Free Television & Low Cost Internet Access: Save $100 A Month

by Guest Blogger on 2010-10-1115

When you are in debt elimination mode, one of the first things you should consider doing is to create a budget for your spending categories. This is so that you can see where all of your money is going and so that you can find places where you can free up some money. One of the first things I did when I began this process was to look at my spending for cable, phone, and internet. These three items can certainly eat up a large amount of the money coming into your household. So, here are some major steps I have taken to reduce these items. If you can do most of these, I guarantee that you can save $100 to $200 a month.

With Free Television & Low Cost Internet Access, Save $100 A Month

1. Where can you find free television?

Well, I’ll be honest. I’m somewhat of a couch potato as I love to vegetate in front of the television from time to time. However, I do not love paying $45 a month for basic cable, which was something that I was doing. So, I decided to do something drastic. I terminated my cable service. Yes, it was painful for the first month. Here’s the thing though, I have not missed it since that first month. I have added a high definition converter box to my TV so I can pick up all the major channels with complete clarity. This way, I never miss an episode of Dancing with The Stars and House! ;-) I also go to web sites such as Hulu.com and Joost.com to watch the shows that I can’t get on my regular television. These sites offer all the major television shows as well as free movies. Just know that the cable company will always take you back if you decide you can’t live without cable TV.

Total Monthly Savings = $45 to $95

For a more comprehensive look at this topic, do check out our past articles on how to save money on cable television and TV services and free ways to watch television online.
get free television

2. Cell phone vs home phone — should you have both?

In today’s society, many people have opted to do away with the home phone in favor of the cell phone. Many have cell phone bills that range from $150 to $250 a month. What on earth? Now even if you have a cell phone, you may also still have a basic land line at home, which could run you a pretty penny each month. In my particular situation, I have found the best of both worlds. The first thing that I did was order a little device called the Magic Jack. The Magic Jack is a little device that you plug into the USB port on the back of your computer. You then plug your phone into it. With this set up, you’re able to get voicemail and call anywhere in the United States. The cost? It’s $40 for the entire year. Each additional year is only $20. That comes out to about $3.33 a month if I am doing my math right.

In addition, if you are someone who is always on the go and who still has a need for a cell phone, there is a great company called StraightTalk.com. This company offers 1000 anytime minutes and unlimited text messaging for $30 a month. This is a rocking deal! This company uses the same towers as Verizon. So, it’s your choice, you can pay Verizon $70 a month or pay StraightTalk $30 month. Either way, you get the same quality phone service.

Total Monthly Savings = $56.67 (based on minimal amounts for phone prices)

Once you’ve got some extra savings you can put away, you can set them aside in a well regarded high yield bank account such as those offered by FNBO Direct or Ally Bank.

3. Are you paying a lot for Internet service?

internet service, ISP

With the invention of the Internet, we can be virtually anywhere, anytime. Now, if you love the internet, but not the costs, there are some great ways to save on your bill. You may even get the service virtually for free! The approach that I took was to call my internet provider and ask for their cheapest internet service. No, I didn’t get dial up. I still have my wonderful Road Runner, and it’s virtually the same speed for $10 less. I would recommend calling or visiting the web site of your internet service provider to see if you can find a service that is comparably cheaper but offers the speed that you need that is a step above dial up.

If you are looking for free internet access and your laptop computer has wireless internet, you can get access to the internet at many restaurants, coffee shops, and libraries. This is a great option for those who are trying to trim their budgets to the bare minimum. Doing some basic research online can yield you some locations where you may find free wireless and internet access. There are tons of locations all over the US.

Total Monthly Savings = $10

All in all, the savings here are over a $100 per month. Have you optimized your entertainment, cable, phone and internet service packages?

 
Contributing Writer: Selena

Copyright © 2010 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

David Alexander October 11, 2010 at 9:05 pm

With Google Voice, you can get a free phone number and call any number in the United States for free, saving $40 for the Magic Jack. Google Voice also transcribes your voicemail and sends the transcription to your email. How cool is that?

