The Saturday Weekly Review

Will Pick-and-Pay Cable Save You Cash? : The Saturday Weekend Review #113

The Saturday Weekend Review logo- cableWHAT’S IN YOUR BUNDLE?

 

It was about 2 weeks ago that the call was made to Rogers to review our cable bill because it had gone up in price. I’m never shocked when this happens.

Yesterday morning it was exciting for people who still order (us included) cable TV as we found out the CRTC mandated cable and satellite distributors to offer a basic package for the customers beginning in March 2016.

This basic cable package can cost no more than $25 which is great if basic cable is all you need.

Back in the late 70’s and early 80’s my wife remembers her parents only having a basic cable channels 2-13. She isn’t sure if they even paid for that as she believes it was free.

The reason we negotiated a new cable package with Rogers recently was because we don’t watch half the channels and the price hike. What bothered us was not being able to find a cable bundle that appealed to us but in the end we found something “good enough”.

My wife and I had a conversation wondering why they don’t let us pick the channels that we want to watch in our bundle.

Be careful what you wish for, isn’t that the saying.

By December of next year, consumers who want more than just the basic package of local and regional stations, public interest channels, education outlets and community channels and services will be able to subscribe to additional channels a la carte as well as via small, affordable packages.- Yahoo Finance Article

I agree that this could open a can of worms now where those once nicely priced bundles may sky-rocket once we start picking and choosing channels we want to add to our cable package. You did see the “Fireplace “, “Aquarium” oh and the “Roasting chicken” channels didn’t you? I haven’t looked lately but yes we were paying for those channels at one point.

All those boring channels that people pay for and have no use on the television may drop and people may lose their jobs BUT what is the purpose if there really is no audience?

Ultimately what pick-and-pay means is that you may end up paying more for a service that you were getting for less. The only difference is you will be rid of those channels you no longer want.

It’s kind of a toss up if you ask me but in the end it’s the price that will decide all. Nobody truly know until details and pricing is released.

If Rogers has a steep price hike for the a la carte selections I’m betting customers will walk away and find alternate options.

I know I won’t be paying an extra $10-$20 more per channel. I’m just throwing numbers out there but you know what I mean.

When you go to a restaurant those side-dishes and appetizers can cost more than buying a full meal on the menu, this may be no different. Another example is buying in bulk and buying singles… you know which will cost you more.

 

Our Rogers cable bill

 

Ideally cancelling our cable and enjoying family time would be what we should do, it’s not what we end up doing. It’s not easy for some people to give cable up.

Friends of ours have no cable and just watch movies as a family and spend LOTS of time together because they need to entertain themselves.

This is our mini entertainment breakdown:

  • Cell phone-Unlimited everything, free long-distance in Canada and no data plan
  • Internet– 270GB and it’s fast.
  • Digital Cable Plus– Basic cable plus a bunch of other channels many we don’t care for but for the most part what we do watch is included in this package.
  • Home Phone– Basic home phone service with call waiting and call display.

All of the above for a total price of $150 a month or $1800 a year or $18,000 over 10 years. It’s after I do the math that it makes me cringe. What could you do with $18,000?

Remember how I say it’s all the little things that add up. This is an example BUT you have to pick and choose how you spend your money.

I know I could easily spend that $18,000 but you have to ask yourself how important cable is to your life? What’s important to one person may be of no importance to another. Maybe there are other ways to save money  such as watching cable TV online for free rather than dishing out cash to your cable provider.

It costs a fortune to stay digital and connected online at all times these days. Keep in mind my wife’s cell phone has no data which can cost customers another $40 plus a month. Free wi-fi is always a nice perk when we are shopping if we need to get online for whatever reason.

Mrs. CBB and I enjoy watching TV together but not for hours on end as we do keep busy especially with baby CBB in the house now. It just so happens that all the channels we wanted were available in the Rogers VIP package for $76.98 plus tax.

That is part of the Rogers bundle that we had before our latest phone call to the Rogers Customer Retentions Department.

Don’t get in a fluff either trying to call and negotiate with Rogers about your cable bill. They already know what promotions they will offer you but don’t be afraid to push for a better deal or walk away.

About 9 times out of 10 they will do what they can to keep you hanging around a bit longer or work with you to find a suitable package. Some providers have no interest in negotiating with you because of this dominating industry.

