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If I Have a Cold Hot Pocket
May 26th, 2011 by Les

“I went to the bank and reviewed my savings, I found out I have all the money I’ll ever need, if I die tomorrow.” —Henry Youngman, Comedian

“I’m spending a year dead for tax reasons.”  Douglas Adams, Author

As we sit and wait for someone from Telecable (cable TV/Internet), my mind flits from one thought to the next.  If you have a cold hot pocket, is it just a pocket?  Can a hearse carrying a corpse drive in the car-pool lane?  If a man alone in the words says something would a woman still say he was wrong?  If a hermaphrodite got sent to a certain gender prison, which one would it get sent to?  If the cable guy said he’d get here before noon, does that mean today, tomorrow or yesterday?  You know…things of that nature.

When we first arrived in Ajijic I did a piece on the 11:00 a.m. theory.  Most service people will not state a time of arrival merely going with: “I’ll stop by tomorrow…or Monday”, etc.  When pushed their eyes glaze over their mind locks in on the obvious and they proceed to say (to themselves) “ah, a gringo” and they realize time (no matter if we have a lot of it or not) is important.  Okay, we’ll be there by 11:00, would be the customary response.

I can’t tell you how many times we heard we’ll be there at 11:00.  Of course, as time went by and instead of arranging our entire day around the 11:00 arrival time, we laughed about it and went about our business…being home at 11:00 but not feeling compelled to remain after, oh let’s say 2:00 since we knew they’d get to us eventually.  If we didn’t have a modicum of patience prior to our arrival in our little village in Mexico, we have it now.

What brought us to the point of needing the Telecable people here again – after two years of great service?  David has been researching ways to live our lives more cost effectively.  He has come up with several ideas over the two years since living our expat existence.  Reality is the leading cause of stress for those in touch with it.  Since I am not in any danger of becoming stressed out, I’ve asked David to explain the cost-savings tips below.

When we first moved we set up our US land line through Vonage.  It worked very well and allowed us to call anyone in the states for free. It also allowed our friends and family to phone us on a state-side number.  An added bonus, if they had Vonage service as well, it did not cost them a long distance fee to call us, and if they used their cell phones the cost was a wash as well, since cell phones can call anywhere in the US for free. Vonage cost $37.50 or $440 pesos a month at today’s rates. It also requires a one year contract.

Purchasing a magicJack in the US will cost $50 US or $585 pesos. If purchased here, in Ajijic, it will most likely cost $750 pesos ($65 US) for the first year and $20 US a year or $230 pesos a year after that, broken down to approximately $1.70 US ($20 pesos) a month.

Vonage is VOIP (voice over internet), and comes with a wireless router. As long as your internet connection is up, it is running. Depending on the promotion, you may or may not have to pay for the router. I don’t know if they are available here in Ajijic. You probably will have to pay for shipping to get one.

MagicJack, like Vonage, is VOIP. However, magicJack connects directly to your computer, there is no router. Your computer must be on to send and receive calls. However, if you turn it off the calls will go into voicemail and when you turn it on again, an audio message or “wave” file will be sent to your email for retrieval.  The sound quality is excellent and, so far, it is working perfectly for us.

Thus, after an initial $750 peso ($65 US) startup, which includes the device and 1 year’s service, the magicJack averages to $1.70/month, compared to the Vonage’s $37.50/month, or a savings of $35.80 US or $420 pesos/month. It has paid for itself in 2 months.

Both services allow you to choose your number in the states, so it is easy to choose a number with an area code where your family lives, and there will be no charges for them to call you whether they have Vonage or cell phone or not.

This has led us to another cost savings (at least for us) realization, if we discontinue Telemex (both our Mexican land line and Internet service provider) at $601 pesos/month, or $52 US monthly, we will realize another savings.  We have used Telecable for our cable TV service. The price is $301 pesos, or $26 US/month. The combined Telmex and Telecable bills were $902 pesos or $77 US/month. We have found that we are able to drop Telmex altogether, giving up their land line and internet service, and subscribe to a no-contract wireless internet + television package at Telecable for only $530 pesos, or $45 US/month. Thus, we have saved $372 pesos or $32 US/month by making this switch. We use low-prices Telcel ‘Amigo’ plan services for our local lines. The price comes to $50 pesos, or $4 US/month, or less.

Altogether, these two moves have saved us $35.58 US ($416 pesos) for the US phone service, and $32 US/month ($372 pesos) on internet and local telephone for a grand savings of $68 US or almost $800 pesos at today’s rates.

