Canadians: Talk to me about phone, internet, tv and frugality - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 01-10-2011, 09:30 AM - Thread Starter
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I am going to try and streamline my bills, so I am taking a close look at the techie stuff!


I am hoping I can do better.



local - Bell

it is 24.95 for the basic, but with taxes, wire care package, and 911/ touchtone, comes to around 38 a month


Long distance - Yak - around 15$ .  They are 5 cents a minute I believe.


Internet - DSL.  We download and are on a lot. I wish I could tell you how much we use- but picture people who game and download the occasional movie.  We have had cheaper plans, but we always end up overusing and paying more.    48 dollars a month


TV:  Persona Cable - around 50 a month for basic plus 2 packages.  We could go down to basic, but would only save 8 dollars a month, which does not seem worth it.  


So, specifically...have you found a cheap internet provider that you like?

Ditto phone service.  Anyone have Vonage?  what do you think of it?

As per Tv, ugh!  There are shows I want to watch on Tv (not many) and DD is a bit of a family addict, so I do not want to do away with it, but it hardly seems worth 50$.  Anybody using Netflix in Canada - can you stream current or almost current shows???

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#2 of 18 Old 01-10-2011, 10:36 AM
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My costs are in line with yours.  I have phone/internet/cable all with Rogers as I save a bit having them all together.


Phone is $35/mth for me, and it seems to be the same regardless of the company


Long distance - I use Skype on my computer.  It's free!


Internet is $45/mth.  I use it for work and am not sure I trust smaller service providers to be as reliable.  I'm looking forward to others' feedback!


Cable is $45/mth.  I agree with you that there should be more of an incentive to downgrade packages but the one channel DD likes is an upper channel and therefore not available on basic service.  I keep thinking I should do without altogether since we really don't watch all that much.


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#3 of 18 Old 01-10-2011, 12:01 PM
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We have Vonage and it is pretty good. We don't use the phone a whole lot so our plan is the 500 minutes a month for 19.99 it includes long distance. We also use skype on the computer for long distance which is totally free and it has picture.


As for TV. We cut the cable and instead invested in an Apple TV box-which the new model sells for 99 here in Canada (I think). We download on a per show basis-so that we aren't paying for a bunch of stuff we don't watch. You can also watch movies on demand and the new model includes Netflix. You can buy a season pass to a show for under $20. You can also watch a ton of free tv online. Just depends on the show/movie. Check out the Free TV Project.


Hope that helps

Mama to one boy 12/98, one girl 5/08 and a new addition!!!! 2/23/11 Vincent Michael joy.gif
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#4 of 18 Old 01-10-2011, 02:05 PM
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This is timely as I just paid our phone/long distance/internet/cable bill and it's still right in front of me.  We use Rogers (services bundled for an additional 10% discount) and our monthly bill is $167.07 (including HST), or $147.86 before taxes.

$51.18 for internet
$55.72 for cable
$60.17 for phone and long distance (phone is $29.95/month + unlimited north american long distance $19.95)


Also negotiate when switching over for some additional short-term discounts.

DW and I are moms to two teens (DD 17 and DS 15) adopted through CAS in 2007 and a toddler (DD 2) born at home in March 2011.

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#5 of 18 Old 01-10-2011, 02:30 PM
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Telephone-we're with Bell and pay $28.82 after taxes. It's pretty much the lowest you can go. I believe there's a $5 charge for the OPTION to do long distance so we asked to have it blocked seeing we don't do any long distance calling at all. If we did, I would use Skype. 

My mom used to use those 10 10 #'s for long distance where you pay $.99/call or something. 


TV-Nada. We watch our shows online. Global, CTV, CBC, Discovery, TLC, The Comedy Network etc all have websites with many of their shows online. I watch some shows at bad places though and feel really guilty about it. We're thinking of getting Netflix someday. I'm gathering info at this point.


Internet- We use a small local company (it used to be the only option out here) and pay $47.36 a mth for high speed internet. And.... wait for it... unlimited uploading/downloading. It has saved us so much money. I asked the guy once about it and he said that for now they don't track it but they might when they put the new lines in. Which they did last spring but there's still no extra charge. Knock on wood.


