Contrary to popular belief, cable is not actually a necessity. If you really need to lower your monthly bills, it can simply be eliminated. Of course, that wouldn’t be very much fun! Our job is to teach you how to live the life you want, for less. There are low cost options available for your television viewing pleasure. We actually cut cable out of our budget about 6 months ago. I can’t say I don’t miss it at all, but we do have plenty of great alternatives to keep us entertained.
The first thing we researched was satellite options. Direct TV and Dish Network were both actually a little less expensive than the cable in our area. If you don’t get distracted by the shiny brochures offering 357 channels, including every NFL game, every weekend. I know—that’s awesome, right?! (Hey, look! Something shiny!) We definitely considered our options, but finally decided to forgo the expense altogether. That doesn’t mean we’ve given up television!
Our only expense since canceling the cable was the purchase of an HD antennae. This is not your mama’s rabbit ears! It sits flat on top of our home theater cabinet, and I can’t even see it from where I sit. The antennae receives over-the-airwaves channels, including all our local HD. I think we paid $30 for ours, and I am actually quite surprised by how many free channels we get. Most of our regular shows are on basic cable anyway so we aren’t really missing anything. Checking our beloved Colts’ schedule, we’ll only have issues with one game. It’s a Thursday night game, via the NFL network, so it won’t be on cable either. The only thing I truly miss is our DVR—we’re watching a lot of live television again. I had completely forgotten how cheesy commercials can be.
Our antennae obviously doesn’t pick up the premium channels so when I start missing my Planet Green, I just hit up their website for videos. In fact, I can find almost any show online. In addition to full length episodes on networks’ websites, there are numerous services that allows you to stream television shows completely free. The shows are generally posted the day after they originally air on television. We have so far only experimented with Hulu, but the hubby is longing to get AppleTV. You might also check out Fancast, but I have never tried it.
Eliminating cable has had a few unexpected consequences. In addition to scrapping that bill, my girls are finding new ways to entertain themselves. We still watch a lot of videos, including their favorite television shows, but they’re drawing, crafting and playing together a little more too! Our board games have gotten a bit more circulation lately. In fact, we have a fun family dinner game (and giveaway!) to tell you about next week—be sure to check out Tried It Tuesday each week for new ideas & recommendations.
If you’re using a cable alternative we should check out or have ideas for unplugged family fun, please let us know!