Extravagantly Frugal: Cut The Cable

Some time ago, we wrote about how living frugally does not necessarily mean that we're missing out on all the fun. Quite the contrary! Frugal living does not necessarily mean doing without. But you may have to look past the mainstream to find a cost effective solution. We thought it would be good to spend a little time expanding on some of these concepts individually.

First off: Cutting out cable / satellite TV.

Commonly listed by every frugalist as a way to save an easy $50+ every month, this is often one of the hardest ones to do - at least for us guys, we like our TV! Even after getting past my reluctance and getting with the program, I was still hesitant. But this is not impossible. So if your spouse is dropping hints about giving up TV service to help get out of debt or just to save money, here are some suggestions to help cope with this change:

  1. Here's a crazy idea - get away from the TV! With the virtual cornucopia of channels and figurative horn-of-plenty of programming, its easy to get sucked in. Pretty soon, your evenings are filled with one show after another. Go outside. Walk, run, bike, jog. Play with the dog. Wrestle with the kids. Read a book. Talk to your spouse (not just at commercials). Take up a sport. Pick up a hobby. Do something non-TV related and see how other aspects of your life changes.
  2. Netflix. For as little a $5 per month you can satisfy or supplement your TV watching habits with some non-live content. Their selection is growing all the time, even including complete seasons of TV shows so you can still get your Law & Order fix - all with no late fees, and nothing to buy.
  3. If it hasn't gotten cut too, get on line. There is so much streaming content on-line that maybe your monthly ISP fee can cover your TV cravings. Skip physical media and get your entertainment via the ether.
  4. That funny looking thing hovering above your house? That's called an antenna. That's how you get free TV. The extravagantly frugal option of choice is that good old standby that was the norm a few years ago. But this isn't your Grandma's TV! Digital signals and tuners bring in far more channels in far better quality than ever before. This is a much more viable option today than even just a few years ago. No aerial outside? Much smaller options exist. BTW - Free over-the-air HD rules!
Have you done it? Have you given up cable, or just been threatened with it? These items aren't pie-in-the-sky - we've done them, and currently have 20+ digital channels coming in over-the-air.

Are you more willing to consider this request considering that these alternatives exist and are improving all the time?


Uncommonadvice said...

Well said. I can't remember the last time I switched on TV to actually watch anything. Everything on TV is "Gumpf" without exception - even the News!!

Tim said...

I would love to get an external antenna. Unfortunately, every subdivision I've ever lived in has had covenants against antennas because they are considered "unsightly."

So, if you live in a subdivision, check your covenants to see if you can have an external antenna.

Mr. (not) the Jet Set said...

Thanks, Tim.

If your neighborhood or rental community has restricted the use of antennas, you may want to remind them that doing so is unlawful.

There are also lots of options today that your HOA will never notice. There are many options today that look nothing like a traditional TV antenna. Some are indoor and some are outdoor. There are lots of options!

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