Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Cut the Cord on Cable: Watch Tv For Free

TV. What are you willing to pay to watch TV and is it worth the cost? Are you willing to cut the cord on cable?

Seems to me like most people fall into two categories. First, they think their cable is too expensive, but they can't live without cable. Or second, they have given up cable and have filled in other options to watch TV. Do you find your family falling into one of these two categories?

Our story
When we first got married, my husband thoroughly enjoyed his cable TV...and spent too much for it! (For internet, TV and a home phone, the cost each month was $120. And, he thought he was getting a bargain, since that was what the Time Warner company told him. And he continued to give in each month as he was a Triple Play subscriber! In addition to this bill, a cell phone bill was also an additional expense at $40 each month.) After a while, we did disconnect our cable and was able to get over the air channels. We went back and forth about having cable and going without cable.

When we moved this last summer, we got our internet hooked up. We asked the Time Warner technician about just getting over the air channels, but he informed us he was unable to legally do that for our home in the current location.

So, my husband started investigating some other options, as he was more desirous of the television that I was. The house already had an older antenna installed that appeared to be in good condition. After tracing the cords in the basement, my husband was able to get us watching 2 channels. Well, it was more than what we had, but the channels played reruns from the early 1980's. Not really what we had in mind.

After a storm, the antenna mast got bent so we had a man come and secure the antenna which led to more channels up and running.

There are still people out there who specialize in antennas if you are interested in fixing yours or installing a new one.

How we watch TV for free
Now, we use our antenna and supplement our watching with the internet. We choose options that we aren't paying anything per month. There are other options out there, but we aren't choosing to use those options at this time.

One of our go to places is disablemycable.com to watch tv shows. I remember the first time I saw my husband searching this website. I thought this website is totally hokey. Not a beautiful site, but it is great that they put all the TV shows that you can watch online in one place. Some of the links/channels you can go to only have short video clips and not full episodes, but for us, some shows are better than no shows. (We are not TV worshippers by any stretch, but when at home we do enjoy turning on the TV.)

Another great place to go is YouTube. There are a lot of movies that you can watch on YouTube for free. I was at Family Video the other day and saw a movie that looked decent. We decided not to get that movie, and I came home and looked it up on YouTube and it was there. I just realized that you can watch House Hunters (HGTV) on YouTube. Uhoh! That might not be a good thing for me to find.

How to hook up your computer to your TV
If you are interested in watching your tv through your internet, you can easily hook your computer up to your TV, in order to have a bigger viewing screen. If you have a computer and TV with HDMI capabilities, you will only need a 6 Feet HDMI Cable to hook up your computer to your TV. Works great!

If you have Apple products, then you will need this cord to connect your Apple Products to HDMI.

There are other methods to hook up your computer to TV, but these are the two options that we have found that are cheap.

What we think
Honestly, we are completely ok with the amount of TV that we can get for free. I know that even with the limited amount that we get, we watch too much TV! I love the fact that we have ways to watch TV that have not cost us much up front and that is not costing us anything each month.

Many people tried to tell us we would save money by switching to satellite TV and internet, or shop around for a better rate. Although this can be true, many of the other companies have qualifying stipulations that you must sign on with a 2 year contract, or there are additional expenses beyond what is written in their typed (hidden) message at the bottom of the page. For instance "after purchase of $299 equipment + installation" or "for 6 month exclusive rate", or "with upgrade to Super Fast/Turbo/Rocket speed internet service". If you don't believe us, just read the fine print of those advertisements that you receive in the mail or see online. We also found it interesting that when you call the companies directly, they will try to convince you to sign on to their "premium package" because you will undoubtedly save so much money. However, although this may be the case, how many channels will you watch, or how much time will you spend online, or how many people will you be calling overseas this week? The time you will be forcing yourself to invest in your entertainment expenses could be better spent with the one's you love, or by interacting with real-life breathing human beings. My husband felt he needed to spend much of his time watching TV or being on the internet for the costs he was paying, but now enjoys not feeling like he is forced to recoup his expenses and be handcuffed to the cable companies.

Is it right for you
Cost has been our biggest influence in many of our decisions and we are glad that we have been able to find more frugal alternatives to live comfortably. We do not get all (or any) channels of ESPN, or every home improvement/DIY channel, but we get a select few channels that we can enjoy to flip on when we want to relax at night. Since a few years ago when my husband was spending over $120 a month for his cable, internet, and phone, the costs have steadily risen to approximately $160 a month for the same options. We now spend $0 on TV, less than $40 for internet and just under $60 each month for our 2 cell phones through PagePlus. So, for $100 each month we have our entertainment and communication covered. We would even like to see those numbers drop even further!

By far the best piece of advice for anyone who wants to be financially sound. Wait to buy that car.. even though your friend just bought one. Save your money and buy a Mercedes later along with a nice house... all the while your friend, who is driving a now five year old, mediocre car, is unable to afford anything else.

Many people tried to convince us that we were "old farts" who were too cheap to live like everyone else. We have to agree with them on this and like to toss out the phrase from Dave Ramsey "If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else!." Our choices might not be the best for you, but hopefully you are thinking a little more outside of the box of what we as Americans have grown to think is the accepted norm, some kind of cable or satellite TV. Cutting the cord to the cable company was a very enjoyable and eye-opening experience. We are able to spend more quality time with each other doing things we actually enjoy while saving money at the same time.

How about you? What do you do to watch tv?

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