Reduce telecommunications phone internet and cable costs

One of the pet peeves for our local judge Lloyd has is debtors should reduce telecommunications (phone, internet, and cable) costs.  Judge Lloyd rarely approves telecommunications expenses, which are over 5% of household income in Chapter 13. To do so requires an affidavit of necessity and often a hearing on a motion.   Federal judges make well over 100,000 per year.  But she uses a trac phone from Wallmart and makes her daughters work to pay for their phones to reduce telecommunications costs.  A 300 per month phone, internet, and cable tv expense reduction could make a new car affordable.

Reduce telecommunications costs.

Reduce telecommunications costs.

In older times, we simply had a home phone.  I have seen cable, internet, and cell phone expenses, which were high enough to make a small house payment. For many, your telecommunications bill equals a car payment. Often you have to make choices, and doing without cable or high cell phone service may mean the difference between keeping and losing a car or home.

Even if you just reduced your bill by 100-200 dollars, you would save 1200 to 2400 per year.  Over ten years, that is enough to buy a new car.  Dropping unnecessary insurance may also give you an additional 1200 to 2400 per year.  Here is a step by step setup to cut your cable and cell phone bills.

First, if you have an internet connection and a smart tv you can have Pluto tv which has about 250 channels for free including movie channels.   For just 5.95 per month, HULU delivers over another 200 channels.  Both Luto and HULU channels have advertising like regular tv.   But HULU for 11.95 per month has no advertising.

Antennas Direct

If you install a proper tv antenna, it will cost you about 200 to no more than 300 dollars.  But that antenna permanently gives you at least 70 local channels in Louisville.   I know I did it.  You can check how many channels you can get on this webpage.   (No they don’t pay me for this).

Antennas direct provides the best antenna and amplifier so you can get this done correctly, but you can comparison shop on Amazon or Ebay for lower prices.  Do not buy a cheap antenna and expect 60-70 channels in Louisville or Lexington KY.  A cheap antenna won’t do that.  You will need the best antenna and splitter/amplifier or this won’t work well. Customer support will make sure you get the better splitter, amplifier and antenna.

Reduce telecommunications Internet access costs

I won’t cut out internet access.  But you can stream 4 TVs, phones and your computer at home with no problems with just 25 megs per second.  The lowest speed sold by spectrum is about 100 megs from spectrum, both AT&T and Spectrum provide at least 25 mps in speed. If you have to share that 100 or 200 meg speed with 10 or 20 other homes it may sometimes slower than a dedicated line with AT&T. AT&T’s 25megs is more than enough for any average household need.

Additional bandwidth and speeds are nice, but they are an unnecessary expense if they are a dollar more than you can use.  There are reduced rates for those on social security from AT&T and spectrum for internet services.  But these reduced rates usually are only given to those on SSI and those in the school lunch program, or if you sign up for new services.  If you have good internet access, which should be is no more than $50 per month, then you can have excellent tv and phone services. Simply save the money and use lower internet speeds if you can get by with it.

Cutting Cable TV using the antenna.

Cutting the cable TV cord and going to broadcast TV means you have to get the best antenna equipment.  Buying a cheap flat antenna at Walmart and using a cheap splitter won’t work.  I get over 70 channels in Louisville from 31 transmitters. If I lived in Frankfort, I would get 36 transmitters and over 90 channels from Lexington and Louisville.  New Castle KY gets both Louisville and Cincinnati and over 100 local channels.

Cutting the cord requires you to purchase just two or three items plus the cables.  A quality antenna and a power amplifier and a splitter if you have multiple TVs.  You may also want to get an optional unit to replace your DVR.  Buying cheap antenna equipment means you simply throw away money.  I own and use the Clear stream 4max for $149.00, which is installed in my attic.   I get any signal within about 70-80 miles.

There is a Clear stream 2max for $99.00, which has just a slightly smaller range of 60 miles.  Here is a Youtube review by the Antenna man of the ClearStream 2max.  The ClearStream 4 max is even better but the 4 max is an attic or outdoor model.  These both fit easily in the smallest attic, and no one knows you have them.  If you want the absolute best and you can mount an antenna outside, then get the DB8e 8-element Bowtie. It can be installed in most attics.  The D88e 8 Bowtie is an outdoor antenna and both of these can be used in an attic.

You cannot hook two antennas to one TV and get a better signal because they will not synch the signals with each other.  You will only get noise.

