The following is a post from Jenna Smith. Consideration was received for the editing and publishing of this post.
Being a busy mom, I find that my family watches about an hour of television on the weekdays, and maybe 4 hours a day or less on the weekends. However, I found myself paying hundreds of dollars on my cable subscription services.
As I’ve been trying to save money and build an emergency savings fund, I’ve ultimately been looking for ways to cut back. In looking at my monthly bills, I found that I was giving away a great deal of money for cable services – which we barely watched.
Don’t get me wrong, we certainly enjoy our weekly shows and an occasional movie or two, but for the most part, it seemed like paying for cable was allowing money to slip down the drain. So, I decided to cut my cable services.
But I knew we couldn’t go without watching television at all because watching the same DVDs over and over again would get tiring eventually. So I had to come up with some realistic, yet inexpensive alternatives. After talking to several friends and family members, I found that there were several free and affordable options to keeping up with current movies, shows, and news. Below are some of those options:
Free Digital Television
I wasn’t aware that I was able to get a lot of the local channels for free! Channels like FOX, ABC, and CBS could all be watched from my television set without me having to pay a cent. All I needed to invest in was the appropriate antenna for my television set which ran me about $15.
Now, before you start having flashbacks to when you were children and had to keep the antenna just so to get clear reception, times have changed and so has the technology. The antenna works fairly well and gave a pretty clear view. I was able to catch up on some of my weekly shows and watch the news every morning without fail.
Another alternative for watching some of the most current television shows, news, and movies was the internet. I was completely unaware of how many networks have websites that will showcase full episodes of television series that both I and my family enjoy.
I was able to simply find a network I was interested in, search for the show, and begin watching it right from my computer or mobile device. I will say that sometimes the current shows took several days from their actual air date to show up online, but when something is this affordable, who’s going to complain?
Streaming Set-Top Boxes
There are various service providers that offer affordable methods for watching the latest shows, movies, and news directly on your television set. Set-top boxes are connected to your television and have a predetermined amount of networks for you to choose from. These shows will stream directly to your television. Most of the popular shows and movies are available for viewing instantly or the next day. Of course the cost of these set-top boxes and monthly subscription services can vary, but it isn’t a large investment and is certainly a lot cheaper than paying for cable services each month.
Television/Movie Streaming Services
Another affordable alternative to cable television is with a subscription to a television and/or moving streaming service provider. Such subscriptions give you access to television series and movies (old and new) to watch instantly. The great thing about these services is that you can utilize them anywhere you have an internet connection.
Many of these subscription services can be viewed online, from your cell phone, and even through your gaming console. In fact, the other day, my children and I were able to watch Rainbow Brite online, which was one of my favorite cartoon characters growing up. It was great being able to share such an experience with them at our leisure. We even have a weekly family movie night and I allow the kids to take turns choosing which movie we’ll watch.
As I stated before, a lot of television shows, news broadcasts, sporting events, and more can be found online free of charge. So, if you really want to save additional money without having to pay for too many subscription services, you could always opt to invest in an HDMI cable. These cables make it possible for you to hook up your laptop, desktop, or mobile device directly to the television set. Often these cords can be found cheap online for a minimal investment (in fact, we got one for about $20).
Each of these options provided our household with the means to stay in the loop with current events, shows, and movies, without having to pay the cost of cable services. Over the course of a three-month period, I was about to save approximately $300, which was put towards our emergency savings fund!