Guest post by Jenae at I Can Teach My Child
How much do you spend on cable each month? Stop reading this post, go get your last bill and say it out loud. Now, multiply that number by 12. Wowza…that’s a lot of money in a year’s time, huh?
Let’s just say that it’s an even $50 each month (which is probably a very conservative number), if so, this means you are spending $600 each year on cable. That’s money you could have saved to pay off your house, to pay for your kid’s college or to spend on a brand-new dining room table!
There are so many alternatives to paying lots of money for cable each month. Here are three we’ve found to be helpful for our family.
What if I told you that you could still watch most of your favorite shows for free? ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, PBS and even a few other random channels can all be received for free in most areas* with a high-definition antenna. After a little upfront cost, you can watch these channels for the rest of your life. All you need is a converter box (if your TV does not already have an HDTV tuner — every new TV has one) and a high-definition antenna (which can go in your attic, wall or outside).
High-definition antennas range from $40-$150. You can purchase them at your local home-improvement store (Lowe’s or Home Depot). You can also go here for more information and to purchase one as well. And if you’re really handy (or you know someone who is), you can supposedly even make your own HDTV antenna for less than $10! It might be worth a shot!
If you own a TV that was manufactured after July 1, 2007, it should already have an HDTV tuner. You only need a converter box if your analog TV is older than that. Converter Boxes start at $40 and go up from there. Go here and here for a few converter box options.
*I realize that good reception depends in large part due to where you live. If this isn’t an option for you, you could still opt for the cheapest plan from your cable or satellite provider and implement the other two suggestions.
Netflix & Redbox
Many of you know that you can receive unlimited DVDs in the mail for about $10 a month from Netflix. But did you also know that they have thousands of movies on instant play as well? We’ve watched entire series of very popular shows instantly. You can stream it to a Blu-Ray player, XBox or Wii, or you can just watch it on your computer. Netflix is also a great resource for children’s television shows. The best part is that there are no commercials.
Redbox (a $1-per-night video rental kiosk that can be found outside many McDonald’s, Walgreens, and Walmarts locations) offers at least one free rental each month (usually the first Monday of every month) when you create an account on their website.
Libraries are not only a great resource for books, most libraries also have movies as well! And the best part is that it’s free! You can browse most titles on your library’s website. Another option is to borrow movies from friends.
We’ve gone without cable for our entire married life (almost seven years). At first, we simply couldn’t afford cable and opted for bunny ears. Now that our income has increased and we could afford if we really wanted to, we still choose not to. We enjoy enough television and movie time without spending all that money every month!
Jenae is a wife, mother of two boys’ ages 3 and 15 months, and former first-grade teacher. She loves spending time with her family and sharing fun and educational activities for young children on her website, I Can Teach My Child.
Do you have an idea for a guest post? I am always looking for high-quality, original (i.e. not published anywhere else online) content with tips and ideas Money Saving Mom® readers can use. If you would like to submit a guest post, please follow the Guest Posting Guidelines.