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  1.    #1  
    I'm curious how other people manage their digital services. In particular, do you think you pay for more than you reasonably need?

    I ask based on the "more more more" mentality of bandwidth these days. To you, is it worth the high costs? Do you buy into the package bundles, and do you think you actually make reasonable use of them?

    The story of my continuing effort to manage "The Digital Beast" are below.
  2.    #2  
    Budgeting is something I think a lot about. It's easy with the way digital service providers package things to end up paying for more than you reasonably need. So over the last few months, in my ongoing quest to stay on top of those geek bills (cell service, internet), I've been making some changes.

    For example, when deliberating on switching phones, I was liberated by considering prepaid. I had been on Sprint since my first cell phone. Up until recently, they'd always provided more than adequate service for the best rates. That changed. After much thought, I still loved webOS devices and preferred to stick with it another year minimum. But Sprint's 3G has declined to 2G speeds since the advent of their 4G (imho). Further, getting lots of air time and texts with a smartphone data package has gotten hard to afford on most post-paids now.

    Just by having wifi on at home/work, I easily stay below 2GB, possibly even hover at 1GB. So why pay a premium for 10 Mbps and 5 GB of data when 1 Mbps and 1 GB will suffice?

    So I went specifically to Straight Talk (see RumoredNow's awesome thread: Straight Talk About Straight Talk), and had the perk of avoiding costly post-paid carrier contracts. I could also get any GSM device I could reasonably afford. I now save $25/month over my Sprint bill at the time ($70, all told) and $40-$50/month for similar, currently available packages. Hello, Pre 3!

    Today I looked at Comcast. When I moved to California a year ago, I took their net-only promo. It's a 20 Mbps connection (perfect for stable Amazon Prime streams to the TV). $30/mo for 6 months, then $45 for 6 months, then their full rate... $65. I hadn't noticed that last jump when I signed up.

    That seemed steep. Looking again at their offerings, it's the same nonsense: Buy individual things for a premium or sign up for the services you don't want and pay less for them individually. Jumping to another promo, I could lock in $45/month for more bandwidth, but I also have to sign up for a TV package I don't want.

    Around the web there were stories of chatting with Comcast online to kick back in an internet-only promo. For the record, those days are passed. The online reps have lost the authority to reinstate promos on existing customers. So today I finally took the time to call.

    Again they tried to sell me on bundles of things that would sit unused. "That's generosus, but I don't want more product for the same money. That's wasteful. If possible I would prefer the same product for less money." With much patience and courtesy, the rep was kind enough to adjust me back down to another 1-year, internet-only, no obligation promo.

    By not swallowing more than I need and patiently exploring options, I now enjoy a 20 Mbps home broadband connection, 4 Mbps cell connection, and unlimited talk/text/pictures for $90/month, all told. I think that's pretty damned good.

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