Some of the cable channels that were important to us were The BBC, The Food Network, CTV, Global TV, Treehouse, The Comedy Network and a few others. If you are a Rogers customer and you click on the TV listings you will see that many of the programs repeat anyways which is pointless unless you work odd hours and need that option.

We have a PVR so we just record what we want to watch which came free as a bonus in the negotiations. What we realized when we started communicating with Rogers customer service was that the only channel that we would miss in the Rogers Digital Plus package was the Comedy Network.

Why on earth were we paying an extra $14.67 (taxes in) just for one channel? Is that price really worth it? I guess you need to decide that. Not for us.

Our earlier bill included VIP Cable $76.98/mth and now we have Digital Plus $63.99/mth without The Comedy Network but for us spending an extra $176.04 each year for one channel seemed ridiculous. That’s a whopping $1760.40 over ten years but we all know that price would increase.

We can live with Digital Plus since we can watch all the You Tube comedy we want on our TV as it’s a Smart TV. If you aren’t into paying for cable, online TV has come a long way and customers are still raving about Netflix where plans start at $7.99 a month.

Netflix is just another option for those who aren’t into the new pick and pay options coming our way or have no use for cable. We’ve never used Netflix before so I can’t comment on how amazing it truly is. However we may just look into it to see what the rave is all about.

 

Pricing

 

The problem I find is not just the high cable, Internet, home phone and cell phone prices in Canada but it seems that after you negotiate there is always a surprise price hike here and there and if you blink… you might miss it.

If we are paying such high prices for cable TV in Canada I don’t understand why we need to have SO MANY adverts on cable TV. It’s all about the money, end of story.

Watching commercials was something I wasn’t used to at all coming from the UK where no advertisements on the BBC channels is a blessing. I’m used to them now but at first it drove me nuts.

Any commercial terrestrial commercial channel is free unless provided by satellite or cable because they use advertisers as their income. Even so, there is still quite a price difference. The UK receives a large selection of free to air channels through Sky (No Card), FreeSat or FreeView.

So, where is all this money going? Not back to us I can tell you that. There has to be more that needs to be done to protect the consumer who is paying far too much for these services across the board.

If you think internet is expensive in Canada you can get hooked up in the UK at British Telecom (BT) for about 8 pounds ($15 CDN) which includes 17MB speed and unlimited usage. Many packages include a phone line too which you pay a monthly line rental.

Cell phones packages are MUCH cheaper as well and why I’ve never come to own a Canadian cell phone because I just won’t pay the price.

One comment on this exciting news release by a reader named Armchairview stated the following:

Canadians should pay $50 per month for unlimited channel selection up to any 100 stations, no limits or restrictions. $1 per channel after would be more than fair. Live with that Rogers, Bell and Shaw then maybe you’ll start re investing the millions sitting in a bank.

I’d have to somewhat agree that $50 is reasonable if not less and $1 per pick and pay channel would be fair.

So… our Rogers bill went up again but we got it back down to a reasonable level by getting rid of our higher cable package. Clearly we missed the memo on our Rogers bill increase in December 2014 since it was Christmas and very busy (smart thinking on their part) and with the baby double the time we were not thinking about reading the fine print.

Kicked ourselves in the butt since that’s what we tell the fans to do…Read the Fine Print!

Hey, I’m not perfect.

Now we just have to wait for the next service promotion to come due so we can negotiate all over again. It sure does get tiring negotiating all the time but that’s the difference between paying full-price and scoring a deal behind the scenes. Your choice.

If you’re still not into the entire pick-and-pay cable option coming our way I do know how you can watch cable TV free. Go to your neighbour’s house…. that’s how.

All joking aside I’m pretty sure you can find just about everything you are looking for online if you wanted to catch a program that you missed on TV or don’t have the channel for.

You just need to have the patience to find this stuff and I don’t have that right now. It’s easier to just turn on the television and enjoy the luxury of convenience. This is what we the consumers are paying for and what we will pay for.

Do you think this Pick-and-Pay option will be good for cable customers or will it only cause us more problems?

Do you negotiate your cable, internet, home phone and cell phone bill with your provider?

How do you get free TV? What other options are there for Canadians that you can share?

 

CBB Week At A Glance

 

We had a great week in the CBB house. We made a trip to the Burlington Mall to do some shopping and check out a few second-hand shops.

While we were there we wandered into Target to see what all the fuss was about. The CD’s and Movies were all 50% off. Hey.. that’s a pretty good deal.

