I Saved Another $100 Per Month

by David Ning · 58 comments

cut that cable tvI’m very proud of myself today because I just made decisions that will save me $100 per month. I called the cable and cell phone company and told them to:

  1. discontinue my cable TV bill
  2. reduce our family plan cell phone minutes

Before you leave this page thinking that this doesn’t apply to you because you make enough money to cover those things, let me tell you that my wife and I are not trying to save because we cannot afford these luxuries anymore.  In fact, our living expenses are so low that we can live comfortably with just one of our income. We are doing this because we feel that it’s just not necessary to spend $100 on something we can do without.

You Did What?

We both agree that without cable TV, we can spend more time with each other on healthier activities.  We can walk together in the park at night, we can play board games together and we can even spend more time cooking together (something I desperately need to learn from my wife.).

The decision to reduce my cell phone minutes is even easier.  Between my wife and I, we just don’t talk on the phone all that much.  During the last few months, we have saved up so many rollover minutes that we can comfortably go over our monthly limit without paying anything extra.  Since we can always increase our minutes and decrease them at any time, we decided to reduce it first and see how our situation will go.

From This Point On

Since I’ve never really lived without TV before, I can guarantee that things will be perfectly normal. What I do know though is that cable TV is not exactly healthy for me. So with time, I will be better off without it. I plan to read more during my spare time, which I’m sure is much more enlightening than watching reruns of “Pretty Woman”.

What do you think of my decision? Have you ever done something out of the ordinary like cutting your cable TV before?

Money Saving Tip: An incredibly effective way to save more is to reduce your monthly Internet and TV costs. Click here for the current Verizon FiOS promotion codes and promos to see if you can save more money every month from now on.

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{ 58 comments… read them below or add one }

Travis October 8, 2008 at 9:30 am

I agree with canceling the cable. My girlfriend and I just recently canceled our cable because it was costing us $80 a month. We thought that money could be spent or even better saved elsewhere. We realized that most of the TV shows if we really want to watch them are online anyways, so not having cable isn’t a big deal. Eventually we were thinking of getting the Netflix black box thing, where you pay your monthly service charge, ours is $10, and you have instant access to over 10,000 titles including most popular TV show series. We would still be saving $70 if we used the Netflix black box.

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Kevin Wright October 8, 2008 at 10:03 am

The great thing about the internet age is that if you really need to watch your favorite shows, you can see pretty much all of them online.
Having said that, it is a great idea to reduce or eliminate your TV. That is something I need to work towards.

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Debt Reduction October 8, 2008 at 10:53 am

Nice job and thanks for sharing. I saved $300 by just shopping my car and home insurance policy. It takes a little time, not much, buy saving $300 every six months was worth it. Thanks for the post.

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ColombianCoffee October 8, 2008 at 11:33 am

When I was single, I never had cable. I figured why pay for 500 infomercial channels and 2 good channels when a $15 antenna could get me 5 ok channels that between work and school I never got to watch anyway.
Now that I’m married, we have cable because my husband had it before we got married. However, we did compromise. I chose not to add the hispanic channels and he did away with his sports pack. The basic package comes with two Spanish Channels and ESPN and that’s enough for us.

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LongIslandLad October 8, 2008 at 11:42 am

I think canceling cable is a great idea. My roommate and I pay about $150/mo for FiOS cable + internet. He never uses the internet, and I hardly ever watch cable TV, so it just seems like we’re overpaying for both.

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No Debt Plan October 8, 2008 at 1:56 pm

I can’t cancel cable… college football lives here. :) But, I do wish we could…

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scott December 10, 2010 at 1:33 pm

If your cable company does not have a contract, just get cable during football season (late August through early January). I know a ton of people who do this. Unfortunately this does not work for Dish companies that have contracts.

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SingleGuyMoney October 8, 2008 at 6:49 pm

I think it’s great that you got rid of cable. I’ve been toying with the idea of cancelling cable myself. It’s seriously not worth the monthly bill and certainly not good for your health.

