Free Ebook.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

« Star Money Articles and Carnivals for the Week of February 25 | Main | Vanguard Gets Reaction to Market Right »

February 29, 2008


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

#6--"Trash the TV" will certainly work for some folks given the cost of cable and satellite. But the secondary reason they cite is fairly ridiculous IMHO (not exposing yourself to commercials). If you don't have the willpower to resist buying what's advertised, I'd say you have issues that require more help than simply getting rid of your TVs.

One of the nice side effects of the mandated upgrade to digital TV in 2009 are all the additional stations you will receive FOR FREE, over the air (assuming you live in a relatively urbanized area), with perfect reception. And no, this doesn't mean you have to buy a new $2,000 HDTV to get it. Your existing TV will likely work fine, at the most requiring a signal converter box.

I have to admit that I'm somewhat addicted to TV and could never live without my cable, but only recently upgraded our equipment to digital. While waiting for an install of an additional cable line to one of the TVs, I simply hooked up a set of old-fashioned rabbit ears and was amazed at how much I could get for free. My PBS station alone has four digital sub-channels (including one exclusively in HDTV) and the signal quality is indistinguishable from what I'm paying for on the other TVs. (Tech geeks will, in fact, tell you that it's better since there's no compression applied.)

I'm not going to get rid of my cable on the other TVs because, as I mentioned earlier, I'm addicted. But others might feel differently once they see how much more they can get for nothing.

I've already saved by canceling the cable guy's visit to hook up this TV as it will remain rabbit-eared. (It's also a nice backup in case the cable goes out.)

#5: you mentioned you would get rid of your cell phone in a heartbeat, but don't because it's free. Would you go a bit further and say what you would do it your phone weren't free? If you got rid of it, what would you do? Keep a landline? I don't have a landline, but do have a cell phone. To me, it's one or the other. Are you saying you would get rid of the cell and the landline? If so, how would you function without some way to contact people and be contacted?

Another great comment by MelMoitzen. I too am addicted to cable TV, but it sure would be nice to drop that monthly payment. You could also save money by cooking for yourself and not eating out.

Chris --

I'm saying that I don't need "24/7 wherever I go" phone coverage. Hence I don't need a cell phone. (Sure it's convenient, but I can certainly live without one. In fact, I use my phone about 99% of the time for email and 1% for actual calls.)

And since my (Verizon) phone doesn't always have a great signal from my house, I'd keep the landline.

"If you don't have the willpower to resist buying what's advertised, I'd say you have issues that require more help than simply getting rid of your TVs."

First, as we all know, the amount of time, effort, energy, cost, and science that goes into the production of the typical 30-second television advertisement often far exceeds the amount of time, effort, energy, cost, and science that goes into the production of the typical 30-minute television show or entertainment program into which the advertisment is placed.

Second, television watching is an inherently passive activity, and one simply does not have the same defense mechanism in place while relaxing beside a television set, that one would have if, for example, a team of salespersons were to march physically into one's private space.

Third, the television advertisement is not necessarily about influencing the person on the other side merely to buy into a specific product, but also, about buying into specific a brand-name, a specific life-style, a specific political view, and so forth.

Fourth, the whole concept of "will power" is seriously muddled. There are a whole host psychological, neurological, and even bio-chemical forces at play in inducing us to behave the way we do, both in the marketplace and in our personal lives, and an exact dividing line between personal will and external influence can probably never be drawn, except within the realm of the deepest spiritual conscience.

All my life I've been addicted to TV. But not long ago I read a comment on a financial blog (probably FMF, since it is my daily one). Saying that they had switch from cable to Netflix. So I gave it a try.
I am very happy with my decision. I went from paying $66 to DirecTV to paying $17 to Netflix. $66 didn't give me anything special, no premium channels, just a bunch of fees piled on top of one another. I, like MelMoitzen got the rabbit ears for free digital TV, so I don't miss a few of my all time favorites.
But there is much more to this. Netflix has more than 90,000 titles, and best of all it has an outstanding system that learns what you like and recommends stuff tailored to you. They not only have movies, they have documentaries, mini-series, and collections from every TV station. I've never paid for premium channels (HBO, etc) in my life, but now I can see all their programming for a very low cost. At any given time I have a queue that will last me for about 9 months, at the rate I see DVDs, which is about 4 a week.
Another plus, TV time used to be only me. Now movies are chosen between me and my wife, so we share more time together. And for us that's a big plus.
I still have the same 32" TV from 10 years ago, but since now the signal is digital, over the air TV looks just the same as a DVD. So I won't be spending $2,000 in a new one any time soon.
If somebody would have told me a year ago that I was going to be happy without cable, I'd have laughed. But I can't tell you how happy I am with my new way of watching TV. Give it a shot!!