I had a look around and found a few my wife wanted but nothing that I fancied so we left it at that. I was amazed at how many people were in the store now that it’s closing.

We had gone the odd time before but we never had a “Need” to go in. I think we went into Zellers more than we ever did Target even though Target still had the Zellers feel to it.

Old Navy was close by so we dropped in to see what was new and on sale. My wife found a sweater for $1.97 and a navy t-shirt for $0.97. You can’t beat that for new unless someone gives it to you free. Not even the dollar store sells items for $0.97 lol.

When we were in the check-out at one second-hand shop something unusual happened. A lady was at the cash paying for something. I noticed the tag read $5.99 but the manager rang the item in at $3.00. I shrugged my shoulders and thought, hey that’s a great deal. The customer looked VERY confused. There was nothing to be confused about…you got a deal!

I said, don’t worry about it he gave you a deal. But NO she had to raise a stink about it so he said fine, I’ll just let you pay regular price AND she did. I had never seen anything like it in my life. You see, I’m not one to cause a problem so I would have just paid the guy and left.

He knew exactly what he did and explained to her they were on sale yesterday but I’m giving it to you today. The lady did NOT want the 50% off price he offered her.

Odd…VERY Odd.

To be honest I think she thought she was going to get arrested for theft walking out the store if she didn’t pay full price.

On the blog front things are happening but slowly. I’m enjoying the steady traffic but I can assure you there is ALWAYS something going down behind the scenes. Thus the life of a blogger.

How was your week?

 

Published This Week

 

Just in case you’ve missed any of my blog posts this week I will link to them all below.

If you have a question that you would like to ask Mr.CBB fill out the Contact Mr.CBB form on the Home Page and send in your questions. If you want to share a story please ensure that there is minimum 500-1000 words and details… we love details!

Mr.CBB (that’s me) will look in his mailbag weekly and pick a question to answer on the blog.

This week on Canadian Budget Binder:

 

Popular This Month

 

I thought it would be fun to share the Top 5 pages that are popular for the month.

These are in no particular order.

 

Fan Budget Brags

 

Submit your Deal or Brag:

Saving money while grocery shopping is essential in the CBB family and that’s why we share our grocery shops every week in The Grocery Game Challenge 2015.

What I love the most is when my fans share their amazing shops with me whether it be groceries or other deals they find at a garage sale, online or freebies!!!

If you have a brag that you want me to share email me at canadianbudgetbinder (@) [yahoo] [.ca] or fill out my contact form by Friday each week to have your brag considered for the Saturday post.

Parmigiano RegiannoThis week CBB fan Mr. CBB…Hey wait, that’s ME has a deal to share.

While grocery shopping at Zehrs I like to be nosey around the cheese section to see if there are any cheeses offered at 50% off with a pink sticker.

This past week I found two different prices on Parmigiano cheese. They were both stamped with Parmigiano Regiano on the rind as it should be.

It’s one of the best Italian cheeses you can buy. It wasn’t until I noticed the price I wished I had a bigger freezer and commercial grater like my mother-in-law.

We managed to pick up a few for us and my wife’s parents. Who would pay almost $50 for such a tiny piece of cheese? NOT ME!!

Look at the price of the small piece @ $54.99 a kg just over 2 lbs WOW~~ No wonder most people opt to buy shaker cheese in a can.

Sorry it’s just not the real deal so we splurge when we can to buy a chunk but NOT at that price. We’ve been lucky finding the odd deals and grabbing them like the massive chunk of Parmigiano Regiano cheese for $13.84 or $29.90 a kg (that’s more like it)

Clearly there was massive price difference and no pink stickers or sale to alert us that it was supposed to be regular price. Either they were trying to get rid of the cheese or someone messed up big time.

 

Making A Difference (MAD)

 

Note: If you are a personal finance blogger (anywhere around the world) and would like your blog to be MAD featured simply drop me an email and I’ll explain the process to you.

This is my way of giving back to the personal finance community through networking and sharing knowledge with my fans. Today I’d like to welcome Petrish.

Hello Mr CBB and Readers,

Hello my name is Petrish and I am the mastermind behind Debt Free Martini where I blog out loud about working my way out of debt.

I am one of many US active military members who has lost their home due to being forced to relocate, and unfortunately found out that my home was in foreclosure after returning home from a deployment in the combat zone.

I am now grateful for this experience for it forced me to get my finances in order and was the catalyst to becoming a PF Blogger since January 2014.