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Dennis October 8, 2008 at 9:49 pm

Hmm nice, but like NDP i cant cancel cable tv, my favorite league lives there :) and my internet connection pretty slow to do streaming T_T

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Andy @ Retire at 40 October 9, 2008 at 12:26 am

I’ve been through all my bills recently and cut a few of them down further than what they were at before.

I can’t cut out my Cable TV since I don’t have any :-)

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marci October 9, 2008 at 8:16 am

I’ve been TV free for 18 years now :)
It’s not so much the cost, as it would be $30 with my internet/phone bundle, but it’s a matter of time. I just don’t have time to watch TV, nor to be bombarded by commercials.

I did want to watch one of the debates tho, so watched at a friend’s house, starting with the newscast first. I was astounded at the amount of commercials now on, and the personal/intimate level of the commercials. Not to mention all the political ads…. Boy, I can continue to do without TV – no problem.

I do patronize my library for audiobooks while doing things around the house in the evenings, or for an occasional movie on a rainy day/night.

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marci October 9, 2008 at 8:18 am

and congrats on cutting the fat even tho you didn’t have to :) Your retirement account will thank you.

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Peter October 9, 2008 at 8:20 am

My wife and I haven’t had cable tv since we’ve been married -and we’ve never missed it. Any TV shows that we watch we can catch on regular TV, watch online or stream to our Xbox 360 using a free streaming service like Tversity or PlayOn. Through PlayOn you can view current and past episodes of TV shows from a variety of different channels, as well as watching the movies and shows in your netflix queue.

Who needs cable?

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Matt October 9, 2008 at 8:22 am

I have lived without cable in the past and had no problems. However – I think that canceling cable services now would lead to a small uprising complete with pitchforks and torches to be rid of the evil cable canceling monster.
My family and I do not see quite evenly on this one but it keeps the peace and right now that is how I justify it.
I was able to slash down the cell phone bill substantially ($40 – $50 per month) though without any problems.

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BSCC October 9, 2008 at 9:38 am

I’ve lived without cable for about 2 years now. The only thing that has changed has been my productivity. Less options to get wrapped up and waste 30 minutes of my day. Good for you. Welcome to maximum efficiency.

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Mike Huang October 10, 2008 at 12:37 am

WOW…without cable TV is a huge huge step. Congrats on making that decision to a way better and healthier lifestyle :)

-Mike

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Mike Huang October 10, 2008 at 12:41 am

Another thing is there are ways to cheat these expensive systems and hack it for free :)

I remember having the “BLACK CABLE BOX”, which gave free channels and pay-per-view. Then I had my friend hack my internet cable modem for $100 and I had about a year of internet for free. After that, my dad installed a DTV HDTC satellite and used a illegal cable card to watch movies. Now we just pay for cable internet and TV since it’s less hasle. However, there’s still ways to cheat the system. We rented an extra cable box for $10 and gave to my uncle that lives like 5 miles away. We registered the cable box first and he plugged it in without a problem. So basically we’re just paying $10 more and he gets a $70/month service for cheap ;)

All these things to cheat the system is on the Internet. If you don’t condone cheating, that’s good for you, but since the big companies love to overcharge, my family loves to cheat it.

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Sherry February 21, 2011 at 7:13 pm

A whole family of cheaters – nice.
Why don’t you do the right thing? Grow up and pay for your own cable.

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Tzingca June 19, 2011 at 8:50 am

Publicly announcing that you’re stealing from the cable company tells me that you are very comfortable with theft in general. I’m sorry, but saving money by cheating someone else (or a company) is not admirable in the least. Interesting that you think the stolen services are worth the price of your integrity.

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Jenny May 19, 2012 at 8:28 pm

My cousin told me about this years ago, how i can cheat the system. I said, No thanks! If I can afford it, I get it the right way….Karma is a bitch!

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DedicatedPatriot June 25, 2012 at 6:32 am

Mike: Are you aware of cable’s new technologies to detect users receiving cable services, illegally?

