We are all keen whenever possible to try to cut back on our regular outgoings. Whenever this topic crops up the perceived wisdom is to take a long, cold look at your bank account to identify regular ouitgoings that you can cut back on. Some of these are fairly obvious. If you have loan repayments to personal loan companies or specialist lenders or credit cards payments, then it makes sense if possible to pay these sums off in full, thereby meaning you can save the money each month that you would otherwise use to service these debts.
Another good idea is to check for any subscriptions you have that you are not making optimum use of. In this respect two areas which are often highlighted are gym memberships and TV subccriptions.
But can you really make significant savings on TV subscriptions? You might be surprised….
Growing up in the Eighties made for some interesting financial lessons. One of the most memorable was the argument I made for the household to get a cable TV subscription back in the early 80’s. After a fair amount of my arguing back and forth, I prevailed and we joined the growing cable community.
At first, we were amazed by all the viewing choices; however, after a fairly short amount of time it wasn’t uncommon to hear someone shout, “We’ve got 28 channels and nothing worthwhile to watch!”
Well, a lot has changed. Now, we have hundreds of channels and, arguably, the same gripe, just on a larger scale. More important, the costs of cable television and its bundled products and services have gone up substantially. When we first subscribed in the early 80’s, the cost was under $10 a month. In 2011, the average American household spends roughly $70 — not including fees for DVR, high-definition content, or cable box rentals. When all the charges are considered, many of us spend well over $1000 each year — a dollar amount that would stun my Depression-era grandparents. The high cost of cable television has many American second-guessing the expense, mainly because of the amount of free and low-cost content available via the Internet.
Many of your favorite stations stream programming on their website, generally within a day of a show’s original air date. There are also wesbsites such as Fancast and Hulu that offer collections of TV programs and even some movies from major networks for free. For a nominal monthly fee you can also subscribe to a service such as Netfilx, or Hulu Plus, where you can catch up on past seasons of TV shows and access thousands of movies. Access to these services will run you under $10 – a trip back in time for some of us older cable subscribers. I know, some of you may be leery of sitting at your computer to watch your favorite show, but you just might be surprised at some of the ways you can access this content on your television. If you have purchased a television in the last year or so, your set might have internet access built in.
According to a recent research report, roughly 16.5 million Americans own Internet-enabled TVs, but only two percent of us realize that fact. By 2014, it is predicted that 47 million of us will own Internet-enabled televisions, with roughly seven percent of us using the Internet to get most of our content. You can also access Internet content through the many gaming devices you may already own. Devices work best, and some only work with a WiFi connection, so be sure to do your homework before switching over to console viewing. All three of the popular gaming platforms, the Xbox 360, Nintendo’s Wii, and the PlayStation 3 allow users to access Netflix. If you are a Hulu Plus subscriber, you should have no problem watching content on the 360 or PlayStation 3; however, the Wii is currently unable to stream media from the site. If you don’t feel like subscribing to either service, not to worry. You can access the Internet directly from these consoles as well, which makes it relatively easy to watch most of your favorite programs from the comfort of your couch. If you’re still interested in saving money by cutting the cable, and you’re uncomfortable watching from your computer or don’t own a gaming system, you can purchase an indoor or outdoor antenna that is compatible with a digital TV.
You’ll be able to enjoy most of your local stations and may be able to pick up a few additional ones based on how good the reception is in your area. Before you make any drastic moves, you have to conduct some research to evaluate the various alternatives that are available. There are plenty of blogs and news articles that talk about what you should experience when cutting cable-television. You’ll also find information about the latest Internet TV devices and different ways to configure your hardware to meet your media needs.