It happens several times a week, it requires me to sit in front of a computer and constantly pour over numbers. I guess you can say I have a bit of OCD in me. I have never tracked the number of hours I log, but I’m a bit obsessive when it comes to tracking my monthly budget. I’m the type of person that likes to ensure everything is going smoothly. I even track anticipated expenses months out to ensure that I have the cash flow now to pay for those expenses. No other normal person does this. At least I think.
I’m a planner and I have a fixation for numbers. That’s the best I can explain it.
And as some of you may know, I charge a fixed rate for the monthly rent price, which is the way I have operated ever since the beginning of this venture. The reasoning was that I can have my roommates automate their rent payments into my bank account because there is no need to wait and split the utility bills every month.
One of the downsides to this pricing scheme is that when one of my utility bills increases, I can’t pass it down to my roommates immediately. Nevertheless, I still stood by it because I wanted the convenience of receiving the rent money without “going” after it. For instance, as I’m writing this today, 2/2/12, both roommates have paid their monthly rent on time.
THE SHOCK OF THE MONTH
As I was obsessively checking my budget this month, my cable bill took me by surprise. Despite my package being the bare minimum – consisting of only the internet and expanded basic channels – I was absolutely shocked the bill amounted to $117.15, an increase of 12% from the prior year for the same month.
The break down of the $117.15 is as follows:
- Internet – $46.95 plus taxes
- Expanded Cable – $61.95 plus taxes
Since I collect a fixed price rent, I can’t just tell my roommates, “hey, by the way, the rent’s going up by such and such next month.” Although, my basis is justified, it just doesn’t work that way. I have to give advanced notification of such change and in writing or at least e-mail.
I would feel this could bring about some negative feelings.
Instead, I told my roommates, I would be cancelling the Cable TV because I felt neither my roommates nor myself watched enough TV to warrant paying for the cable TV service. I would, however, still be paying for the Internet as we’re all online simultaneously. After a brief conversation, both my roommates expressed no disappointment over the impending cancellation of the cable TV service.
A LA CARTE: THE MATH WORKS OUT TO BE CHEAPER
On the other hand, had my roommates complained about the loss of cable, I would have probably implemented an a la Carte option. By this option, I would try to accommodate them by purchasing each episode of their favorite TV show.
Online services such as Amazon instant Video, Apple iTunes, and Hulu Premium syndicate TV shows for a cost. I know Hulu premium is $7.99 a month. I could sign-up for this account and theoretically share my login information with my roommates.
Alternatively, iTunes sells TV shows at $2.99 per episode. If I happen to watch only one show a week, you’re only paying $11.96($2.99 x 4 weeks) per month, which is cheaper than paying for Cable TV.
DOWNSIDE TO THE A LA CARTE SYSTEM
The only downside I can see to this a la Carte method is when it comes to live sporting events such as the Super Bowl. A solution can be to view the game at a friend’s house or a sports bar, which will make the game more enjoyable to watch.
With the Super Bowl on Sunday, I won’t disconnect the Cable Service until Monday. Not that it will make a difference as my roommates are not big sports fans. They may still, however, watch it because of the commercials because it will be the talk around the water cooler on Monday.
After this experience, I know what a company now faces when they have to “water down” their benefits while trying to keep customers or employees happy. I’m just thrilled that I was able to cut an expense without much resistance. The opportunity doesn’t happen often. So I’ll what I can get.
Now each time when I obsessively track my budget, I now have an extra $60 to work with.
My question to everyone: has anyone here gone the a la Carte method to TV shows?