I hope you’ve saved enough to justify a large fine when you’re caught, and if the cable company decides to file charges in court, I hope your career can handle a misdemeanor conviction on your record.

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Frugalchick October 12, 2008 at 10:04 pm

You are one brave person for cutting out cable entirely. I’m still working up the courage to do the same. I’m afraid my husband will go insane. Maybe we’ll have better luck when football season is over. Congrats on saving $100/month.

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blanne October 14, 2008 at 3:33 am

i think you made the right decision. but it’s really bold if you ask me. i can’t really imagine myself without cable tv and also a connection to the internet. but i guess those two things lessened my communication with my family. i barely talk to them and if i ever do, it wouldn’t take 5 minutes, which isnt good right? maybe someday something bad will come from lack of communication..

i really like this post. you reminded me that i need to spend time with my family too.

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ClearDebt November 2, 2008 at 10:19 am

I wish I could talk my wife into doing without cable. I really think we watch to much of the boob tube, and as you say, you will be spending more quality time together. Watching the latest episode of “Law and Order” really is not quality time.

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Miss C January 11, 2009 at 6:17 am

We’ve gone a step farther, we’ve never had cable and we don’t miss it. Neither do we text or use the camera feature on the phones.

We save the boob-tube for when we’re tired, and watch only certain shows which helps us define our time limitations. (Although we do occasionally indulge in good PBS specials.) As a treat we’ll check out a movie from the library.

The computer is also a time-drain. I limit my non-productive time on the computer to an hour a day.

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Josh January 14, 2009 at 9:52 am

My family just canceled our cable tv as well. We replaced it with a netflix account in which we will be paying less then half the amount and will get more entertainment for the buck. No commercials, DVD movies and TV shows by the season. I’m loving it. I might even get one of the boxes that let your stream free shows & movies from netflix and or Amazon.com (Amazon charges a small fee)

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Imani January 21, 2009 at 2:02 pm

Me too. Gave up cable TV in February 2008 and haven’t regretted it. It was costing me $50 per month. I only watched between 6-8 channels and when the cable company wouldn’t/couldn’t adjust my service to provide just those, I canceled.

Anything I really want to see can be found online, especially news coverage such as President Obama’s inauguration yesterday. I won’t scrimp on my internet though. But that only costs me $50…so it is still a $50 saving per month. Right to ING it goes.

Feels sooooooooooooooooo good.

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jon April 3, 2012 at 2:25 pm

…right to ING it goes.. love it!!!! ING Direct really is the best.

also you might try calling the internet company and telling them you’d like to cancel “because you can no longer afford it.” They might offer you a discounted price. The key is to make sure you’re speaking to the retention department and that you stay firm with your request to cancel. Say “we’re really happy with the service, and we don’t want to cancel but it just seems like we can’t fit it into our budget anymore.” No need to lie about job loss or anything. A simple “can no longer afford it” is more than satisfactory.

I do this every six months when our promotion ends. We have centurylink and have the 40mbps fastest plan that is usually $129 a month. We pay $29 out the door. There are no taxes on internet (just on the phone part, which we don’t have). we use nettalk.

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arizona bankruptcy lawyer April 14, 2009 at 10:22 pm

My power went out the other day. I could not believe how many activies I have that include utilities. It made me realize how nice it is to just do stuff that does not require a television, wii, movies, music etc. Taking a walk and playing with the dog. Free stuff that is relaxing.

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The Arabic Student May 13, 2009 at 7:16 pm

When I joined the military I lived in the barracks on base for the first 2 years. There was no cable TV in the rooms so I just got used to not having it. If you have the internet you don’t really need TV anyway.

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tucson carpet cleaning June 28, 2009 at 1:22 pm

I just read a recent article that says the average American family has 118 channels but watches a mere 14 of them.

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Kev July 7, 2009 at 7:38 am

There are so many digital channels available over the air, I’m shocked that anyone pays for them at all.

If you have a house with an attic, a basic attic-mounted antenna will be feeding 10-20 HD channels into your TV for nothing, depending on how close you are to a city, and how well you aim it.

