4. Ditch Cable and Still Watch TV
Cable is a huge expense. Depending on the options you choose and what provider you have, your bill might be $50 to $100 each month just to watch TV. That’s $600 to $1,200 every year. It’s something you can certainly live without, so the simple solution is to just cut the cord and save some money.
If you can’t give up your favorite shows, don’t despair. Head to an electronics supply store and get an antenna. You don’t really need a fancy one, and a basic model can be found for under $50, about the price of one month’s worth of cable. With this, you’ll be able to tune in a wide variety of local stations — you might be surprised at what channels are being broadcast in your area. Since most cable providers use digital compression on their HD signals, you can actually get a better HD picture with your antenna.
If you’re still paying for broadband Internet service, there are a number of other ways to access TV shows without cable. Several services provide streaming television shows, but to use them effectively you need a way to connect your TV to the Internet, either through a direct Ethernet connection or through a separate device, like a computer, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 or Roku box.
Popular TV streaming services include Hulu, Netflix, Amazon and Blockbuster. Some of them offer current TV episodes, some only have past seasons. Deciding which one works best for you depends on whether you just want something to watch or really need to keep up with the latest shows. These services typically cost significantly less per month than cable, although if you need to purchase a computer or gaming system to access the service, add that cost to your evaluation.
One of the biggest problems many people have with getting rid of cable is the inability to watch live sports. There aren’t really any ideal solutions to this issue. Several sports packages are available through Playstation 3 and a few other devices that allow streaming of live games. However, these packages can be so expensive they would defeat the purpose of getting rid of cable, and in some cases, your home team’s games wouldn’t be accessible. There are Web sites that stream various live events, including sports, but not all of them are legal, and they can be difficult to find or access.
3. Use the Library for Books, Movies and Internet
Today’s libraries are much more than places to check out books. A huge portion of your local library’s budget goes to maintaining information databases and purchasing computers to provide patrons with Internet access. Libraries also maintain extensive DVD selections for patrons.
It may seem obvious, but if you total up your book purchases and DVD rentals over the course of a year, they can really add up. As long as you make sure to return the materials on time and avoid late fees, you can keep reading at the library without the expense.
The biggest savings a library can offer is free Internet service. Broadband internet costs about $50 per month. Computers at the library are free.
Living without Internet access may seem inconceivable, but getting rid of a dedicated Internet connection is an opportunity to save money by combining expenses. Imagine that you cancel your telephone landline and get a smartphone. You have to pay the monthly fee for data on your smartphone, but if you can accomplish basic functions like e-mail and Facebook updates with your phone, you can save $100 to $150 or more per month.
If you have to write a lengthy e-mail or spend some time searching the internet and don’t relish the thought of using a public computer, you could take your laptop to a location with free WiFi. You might have to buy a cup of coffee every now and then, but if you don’t rely on this option daily, you’ll still save money.