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Trying to scale back...a little at a time
Old 02-23-2012, 06:20 PM   #1
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Trying to scale back...a little at a time

Back in 2006 I signed up for XM radio and have really enjoyed it. But the annual fee has creeped up and since we have started to look at our budget, I took a long hard look at the new fee ($200/yr for one auto satellite radio). I'm addicted to news and music with fewer commercials, but before we had our current nice income, I was fine with NPR. I sent in notice of cancellation and now they are calling me daily. I'm trying to capture the financial discipline I had before all this "creep" occurred in our lives (we cancelled the yacht club membership recently as well; and of course I really wouldn't want to belong to a club that would have me as a member, ha ha). Does/did anyone else have trouble with axing the extras that aren't needed?
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Old 02-23-2012, 06:48 PM   #2
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I had it and it was hard to can had to follow directions to a tee, after a couple trys that did not work...got a comformation number once and when they charged my card again i called and they said that they didn't reconize my comformation number.??..i did get a credit but they are a bunch of scum bags
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Old 02-23-2012, 07:49 PM   #3
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XM called me today to get me to re-up. I told them, no thanks. They're trained to ask all sorts of questions to get you engaged and back onto their plan. What music do you listen to? The kind that's free, or nothing. Don't you listen to sports? Not really, I just go to the games. What if I give you this huge discount (that automatically has you re-up at the end on your credit card?) Nope, not interested. No way, no how. Good bye.

It wasn't hard at all. Now, how do I wean myself from satellite tv, with DVR's all over the house? Now that's hard.
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Old 02-23-2012, 08:03 PM   #4
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Old 02-23-2012, 08:11 PM   #5
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I am starting to scale back here, xm satellite radio will run out in May, I need to watch to ensure they don't charge me again... subscription to the local paper will end July 31st and I don't plan on re-subscribing... I have had two salt-water fish aquariums running for the past few years... in the process right now of scaling back to one. I need to cut back on the channels for Dish Network soon. Not sure why I am paying for so many channels when I watch so few.
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Old 02-23-2012, 08:28 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE
Back in 2006 I signed up for XM radio and have really enjoyed it. But the annual fee has creeped up and since we have started to look at our budget, I took a long hard look at the new fee ($200/yr for one auto satellite radio). I'm addicted to news and music with fewer commercials, but before we had our current nice income, I was fine with NPR. I sent in notice of cancellation and now they are calling me daily. I'm trying to capture the financial discipline I had before all this "creep" occurred in our lives (we cancelled the yacht club membership recently as well; and of course I really wouldn't want to belong to a club that would have me as a member, ha ha). Does/did anyone else have trouble with axing the extras that aren't needed?
Our xm was up too. Found out we could get the music only ( no talk/ sports) for $9.95 a month. Cut the bill from $189 to $120. Calling the cable company next week...
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Old 02-23-2012, 09:15 PM   #7
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I had Sirius. It was nice when I commuting since I live out in the sticks and the radio reception was spotty. Once I retired, it seems a luxury i didn't need and I was right. I still get e-mails asking me to sign back up. I've despammed a few times, but they tend to find me somehow.

We keep threatening to call the satellite provider and ask for a discount as it seems to creep up every month. Same with cell phones. Creep. Thank God we have unlimited texting. My oldest racked up 2500 texts last month. His brother, 1800.

I think I finally get texting. I always thought, why don't you just call them? It's a phone. But they can carry on several conversations at once texting. Talking its one at a time. How boring!
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Old 02-23-2012, 10:37 PM   #8
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I am so in the habit of eliminating the extras that I suffer the opposite problem - when my income goes up again in the future, I may have trouble convincing myself to spend (though I know my desire for fun will eventually prevail).

My entire telecommunications bill is around $31/month, which covers a basic landline, basic speed DSL and about $3/month for long distance from onesuite.com. No cable or satellite here. I get all my viewing entertainment from whatever I can stream online for free.

And that's in the San Francisco Bay Area folks - not everything here is expensive.
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Old 02-24-2012, 04:14 AM   #9
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No. I have axed subscriptions in the past without any problem.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE View Post
Does/did anyone else have trouble with axing the extras that aren't needed?
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Old 02-24-2012, 08:45 AM   #10
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Though we've always been extremely LBYM, we really used to spoil ourselves. FI has been our #1 priority for the past 10-15 years at least. So we decided to bring spending down to projected retirement spending levels before retiring. We reviewed everything over and over and:
  • Cut the things we really didn't need/care about (there were many once we really looked hard)
  • Kept essentials (though looked for ways to reduce costs, and found quite a few, not unlike XM in your case)
  • Kept many of our "wants" but just reduced the cost and/or frequency of those things (ie, still go out for dinner twice/week, but not at high end restaurants as often, and not as often overall)
We haven't felt deprived at all, an uncluttered life is liberating (really) - we never would have thought so until we tried it. We're so pleased with our results, I've attached them below!

[Our expenses went up in 2011 because we spent $8K remodeling].

I retired Jun 2011. You can do it, the most important things in life aren't things...
Attached Images
File Type: gif Picture1.gif (37.7 KB, 24 views)
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Old 02-24-2012, 08:54 AM   #11
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I got 6 months of XM for free 2 years ago when I got a new car. They gave me a year for $79 at the end of the 6 months; that seemed fair. Being the cautious type, I used a credit card with an expiration date of less than the year. They couldn't automatically debit me. I got another year at the introductory rate of $79. That particular card had to be replaced because someone got the info and was making unauthorized charges--that means XM can't automatically debit me.

