Popular DVD services have made it possible to get rid of your Cable TV and save hundreds of dollars per year.
Netflix. Consider Netflix. As well as getting DVD’s in the mail, you can stream movies online with your computer. Prices start at $8.99/month, which includes unlimited streaming.
Netflix Streaming. One really cool thing about Netflix is that you can stream movies from Netflix’s website directly to your home computer. And if you have a Roku or XBOX 360 you can stream directly to your TV. It’s like watching TV, except there are no commercials, and it is much cheaper!
Pre-Paid Cell Phone Plans
If you don’t talk a lot, consider switching to a pre-paid cell phone plan.
I recently switched to a T-Mobile pre-paid plan. I pay 10 cents a minute and my minutes never expire (but you need to refill every year.) The nice thing is that I don’t have to pay a bunch of taxes and fees. With my old phone, my plan was $39.99 a month, but my total bill with taxes was over $55!
Doing the math, I save money with my new plan as long as I don’t talk more than 550 minutes a month. Plus, I don’t have to sign a contract.
Bundle Your TV, Phone & Internet
If you pay separate bills for home phone, cable, and internet service, you may be able to save by bundling all these together with either your cable or phone company.
Be aware that many of these bundling offers have a “teaser” rate that expires after a few months. When it expires, call and threaten to cancel. The company might extend the low rate.
Use Skype to Reduce Cell-Phone Charges
Talking on a cellphone can be expensive, especially internationally. To save my minutes, I use Skype when I’m at my computer.
Skype turns your computer into a phone. You can call other Skype users for free, and other phones for very cheap. All you need is an internet connection and a headset. Other services even allow you to add a webcam so that you can see the person that you’re talking to.
Save on Landline Phones
Still using traditional landline phone service? You’re probably paying too much. Here are some ways to save money.
Internet Phone Services:
- Vonage looks and acts just like a regular phone. With Vonage, you can use your internet connection to make phone calls worldwide, for prices as low as $17.99/month.
- Another option is Skype. With your computer, you can talk for free to other Skype users, and make inexpensive calls to landlines and cell phones. To use Skype, you will need a computer headset. This is the one I use.
- Finally, some people have had success with MagicJack. It’s a device that allows you to plug a phone into your computer. It makes calls using your computer’s internet, and costs $40 plus $20/year for unlimited calling. However, the MagicJack might not work for everyone.
To use either Vonage, Skype or MagicJack, you must already have high-speed internet.
Don’t get long-distance from the phone company. If you want to make a long-distance call, use a calling card. Don’t pay more than a couple cents a minute. Beware of connection fees, though.
Free Alternatives to Cable TV
If you add up all your monthly cable bills for an entire year, and you will realize that cable TV is very expensive. Here are some free alternatives:
Internet TV is Here! Hulu.com offers free TV programs on the internet including Saturday Night Live, The Office, Family Guy and more. Some other programs, like The Daily Show, offer free streaming on their websites.
The Local Library. In many cities, you can borrow movies from the public library for free.
Bunny Ears. I’m a huge NFL fan, and I wouldn’t want to miss the game on Sunday. Fortunately, it’s available for free on broadcast TV. Why pay for cable when the best channels are still free?