The Gaines Group has 6 members, 5 in Charlottesville and me in Harrisonburg. Below is a guest post by Adrienne Stronge from her blog – CvilleSaver. She is an expert at finding deals and saving money.
Guest Post by: http://cvillesaver.blogspot.com/
Cutting cable is an easy way to save $50 or more per month. Andrew and I got rid of cable in fall of 2007. Have we missed it? Not at all! There are so many options out there for getting your entertainment fix without paying an arm and a leg for 250 channels of nothing. Here are some of the things we use for our TV fix…
I cannot sing Netflix praises enough! We started out just getting the movies by mail. We would watch the movies and return them, and then the next ones would be sent. Then we started to play with the online streaming. We would sit in the office around my computer and watch old 80s movies and interesting independent films. I even started streaming videos on my work computer. Andrew was working for the C-Ville Weekly and had to work a lot of late nights, and since we carpool, I was stuck too. I would turn out the lights, put on a movie, and prop my feet up. No longer was it a hassle to wait on him.
Everything changed, though, when Neflix paired with the Roku box to stream to our TV! We hooked the box up to our HD TV, and we were amazed. We now have a queue of 500 movies and TV shows to watch that we can update at any time! It’s like having a video library stored in a device smaller than most of my books. Now, we always forget the mailing a movie part… I think we’ve had the same movie sitting on our coffee table for two weeks… we’ve just been streaming what we want to watch. They even broadcast a chunk of their listings in HD… the quality is absolutely amazing! Since we bought our Roku box, it has now updated to allow for search capabilities through Netflix, it has incorporated channels full of news stations, major league baseball, and amazon.com downloads. We also have a blueray player that streams Netflix, we have the Netflix disc for our wii, and we have the Netflix app for our Ipod touch. Our Netflix can do so much more than our cable could!
To have this awesome service, we pay $8.95 per month to Netflix for the one movie at a time plan. I think we also pay about $50 per month for internet, but we don’t count this fee since we have to have internet for Andrew’s business. For the Roku box we paid around $100, the Wii disc was free, and the blueray player we got on sale for $170… all one time fees.
2. TV on DVD
We are big TV on DVD fans. I usually wait until Black Friday or after-Christmas specials to buy the seasons that we are interested in. Usually at these times, you can get a season for less than 50% of its’ original cost. We then store the seasons on our DVD rack and watch them when we get to them. We have commercial free TV options just waiting to be watched… and we don’t even have to linger in suspense waiting for next weeks’ episode!
Once we finish a season, I will check the box and discs for any defects and then list the series on half.com. Most of the time, the going price at least what I paid for it, if not more. There have been a lot of instances where I’ve paid 25% of retail cost for the DVDs new, but then the half.com price averages to 45% of retail cost. I just made $10.
My favorite places to buy DVDs online are Amazon.com, and Deepdiscountdvd.com. Amazon has really random sales. Sometimes DVDs will appear in their Gold Box discount or Lightening deals. What I usually do is add the seasons that I’m interested in to my cart, then click on save for later. Every so often, I open my cart… and if the price on the season has changed, it will alert you. Deep Discount has sporadic sales as well. Usually, their sales are B1G1 sales. They will list all the shows they have to offer, and then you’ll want to do separate transactions for each price tier. Say I want four movies at 32.95, and 2 movies at 24.00. If I bought them all in one transaction, I would pay 98.85… three movies at 32.95 and my 24.00 ones would be free. If I broke that down into two transactions, my total would be 89.90… two movies at 32.95 and one at 24.00. Both of these sites offer free shipping (over $25 for Amazon)!
Our rule of thumb is to never pay more than $25 for a season…. and usually we scoff at anything above $18.00. Yes, we get the current released seasons for $18.00 or less. It’s all about being patient. If you are really anxious for a season, consider buying it used on half.com. If you can wait for a sale, then you’ll get an amazing deal. The average price that we re-sell for is around 22.00 – 24.00, so if we’re patient enough, we make money to be entertained!
Warning: It can get addicting when you see a good sale. Be sure that you’re not overspending for something you’re not even interested in seeing… believe me, I know from experience!
Many individual station sites are starting to post their recently aired episodes onto their website. Hulu.com is basically your one-stop-shop for recent episodes from many different stations.
We started going to hulu.com because we’re suckers for The Office. After finishing season 4, we really wanted to keep up with the show. We read an online review for hulu.com and realized that they were carrying the brand new episodes, plus new episodes of many of our favorite shows.
The Office airs on Thursday nights on NBC. On Friday evenings, we sit in our nice, leather office chairs, turn out the lights and play the new episode on hulu.com. Great quality, limited commercials. The commercials play approximately 3 times per episode. Hulu commercials are far superior to other online commercials because not only do they feature mostly non-profits… the volume actually goes DOWN when they air. We had started off watching The Office on nbc.com, and their commercials would play at 2x the volume of the show!
So now I can keep up-to-date with what’s on TV… I just have to delay our office’s recap of The Office until Mondays… they happily oblige my delayed viewing.
4. Live Streams
Every once in a while, there’s something that will be on TV that you’ve just got to watch. A presidential address, breaking news, or even a sports game. The good news is that most of these events are broadcast live on sites such as msn.com, cnn.com, & espn.com. For Obama’s inauguration, I tuned in on msn.com and watched at my office. Even the Olympics were streamed online!
So really… you don’t miss much by canceling cable. You don’t get sucked in to crap TV… you pick and choose what you’re willing to watch. You have greater control over what your kids watch if you have Netflix streaming… (most Disney shows and kids movies are in their instant viewing list)… and you don’t have to worry about them seeing all of those enticing commercials. I don’t think we will ever purchase cable again!