Friday, June 17, 2011

Cut Costs, Cancel Cable

My family uses USAA for several financial products; as a result, we receive their magazine. Geared toward saving money as well as spending it wisely, the magazine is one of the few I make an effort to flip through. The current edition has an article on "Turn Finds Into Cash". Under the $500 section is "watch TV for free". They are preaching to the choir with this suggestion.

From March 2006 through January of 2010, we had a TV free household. Yes, you read that correctly. It is not just that we did not have cable, we didn't even have a TV. Sure, we watched episodes of The Daily Show off the web, but only every now and then. As the winter Olympics approached, I had a desire to watch the opening ceremonies as well as the figure skating competition. Not available (reliably) on-line. My mom loaned us a small flat screen she had in her kitchen, but never used. We still have it. It is turned on once every few months. Most recent viewings were: weather updates during a major thunderstorm; the Royal Wedding; the Green Bay Packer's Superbowl Victory; and President Obama's State of the Union Address. All available on free TV, all historical in some sense. I was amazed at the options that now exist with digital TV -- I agree, if you have a TV, there is no need for cable.

If you have children I cannot emphasize this enough. Our kids don't even know where the TV is. As a result, there is little to no begging for items pushed by advertisers. Library books are a delight. And they are somewhat sheltered from the harsh reality of our world. Of the limited programming they have had, our toddler knows the following: President Obama, Aaron Rogers, and Queen Elizabeth.

If you are looking to be frugal, start with cutting out cable if not the TV entirely. You'll save on monthly bill, sell your TV for some easy cash, and reduce the influence of advertisers on your pocket book.

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