Tag Archives: comcast

How to Lower Your Cable Bill

As parents, we’re very into milestones. Unfortunately, not all milestones are positive ones.

Earlier this month, I received my monthly cable TV bill from Comcast (or Xfinity or whatever the hell they call themselves now), and something in me just snapped. It was $215 for wireless Internet, a cable TV package, and a landline — part of their Triple Play package. It had been much less in the beginning, but just kept creeping up and up and up until it became another car payment.

I’m partly to blame¬†(and by partly I mean mostly) for this, as I’m an unmitigated TV nut. I have it on constantly, even when I’m not watching it. But usually I am watching it. Everything from news to sports to movies to sitcoms — you name it, I watch it.

But even a TV freak like me has limits, and $215 was mine.

When I stepped back and took an objective look, I realized a few things. First of all, there is absolutely no earthly reason to keep a landline. Second, yes we watch a lot of TV. But most of it wasn’t cable.

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I realized we almost exclusively use Netflix when we watch TV.  For $8.99 a month (plus the one-time $35 cost for a Chromecast to stream it to my TV in HD glory), we get thousands of movies, TV shows, and documentaries that keep us and our kids completely entertained. And while we do supplement it with a few other free and paid services, Netflix is the one we use the most by far.

Will, my 6-year-old, easily logs in to Netflix and chooses from his favorite titles we have set up for him. Things like:

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The Oscar’s Oasis one is especially wacky, and we would’ve never found it had we not been tooling around on Netflix looking for new stuff. Now it’s his favorite thing to watch.

But make no mistake, Netflix is hardly for kids. In fact, I’m pretty addicted to a whole bunch of shows including the following:

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And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Every month Netflix swaps out new movies and shows, and you’ll never lack for things to watch. Not to mention you’ll be paying as little as $8.99 to do it instead of hundreds of dollars. If you’re OK with harnessing the power of Netflix, then you’re ready to move on to the next step.

Even though you don’t want to completely cut the cord, you need to pretend you’re willing to do so when you call the cable company.

Most of their lower cost, special offers are for new customers. If that’s you, great. If not, you need to do a little wheeling and dealing. Telling them you’re planning to leave altogether usually does the trick and lo and behold, suddenly they’ll come up with some new offer they just started running in the last 12 seconds that includes you. Hooray. If that doesn’t work, don’t worry because you still have alternatives.

When Comcast wouldn’t offer us anything better, we simply ended my time as a customer there. And then we immediately began an account in my wife’s name with some downgrades. We gave up DVR and some of the premium channels, but kept HBO and Showtime. And by doing that, we were able to keep a lot of what we had but pay way, way less for it.

How much less? We reduced our monthly cable bill by $105 a month! I don’t know about you, but that makes a significant difference to my family. It can for you as well. Good luck!

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StreamTeamBadgeI’m happy to announce I’m now part of the Netflix Stream Team. Although I’m not receiving monetary compensation for my work, I have received free products and services. However, I’ve been using Netflix for years and my opinion, as always, is 100% my own.

Visit Netflix here to learn more or sign up for streaming, and check out the Netflix Facebook page as well.

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Evil Comcast

www.mycabletvsucks.com

Even the best parents have dirty little secrets.

Will has been watching movies On Demand, which has been extraordinarily helpful for the times we need him to quiet down and prepare for naps/bedtime. Through our cable company, Comcast, the movies are free and available anytime. And that is a wonderful, wonderful thing.

Until Comcast decides to change their On Demand movies.

For weeks Will was fascinated with a movie called Dragon Hunters. It was this weird little animated film that was mildly entertaining for me, but Will frickin’ loved it. Couldn’t get enough of it. And so we watched it. A lot. Over and over again until we both started to memorize the words. We would seldom watch all of it because he can’t sit through an entire movie, but if I turned it on I knew he’d settle down.

A few months ago Will got up early on a Saturday and wouldn’t go back to sleep. So I told him I’d turn on Dragon Hunters and then I planned on getting some much needed Zzzzzs.

But Dragon Hunters was gone.

Comcast occasionally switches out some of their movies in the On Demand section and apparently Dragon Hunters found itself on the chopping block. I checked all the other channels, hoping against hope it might’ve just switched to another section of On Demand. But alas, it was gone.

And in its place was a screaming, inconsolable toddler.

“DADA WHHHHYYYYY? WHY IS DRAGON HUNTERS GONE? WHAT HAPPEN? WHO TOOK IT?!!?!?” he wailed.

Instead of explaining why the cable company keeps movies on a rotation, or just making up another excuse a kid would believe, I said the first thing that came to mind. Which was also the truth.

“Comcast did it pal.”

He asked who Comcast was and I told him it’s the company in charge of playing all the movies. Then he asked if Comcast is evil. Suddenly I flashed to every time the damn cable company said they’d be there between 2-5 p.m., every billing problem, every time they changed the friggin channel numbers. And then then I looked my son in the eye, nodded solemnly and confirmed that indeed, Comcast is evil.

Since that fateful day, many of Will’s beloved movies have come and gone. But we didn’t exactly draw the line at missing movies.

My back was really hurting me one day recently and I told Will I couldn’t pick him up. He asked why my back hurt, but before I could answer he said “Did Comcast do it?” Since I didn’t feel like explaining the complexities of my back pain, I rolled with it. Yes son, Comcast hurt my back. Then one day we couldn’t find his favorite stuffed animal, Monkey. We couldn’t find it because I had left it at my parents’ house by accident. So, as a responsible parent, you’d think I owned up to it right? Hell no! I blamed that one on Comcast too.

Now it’s become somewhat of a running joke:

Why is Mama sick? Comcast did it.

The Red Sox lost? Comcast did it.

Why can’t I have a new toy? Because Comcast said no.

I’ve blamed Comcast for just about everything over the last two months. Comcast is responsible for acid rain, global warming, the recession, bad weather and early bedtimes. Last week Will asked for Mac & Cheese for dinner but we were out. You think Mom or Dad took the hit for not going grocery shopping on time? Hell no, that shit is Comcast’s fault.

Last week Will asked me if Comcast lived with the Yankees and the Gmork. I figured we’ve come this far, why not go the whole nine yards?

As a result, I don’t think a kid has ever feared/loathed anything more than my son hates the cable company. We were watching TV recently and a commercial for Comcast came on. The second that name was uttered Will’s head snapped around and he growled at the TV. Yup. Growled. With bared teeth and all. It was funny at first, but now I worry he’s two steps removed from pulling a Ralphie in A Christmas Story when Scott Farkus pushes him just a little too far.

But hey, even if that happens it’s not on me. Comcast did it.

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