story yesterday about the Netflix price increase, I thought it would be an interesting exercise to examine what is the total cost of my entertainment and communications package and what the actual overall impact would be of the price increase.With the
My wife and I are empty nesters, but we have a cell plan that also includes my stepson. The three cell phones cost us $175 per month with AT&T, and that is for my iPhone data plan and messaging plans. We live in an urban area where we can choose between DSL and cable options, although in our apartment building AT&T DSL/U-Verse is our only choice for Internet connectivity unless we want to go to a broadband wireless plan.
Our U-Verse bill is around $130 per month, including Internet access, and that isn't for the total TV addict package, nor is it the cheapest. That fee doesn't include local phone service either: we use Vonage Pro for another $40 a month for a home VOIP line that my wife also uses for her business calls. (We could probably cut this bill somewhat as the cheaper Vonage plan covers up to 750 minutes a month, and I doubt we go over that very often. Vonage makes it easy to examine your calling pattern by downloading a comma separated file, but that was temporarily unavailable today. We might be able to eliminate the line entirely, too.)
Why use Vonage? Well, the AT&T U-Verse VOIP wasn't attractive, just because I already give them so much of my dough to begin with. And yes, I can save $5 a month if I combine both U-Verse and wireless into a single combined bill; the last time I did that when I had to change my billing, it took forever to get sorted out.
Add to this our Netflix account, which was $22 per month, and that will rise to $28 a month if we don't adjust things and keep to the same plan of rental DVDs and streaming. I like the video streaming when I travel because it allows me to watch the movies I want in the hotel without having to pick from their selection, but my wife isn't as much of a fan of streaming.
Add to this the cost of actually going to the movies: in our apartment building is a five-screen theater, which makes it very convenient. We probably see two movies a month, and at St. Louis prices, that is still about $30 per month.
So add everything together, and it comes out at a surprising $297, so the Netflix increase is less than two percent of this total. Note that we don't have an actual land-line telephone, and this total doesn't include the cost of my office communications either.
Close to $300 a month for communications and entertainment? Wow. Remember when TV was free and you could pay $20 a month for dial-up? But at least we have high-speed Internet, and I can get movies that I want to watch whenever and wherever I may be in the world.