Doing all six from this list is a fantasy, but accomplishing one or two is not unrealistic. It comes down to priorities. Personally,I am way to hooked on ESPN and Law & Order reruns to give up my extended basic cable.

But my nuclear family now has more children (2) than cars (1). That wouldn't work for everyone, but it does (most days) for us. Cars are one of the largest consumers of cash-flow out there, with a monthly payment, maintenance, and insurance costs incurred before you even take the thing off your driveway.

I ditched the cable about 4 months ago, but the only thing I really miss is the History Channel. I may have to go back just for that.

Mike Royko once ran a column where he defined saving as cash your $100 paycheck, put 10% in the bank and spend what's left; you've saved $10.... He went on to write his wife's definition of saving was go to Fields' and buy a $100 hand bag marked down 10%; you've saved $10....

I subscribe to the first version. If I have enough left that I don't have to make any of the changes listed in the post, I've succeeded.

Simplify. Simplify. Simplify.

I wish I could convince the wife to do that, but she wants bigger home, more heat, fancier food, and always putting more and more things to do in her day.

Why is living simply such a sin to the suburban middle class these days?

My suggestions:
Cook at home instead of eating out. Wear clothes that don't need drycleaning. Read books in the bookstore or borrow from the library rather than buying. Before buying something, take a deep breath and ask yourself if you really need it. Turn down the thermostat, and turn off the lights when you're not using them. Always pay off your credit card at the end of the month, never pay interest. Don't buy things (other than a car/house) that you can't pay for now.

We don't live without the cell phone, but we are without a landline. I think that's more reasonable anymore. Plus, we even have my parents cell on my account so that they have a cell phone but it's only an extra $10 a month instead of full price for their own.

My husband pays $1500 a year for Satelite, even though the movies are shown over and over again. I don't get it. I am a saver, he doesn't care.

Have you considered a Tracphone option for your wife? I also have a cell phone paid for by my employer and we wanted to have to have something for my wife simply for emergencies (major or minor). We found that Tracfone is a great low-cost option. You pay for a phone and all your minutes (or units as they call them) up front and then just add minutes as you need them. Per minute, it can be a little more expensive than other providers, but since you are only paying for the minutes you want to use (and no other charges) your total cost of ownership is MUCH lower.

Come on Christlike, your husband has to be good with money, he's a man! You're ruining our stereotype:)

I'm actually quite surprised that you're so resistant to these ideas.

* Ditch the car.
This one is easy if you CHOOSE to live in a place that has adequate mass transit. Combine it with a bicycle and you can go anywhere! (I say "adequate" because we live in a city with very poorly supported mass transit and still manage to make it work.)

* Downsize your home.
Don't ignore the fact that its not just the cost of the house you save, but also the cost of heating it and maintaining it. Going small also requires you to pair down your belongings and think really hard about each purchase. Do I need it enough to find a place to store it?

* Bringing in boarders.
In our case, our house is so small that I don't think we could take someone in, but if you have a bigger house, I don't see why this would be so hard.

* Don't pay for housing.
This one I will concede is a bit unrealistic. Unless you have parents who will let you mooch, I just don't see how you will get away with this one.

* Go without a cell phone. one NEEDS a cell phone. Remember how we used to do things 20 years ago? Use land lines to make plans the old fashioned way, as in I'll meet you near the X at Y p.m.; don't be late!

* Trash the TV.
It sounds like you just don't WANT to get rid of your TV. We've lived quite happily without one for the last 6 years and don't miss it one bit.

I've never had a car and hope never to have one. Public transportation is vital for me--I don't want to spend money on a car or create more environmental damage by driving one.

We like our privacy too much to do this.

Going without a cell phone or a TV would be no problem. I have a pay-as-you-go cell phone that I use only occasionally, and we hardly ever use the TV as it is. We always use our computers for watching DVDs.

#6 is quite doable. I haven't been watching TV for years. The downside is I don't know anything about the TV shows my friends talk about.

Thanks for the link. Meow.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Start a Blog


  • Any information shared on Free Money Finance does not constitute financial advice. The Website is intended to provide general information only and does not attempt to give you advice that relates to your specific circumstances. You are advised to discuss your specific requirements with an independent financial adviser. Per FTC guidelines, this website may be compensated by companies mentioned through advertising, affiliate programs or otherwise. All posts are © 2005-2012, Free Money Finance.