Happy Friday, friends! No, this isn’t our actual TV, but ours isn’t far off; we still have the old 36-inch tube TV sitting in the living room, and like any true frugal family, will have it there until the debt is paid off or the thing dies. 🙂 We’ll have the week’s good reads tomorrow, but today, I want to welcome back Kyle from Rather Be Shopping with more money saving tips for you. Thanks, Kyle, for sharing your wisdom again!
About two months ago, my wife and I made the big move and eliminated the cable TV bill from our lives and haven’t looked back. In our case, it was actually our Dish Network bill since we don’t get cable out in the countryside where we live, but the savings was still the same and quite significant. We were paying $55/month for the satellite TV service, which equated to $660 annually. We now only pay $7.99 a month and I’d make the argument that we actually get better programming now and shows that we actually watch. Here are some great frugal alternatives to your expensive cable TV service.
Step 1 for us was getting the very affordable Netflix streaming service for $7.99 per month. This is the only monthly fee we pay. Netflix allows us to stream 1000’s of TV shows and movies and view them when and where we want, including on smartphones and tablets. The new “Netflix Kids” is very popular with my three children and provides them with more than enough viewing entertainment. The movies may not be the newest releases, but they have plenty of newer flicks. The complete TV series they have available for viewing is what we really love. They literally have every popular TV series from the last 7-8 years for viewing. We are halfway through the first season of Breaking Bad and are thoroughly enjoying it.
2. Roku Streaming Player
For about the cost of a month’s worth of cable, you can get a Roku device which will make streaming online content not only painless, but incredibly productive. Essentially it works by pulling all streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Crackle, Fox News, and Pandora into one sleek little interface. It’s the size of a drink coaster and plugs directly into your TV and connects automatically to your wireless connection. The best part is that Roku will gather free web content from hundreds of sources. My personal favorite is a service called Crackle that gives you hundreds of movies streamed directly to your TV for NO cost.
3. Indoor Mohu HDTV Antenna
Another smart thing we did was purchase a Mohu Leaf which is an indoor HDTV antenna that sells for just under $40 at Amazon.com. The Mohu device plugs directly into your TV and has a really thin antenna that you place on your wall above the TV and you can get a bunch of FREE channels in full HD. The number of channels you’ll get depends on your geographical location and I can honestly say that I was a bit skeptical at first since we live out of town and wasn’t sure we would pick up any channels. But I was made a believer when we immediately picked up FOX, CBS, ABC, NBC, PBS, and a couple regional channels with amazing high definition picture quality. This is a great way to watch local news, network programming, and sports action and never have to pay a monthly bill.
4. Public Library
Maybe you are really cutting costs and don’t want to buy an antenna or Roku device, then you need to swing by the library and get movies and TV shows for free. Are you aware that your local library has movies and TV shows available to checkout? Until last year I had no idea this was an option until a friend told me about it. This is especially a great option for family movies which are not necessarily new releases, but are classics nonetheless. Hard to beat free.
Still Just Can’t Pull the Plug on Cable?
If you are like many and having a tough time letting go of the convenience of cable TV, despite the costs, I have a final tip for you. Many satellite and cable TV providers offer a welcome package which they don’t really advertise. Call them up and ask what “bare bone” options they have available. I know for a fact that Dish Network offers a welcome package for $19.99/month and it gives you 60 channels including your all your locals. They might call it a “welcome or introductory package” but don’t be confused by the name as it is available for all customers. You’ll typically have to call and ask a customer service rep about it as you won’t find anything about it on their website.
Also, my old favorite of making the “cancel threat” phone call still works. Call up your provider and tell them you just can’t afford your bill and want to cancel. They’ll work hard to keep you as a loyal customer and will throw some great promotions at you to keep you from canceling. In the past I have received free movies channels and up to $15 off my monthly bill for a 6-month period. When calling, be sure to work your way to their “customer retention” department” as they are the employees who are given the power to lower your bill or offer you incentives.
The bottom-line is that with a little creativity you can easily ditch the cable bill and still enjoy much of the same programming. Take the money you save and throw it towards your credit card debt or retirement fund. Over the course of time you’re going to accumulate some pretty amazing savings.
As for related coupons, here are some great offers to help you cut the cable cord and save money on alternatives like Netflix and HDTV antennas.
Editor’s note: Thanks, Kyle, for the great info here. We cut our cable bill almost a year ago and haven’t looked back. Like Kyle’s family, we have some pretty good regular antenna TV channels here, so that’s worked well for us. We may get Netflix as a reward when one of the CC bills are paid in full, though. We were at a neighbor’s house the other night and got to experience Netflix for the first time. It seems well worth the $7.99 a month.
About The Author: Kyle James is the founder of Rather-Be-Shopping.com which has been assisting families save money with coupons and frugal living tips since 2001.