How I Save $$$ on my utilities

After getting married my wife and I each had a cell phone but no home phone.  It worked for the most part.  We could always get in touch with our friends & family.  Well, except when they were long distance.  We had to do the old trick of call them, hang up, and have them call you back.

Plus, my wifes cell was with Bell Mobility and the bills were ridiculous!  She had the absolutely cheapest plan we could find, made maybe 6 or 7 calls a month and about the same amount of texts and her bill vaired from $60 to upwards of $80.  We needed to get rid of it!

Here is what we did:

We cancelled her cellphone with Bell (avg $70/mth)

We switched our Lite Plus cable internet with Cogeco (approx. $30/mth) to the basic analog cable tv package.

We then signed up for the Ultimate/Ultimate Cable plan with Distributel.  We get unlimited DSL internet at about 5Mbps & a home phone with all the regular features.  For an extra $10 we added unlimited long distance for Canada/US and $2 more to get the same plan on my cell phone.  The package comes out to $75/mth ($65/mth for the 1st year).

With my cell phone @ Telus we upgraded to the iPhone 3G 8GB for $100 & a 3 year contract.  We got the basic data plan with the My 5 Favs option ($55/mth).

The way long distance on the cell works with Distributel is they have a ton of access numbers.  Your phone number is given access to the system.  You call the access number for your area.  After a quick moment you hear the dial tone.  Then you dial the number you want you call without the 1.  You will hear an automated voice say "Distributel" and then you will get connected to the call and hear the line ringing on the other end.

You will have to let your friends & family know that when they see Distributel on the ident-i-call that it's just you and not  telemarketer.  The biggest is hassle is having to remember phone numbers and dial them in manually.

My solution was the iPhone app IsaDial.  It's meant for using calling cards because they also have access numbers.  I programmed a few different access numbers as a 'profile'.  When I want to make a call I launch IsaDial instead of Contacts.  It asks me which profile I want to use.  Then it takes me to my contacts.  I choose the person and number I want to call.  The program calls the access number, waits a few moments, and then dials the number I wanted.

So for the cost of one less cell phone we now have cable tv, high speed DSL internet, a home phone with unlimited long distance in US & Canada and a cell phone with the same plan.  Sure it costed me $100 to upgrade to an iPhone.  But my monthly plan was actully $10-15 cheaper per month on the iPhone.  So the upgrade paid for itself after 10 months.


Give May a chance

Ok, so it's been a while since my last post.  And yes, I normally don't get up on my soapbox in relation to politics.  But I think this is an issue that needs some attention.  More accurately some reason.

The issue: Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada, has not been invited to the televised leadership debates that will happen as a result of the upcoming election.

The media consortium (CBC, Radio-Canada, CTV, Global and TVA) that host the debate based this decision on the fact that the Green party doesn't hold a single seat in the House of Commons.

However, in the 2008 election the same thing was true of the Green Party then.  When the Canadian public spoke up to say the Green Party should be included, Prime Minister Stephen Harper threatened to not attend the debate.  Eventually the media consortium, and Stephen Harper, succumed to public pressure and Elizabeth May was permitted to attend.

By the end of the debate she was the obvious winner.  She gave strong solid answers to the questions posed while poking holes in the other leaders credibility and policies.

In an effort of full disclosure I would describe myself as holding conservative right-wing ideals.  That being said, I'm often embarrassed by the actions of our Conservative Prime Minister.  He wants all the power and none of the accountability.

Personally, I think Elizabeth May should be included in the national leadership debates. She has a solid platform, answers direct questions with direct answers, and keeps the other leaders on their toes.  Put all that aside though.  This is a leadership debate for national parties.  The criteria for admittance should be that you are the leader of a national party that has at least 1 seat in the House of Commons or has enough registered candidates to form a government if elected.

That's my 2 cents (approximately 3 cents US) *steps down from soapbox*