We used to have internet with Videotron and paid $50/mth for the package plus another $30 on top when we'd go over. Before taxes! That was a couple years ago and I think they've upped there upload/download amounts since then. Like I said, we watch tv online, and DH plays games. That's a lot of internet usage! 


If you have little kids who are computer savvy you could always try canceling the tv and letting them watch shows/play games online. My niece has been using the computer alone since she turned 3 and watches Dinosaur Train, Curious George etc online. (Both of our households are set up with computer in living room etc where you can watch while lounging on couch). 

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#6 of 18 Old 01-10-2011, 03:28 PM
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Usually the easiest way to streamline is to go with 1 company.


We have Telus for phone & internet, long distance up to 200minutes/month is included for free.  We pay $87/month.


We have bell satellite @ $80/month.  Bell internet is expensive.


We've looked into online phone & I don't like them.  When I talk to my brother or use his phone(they've had it for quite a few years) it cuts out alot & I have a hard time hearing what he's saying.


We've considered getting rid of the landline when we move, we'll have to see what Sasktel has to offer at the time. 

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#7 of 18 Old 01-10-2011, 05:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, people.  I am going to look into Skype.  It is, ironically, the lowest bill I want to change -but sound like a solid lead and 15$ in my pocket is 15 dollars in my pocket.


Questions for those more techie than I:


Is it possible to have 2 monitors running off the same computer (It must be...they do it at work).  I often have people who want to watch a show and people on the internet at the same time.


Heather...I am also gathering info on netflicks.  It is quite new in Canada, so I am tempted to wait a few months while they work out the bugs/upload more shows, and then I am going to do the free trial and see if I like it.


I called Bell today (always fun!  Not!) to see if they can do better on the phone bill.  They were prepared to negotiate until they realised I have a contract until April.  So I circled April 1st on the calendar and will call them back when the contract is up to see what they can do.

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#8 of 18 Old 01-10-2011, 06:51 PM
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We got internet through Rogers (~$48/mo) and phone through a Toronto based company called Bramatelecom for $12/mo- unlimited long distance, voicemail, and the whole shebang.


We didn't bother with cable, but if you happen to hook into said internet cable, it will work too (whistling.gif).


Laurie, wife to guitar.gifDH (Aug/04), mom tobikenew.gifDS1 (Nov/05) and bfinfant.gifDS2 (June/12).


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#9 of 18 Old 01-10-2011, 06:54 PM
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DH says you need a video card to support the use of 2 monitors...some mother boards will do it...he says if it's on the board, there will be another VGA output (shrug.gif).

Laurie, wife to guitar.gifDH (Aug/04), mom tobikenew.gifDS1 (Nov/05) and bfinfant.gifDS2 (June/12).


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#10 of 18 Old 01-10-2011, 10:01 PM
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We are in Alberta and recently switched all of our services over to Telus (phone, internet, tv).  They had a promotion on before Christmas that you could get a free HDPVR and a free XBox for signing up.  I think we are going to be paying about $110 a month not including long distance.  I think we pay 4 cents a minute or something, but we just don't use it enough to pay a flat rate. 


One thing we did when we switched was cut way back on calling features.  The basic phone line plus call display is about $21 a month, or the phone line plus 5 calling features including call display, voicemail and three other features we would never use (I think it was call waiting, call forwarding, and 3-way) was $37.  We never use forwarding or 3-way and I am ok with people getting a busy signal from time to time (we really aren't on the phone enough for this to matter).  So essentially with the larger package we would be paying $16 a month for voicemail.  Instead we went to Wal-Mart and bought a $20 answering machine. 


So I would take a look at what features you are paying for, and if you are actually using them.  And the same with long distance packages.  The flat rates are only a good deal if you use that much long distance.  It may be cheaper to just pay the per-minute rate if you don't use that much.

Wife to DH (06/10) and Mummy to DD (07/08).

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#11 of 18 Old 01-12-2011, 09:44 AM
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I can't believe no one has mentioned TekSavvy  yet!  We switched our home phone, long distance, and DSL internet from Bell to TekSavvy and save about $30 per month.  Now we are paying about $65/month (depends on long distance usage) for all three, including all taxes and fees. Plus, the bandwidth limit is much higher with TekSavvy (I think 200GB instead of the 60 we had with Bell).  It was more expensive the first month, because we had to purchase a modem from them, our old one was rented from Bell, but it has paid off since!  I am much happier with their customer service as well.  I think their rates vary by province, so I won't quote prices, but do check out their website!