The above is David’s contribution to this blog post.  I tried writing the information out and you can’t even imagine what little sense it made…even to me.  My take on most things is not a shred of evidence exists in favor of the idea that life is serious.  Consequently my mind, such as it is, could never wrap itself around the cost savings information David has so graciously supplied.  What a team we make.  Thank goodness for David’s research.  I research things such as chocolate, particularly dark chocolate (my favorite) produces some of the same reactions in the brain as marijuana.  Of course, the same people who researched the whole chocolate thing also discovered other similarities between the two, but can’t remember what they were.

Viva Mexico!

Below are photographs of our in-home gallery of David and other Ajijic artists’ works.  Last Sunday one of the “arts” writers for the Guadalajara Reporter called and asked if it would be okay to share David’s recent National Geographic photograph and information in their paper.  The article should be in this Friday’s edition.  I will keep you posted.  Enjoy!

Gallery Shots

Gallery Shots

Gallery Shots

Gallery Shots

Gallery Shots

Gallery Shots

Gallery Shots

Gallery Shots

Gallery Shots

A sketch given to David's dad done in 1932.

Gallery Shots

Gallery Shots

Home Gallery Shots

Home Gallery Shots

Heading toward David's new office....

New Office and Studio

New Office and Studio

New Office and Studio

New Office and Studio

New Office and Studio - David's mom's self portraits.

Tastefully done semi-nude artist in residence.


6 Responses  
  • nancy king writes:
    June 9th, 201111:50 amat

    Hi Les and David,

    thanks so much for providing such valuable information on phones/cable/internet, etc. These are all good things to know and i appreciate being able to learn from the experience of others.

    i am arriving lakeside 7/6 and staying for a week. if at all possible i would love to be able to pick your brains for more tips and valuable experiences that you have had since moving lakeside.

    if you are willing/able to fit me into your schedule, i would enjoy meeting you and taking you out to dinner.

    thanks so much for your blog. David’s beautiful photos bring me so much enjoyment and Les, your sense of humor combine to make me homesick for a place that isn’t even home yet! 🙂

  • Radita writes:
    June 8th, 201112:24 pmat

    Hola! Thanks for the information on MagicJack. I am moving to Mexico soon (ish) and it’s never too early to start learning about these things. I plan to get rid of my cell phone and definitely aim to keep costs down. This seems like a really good deal!

  • Cindy Zeier aka La Minx writes:
    May 27th, 20117:24 amat

    Great info about the phones/internet, thanks for sharing. You home looks lovely and there are so many beautifully varied works of art. We are doing major downsizing(6 bedrooms down to 2!), so many paintings and wall hangings have to sold…so difficult to part with.
    What I actually wanted to say was David’s photos are perfect and kudos for the great honour of being in NG!

  • Laurel writes:
    May 27th, 20112:35 amat

    Is a butterfly without the butter just a plain old fly? Thats all I can think of now, but I’ll send you others as I come up with them.

    I never offered David congrats for placing a photo in National Geographic. Baskets of kudos David. !!!! How many people in life are that talented?

    aha! Is a Kudo without the Ku just plain regular dough? Hey this fun… :)))

  • Susie writes:
    May 26th, 20118:08 pmat

    Now that you’ve brought it up, I’m going to ask Jim to review our phone situation also. We are paying for 6 people’s cell phones and there must be some undiscovered loophole somewhere. (We’re also paying for two rentals (two sons) in addition to our mortage. I tell Jim that had I known we could afford another rent I would have moved out so many times in the past 29 years.) Your home looks lovely, as does always the art work. I’m guessing you didn’t bring those big furniture pieces from the states? Hope your phone situation doesn’t hold any surprises, as sometimes happens with the “best laid” plans.

  • Steve writes:
    May 26th, 20116:58 pmat

    I’m sure you probably know, but thought I’d mention it anyway. Skype is free.

    My son lives in Japan and calls via Skype weekly. I manage a team of people in Asia and “meet” with them daily via Skype video.

    Skype is free as a “computer to computer” service (voice or video). I have it installed on my iPhone (it’s also available free for Android phones). I take calls from all over the world on my iPhone via the data service (rather than the voice service). At home I have a handset that rings when a Skype call comes in — the computer does not have to be on but you do need a router for the handset.

    You can get a dedicated US number in the area code of your choice for a fee but the Internet so ubiquitous, why bother?

    Just a thought …


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