I bet that most of the shows people actually watch regularly are on one of the broadcasted stations in their area, and they’ll only ever have to miss out on a few specialty shows.

Plug your address or lat/long into a site like TV Fool and you’ll get a complete listing of free OTA stations that you should be able to get (some are subject to interference by buildings). Use their radar map to aim your antenna for the ones you want. (the address search is US only, outside the US you’ll need to go to Google Maps and get your coordinates in decimal format)

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az carpet cleaners August 30, 2009 at 7:04 am

I respect your decision. Having some entertainment is a must in our lives. If we go out excessively that gets expensive. Cable is still a great value in my mind compared to other things we could be doing. But I applaud you.

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DedicatedPatriot June 25, 2012 at 6:47 am

I agree! The price of a bundled package of TV, Internet, and land-line phone is much cheaper than traveling someplace for entertainment, several times per month, and possibly paying for numerous expensive restaurant meals, beverages, and/or lodging, and/or movie-theater tickets.

Your cell phone is still important, but there are Pre-Pay plans that are very inexpensive. However, all bets are off if you must be connected to the internet, via your phone, while on-the-go.

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Suhas August 16, 2012 at 9:30 pm

Connecting to internet on the go is no longer that expensive at all now, thanks to T-Mobile Monthly 4G plans. I get 5GB 4G data and 100 voice minutes for $30 a month, and not a penny more in fees. Add to that a Skype app with unlimited calling for $2.99 a month and you got yourself a killer deal.

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Reb November 4, 2010 at 11:46 am

I cancelled my cable TV about a year ago and haven’t looked back. I got a TIVO DVR plus a little gizmo instead. The gizmo allows the TIVO to connect over the my wireless internet. It is absolutely AMAZING how much video you can get on the TV set: Netflix has a huge ‘watch instantly’ section; and there is a very large selection of FREE video. A lot of it is ‘web’ type video – independent movies, how to use photoshop, woodworking tips, PBS shows, podcasts about the latest new video game etc. I actually find watching this type of content very relaxing – not overproduced, extra skinny people killing each other or having sex all the time, but shows about more interesting thngs : ) And of course, no corporate product placements or ads.

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Dan November 22, 2010 at 8:20 am

My wife and I dropped our premium channels and just have basic cable and internet service via Comcast. We’re saving $100 a month and not missing a thing. The kids can watch their favorite shows on PBS and Netflix and I can get ESPN on my Xbox 360.

We still have cable because we don’t want the hassle of making a OTA antenna work. Also for $2 more we have basic cable because it is bundled with our high speed internet. I can live with $24 a year instead of dealing with installing the antenna.

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Thordar January 8, 2011 at 1:37 pm

What city are you in that you can do that? It sounds like exactly what I would like to do for our family.

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Miss Froogle January 23, 2011 at 6:59 pm

I live in Chicago, in a neighborhood full of high-rises, so there is no TV when the cable is out, except for CBS with sound but no picture except pink snow. I live in a condo building. We have a bulk package; i.e. everyone pays for the same package, which we get half price. We pay $37 a month for about 80 stations. Maybe not all cable companies will offer this bulk discount, but if you are in a condo building, it doesn’t hurt to ask.

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Anna February 10, 2011 at 4:15 pm

Got rid of our satellite service in August – DirectTV allowed us to “suspend” in case we changed our minds. Pretty nice of them, I think, because the suspend meant we didn’t have to pay extra for equipment etc if we decided to go back.

Got our renewal notices – it’s been 6 months already???? We didn’t miss it and will be completely canceling. Got Netflix and internet – and I don’t have to complain that cable/satellite doesn’t carry English Aljazeera. Not to mention I’ve found great international channels online.

Recently discovered your blog – it’s adding to my frugal idea collection.

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Katie May 13, 2011 at 11:32 am

Any recommendations on the best of the best international channels online?

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Laveda February 11, 2011 at 5:45 pm

Great idea. I don’t have cable and it’s ok. I watch all my favorite shows online with the free wireless internet my apartment offers and I HAVE CONTROL. I schedule when I want to watch my shows not when they’re coming on the TV.