If this is a big issue, just call your credit card company and get them to send you a new card. They do that for free when you lose a card or it gets stolen, so what not take advantage of the situation and keep companies like XM or Sirius from charging you?
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Old 02-24-2012, 10:35 AM   #12
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Not a problem. They've never been given the right to charge my credit card. The last time they called me I made them mail me a bill after I negotiated a slightly lower cost. This is DW's car, and unless we're traveling, it was used very little. Exception was at Christmas when I noticed she did use it to listen to Christmas music. To me it's just another money leak in my financial ship.
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Old 02-24-2012, 12:22 PM   #13
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Midpack, excellent story/info...thanks for sharing.
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Old 02-24-2012, 07:57 PM   #14
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XM called me today to get me to re-up. I told them, no thanks. They're trained to ask all sorts of questions to get you engaged and back onto their plan. What music do you listen to? The kind that's free, or nothing. Don't you listen to sports? Not really, I just go to the games. What if I give you this huge discount (that automatically has you re-up at the end on your credit card?) Nope, not interested. No way, no how. Good bye.

It wasn't hard at all. Now, how do I wean myself from satellite tv, with DVR's all over the house? Now that's hard.
We have XM also, and I always mark on the calendar the date that our subscription ends. About a week or so before that date, we call them and tell them we don't want it anymore. They go into their series of questions, etc., and we tell them no, not interested, please cancel. Then they start offering the huge discounts that you mentioned. When they get low enough, we resubscribe for another year, and mark down the end date on the calendar again. Then next year, we go through the process again. It has worked so far. I think we paid $94 for a year the last time, which I can live with. The key is to make sure you call each year before the subscription ends and the automatic renewal kicks in.
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Old 02-24-2012, 08:32 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
Though we've always been extremely LBYM, we really used to spoil ourselves. FI has been our #1 priority for the past 10-15 years at least. So we decided to bring spending down to projected retirement spending levels before retiring. We reviewed everything over and over and:
  • Cut the things we really didn't need/care about (there were many once we really looked hard)
  • Kept essentials (though looked for ways to reduce costs, and found quite a few, not unlike XM in your case)
  • Kept many of our "wants" but just reduced the cost and/or frequency of those things (ie, still go out for dinner twice/week, but not at high end restaurants as often, and not as often overall)
We haven't felt deprived at all, an uncluttered life is liberating (really) - we never would have thought so until we tried it. We're so pleased with our results, I've attached them below!

[Our expenses went up in 2011 because we spent $8K remodeling].

I retired Jun 2011. You can do it, the most important things in life aren't things...
Midpack, that is an impressive reduction in expenses (referring to your graph). I was looking at what we spent last year, trying to think where we could cut. So many things were more or less "cooked into the broth". So many things were not in our control (medical - both insurance and treatments, etc., housing stuff like HOA, maintenance, etc.) I think I finally settled on about a 10% overall cut (that's if we follow the plan). Fewer meals out, less prepared foods, fewer sodas, fewer/smaller gifts to the kids, (we will continue their Roths at a lower level). The only other significant category will be the taxes we DON'T have to pay because we are taking less out of our 401(k)/tIRAs to cover our reduced expenses.

Thanks for the incentive. Think I'll go back and try again.
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Old 02-25-2012, 07:42 AM   #16
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Midpack, that is an impressive reduction in expenses (referring to your graph). I was looking at what we spent last year, trying to think where we could cut. So many things were more or less "cooked into the broth". So many things were not in our control (medical - both insurance and treatments, etc., housing stuff like HOA, maintenance, etc.) I think I finally settled on about a 10% overall cut (that's if we follow the plan). Fewer meals out, less prepared foods, fewer sodas, fewer/smaller gifts to the kids, (we will continue their Roths at a lower level). The only other significant category will be the taxes we DON'T have to pay because we are taking less out of our 401(k)/tIRAs to cover our reduced expenses.

Thanks for the incentive. Think I'll go back and try again.
As you can see we trimmed about $29K/yr. Of that, $13.8K was paying off our mortgage in 2007 and then selling our boat saving another $8K with all related expenses. So all the other collective smaller expense reductions were about $7K/yr. To put our experience in perspective.
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Old 02-25-2012, 08:02 AM   #17
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We still have XM, I don't get hooked buy until they get the price down to under $7 a month.
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Old 02-25-2012, 09:16 AM   #18
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I have heard XM can be very tough to cancel. They can lean on you pretty hard. That being said, press on through and be sure to get a cancellation number and maybe the agent's name and employee number.

On a related note, I have begun my own personal "30-Day Challenge" with regard to expenses. NOTHING except a very limited grocery budget and gas for the car gets spent...unless there is an emergency. I used to be an Amazon addict...er...enthusiast...and have said NO to those temptations too. Heck, I have 30 days' food in my freezer that I can eat up...and I plan to. The biggest issue here is saying no to the kids for their "needs" of gum, sugary cereals, etc.

It is working so well that I may re-up for 30 more days. It has really saved me a bunch of money already, and the feeling of strength and purpose and overcoming temptation is extremely liberating to me.

Just a thought.
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Old 03-02-2012, 07:13 PM   #19
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Thanks for the feedback. XM is calling multiple times a day and I haven't been answering. I'm sort of addicted to the music variety and talk radio, so I might try to bargain a lower price (based on the response of others here). OR, I might just pull my skirt up, be a man and go back to basic radio (read: free).
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Old 03-02-2012, 07:24 PM   #20
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