]ard|Gawd
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Sep 23, 2005
Messages
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Last month I canceled XBOX Live, Eve On-line, & reduced my Netflix from three to one DVD at a time. Total savings: ~$30. That's a whole extra bargin bin steam game per month.
 

Azhar

Fixing stupid since 1972
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Messages
18,875
I don't subscribe to anything, not even internet access

I use my neighbors, with their permission of course

Frugal Living 101 is me

Still against the rules, permission or no

:-P
 

sfsuphysics

[H]F Junkie
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Jan 14, 2007
Messages
14,836
I don't feel too bad, DirecTV package is $49 a month, however I get slammed with $10 for HD and $5 for DVR (I mean really?), so that's $64 total

Internet is only $30 a month for 3M/512k DSL

Phone? Well I'm one of the last people on Earth who thinks a landline is sufficient and that's about $20 a month when everything is said and done.
 
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