You know the cost-cutting drill. You write down your monthly expenses, item by item. You scratch out the fixed costs - mortgage, car payments. You look for places to cut, but more so places to trim a little.
This one always stands out: Broadband - $35-ish.
With the bottom line in mind, more consumers are giving a dial-up Internet connection a second look, the Associated Press reports today. It's part of the quality vs. cost calculations many of us are making in the downturn.
Yes, dial-up is finger-drummingly slow, but it's adequate for basic Internet tasks such as e-mail, news surfing and shopping. Tasks such as streaming or video require more bandwith, but cost-conscious customers are weighing that luxury versus this calculation: $35 monthly for broadband vs. $10 or less for dial-up.
Make no mistake, says the AP: Only 9 percent of Americans use dial-up, which isn't likely to make a big dent in the broadband market.
"Dial-up is declining overall, but that doesn't mean it's not still a viable business," said Kevin Brand, senior vice president of product management at EarthLink Inc., which has cut its dial-up to $7.99 in an effort to woo those on tight budgets "There's still a big market out there, and during these tough times, even customers who have bundles including broadband may be looking at their bill and thinking, 'Do I really need all this?' "
Have you made a similar quality vs. cost decision - with anything on your budget? Tell us about it.