Before working from home, I spent a ton of time in the car and could justify XM Radio. After a long day on the road, I wanted good television or a movie available on a whim. That led me to investigate Netflix and finally sign up. At that point, I had two subscriptions monthly: XM and Netflix.
That was just the beginning.
I love the Tour de France, so when changing my cable over to dish, I signed up for a premium package. At the time I felt lucky. The total number of channels I was about to receive dwarved the cable lineup and the price stayed exactly the same. Bonus!
Oh, but I wasn’t done.
We’re Detroit Tiger baseball fans, so through our Xbox (and its Gold subscription annual fee) we sprung for the MLB Baseball season ticket so we could watch our favorite sports team. Of course, ESPN shows a full slate of sports over my satellite provider, too, also through the Xbox.
In short: I’m wired to the gills…and paying for it.
Paring down my electronics
You may think, “Man, he’s wasting money hand over fist!” In the old days, when I owned my business, nothing could have been further from the truth. Sure, I was spending every month on subscriptions, but I was also able to justify the expense by the large sums of money I was bringing home. Now, as a financial writer, I don’t see that same level of income. I also find that because I’m wired to the internet constantly, my needs have changed. I enjoy reading blogs and perusing Flipboard.
It’s time to cut back.
First, I need a plan. This is the plan:
It’s time to broach the subject with Cheryl: I’m investigating options such as Roku, that would allow us to stream channels via the internet over our television. I also have discovered that I can get the Tour de France over the internet. If I’m streaming this event over the internet, I can save tons of money.
Cost of Roku (x2 for two televisions): $160
Cost of Hulu Plus: $8 / mo.
Cost of Tour coverage: $20
Savings from Cutting Satellite: $80 / mo.
Total Savings: (COST of $80 first month, then monthly savings of $72 per month – July, which will be savings of $52)
This is a no-brainer. We have XM in two cars now…we’ll pare it back to a single vehicle. While I can hear the frugalistas yelling, “Get rid of it completely!” I travel too much to do that. We’ll keep it in the car we constantly travel across country in, but dump it in my car. I’ve gone from 45k miles per year in the car to less than 5k, while our primary car has already been driven 55k miles in just over a year.
A holdover from my working days: I have the expanded sports package to hear every sport, rather than the ½ and ½ (they totally rip you on this) in my existing car.
XM Radio Subscription cut savings: ($14.50/mo.)
Total Savings: ($14.50 / mo.)
If you listen to our podcast, you’ll know how much I enjoy movies. I saw 72 films last year alone. However, the disc service isn’t getting the use from me that it once did. Sure, I want it around Oscar time to watch my favorite flicks, but now I can stream videos for a low fee through the iTunes store or Amazon. There’s no need for Netflix on my monthly subscription. I love the original programming and access to older television series available through Netflix, so I’m holding onto that subscription for now:
Cutting to Streaming Only Savings: ($12.00/mo.)
The Big Finale
Total Savings: $98/mo. (except the first month, when I’ll pay $180 for two Roku boxes and July of each year for Tour de France, when I’ll only save $78 on July bill).
Not bad….nearly $1,200 a year and I’m not missing out on any of my entertainment options!
A Giveaway: How About Winning A Great Television?
Nothing helps you streamline all of this media like a quality television. Luckily, I’m part of a big giveaway this month to help you get just that! I know, you can thank me later. However, by spending just a few moments following some good financial blogs on Twitter and liking them on Facebook, you’ll be signed up to win a Samsung UN50EH6000 50-Inch 1080p 120Hz LED HDTV!
Check it out:
(That’s an affiliate link, if you’d prefer to just buy one!)
If you’d like cash for annuities, you’ll love the folks who helped us bring this contest to you, by the way. It’s great to have partners to give this stuff away, isn’t it?
The contest ends May 31, so enter quickly!