7. Your TV/Internet/Phone bill.

Welcome to the Dad Cents, 10 ways to put money back into your budget without stopping the fun stuff, series. The countdown continues.

7. Your TV/Internet/Phone bill.

Are you paying an arm and a leg to be connected?

My wife and I sat down last week to watch TV, and as she scrolled through our at least 200 channels she said, “How can there be nothing on TV?” Our world has dramatically changed even from the time I was in college. As I sat down today to write, my wife’s comment reminded of my college years and the Bruce Springsteen song 57 Channels in which he sang “There’s fifty-seven channels and nothin’ on…”.

Today, we have the opportunity to be as connected as we desire. Our Televisions, internet service, phone service and mobile service give us the ability to be in the know and always in reach of our friends, family and work. Smart phones allow us to do all of these things in one device!

The key question is: Are you paying too much to be connected?

Media companies want us to buy their bundle! These packages are advertised relentlessly via billboard, radio, the internet and TV. The gist of the ad is you will pay less for their bundle than by purchasing elsewhere. The media companies are using the same theory as the insurance companies.

The theory the media companies’ use says you will be more likely to remain a customer because of the number of connections you have to their company. For example, one company is easy to work with, but if you have your phone with one company, the internet with another, and TV with yet another, you will have to pay multiple bills get multiple statements and have more companies to deal with. However, are they giving you the best deal?

Companies are always changing the rules but many times, the bundles, are not the best deal. Just recently, I was encouraged to look into my service by my bank account because we could not afford the bill. I thoroughly looked through all the opportunities and found I could  save $35 per month and actually get faster internet service by making a change out of a bundle!

Keys to making a good decision:

  1. Does your rate eventually increase?
  2. Can you get good or better service by separate companies?
  3. Are you buying the package that has more channels than you actually watch?
  4. Will you share band width with your neighbors?
  5. Can you get internet service without purchasing phone service? (VOIP service can be very inexpensive)

Is it possible for everyone to use these ideas? Maybe, but I will make one promise. If you do not try, you will not save money!

Make sure also to watch for our next Savvy Dads webinar!


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Monday, June 13th, 2011 Teaching No Comments

Traveling Dads: Ideas to help keep in touch with your kids

Do you remember the old Cingular commercial where the dad took a stuffed animal on the road and took pictures of the animal in each place he visited?  I found it on Youtube for those who do not remember. 

My daughter saw the commercial and would strategically hide the animal somewhere in my stuff! As I would take pictures, I emailed or texted the picture back to my wife and daughters to see where I was and what I was doing.

I was asked an awesome question this week and wanted to respond with on my blog as well as a personal message.  “I am away from my daughters this week for business and am really missing them. Do you have any clever ideas on how to connect?” was the question posed. I traveled quite a bit last year and have some ideas that I found to be very effective. 

I do realize that several of these options need to be initiated before leaving for a trip but some are doable even while on the road. 

I pray with my daughters every night before they go to bed, so when I travel, this is sometimes a challenge.  I know  many dads who love to tell their children, especially those of us who have daughters, good night before they go to bed.  I have several solutions for this issue.

  1. Call them on your mobile phone no matter what you are doing! If you need to excuse yourself from the meeting, then do so, to talk to them before bed.
  2. Before you leave, make a video for each night you are gone. It does not need to be longer than 30 to 90 seconds. In this age of easy video on phones and every digital camera available, make a short video for each child.  This does take some time, but I have found is well worth the effort!

Staying in contact during the day can be a challenge but here are a couple of ideas.

  1. If your children are old enough to have mobile phones then texting is one option.    
  2. A really cool connection point is using video on your phone to send them a recorded message via sms (text messaging).  I can record a short video on my phone and send it to my wife’s phone, which she and my daughters can watch. She in return can make a video response with the girls for me!

Another great option is to use Skype or Oovoo to stay in touch.  They are even better if you have video capabilities on your laptop and computer at home. This past December I spent a week in Romania and could  speak to my wife and daughters via Skype. Skype is even available on your mobile phone through an android and iphone app.  

As a final note, I want to encourage the dads to really think ahead about staying connected.   Traveling can be a break from the day to day stress but it also is a time for temptation.  I know when I stay connected, my mind stays at home when my body is on the road!  

I would love to hear from anyone who has more ideas about staying connected while on the road.


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Tuesday, March 1st, 2011 Teaching No Comments