My blog not only follows my journey out of debt, but you’ll also read about the emotions behind debt, finances 101, blogging tips, and creating the life you want to live.

My belief now is that a lot of people choose to live with debt, and living with debt equates to living below your privilege. My hopes are to inspire my readers to live the best life they can possible live, and of course become debt free in the process.

 

Top recipe

 

Boston Cream CupcakeFood  and grocery shopping is a BIG part of CBB because food is a large part of the budget that most people struggle the most with.

If you are someone who would rather buy convenience meals or products consider cooking homemade meals or baking from scratch.

Not only will you save money but you will be proud of what you accomplished and you’ll see that from the smiles on those you feed.

If you don’t already know I have a second Facebook page called The Free Recipe Depot where I share recipes from other Food Bloggers from around the world.

I created this second Facebook page because I love food so much and I wanted to showcase only food 24/7 and this is where I do it. I also share recipes on CBB once a week on Sundays either made by me or my in-house home blog cook Nicola Don!

Today you MUST check out this recipe for Boston Cream Mini-cakes at My Wife’s Muffin.

 

Editor’s Pick

 

Every week I will pick a blog post of the week from around the web that I found interesting and want to share with you and an Editor’s top blog post pick.

Editor’s blog post pick of the week goes to Shannon Ryan at The Heavy Purse. It’s not so much an article but I wanted you to check our her new blog and website design which looks fabulous.

Shannon has been a supporter of CBB for a while now and I enjoy reading her blog. She is a certified financial planner and is now branching out from discussing raising financially confident kids to all things personal finance. She hopes to encourage her fans to become “Financially Real“.

 

Google search terms

 

Every week I get thousands of people visit Canadian Budget Binder because they did a search online and found my blog. Keep in mind any spelling errors below are because I share with you the exact way they typed their search engine query to land on my blog.

  • Mortgage Free Am I Rich?– I don’t even know how to define your rich.
  • Snobs don’t shop at Walmart–  Maybe not but how will you really know?
  • Why do stupid people go into debt– Are people really stupid because they have debt?
  • Lazy people are a charge to society– They may well be but it’s a good thing you don’t live their life.
  • How much food can be found in a dumpster?– Sometimes I have to wonder about the things people search for. Do they really think about the question before they type it in search?

Thanks for reading The Saturday Weekend Review and Welcome to 2015 on Canadian Budget Binder!!

-Mr.CBB

its not about how much money you make its how you save it logo

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17 Comments

  1. Since we moved back to London a year and half ago, we decided to use bunny ears and a digital antennae for the time being. Unfortunately the channels we were getting was Omni 1 and 2, city, ctv, yes, and tvo. If the weather was bad we would lose tvo (and during what ever show we were trying to watch! 🙂 ). We do have a smart tv so project free tv, and crackle seems to have my husband’s favourite shows. You tube has a phenominal range of tv shows as well, but the challenge is not going over in our internet time. My husband does miss the satellite and although we were happy to hear about the crtc for next year, we can’t help but wonder what is the catch?

  2. I enjoyed reading your article today! I am with Rogers and I am exhausted with always having to negotiate with them for deals. So, last fall I got rid of the home phone! (Don’t miss it) Someone from the top ranks even gave me a month’s free bundled bill because of continued errors ( I complained) on my bill. (Nice Xmas Gift). I only have basic cable but I don’t need the fireplace of aquarium channel and a lot of the time channels I do not watch. Everything I need to do is online anyway. I purchased a Roku and I will be preparing to get rid of my Cable as well! You should only have what you use. I don’t like to throw money away now that I am a (poor) retired grandma lol…. Again, I always enjoy reading your articles! Have A Great Week!

  3. Get an android box, smart multi media player. It streams movies and T.V shows from the internet (even current ones) onto your T.V. Costs around $120.00- $250.00, no subscription fees, no commercials.

  4. I have been trying to come up with the courage to get rid of my cable for the past 2 and 1/2 months. This month the batteries for the remote died for the main TV and I have not gone out to purchase new ones on purpose. After about two weeks without cable, I realize that I really don’t need it and ready to make the move. I know when I move back to the states I will forego having cable all together. I think I’m finally ready. Also thank you so much for featuring my blog, I feel so special today!