Cutting Cable TV cord the amplifier

Most people buy a simple antenna and then split the signal to 2, 3, or 4 TVs.  A 4 way split may lose 3.5 to 7 decibels of the signal.  The more you split the signal the more you lose the signal unless it is amplified.  I use the Channel Master 8 Port HDTV Signal Amplifier Booster Model: CM-3418.

Each time you split an antenna signal, you get one half, one third, or one fourth the signal.  That is why a cheap antenna with a cheap splitter without an amplifier cannot work well regardless of what stores tell you.

Channel Master also has a 4-way amplified splitter which will give you local TV for up to 4 TVs in your home.  Use the smallest splitter you can for the best reception.  You can never have a better quality signal than what the antenna would give to just one tv.   A quality amplifier allows you to increase the signal so you can then split the signal at least to 4 TVs.  Sone splitters like the Channel Master have the amplifier built into the splitter but you can buy a separate splitter and amplifier.  A cheap amplifier amplifies the signal but probably also increase the noise for a signal you will not want.

If you need to split the signal to more than four TVs, you may want to purchase a second antenna, amplifier, and splitter for the added TVs.  You very rarely need a preamplifier, and you will more often than not lose quality by using a preamplifier. A quality store that does nothing but sells TV antennas can often package the equipment you will need.  There are also youtube videos on the subject.

Cutting Cable TV cord the DVR.

The optional equipment you may want to consider is finding a replacement for your DVR box.  Most people want to record shows which happen while they are asleep or at work or even while they watch another program.   Replacing the DVR for broadcast tv is relatively simple.  Just replace your cable tv box with one designed to do the same job.

The Air TV player is a popular unit currently, and it is very economical at about 100 dollars or less.  This unit pays for itself in just a couple of months by recording shows on a separate hard drive.  You can build up an extensive library of movies quickly.  If you purchase it with the antenna, they often bundle it with better antennas.

The Air TV option also allows you to plug in up to a two TB hard drive and keep copies of shows or movies as mp4 files.  The most massive cable DVR hard drive currently available is 800 megs. 2 TB is more than double the storage of any Cable TV DVR presently available.  Air TV, however, has no pause, and you can only record local stations.

Your recorded shows are not erased because you didn’t pay your bill or because you went to another service.  You can download them to a phone or tablet for viewing later as MP4 files. Airstream TV is another DVR box replacement for broadcast stations.  Amazon also makes a DVR replacement unit called recast, which primarily works with Prime and is much more expensive.  If you have problems or want to buy these items as a package, you can call

Reduce telecommunications costs.

Ditching your cell phone.

Today a home phone is just 10 to 20 dollars a month added on to your internet expense.  Simple home phones just plug into the back of your home modem.  If you are retired and almost always at home, you may want to consider ditching your cell phone.  A dedicated home phone line and a tablet may be better.

Cheaper cell phone plans.

If you don’t want to ditch your cell phone, there are Walmart, consumer cellular, and cheaper cell phone service plans as low as about 20 dollars per month.  Most of these plans require you to reduce your data downloads or restrict internet access to wifi. You can do this by limiting downloads to wifi only in your phone settings.

Each gigabyte you download may increase your cell phone bill an additional 10 dollars for services like After six gigs of data, your bill would be 80 per month.   Most unlimited plans only cost 50 per month. You can seriously reduce your cell phone bill, however, by only using wifi for internet usage.

I know that each additional line only costs my son 20 dollars.  So I am an extra line on his plan.  I maintain our Netflix family account, which costs about 20 dollars a month.  I use just one of the available five spots.  He and his two sons use three, and my other son Ivan uses the fifth.

By being creative, my former 300 per month phone, cable, and internet expenses is now 80 dollars per month.  Here are my actual personal telecommunication costs.   Notice I also now get more channels than cable tv, and I get the channels I watch.

Cell phone 1, line ……………………………………………….  Free

Netflix about  ………………………………………………..…      20

Spectrum Internet …………………………….………………..   60

Pluto TV120 channels…………………………………………..  Free

Broadcast Television 70+ channels…………….……….  Free

Total Costs………………………………………………………….   80.00 for 200 channels of movies and local TV.  If  I add HULU to get another 200 channels I would be paying 86.00 per month for 450 channels plus my cell phone.  By the way, if you need to file bankruptcy reading my bankruptcy manual will save you thousands by knowing how to redeem your auto and other methods you can use to

  1. Manage your student loans through bankruptcy
  2. Discharge income taxes
  3. Modify your mortgage to a lower rate while you are in bankruptcy.
  4. Redeem your auto instead of reaffirming it.

My clients file bankruptcy and increase their wealth.

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