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When looking at my monthly bills, I was appalled to realize my 2nd highest bill (behind rent) was our cable tv - it was a bundle package, so I was repeatedly told it would save me $$ to get my DSL Internet, cable & landline phone all in one package....but this package costs about $140/month. We simply can't live without tv and Internet, I always reasoned. We use the Internet all the time for the kids education and my CM time! We are always watching programs on cable channels like the History Channel, Science Channel, etc. so for the longest time I rationalized the outrageous cost. But NO MORE! I've finally found a cheaper alternative. 

One time Cost

Roku Box - from $49up

Converter Box -  (about) $40

Monthly Fees

DSL Internet - $19

Netflix - $8.99

Hulu+ -$7.99

total = ~$35

so for those us you not in the know. You can get a digital converter box for about $40, this enables you to watch free tv programming on basic local channels (like ABC, NBC, etc), the Roku is a box that enables you to use online streaming through things like Netflix, Amazon Prime, HULU+, etc....so for a one time fee of about $100 to get the equipment, and monthly fees that will save me about $100/month, we can still watch most of our favorite shows,movies, news programs, etc. 

cons:

With the streaming, you no longer have the ease of your favorite channels or time guides. You instead have to search out each individual show through the different interfaces. Shows from cable channels like HBO & Showtime are not always included in your monthly package but can cost additional fees. (But since we didn't have those channels to start with I didn't factor that into our decision). Also, if you live far from major cities, you'd also probably need to factor in the cost of an antennae to view the basic local channels, but these cost less than $10. Also, in some areas, bad weather can interrupt the basic programming signals. Lastly, there is a delay in the programming - so you won't necessarily see the newest episodes for a few days after they aired on cable channels. 

Pros:

The monthly savings can add up quick, and with some of the fancier Roku boxes, it acts as a sort of Wii system, so it can even include games for the kids. Since it is a streaming interface, you can watch movies downloaded on your computer, like those from YouTube, or your digital camera. And you can get apps for music channels like Pandora. Also, you arent restricted to whichever re-run the channel has scheduled. youcan choose to watch any episode from any previous season at any time youd like. if you were already an Amazon Prime member, then you get even more free programs availabe as well. So once you get used to the different programming, it gets easier.

the point of all this? There are creative ways to cut back on even those bills you deem 'essentials'. If you have an essential gym membership, perhaps you can offer to work in the daycare a couple of days a week to decrease your fee. If you live in an apartment, maybe you could offer to be the one in charge of building maintenance, etc. get creative!

 Home Educators Toolbox  / Articles / Kicbuttmama's Crazy Lapbooks / Kickbuttmama's Home Education
Albert Einstein -- 
   "Everybody is a Genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing it is stupid." 

by on Mar. 2, 2013 at 4:32 PM
Replies (21-30):
collinsmommy0
by Member on Mar. 3, 2013 at 5:10 PM
We ditched cable about 6 months ago because we weren't watching TV - maybe 30 min a day each adult.

We have a Roku & I LOVE it. For our other TV, we have Netflix & amazon prime access - DH set it up & a digital Antenna that DH set up.

We don't really miss it at all
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starbeck96
by Bronze Member on Mar. 3, 2013 at 5:10 PM

We have been talking about having our DirectTV cut off as soon as our contract is up.  I've found that the main things we watch on TV we can watch on Netflix, Youtube, Hulu Plus, and a few other stuff.  Our contract will be up first of next year.  We even thought about just buying out the amount of our contract once we get a little closer to the end of it.

We would not get a converter box for the main channels (ABC, CBS, etc) since we never watch those channels anyway.  Besides we live in a small town and if we wanted to get those basic channels we would have to get a big antenna and they run about 800 or more.  I've already talked to someone about the smaller antennas and they don't really work here.

We pay 75.00 a month for TV and 30.00 a month for INternet.  My husband, 2 boys, and I all have cell phones (no house phone).  We spend about 180.00 a month for those.  The boys work around the house, help my husband or help my dad to earn the money for their phones each month.  This month they will be getting bday money so I told them that they need to go ahead and buy 2 phone cards each so they will have them.

 

starbeck96
by Bronze Member on Mar. 3, 2013 at 5:14 PM

I forgot to mention, that we also cut back by making homemade laundry detergent.  This has been one thing that has probably saved us 150-200 a year (if not more).  I can make a 5 gallon bucket (makes 10 gallons detergent) for under $ 2.00 (the first time you make it costs about 14.00, but you can use nearly all the stuff several times before you have to replace).   Each bucket does about 560 loads!!!  So that means it costs under one cent per load!!!

victoriaherring
by Member on Mar. 3, 2013 at 5:19 PM
If you google redbox instant and go to their page you can put your email in for whenever they start.

Quoting KickButtMama:

Ooooo, I'll have 2 look into the Redbox app when it comes out. Right now we rent from Amazon when we want those newer movies but its ~$4 per movie for 24 hours....I wish there was a cheaper rental because it takes so long to get them to Netflix. ;(

Quoting victoriaherring:

I like Hulu because all the shows I watched weekly on cable are up to date on there, but not on Netflix. So Hulu is good for the tv shows while Netflix has a better movie selection.