  5. I don’t even know what we have from Rogers these days…. I know the phone, internet and the cables boxes are from them. I don’t watch TV myself. TV is in the living room and so is hubby with the remote in his hot little hands. The older boy has his own TV in his room and an HD box for it. He had the TV before he moved back home so he watches it in there. The younger boy doesn’t watch it much more than I do. I could get rid of the cable and not miss it but hubby and the older boy over rule that one. They enjoy watching the Discovery channel, History, movie channel, hubby loves the Golf channel, the older boy will watch racing once in a while. The younger boy will watch the odd NASCAR race, especially Daytona. That is it for the year for him.
    Hubby refuses to call Rogers about the bill and the older boy is the same way. He will call if he has to, like before Christmas when his cable box acted up.
    I have no idea what we have for internet.I just know what we pay every month and I’m not impressed. We have the land line with Rogers as it was cheaper than what Bell was charging us. I don’t understand much about the internet so I let the boys deal with it. The younger boy has a cell phone we use when traveling out of town but it is with Bell and is pay as you go. I actually like the idea of having the phones on different set ups. Given hubby’s health issues and the fact Rogers has gone down before it is nice to know I can call out in an emergency.
    Nice deals you got there this week!!! Have a good weekend….

    1. Oh Christine, you must call. The savings will be huge if you are a long-time customer and you talk to the retentions department plus they will set you up with any current promotions. Just think… extra money! 🙂

  6. The cable cost has been on my financial radar for a while now too. The math over ten years just floors me. I have service from Comcast (US), Digital Starter package that has no premium movie channels and it has slowly risen from $60 to now $87 a month. I always said I would never pay over $75 a month for TV especially since we watch only a handful of the channels in the package and mostly over the air free channels. We are over 65 miles from a transmitter so in home antennas do not work well so I am going the Roof antenna route soon. I went to http://www.antennaweb.org/ to see what the best one for where I live is and asked an alarm installer what they do with the but-end of their coax cable roles. He said they don’t like splicing short runs to make a long one so they toss it. He tossed me over 100 feet of coax for my antenna project. My plan is to install this once I have some time and good weather in the next month or two. Then I may go to Netflx or something like that.

  7. We only have our Internet with Cogeco. We have an antenna on the roof and we get plenty of channels over the air. We live near the Canadian US border so we get all the US networks. The only stations I wish we got were Global TV and CTV (main network). We can get their programming on the Internet. We do watch Netflix and occasionally rent from iTunes. There is a lot to watch online. Most of what I watch on tv are on Cbc, TVO, and the U.S. main networks so over the air works well for us.

    1. Over the air is the way to go! We are lucky enough to get all Us and canadian major channels. That and a roku box gives you more than enough programming. I love Netflix but Crackle and in particular Snag films which has a huge amount of documentaries are free. As well, both the OTA programming of PBS and its online channel gives you much more variety than anything on cable. You may need a vpn to watch all of the american netflix or some of the Pbs programming but its still very reasonable. My total monthly cost is 13.99.

    2. We like Global TV as well but I think you can check them out online anyways can you not? I have been to their website before. I’ve never tried Netflix before but I might check out the trial offer to see what it’s all about. Wow only $13.99 I’m impressed! Are you able to get The BBC, Food Network, Treehouse channels as well. Where does one get started setting up what you have?

  8. I am a cable subscriber because I like news and the traditional networks like CBS and CTV. I don’t want to lose some of the special channels I enjoy (Food, History) but if the extra channels aren’t 3 for $5 or some other bargain I will be a basic cable subscriber.

    I don’t understand why cable companies, I am with Cogeco, can’t be more competitive with their pricing when customers are leaving them in droves. Respecting the long term client base by giving them a better deal would encourage people to stay. I dropped a lot of channels before Christmas because Cogeco wasn’t prepared to give me many price breaks even though I have phone, internet and cable with them.

    1. Our family is with Cogeco and they struggle to get any deals out of them. I’m shocked because I tell them that I can at least negotiate with to get a better price but they aren’t as lucky. They are retired now and watching TV along with outdoor activities is important to them. They don’t want to mess about with online tv and all the other ways people get cable either. They just want to turn on the tele and watch TV, pay the bill and be happy.

  9. I’ve always thought it should be more like a hydro bill, where the full service is available to you but you are charged, after a small basic service fee, for what you actually watch. We almost never turned our TV on unless there was a specific show or game we wanted to see. We watched under 10 hours a month, but we paid the same amount as families we knew who use the set as background noise / a child’s babysitter all day long.

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