January 23, 2012

Category: Budgeting

Cut the cost of your TV bill

Even if your family generally spends a lot of time in front of the television every week, when that monthly cable bill comes, you might still wince to see what you're paying for all that entertainment.   

For many families, the price of a cable bill can be close to $200 every month, particularly if they're subscribed to premium channels and programming packages, according to a report from Radio Iowa. Even if they're paying half of that amount, that's $1,200 per year just to watch TV.   

Fortunately, there are a number of ways consumers can cut the costs associated with being able to watch televisions long as you're willing to tweak a few of your viewing habits, the report said. The easiest way to do this is to make a small investment in a single piece of equipment that can pay huge dividends.  

 "The average family is spending about $1,000 a year to watch TV and I think that's conservative," home technology specialist Chris Cashman told the news station. "If I can still get the major networks, the biggest shows on TV, 'Modern Family,' 'Glee,' 'Big Bang Theory' and all these shows you've got to watch, these are programs that are available over the air, in high-definition and for free. All you have to do is get yourself an HD antenna."   

In addition, ditching service for basic cable stations, and instead switching to services like Netflix's streaming video service or Hulu Plus, which can now be accessed through certain internet-enabled devices like BluRay players or video game systems, can save a bundle, the report said. These services cost as little as $8 a month each and therefore provide significant savings.   

You may also want to consider the benefits of finding ways to save energy when watching TV, the report said. You might not think about it, but having your television, surround sound system and cable box or video games all turned on at the same time can be a big drain on power, but equipment like "smart strips" allows you to plug in all these devices and turn them off with one button. That way, when you're not using them, you'll be in a better position to make sure they're not still consuming power and adding to your bill.