Oh and redbox is also coming out with a streaming service. I'm going to try them too with the one month trial. Their subscription will offer 4 free rentals from the box too so that'll be a good way to see newer movies.




Quoting hipmomto3:

I agree. Hulu+ is $7.99. We actually don't like it: almost nothing educational. From that perspective, Netflix is better.





We used to do Roku. But now we mainly use our PS3 to stream Netflix & Amazon.





We pay $8/mo for Netflix and $7/mo for Amazon prime (which includes free shipping for a year). We were paying $80 for satellite. Crazy!







Quoting victoriaherring:

We've done this too. It has saved us a ton! Why does Hulu cost you $19.99? It only costs us $8.



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ballerina.2006
by on Mar. 3, 2013 at 5:25 PM
Unless you have unlimited or high gigs usage plan you will probably be spending more than you realize.

We pay $80/month for our internet. 2gb speed and 120gb upload/download. 120 (company upgraded us for free due to new packages) allows us to stream every single day for multiple hours a day (we tested it for a few days but don't stream or watch that much tv). This also allows our iphones to be on our home wifi and not on 4g.

If you do not have unlimited or at least 50-70gb upload/download things like Netflix and Hulu will not be worth it. This may just be an issue in my area but I'm just making sure others are aware. My inlaws have had multiple months where their normal $140 bill was ten times that amount due to over streaming.
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hipmomto3
by Bronze Member on Mar. 3, 2013 at 6:29 PM

True, but the previous 5 episodes are available on Hulu for free. If you pay, you only get the rest of that current season (for most shows). So if you can just keep up with being no more than 5 weeks behind schedule, you could watch them for free. ;) The ONLY thing we like on Hulu+ that we can't find elsewhere is old Cosby Show episodes. Netflix used to have it but (like a lot of things on Netflix) it just disappeared one day and has not returned. 

The only thing we miss about not having cable/satellite is college basketball. Very few games are on regular network TV - almost all are on Big 10 or ESPN. But, it's still not worth $80/month! 


Quoting victoriaherring:

I like Hulu because all the shows I watched weekly on cable are up to date on there, but not on Netflix. So Hulu is good for the tv shows while Netflix has a better movie selection.

Oh and redbox is also coming out with a streaming service. I'm going to try them too with the one month trial. Their subscription will offer 4 free rentals from the box too so that'll be a good way to see newer movies.


Quoting hipmomto3:

I agree. Hulu+ is $7.99. We actually don't like it: almost nothing educational. From that perspective, Netflix is better.



We used to do Roku. But now we mainly use our PS3 to stream Netflix & Amazon.



We pay $8/mo for Netflix and $7/mo for Amazon prime (which includes free shipping for a year). We were paying $80 for satellite. Crazy!




Quoting victoriaherring:

We've done this too. It has saved us a ton! Why does Hulu cost you $19.99? It only costs us $8.



iknitsweatersyo
by on Mar. 3, 2013 at 7:17 PM
We do the same thing! Saves us $60 a month!
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KickButtMama
by Shannon on Mar. 3, 2013 at 9:41 PM

Wow, I am not sure where you are but that's outrageous in this area...shoot even my mobile hotspot is $50/month for unlimited and it's 4g speed, but i dont use that for our steaming because i pay for limited downloads @$9/month. But I'm exactly 1/2 way between Boston & NYC so there is tons of companies & coverage available. So much so that I didn't know companies were even offering less than 4g. But it's a great reminder for those in less urba

Quoting ballerina.2006:

Unless you have unlimited or high gigs usage plan you will probably be spending more than you realize.

We pay $80/month for our internet. 2gb speed and 120gb upload/download. 120 (company upgraded us for free due to new packages) allows us to stream every single day for multiple hours a day (we tested it for a few days but don't stream or watch that much tv). This also allows our iphones to be on our home wifi and not on 4g.

If you do not have unlimited or at least 50-70gb upload/download things like Netflix and Hulu will not be worth it. This may just be an issue in my area but I'm just making sure others are aware. My inlaws have had multiple months where their normal $140 bill was ten times that amount due to over streaming.


EnduringWon
by on Mar. 3, 2013 at 10:19 PM

We finally eliminated our cable the beginning of this year. Best thing we ever did! We spend much more time as a family and I love saving over sixty bucks a month. We paid seventy a month for cable, now we just have Netflix for 7.99 a month. We do have a Roku downstairs and it works great for us. I love watching tv when it is convenient for me and not having to schedule around a show or two and not watching commercials. We do rent from the dollar kiosks to watch a movie sometimes but we did that before. We do plan on getting an indoor antennae for some local channels (news) but other than that, we are content.

bether89
by Bronze Member on Mar. 4, 2013 at 1:32 PM

 We have cut back on to basic cable and just streaming on Netflix.

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