Also, some of my friends have gone to Netflix $8 a month. They love the fact that it’s on their time and the savings compared to cable.

I never thought of checking the phone bill as it just seems to be a necessity. But now I have an idea to reduce it I’m going to see what I can do. Thanks.

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Sherry February 21, 2011 at 7:08 pm

I am 52 years old and have never paid for cable TV. When they discontinued free TV awhile back, I refused to pay for TV so I bought a convertor box. I now get about 6 channels, which is enough. I really shouldn’t be watching TV as it’s usually a big waste of time.
With Internet, TV isn’t so necessary anymore. Now if I can just find Internet at a lower price, I would be happy.

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Carol March 31, 2011 at 12:43 am

We’ve been married 35 years and have never subscribed to cable TV. There is simply no time in our lives for watching TV and, quite honestly, very little of quality or interest on TV. We subscribe to Netflix, and occasionally watch a movie together, but sitting in front of the tube is not part of our daily routine.

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marci March 31, 2011 at 9:10 am

Carol – Exactly :)

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Gerard April 12, 2011 at 7:08 pm

My bank overcharges for service fees so I took a lot of their money. If you don’t condone it, that’s good for you, but since the big banks love to overcharge, my family loves armed robbery.

But seriously, I haven’t had cable for seven years, and I don’t miss it. I do find I watch a fair bit of TV when I’m staying in hotels, but I think it’s as much for the novelty as anything. I’m usually bored with it after a few hours.

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Nu Sherman April 21, 2011 at 6:53 pm

One way to save money is to get an FTA satellite system. The way this works is you pay for the system and have no cable or satellite bills, you can get a blind scan system which will scan your channels in up to about 5000 channels and if you add about 60 dollars more you have the ability to record and watch later on your system. The complete package deal can run from $300 dollars on up. You will also have access to foreign channels from Mexico, Canada and many overseas channel and you have no recurring cable bills to ever worry about. If you do decide to get one do not install on the house, install in the yard, when the wind blows and the dish is on your house, somebody will need to go up and adjust the dish mounts. On the ground no problem or add a motor to the dish and it will track the satellite and you can do it with the remote control inside the house.

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Ron Greene July 16, 2011 at 8:19 am

Way back in the 1960’s Western TV cable started in South San francisco, my parents purchased a house in the flight path of SFO airport the planes would go over and ruin the antenna fed signal,so they started cable tv, at first just regular programs , this for $1.65 per month, then they added more programs with NO commercials this was great , but now cable,sat is a waste of money, Some people pay $ 140.00 or more per month, to watch junk and commercials.

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Jodie April 11, 2012 at 1:46 pm

I haven’t had cable in 4 yrs. and everyone at work and my friends think I’m crazy, but I don’t miss it one bit! We just watch the normal channels anyway and I definately don’t miss forking over money every month.

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Appleby June 22, 2012 at 1:46 pm

I like my cable universe, thanks; howeveer, I don’t have a car and have been “car free” for 15 years and counting. Public transit is convenient (although we often say that their motto should be “We apologize for the inconvenience”) and goes wherever I need to go including to the airport. I also have no air conditioning (the four days a year when it is really hot here in Toronto are not worth the added expense) and have Smart Meters which means that I pay a very low rate of electricity on weekends when is mostly when I am home anyway.

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Daphne October 11, 2013 at 9:33 am

Living “car free” is definitely an option considering gas prices, maintenance and the like. I’m impressed, Appleby!

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Aleksandra July 26, 2012 at 4:21 pm

We cut our cable and still get 40+ channels a month free. If you’ve got a newer digital tv, hook your cable up to it, set the tv to scan, sit back and wait a few minutes. It will pick up every tv station possible and save it. Do we have all the channels we used to? No. But we’re saving close to $200 a month & don’t miss any of the garbage & headaches that went along with it, or the extra channels. Many of which were total rubbish anyways. We’ve also whacked our internet plan & cell phone plans and gone with alternate prepaid packages for both, using an independent company. We are saving over $500 a month by doing this yet still have tv, unlimited home internet, unlimited text, talk & data on our cell phones. Research the options available in your area. They’re out there. If necessary, get a digital antena for an older tv. And yes, we still drive. Paid cash for a very fuel efficient car, so no car payments & little on fuel. Insurance payments are also discounted at over 43% due to safe driving. So we still pay much much less in monthly bills than we used to.

