Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Keeping a lid on expenses

Watching meters is an integral part of what happens to monitor spending. There are some purchases that we don't make in a shop over a counter with a handful of cash. Such transactions include our buying of water, electricity, piped gas and broadband.

It is that last one which I am having the most trouble at the moment!

We have a package with BT which allows us 10GB of download each calendar month. That has been fine each month since we joined back in the summer - we do usually use about 7 or 8GB a month, but not the full amount, so I thought we were doing fine with that package.

Unfortunately, I received an email from BT to say that we had used 15GB in December, which was very surprising. I also had another email from them to say that already in the month (on the 8th) we were projected to exceed the limit again this month! Oh dear!

So I have to start digging around. I started with the HomeHub and found a device listed which was not one of ours - as it was called "neighbourandhiswife" (insert their names) it was obviously theirs - so I phoned BT. These people are not friends of ours, and they haven't been inside the house in the last 5 years, let alone the last 6 months since we have had this HomeHub, so there is no way that they could have seen the Hub stickers with the passwords on them. So, passwords have been changed to longer configurations, and that device is on Access Control to limit the availability of the internet to them, should they get past the passwords again.

I thought we had the situation under control, and I have been monitoring the usage daily with the handy meter on the website. That was going fine, and we were back to 0.19 - 0.22GB a day which is fine. Then last night's reading from the night before had shot up to 0.6GB!!!

We have downloaded "live" meters to watch what uses the most, and we are checking the meter on the website daily, we are also trying to think about which websites may have been used on particular days. The YFG has had a load of homework set on a website which the school uses, and she had 85 English exercises to do - we are wondering about this as she had done a chunk of them on the day we recorded the 0.6GB, so I have sent an email to the school's IT dept to see what they know about it....I'll let you know as the investigation continues!

I really don't want to have to upgrade to a more expensive package but we have had the warning for going over the limit in December so we will be charged this month and every other month we exceed the limit.


Angela said...

This sounds REALLY frustrating, I hope you get it sorted soon. I am quite concerned about the amount of homework which requires children to have internet access. I know some families who do not have a PC - let alone broadband - and altho our local library allows the kids to work there, it has limited opening hours.

blessings x

Varis Creations said...

No words of wisdom really here - we have BT as well but we subscribe to the unlimited service - with 3 laptops, mobile phones and and Ipod all connected via the hub its probably just as well! With so much content online these days its easy to forget how much bandwidth its using - things like streaming youtube, spotify, listening to itunes online, online catchup services like the iplayer all use big amounts of data :(

Thanks for following my blog & commenting by the way
Susan XX

Morgan said...

Excellent points, Susan - and exactly why I have banned youtube except for watching the 4 minute vlogbrothers twice a week, music downloads are also on the list, and the tv players like iplayer and 4OD have long been forbidden!! I sound like a right harridan but I knew that all those were heavy on the bandwidth, so I addressed those issues. They are also not allowed to keep a tab open with FB on it - they have to look, read/comment and close it quick - and playing games on FB! The very idea!!

Wannabe Sybil said...

Unlimited broadband here (is shamed). On the other hand, if OH has to work from home we will need the access. The internet is our main entertainment, and now darling father has access I am confident that unlimited is the way to go. We have Sky unlimited, which is not horrifically expensive, just expensive. Are there any alternatives for you look at with a cheaper tarriff?

Though if things carry on then I too will be looking at changing the package and finding the 'live' meters (thank you - I didn't know those existed!) Good look! WS x

Mac n' Janet said...

We have unlimited, I didn't know there was any other way.