Sometimes you just hear a phrase that sums up perfectly how you feel, but haven’t found the correct words to express your feelings. Watching some nondescript television show that I don’t even remember, Wendy’s had a commercial that summed up exactly my thoughts why and when we became frugal.
The commercial begins with three people eating lunch at a table. The man says I’m saving money. (paraphrasing of course) He is eating a cut rate burger. I don’t remember what else he has, but then the Wendy spokeswoman says so am I! She has an awesome looking hamburger ( why they never look like that I’ll never know) and an assortment of other foods. She says “saving money doesn’t mean settling for less”. Well somewhere in the commercial it says that. Not sure where. I mean once I heard that phrase I repeated it until I could find some paper and a pen to write it down. I knew it had to be added to my Monday blog.
When we made the decision to change our lives we didn’t want to do without the important things. The things that make our lives happy. We fixed our new home up and made it almost perfect. There are always things we want to change, but for the most part we are happy in our home.
The first thing you should do as a new to frugal person is really take a hard, hard look at your life and take stock. Take a look at your finances. What do you spend money on? Our first step was looking at our bills and reducing them. We then looked at the activities we were doing and made changes there. You need to think about what brings your life joy. What do you do that you and your family really could care less about? What do you do that you like, but could do less of?
We moved to our new home and of course brought our Directv and our internet. We had a plan that was supposed to be $59 a month. It turned into closer to $100 per month just to watch television. I sat down by myself and researched lower priced options, but none fit what I wanted. I just couldn’t accept paying $100 for so many channels. By the time we paid our internet and satellite bill it was $135 per month.
Our internet was not an option to cancel or lower the speed. We had the lowest speed already. Chris checks his accounts and I balance the checkbook nearly daily so we had to find a way to lower the cost of cable. The ads for Netflix are always popping up. I was able to take a good look at the options they offered and was impressed. I still am. For approx. $9 a month we can watch hundred’s of movies and tv shows with on demand streaming through our Wii.
I proposed to Chris the idea of canceling cable and just getting Netflix. Chris and I were still conflicted as we wanted local channels to know whether or not a hurricane was coming our way. 🙂
I must have convinced him to give it a try because he started researching antennas. He first bought our son an antenna that sits on the television. The house he was living in was in the middle of nowhere and we thought he may get a few channels that the girls could watch. He got bunches! Chris bought himself one after that and we cut the “cable”
The truth is most people who give up cable or satellite come back pretty quickly. Our daughter who lives in Illinois couldn’t wait to get back to Directv because they lived in the country pretty far from basic channels signals. Because of our location we get all the major networks, ABC, CBS, CW, Fox, and NBC. We have 3 channels of Public Broadcasting, and a couple of retro channels, and a couple other good channels. Of course there are lots of religious stations and Spanish language stations that are entertaining too. I know I am missing a station, just can’t think of it.
The key for us has been Netflix. You don’t have to use Netflix. There are many options out there. You have Hulu, Amazon, and Voodoo to name a few. The major networks have their own shows that are currently running that you can view via their own websites on the internet. You can hook most computers up to your television and watch to your hearts content.
We have a Roku in our bedroom that has a wide variety of free and pay to see channels. It is a different option to use to hook up the Netflix and other companies to view on your television. Wii, PlayStation, a computer, laptop, and Roku can all be the vessels to entertain you and watch television. They just don’t get local channels.
Let me tell you this is not an easy change to make! We miss the DVR so very much! We are both sports fans. Rarely can we see a University of Michigan football game, a Red Wing or Lightning hockey game. or a Chicago Cub or Tampa Bay Rays game. We (I mean me) miss watching HBO for True Blood. Yes I really am crazy. But after a few months we became accustomed to it. We have found some great shows that we would never have seen if it weren’t for Netflix.
We have been approached by satellite salesmen, and get ads from our local cable company all the time. They just don’t compare price wise. The cable company says to add the smallest bundle for $10 to our internet bill. I checked it out and basically we already get the entire bundle for free via an antenna.
For us, the savings is worth no longer having cable or satellite. $135 compared to $44 means we save $91 a month. I, personally, can think of at least 3 things we could do with $91 a month. My husband could find a way to invest it and save it. $91 time 12 equals a trip to Illinois to visit our daughter and grand kids too.
I have one more suggestion. It is very difficult to adjust to a no cable lifestyle. Even harder if your internet company has a data limit or you have no channels to choose from with an antenna. I suggest you do your research to find the lowest cost alternative and then contact your current provider. Explain that Dish TV (no preference, just an example) has this amazing deal of what ever they are offering you and see if the current provider will match your new price. This does not always work. I attempted it with Directv and they refused to negotiate prices before we cut the cord. In fact we were still on the fence concerning cutting the cable. We would have stayed with Directv had they lowered their price. Our middle daughter does great negotiating for lower cable prices whenever her contract is up.
So there you have it. Saving money doesn’t mean settling for less. It means saving money while living a lifestyle that you enjoy. It can also help to make life easier as the winds of finances change.
One very, very important announcement! I was recently accepted to be included in the BlogHer Social Media Influencer Program for Pinterest! I am very excited to see what they have me do! Will keep you all informed!