Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thrifty Thursday: Cheap entertainment...

If you had told me 5 years ago to give up my cable TV programming, my beloved magazines with their bright, shiny, happy pages, and weekly DVD rentals, I would have cried a little (because I would have felt a bit remorseful about beating you senseless).

Fast forward a few years... The plan is in place for me to quit my job and be a stay-at-home Mom.  This leads to some radical new behavior taking place to cut some costs and start saving money like the dickens.

Fast forward 2 more years... Out radical behavior paid off huge.  We haven't had cable TV since then, my final magazines are still trickling in, but none have been renewed, and I can't remember the last time I hit up Blockbuster for some evening entertainment.  Are they even still in business?  That's about $80.00 per month saved on the cable bill (we still pay about $60.00 per month for the wicked-mega-fast cable Internet), about $20.00 per month on magazines (this includes subscriptions and impulse buys at the check-out counter.  I had a problem.), and about $25.00 a month for weekly DVD rentals at the video store (not including the gas to drive there).

Here's how I cope with the loss...oh, wait, I didn't loose anything...I just get it for free now.  OK, so here's how I get my cheap entertainment:

The Talk.  This show is my guilty pleasure. 
~Cable TV... The entity called the World Wide Web that you happen to be using to read this very blog post, is also a goldmine of free television programming.  Almost every major network has yesterday's episodes available on their websites for free.  In the 2 years since cutting out "normal" TV, we've only found one drawback...The Survivor winner is always leaked to us before we have a chance to watch the final episode.

One of my favorites.  So glad their website rocks. 
~Magazines... The same electronic box we use to view our favorite shows on for free is also home to an over-abundance of magazine content.  Every single magazine I used to buy or subscribe to has a ridiculous amount of their content on their websites.  The entire publication isn't duplicated for free on their site, because that would just be commercial suicide for the company, but a great deal of it is available.  And once my final subscriptions have finally run out, and I don't have the magazine in my hand to compare to, how on Earth am I ever going to know what they left out online that I could be getting from the glossy pages?

~DVD rentals... OK, this one's not entirely free, but it might as well be.  Once in a while, when we're grocery shopping, we'll stop at the RedBox kiosk on the way out of the store.  It costs $1.00 for a 24-hour DVD rental.  One.  One single dollar.  And as an added bonus, we're not wasting the fuel just for a trip to get the DVD.  We're getting our movies when we were already at our grocery-getting destination.  Sometimes it's even worth the fuel savings to wait an extra day to return it when I'm planning on driving by there again.  I'm kind of a geek, so I actually did the math on that.  My car gets 34 mpg.  A gallon of fuel here currently costs about $3.89, which means that it costs me about $0.11 per mile that I drive.  My grocery store is about 7 miles from my house.  So it's a 14 mile round trip that costs me $1.54 in fuel.  Since the RedBox charges an extra $1.00 every 24 hours, it's $0.54 cheaper for me to pay the extra-day fee than it is to make a special trip to return it.

So, let's recap... I'm a dork, but it saves us mad money.  What we used to spend on TV, Internet, magazines, and DVD rentals:  $185.00 per month.  What we spend now:  $64.00 per month.  As my dad would say, "Same thing, only different."

Thanks for stopping by,


  1. You had me at ...beating you senseless!!! Priceless!
    We also dumped the cable company a year ago. I asked the little hickletts around here if they wanted it back and I was surprised to hear that they did not.

    1. The same thing happened at my house. My kid would happily park himself in front of Nickelodeon from now until the end of time if he had that as an option (or so I thought). But it's been 2 years now, and he really doesn't seem to care that it's not there anymore. On occasion, we'll find an episode or 2 of Sponge Bob online, but he's just as thrilled to hang out with his LEGOs instead. I think a lot of the paranoia of taking TV away from kids is a lot more about the parents' fears than the kids. Go us!!!