You’ve done many things to pare down expenses for your young family. You bike to work, clip coupons, cook more meals at home, installed low-flow shower heads and dual flush toilets in the bathrooms after watching DIY videos from Homeclick, and decided to forego your daily latte from the local Starbucks. While these have saved your family some money, you’re still looking for something else to reduce in order to put a huge chuck of money back into the budget. Well, perhaps the answer can be found on your flat screen television and the 3000 cable channels you no longer watch.
According to a 2012 report by the Convergence Consulting Group, almost three million people left their cable companies between 2008 and 2011, with many more families doing the same over recent months, saving hundreds or thousands of dollar annually in the process. If worried about the feeling of loss encountered by not watching your favorite shows and movies, here are some low cost alternatives to cable that may make the decision to disconnect much easier.
Video on Demand Services
Monthly subscriptions to Video on Demand services like Netflix or Hulu Plus can cost less than two Starbucks Grandes and provide you with more variety than you received with cable. In addition, advertisements are limited on Hulu Plus and non-existent in Netflix, permitting you to watch numerous episodes in a shorter span of time. Both VoD companies have their fans. Where Netflix goes for original series and a good deal of nostalgia in their selections, Hulu focuses on first-run episodes of series from networks like NBC, ABC, FOX, and FX.
You’re paying for Internet access throughout your home, so why not take advantage of it by watching your favorite shows via the websites of the various television networks? Though they may not have full-season runs, these websites tend to have the most recent episodes available for viewing on your computer, tablet, or smart device. And like the VoD services, commercial interruptions are limited. If not interested in watching a show on your desktop or laptop, see if your television has inputs allowing a computerized device to be hooked up. If so, you may be able to view these shows on the big screen, making it feel like you never lost cable.
All you need is a simple card to access all the media the local library has to offer. If another family member is utilizing the home computer, you can log in on one of the library’s desktops to catch up on your favorite programs. You can also scan their DVD libraries for a wide-selection of television shows and classic movies to pop into the home player. Some libraries are now offering up complete box sets of television series for extended borrowing times.
You may discover you don’t miss cable television at all and decide to focus on other interests sidelined by the many hours spent making an indentation on the couch. The best savings of all is to pick up a book, start a hobby, or spend time getting reacquainted with the family who also went zombie-like when the television was on. It may not reduce your monetary budget, but you’ll certainly accumulate fulfillment in the budget of your life.