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Aleksandra July 26, 2012 at 4:31 pm

Our library also has a very large selection of DVDs. We hook up one of our laptops to our tv using an HDMI cable and watch movies whenever we please. FREE.

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Tye August 19, 2012 at 8:49 am

Great!

From everyone I meet around who is using services I use, I tend to spend less, much less. Even though my income and financial stability is generally on-par or more. This was the opposite 10 years back.

In terms of cost cutting; I did such things in 2003. In fact, I rid myself of TV/cable and such associated media back then. Just imagine how much I “save” compared to the typical household. I have a pretty nifty phone plan. It costs £10 and comes with 500 cross network minutes, unlimited texts and unlimited data (internet – 20GB per month no sweat). I use the phones WiFi Hotspot feature for my laptop internet access (it’s pretty good, stable).

So that’s a cost of £10 per month for everything phone + internet (media). I probably save +£100 per month compared to your average household. Even at £100, we’re at £1200 per annum.

I share car insurance with a trader friend, being on his policy, since we trade together and he has 20 years no claims bonus. That cuts my £4k per annum premium to £200, saving £3800 per annum.

That’s just three things from a long laundry list of cost cuttings I’ve undertaken, and just these alone save me roughly £5000 per annum.

Win Win.

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Wayne September 11, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Browser box! Ditch your cable/dish.
We have a ROKU (Sony and Apple have theirs, too) which streams from our internet account.
It cost $100…once.
It has over 100 channels with free movies, TV shows, music, news, foreign language…and some premium channels for newer stuff…eg: Amazon Prime.
We added Netflix (unlimited streaming for 7.99/month) and
HuluPlus (unlimited streaming for 7.99/month).
Soooo, for a $100 investment and $15.98/month…we have more than we could ever watch…and it is good.
Occasionally take a video out at the library ($0), and get live sports from the networks with a converter box or sophisticated TV.
Happy camper.

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Dan October 26, 2012 at 11:34 am

I cut cable TV a full year ago. I put an antenna (old fashioned ones) in my attic. I wasnt about to mount it up on my roof or get hurt trying.

Putting an Antenna in the attic : $120 (one time purchase)

I also use a Ruku box to use Hulu. Its like having a DVR or Tivo.

For telephone I am using the Magicjack Plus. We have not had a home phone in about 5 years, but realized we would need one for the babysitter or if grandparents were over the house. Without a phone there would be no way for them to reach me if there was an emergency. I have had the magicjack now for about a year. It was about $70 (i think) for the initial purchase and then only $29.95 per year.

Our only bills are the cellphones, hulu, and internet ($45)

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Daphne October 11, 2013 at 9:29 am

I am really glad you cancelled your Cable TV service. I’m an oldhead so I remember the time when Cable TV promised if we pay them the $29.99 per month that we would enjoy all of our TV programs COMMERCIAL FREE. Nowadays people pay over $59.99 per month for Cable TV that is LOADED WITH COMMERCIALS. I personally unsubscribed because of financial issues. It was tough at first because I coudln’t get my regular TV fix. However 12 years later, I still know what’s going on in the world (lol) my friends, customers and family all keep me in the loop. I visit the library to watch all the “redbox” movies for free.

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Alan October 13, 2014 at 6:39 pm

We just have over-the-air antenna (same as when I was a kid) with a Tivo (not the same:). All the local channels including their “side” channels. More television than we’ll ever have time to watch (especially since the Tivo links Netflix and Youtube). Tivo has always been faithful and provides an OTA-aware programming guide. The price is right and we have “real/normal” television!

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