Give Me Back My Five Bucks

Trimming those monthly expenses

krystal2Every few months I like to go over my budget line by line. I take a look to see if there’s anything that needs tweaking, or if I can save money somehow by lowering my expenses. May was one of those months.

Cell Phone: Rogers Wireless

The first up was my cell phone bill. I’m with Rogers and currently pay $60 for the standard unlimited minutes/texts/nationwide long distance, as well as 1GB data. Checking on the website though, it seems that my plan isn’t even offered anymore, and that prices have gone up. There’s a $55 plan that gives you 150 minutes/unlimited evenings at 200MB data. And then there’s a $65 plan with 1000 minutes/unlimited evenings, and 500MB data. Yikes.

Cell coverage with the smaller carriers doesn’t work for me, and where I live you can’t get Telus reception, so my options were limited. So thankfully my employer has a corporate rate plan for employees, and I’ve switched onto that plan. :)

I’m still with Rogers, but now I’ll be paying $55 for unlimited minutes/texts/nationwide long distance. That’s already a $5/month savings. But the bonus is now I have 1 GB data that’s available for all of North America. This is huge! I don’t travel a ton to the USA (maybe 4-5x/year), but the times that I do go, I usually wish I had data for looking up directions, restaurants, iMessaging someone, etc. Now I’m covered, and I don’t have to worry about buying data packages or SIM cards.

Internet: Shaw Cable

Next up was my internet package. I’ve moaned about Shaw Cable’s ridiculous prices for years. Right now I’m paying $60, and the cheapest plan is $55. They advertise the $55 plan for browsing the web and sending e-mails. The $60 plan is faster, and they say it’s appropriate for streaming videos, etc. Since I only have Netflix at home, I chose that one.

But then I decided to take a look at the posted download speeds to see if I could get away with the $55 “web browsing” plan instead.

Netflix recommended download speeds:


Shaw Cable $55 High Speed 10 package:


Netflix recommends 5 mbps download speed, and Shaw’s package offers up to 10 mbps. So that’s a no-brainer, and I feel a bit dumb having paid $5 per month for the past year for something that I’m not even fully utilizing.

Entertainment: Netflix

Ever since Netflix rolled out the option to have users on every account, I’ve been wondering why everyone in my family has separate accounts. It kind of just makes sense to share one. Especially for me, since I’m not at my house that often to utilize my account. So that’s what we’re doing. I canceled my account, and am now sharing an account with my dad and sister. :)

These three moves save me $18/month ($216/year). It’s not a lot. But it’s something, and it’s certainly better than paying $18 for services I don’t need. :) Next up is examining my car and home insurance packages to make sure I’m fully covered.

How often do you do examine your monthly expenses?

Author: Krystal Yee

I’m a personal finance blogger and marketing professional based in Vancouver. I’m a former Toronto Star (Moneyville) columnist, author of The Beginner’s Guide to Saving and Investing, and co-founder of the Canadian Personal Finance Conference. When I’m not working, you can usually find me running, climbing, playing field hockey, or plotting my next adventure.


  1. bilal says:

    was the rogers plan a standard plan, or did you have to wrestle with them for a bit?

    at times i wonder if its better to purchase a grandfathered plan off of someone.
    i’m sticking to my $60 – 6GB plan till i become a grandfather hopefully.

    • Krystal Yee says:

      Yeah the original $60 plan I had to wrestle with them a bit for it. And even then, it’s still pretty expensive for what it is. The only reason I was okay with it is because I don’t use a lot of data. I never go over 1GB/month because I have WIFI at work, home, and Shaw Go WIFI is available in a lot of places.

      $60 for 6GB is a great deal if you use that much data. Hang onto that if you can. :)

  2. DM says:

    Have you looked at TekSavvy for Internet? They have some decent rates and good service.

    I had TekSavvy Cable High-Speed when I was away at school this past term and it was great quality, even with 3 people who constantly stream Netflix and play online games.

    • Krystal Yee says:

      Yeah I did look into TekSavvy, but the people I spoke to in the area that I live in said that the internet collection is slow and not reliable. And if I have a deadline or need to get some work done, I can’t have an unreliable connection. :|

  3. Jackie @ Our Nashville Life says:

    Whoo. I work for a wireless company in the US and our packages seem cheaper with more options. It’s awesome that your work gives you wifi. I’m sure that helps out a bunch.

  4. Naomi says:

    Netflix is a life saver for me and my husband. Great internet connection and Netflix is more than enough to keep us happy we’re really low key. Similar to you I’ve yet to check into my car insurance plan and see if there’s any savings I can take advantage of!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Do you have cable? I’m trying to decide if it’s worth switching Shaw to Telus.

    • Krystal Yee says:

      No I got rid of cable a couple of years ago, and only have Netflix. Have never had Telus (only Shaw), but don’t like how you have to agree to a contract with them.

  6. Noel D'Souza says:

    I don’t know how much you use Netflix or if you usually stream in HD, but dropping down one tier on your internet plan also chopped your data transfer limit in half. Just be careful you don’t go over or it could get costly real quick.

    Shaw probably provides some way of monitoring how much you typically use and perhaps a warning mechanism if you’re getting close to the limit… or at least they should!

    • Krystal Yee says:

      Yeah I made sure to check my usage before switching, and thankfully I’m nowhere near the limit of the lowest internet plan. :) If I see my usage start to creep up, then I can just bump back up to the more expensive plan.

  7. I am trying to trim the Internet bill, too. my promo price ends in July. so from $74 to $93 a month. crazy! i hate paying $74/month already. but we have multiple concurrent streamers, so it works. but still. oi! have next month to figure it out.

  8. Stephen says:

    I know you’re probably already aware but you have to be careful about sharing and Netflix account because you are limited to two devices streaming simultaneously. Probably not a big issue with 3 people sharing but something to be aware of too short

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