The two monitors thing - as a pp mentioned you can do this with a video card, but it isn't really practical for two people using the computer at once, since there is still only one mouse, keyboard, speakers, etc.  It could be done for watching a show I suppose, since that person would not need the mouse, as long as the second person was not doing anything with sound.  But they could not put the show on fullscreen, it un-fullscreens when you click on the other monitor.   

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#12 of 18 Old 01-13-2011, 09:30 AM
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We have just upgraded from DSL to cable internet. We don't have a TV Previously we were with Primus and paid $49.99 for unlimited US and Canada calling, unlimited DSL, and all phone options (voicemail etc) plus a long distance plan for calling overseas. We now pay $92 (taxes in) for phone, 500 mins of US/Canada and fastish cable internet from Rogers.



Leila, mama to Eleanor (10/08) and Emmett (4/10)

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#13 of 18 Old 01-13-2011, 10:06 AM
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We bundle our satellite, internet (high speed) and phone together with Telus for $137.00/month, taxes included.


We are on the medium choice package for satellite which is the light tier plus 6 theme packs.  With our phone we have call display added into it which I need for work.  When we were on the light choice for satellite we were paying $107/month.  We have no long distance because we put our long distance contacts on our favorite 5 contacts on the telus cell phones, so we don't need it.

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#14 of 18 Old 01-15-2011, 08:31 PM
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For internet, we need to use a local provider, due to the telephone wiring here.  I pay 56.00 per month.  We homeschool, and have no cable/satellite, so are heavy computer users here.


Telephone...we do not use a cellphone alot...just take it along when we are leaving the house.  I have a phone from Superstore that I buy 25.00 cards for, and a card lasts about 3 months.  Works for me!  For land line, use MTS (Manitoba Telephone System) and YAK for long distance (usually 5-10,00 per month)


TV...have "farmer vision" AKA one fuzzy channel.  I subscribe to, and we get movies from there, you can send them back when you want in it's envelope they send.  I just couldn't justify paying 67.00 a month for Starchoice to watch basically 4 channels.


I do wish we could get things like Hulu and such here in Canada.  Curse you CRTC and your regulations!


Tina, RN, wife-y to J, mom to dd (10) and ds (7)
"Beware the lollipop of lick and you suck forever!"
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#15 of 18 Old 01-18-2011, 05:12 PM
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We're paying roughly $200 a month to Rogers for HD Digital Cable & 2 iPhones.  Then there's about $80-100/month to Bell for landline, long distance & internet.  A lot of money, but DH's employer covers almost half of our Rogers bill since he uses his phone for work.

Tandem nursing, Baby-wearing, Co-sleeping, Car seat-checkin' (CRST) Mama to my sweet boys, Peter (4.20.08) and Jasper (4.25.11).
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#16 of 18 Old 01-18-2011, 06:03 PM
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Okay, apparently I can't read. I totally missed the "canadians" part! bad! I still say ooma is awesome though, and I'm pretty sure it works in canada :)

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#17 of 18 Old 01-18-2011, 06:16 PM
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We get a really good deal since we live in a suite.  The upstairs people have the whole shaw deal - internet, fancy cable and phone, so we got phone/cable/internet for only $30 a month. It does not include long distance or any phone features except call display but it works fine for us.  Shaw to Shaw long distance is free which helps.


We've had netflix since december, but I'm pretty disappointed.  It's good for older tv shows, british tv shows, and older movies, but nothing new.  You can try it free for a month, so I would do that and see what you think.


I would call around and ask them what the best deal they can give you is.  Tell them what you want to pay, and see what you can get!

BC Mum of four ('05, '07, '11 and 06/14!)     
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#18 of 18 Old 01-18-2011, 06:34 PM
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Ditto the recommendation for TekSavvy. Love them. Great customer service.


Re: TV, we have rabbit ears and pull in a good 10 stations - all the major ones plus a few specialty stations. Cable cost = $0. Whether or not you can do this depends where you live. (And how long it lasts depends on whether you have a TV with a digital tuner or a digital converter box after the end of August.)

professor & maman de DS1 (6) & DS2 (1)

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