Monday, June 18, 2007

Living in the information age

While reviewing my household budget recently, I realized that we had truly crossed into the information age -- we pay more for bits than we do for energy.  (By bits, I mean both the infrastructure by which information is delivered to us in electronic form, and the content we purchase; by energy, I'm including only my home utility bills, not gasoline, but since I work at home, I'm guessing my gasoline consumption is lower than average.) 

  • Home telephone (basic line + unlimited long distance): $45

  • Cell phone (mine, including business use): $60

  • Cell phone (rest of family, 4-line family plan): $110

  • NetFlix: $20

  • DirecTV (including TiVo data fee): $75

  • Rhapsody To Go (music subscription service): $15

  • DSL: $30

  • T-Mobile WiFi access plan (reasonable coverage at cafes, hotels, airports): $30

Total: $385/month for bits. 

As to fossil fuels, our combined electric and gas bill average out to around 260/mo.

1 comment:

  1. I love saving money (must be the jew in me), here are some tips for savings:

    #1. Drop Netflix, I know you know that there are other ways to get movies.
    #2. Since you have DSL, you need the home phone line (at least in california). However, you don't need to pay as much for it. Switch to your cell for most of your calls and drop all the extra features from the home line. That will lower your bill to about $15 a month.
    #3. Consider dropping directv entirely. You can download most tv shows from quite easily and if you are in california, sometimes you can even get them before they air because people on the east coast encode them as soon as they get them. Put the money you save on not paying for directv into a dedicated download PC for your tv system.
    #4. You don't mention your cell phone carrier, but if you are out of plan contracts, consider shopping around and switching to a less expensive one.
    #5. turn off lights you aren't using them. switch to fluorescents. turn off pilot lights for central heating during the summer.