Monday, September 12, 2011

Easy Living Expense Cuts: #1.5 Cable

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Although I already discussed cutting cable in my blog post 'East Living Expense Cuts: #1 Cable', I felt the need to revisit it - hence #1.5. Partly because I want my readers to know I walk the talk, and also to let you know about an alternative solution to cable aside from having zero television altogether. For the past ten months, Mike and I went cold turkey with the television and relied on Netflix and the Internet for our sources of television watching. While these two options kept us feeling mostly satisfied, we still felt a lack of adequate options when it came to watching sports.

The Issue
We are HUGE sports fans - college football and basketball, NFL and soccer top our list. Without cable or DirectTV, we were relying on the slim pickins of ESPN3 and some sketchy (and fuzzy) Internet feeds typically based out of the Netherlands. Once we finished paying off our last loan in the $60K challenge, we toyed with the idea of re-connecting the cable. We ultimately decided we still felt it was a waste of money based on what we actually thought we would watch versus what we would pay each month.

The Answer
We started exploring other options and ultimately decided to buy an external TV tuner (this is the one we bought). Our TV is actually a 32" HD monitor so we needed some sort of external tuner in order to receive television channel signals. Once we set up the tuner, we were able to receive all the major channels (ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, PBS, etc.) with a crystal clear HD picture. With a combination of ESPN3 and the tuner, we were able to watch high quality football all weekend long- plus see all the previews for upcoming mindless shows that will be starting this fall.

Total cost? $99 including shipping and the $10 off for new customers coupon. So for the price of about two months of cable service we are completely satisfied with our television viewing options. Are you Kardashian or Jersey Shore obsessed? Sorry, this might not be the solution for you if E! and MTV are must-have channels.  But if you are serious about cutting your expenses, living on a strict budget and paying off debt, this is a reasonable answer to the cable issue without having to forgo television viewing altogether.

Do you have a real television (with a tuner)? All you may need is a converter box to get what you need - and these typically run cheaper than a tuner.

Disclaimer: I am very technically challenged so please consult a professional to figure out exactly what you need to gain television access without cable.

The Final Assessment
We are pleasantly surprised with our inexpensive solution to our problem. But one additional expense you might need to consider is a more powerful antenna. We get surprisingly good reception with the dinky antenna that came with our tuner but others may not have as much luck. Two thumbs up from Mike and Sarah - this is a savvy way to satisfy your television cravings without the ridiculous monthly charge for cable.

And yes, we are still asking the question - DO YOU REALLY NEED CABLE?

Stay tuned,

What alternatives have you used to save money by not paying a monthly cable bill?

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