Home-made Detergent,The Cable Factor & My Fake Housemate

Your first thought is probably, that’s a really long title. Yeah, well remember Fiona Apple’s album (When the Pawn Hits the Conflicts He Thinks Like a King What He Knows Throws the Blows When He Goes to the Fight and He’ll Win the Whole Thing ‘fore He Enters the Ring There’s No Body to Batter When Your Mind Is Your Might so When You Go Solo, You Hold Your Own Hand and Remember That Depth Is the Greatest of Heights and If You Know Where You Stand, Then You Know Where to Land and If You Fall It Won’t Matter, Cuz You’ll Know That You’re Right). Right. So my title is still shorter than that.

Your second, is likely — what the heck is she talking about?

First the detergent factor as I have now coined it.  The home-made detergent factor, actually. In the countless article I have read on ways to minimize your expenses, the writer (in almost EVERY case) will tell us (the reader), that we can save tons of money by making our own detergent.  In fact, this is cited so often, that I am led to believe that the only real reason that I am not rich, is that I buy laundry detergent.  This is the main part I have to wrap my head around… how much laundry are these people doing, anyway? 

Brace yourselves — I’m about to do some math.

I buy my natural, lavender-scented detergent at a whole-sale club for roughly $14 a container (umm large container 64 oz.) which tends to last 3 months (occasionally it goes on sale for $11).  I run my laundry multiple times – daily.  I have a kid. We have a front loaders so I am sure that helps reduce the amount we use.  But still. $14 x 4= $56 a year on detergent.  Let’s throw an extra in there, just to be safe. $70. A. Year. Hmmmmm.  One site claimed that you could wash 312 loads for $7 (spending $14 a year on detergent)and another claimed that you would be spending only $5 per 32 oz “bottle” (spending about $50 a year if you use the amount I use).  So by using a cheese grater, boiling stuff, using a blender etc… this might save me a whopping $10 a year… (has anyone calculated the time and cost of electricity?!?!).  It seems like  a lot of work for minimal savings.

I’m not criticizing people who make their own detergent — it’s just that I don’t think it realistically solves most money issues — at least in my case — and the frequency in which it is posted on money saving sites is —  baffling. *I note too, that not everyone can afford to belong to a whole-sale club (I got my membership on discount) and not everyone can afford to buy bulk items – although again in the case of my detergent as a bulk item —  it’s cheaper that the non-bulk detergents in grocery stores.

I guess you need to decide what savings are worth the effort.

Which brings me to CABLE. I can tell you my husband is rolling his eyes as he reads this very post which will be delivered to his inbox when I hit “publish.” The way others think buying detergent is throwing away money is how I feel about cable.  Just to clarify — I watch TV.  I was the woman who said her children would NEVER watch TV, and then when my son was old enough to make sense of colors and sight, I bought the entire collection of Baby Einstein DVD’s and stuck him on a blanket nearby so I could pee or wash the dishes or anything that was impossible with a screaming little one.  Mea culpa. In my defense he really loves music now — so maybe that wasn’t so bad?

I have my guilty pleasures and I often DVR then binge-watch with the best of them.  I use cable, okay?  My issue is the cost of cable and internet. At the moment our bill is $199.  It’s pretty basic with the exception of the DVR fees and the special channels (ummmm Game of Thrones). However, on most days, when I finally get to watch TV, nothing is ever on.  500 channels and the only six I watch are void of anything I’m interested in. I mostly end up watching Netflix or Amazon Prime (additional fees – also discounted).  My internet is not great either.  I often get kicked off streaming — and our internet service which is included in that $200 is not a middle of the road selection.

So month after month — when the TV selection sucks, or the internet goes out in the middle of one of my BBC Netflix selections – usually while I am on my treadmill, my husband knows that I am going to raise the question, “Do we really need cable?”

“I like to watch sports,” he’ll say.
Yeah, but can’t you do that on your phone?  You always seem to watch on your phone.

“What about Game of Thrones?” (or if he really wants to hit me where it hurts) “You won’t be able to watch Outlander if we go basic.”
Yeah, but we could switch to satelite.

“Everyone says they suck.  My parent’s never get reception when It’s cloudy.  My buddy had a dish and he couldn’t wait to cancel.  He said they — -sucked.”
BUT $200 a month for cable is $2,400 a year of just throwing money away.

“(silence — then crickets…)”
Okay, you know how my birthday is coming up?  If you really loved me and wanted to get the best gift for me EVER — YOU WOULD CANCEL CABLE…

“(eyes roll)”

This is kind of an exact transcription of our monthly cable arguments.  I have become obsessed with it.  I feel like — well probably how those detergent making people feel about paying to wash clothes — I feel ripped off.

And since I love my husband very much and I don’t want to have the crazy cable arguments anymore, I finally took action.

I called my local cable company (whom by the way I’ve called every three months in an effort to lower my bills over the past 2 years — just like those home-made detergent loving folks suggested and NOT once did they even attempt to offer me a discount), so I called them and created an elaborate story (b/c I am a writer you know) and I told them that my housemate was moving out.  I asked if I could take over the account as  anew customer and they said, “No.”

… BUT what I could do was open  my OWN account and get the new customer bundle rate (phone/internet/cable — with GoT’s) for $149 (including fees) and I could cancel the extra movies channels when not in use  — saving me another $15 a month! I had already used my maiden name as an attempt to clearly convey that my fake housemate and I were not related (but we are b/c he is my husband).

Now, while I am not sure the customer service rep. really cared at all about my story (and just how talented I was to keep up my roommate moving out ruse) I couldn’t help myself.  I explained that “he” had been a crappy roommate anyway and proceeded to ask if I he needed to return the equipment by a certain date.  I’m a fan of character development. The rep. said that wasn’t necessary and the new tech could take it away for us (saving is the trip and hassle of going to the physical store AND guaranteeing that our internet and cable service would not be disrupted). Brilliant.

Nice, right? All this costs me is an extra $60 for the set-up.  In return, I will save $1,200 over two years (and it lowers our yearly rate from $2,400 to $1,800).

I’ve done some other money-saving groundwork as well — which Dear Reader, I will share with you in a future post (I know — you seriously can’t wait — but you’ll have to).

One thought on “Home-made Detergent,The Cable Factor & My Fake Housemate

  1. Pingback: The Thrifty Life of a Writer | accidentalsushi

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