Ways to Save – TV

As part of my recent fiscal responsibility and the blog’s newfound love of Money Matters, I want to kick off another important part of how we (I) are (am) getting our finances in order and setting financial goals that are actually achievable. This is the Ways to Save series – we will look at all the many ways to still live a fabulously, fun life while saving money (including travel, beauty, utilities, housing, shopping, food, going out, entertaining – the list goes on and on).

Today, I am starting with one of the quickest, easiest ways to save money – television. I watch  too much television and movies… can’t stop, won’t stop. And frankly, I feel bad about the amount of time I waste on it… BUT let’s make it as cheap as possible, at the very least (one less thing to feel guilty about).

First of all, if you are paying for cable… you are probably paying too much.

I have pulled a couple examples of the cheapest cable packages (which inevitably come with internet and a landline) in NYC… and it is OUTRAGEOUSLY EXPENSIVE!

Provider

Package

Monthly pre-tax

Equipment Cost / Installation fees

Total annual fee

Verizon Fios

WiFi TV Landline

$79.99+ $12 fees (price goes up to 89.99 after a year) plus tax

$120.00 plus tax

$1223.88 plus tax

Optimum

WiFi TV Landline

$69.99 plus at least $6.50 in fees  (price goes up to 79.99 after a year) plus tax

$99 plus tax for installation and $10 plus tax per month for equipment

$1136.88 plus tax

TWC Spectrum

WiFi TV Landline

89.99 plus tax

$34.99 plus tax for installation and $4.99 plus tax per month for equipment

$1174.75 plus tax

And let’s be honest – everyone is using Netflix and Hulu and Amazon Prime to get all the latest, greatest TV shows… most of which aren’t even available on any free or paid TV channels so why should we pay for these? Seems like a waste of money. And seriously, who is using a landline? I literally know three people with landlines… y’all don’t need that landline any more… time to cut the cord!

Secondly, you can get all of the basic television channels (NBC, ABC, PBS, etc.) for free – all you need is an antenna. If you have an old television (pre-2009), you will need a digital to analog converter otherwise all you need is an antenna (indoor or outdoor – both under $30). We have a basic indoor antenna… and frankly, we turn on basic television maybe once a month at most.

Third – you can get internet for a lot cheaper than any of the tv/landline/wifi packages. You are already paying for a cell phone… do you need a landline? Probably not. We pay under $50 a month (including taxes) for our internet and we have a higher bandwidth package… so it is possible to find it much cheaper (especially if you aren’t in NYC). And let’s be reasonable… you can’t live without internet so you just have to find the cheapest option.

SOLUTION

All you need is internet, an internet-connected TV device (see below) and as many or as few monthly television subscription services your little heart desires.

Internet-Based TV Devices:

These are my favorites – all can be used to play your monthly TV subscription services…

There are pros and cons of them all – some come with remotes (Amazon, Roku) but Chromecast does not. The huge plus with Chromecast is that you can project the screen of your computer (PC) on to the screen (but unfortunately, this doesn’t work with Apple products, you need the much pricier AppleTV for that).

TV Subscriptions:

  • Netflix (get a 30-day free trial here)
  • Hulu (get a 30-day free trial here) – this is one of my favorites because they upload new episodes of current shows the day after they air on conventional TV channels, so I don’t have to sit around on a specific night of the week to catch my favorite show anymore!
  • Amazon Prime (get a 30-day free trial here)
  • Amazon Showtime (get a free trial here)
  • Amazon HBO (get a free trial here)

So what do these subscriptions cost? Netflix and Hulu (depending on the package) are approximately $8  and $6 respectively per month. Amazon Prime is $99 a year (which is about $8 per month too) but the plus with Prime is that you get free two day shipping from Amazon throughout the whole year – major plus. Depending on the subscription and the device you pick, you can add different subscriptions (HBO, Showtime, Starz as well as other typical cable channels). If you are hooked on Bravo (I get it), you can add Bravo for a couple dollars a month… you build your own plan, without any sort of extended commitment. There is also an unlimited live tv package available through Hulu ($40 per month but this might end up being comparable to what you pay for a wife/cable package, just without the commitment – one month on, one month off, as necessary).

We only really use Hulu Plus and Netflix so our annual spend is:

  • Internet ($50 x 12 months) = $600
  • Hulu Plus and Netflix ($14 x 12 months) = $168
  • 3 months of Showtime add-on through Hulu Plus (guilty Billions addict) = $45
  • Used router purchased on Craigslist = $20

Total spend: $833 plus tax ~ Our total savings for this year: $300+

Our total savings from the conventional cable packages: at least $300 a year – and based on the increase of cable package prices in year two, it would have been at least $450 in savings the second year!

As promised, it isn’t about cutting everything out… if it was up to the Enemy of Fun, we would just have Internet and our Craigslist router… so he would have spent $620 plus tax for the year (saving over $500 a year)… but then how would we have watched Billions or all five seasons of House of Cards or kept up with Scandal or watched the atrocity that is Designated Survivor?!?!? My point exactly. Fun and fiscal responsibility – see, it is possible!

This post contains affiliate links – which means I have scoured the internet looking for the best bang for your buck on the products and sites which I love the very most – and yes, this means that I get a little something extra for my time, but it doesn’t cost you anything extra!

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