Silicon Valley Blogger October 11, 2010 at 9:59 pm

Yep some of us are still a bit behind in the times but we’re getting there. :) Thanks for the tip on Google Voice. Skype is everywhere too but I haven’t even tried it yet. Am I lame or what? :)

David Alexander October 12, 2010 at 6:54 am

I used Skype to talk to my daughter in England for free (Skype to Skype). It’s nice being able to see her and talk as long as we want. My daughter uses it to talk to her friends in different colleges in the States and they use it to talk to their parents back home. Skype charges for calls to mobile and landlines in the US — Google Voice doesn’t (probably to compete with Skype).

Google Voice also gives you a free phone number and voicemail with free voicemail transcription that gets sent to your email if you want. So, my daughter in England left her iPhone here, turned off, forwards her voicemail to the Google Voice number and her friends can still leave her messages and she retrieves them over the Internet — all free — whereas if she didn’t have Google Voice she would have had to pay long distance to listen to her voicemail messages.

Both charge for calls to mobile and landline phones in the UK, but Google Voice is cheaper.

We dropped our landline about a year ago because everyone in the family has iPhones and nobody was calling our landline except political telemarketers and non-profits, since we were on the no-call list.

I love reading your articles!

Kosmo @ The Soap Boxers October 12, 2010 at 7:38 am

Unless they have changed the service drastically in the past few months, Google Voice will NOT replace an existing phone line – it forwards incoming calls to an existing number.

The Biz of Life October 12, 2010 at 6:33 pm

I’ve ditched cable for an antennae and internet TV. I’ve killed the land line for Google Voice and a cell phone. Google Voice is VoIP for your PC through gmail. It will ring on your computer and any other phones you chose to forward calls to and can text voice mail transcriptions to cell phones.

kosmo@ObservingCasually.com October 12, 2010 at 8:15 pm

Hmm. When I signed up with Google Voice (it’s been a while) you had to tie it to an existing line, either landline or cell – it basically sat in the middle of the caller and recipient’s phone lines. It looks like they went completely VOIP about 6 weeks ago. Cool – I’ll have to revisit it.

jdp October 13, 2010 at 7:37 am

Home phone (no bells, no whistles, just an unlisted #) = $28/mo (no long distance – use google voice)

Cell (pay as you go) = @ $7/mo ($20 every 3 mos) handy in an emergency, not for incoming calls as I rarely remember to turn it on

Internet – free for now via my phone co. When the free deal runs out I’ll get another year at $20/mo highspeed

T.V. – none, not even your nice free kind because I live in PODUNK. :) LOVE the networks that have their shows online, hulu is ok but blah mostly. We’re too busy for t.v. anyway.

Total cost of “being connected” = $45/mo. (taking the $20 internet and dividing the $20 months via total months = $10 / mo) Watch your phone and cable providers websites for deals! I waited a year before signing up (using library and coffee shop wifi) til the deal was right.

jdp October 13, 2010 at 7:40 am

another note: my phone co just came out with an “internet only” promo for people not wanting a phone bill. offer = $28/mo. LOL its the same as a phone bill and free internet and google voice. Maybe if my internet rate via them ever goes up I’ll do that one.

Magic Jack October 13, 2010 at 10:39 pm

I went from paying $180 a month for cable to splitting Directv with my cousin. Three ways no less. That brings my monthly payment down to $40 a month. You can’t beat that.

camilla October 15, 2010 at 11:00 am

Try Ooma for a home phone. Costs a bit at the start but then you own your phone number and never have to pay another dime unless you want premiere services or international calls. We paid $200 for Ooma 3 years ago and haven’t paid a phone bill since. It includes voicemail and free calling anywhere in the States. You can also take it with you wherever you go. We use Google Voice to make international calls as their rates are just slightly cheaper. We love our Ooma. Great customer support too.

Anne O January 18, 2011 at 8:52 pm

We gave up cable because we wasted a lot of time mindlessly watching shows we’d never actually choose to watch. So we canceled it and use $10 rabbit ears to get the 4 network channels so we can still veg out a little to the news or Jeopardy & Wheel of Fortune after dinner. We spend a little more for faster Internet, but we also use it a lot for work (I work entirely at home right now). This saves us money in other ways as we can stream music (yes, legally) instead of buying it, and stream movies & TV available for free online.

Brip Blap January 19, 2011 at 11:52 pm

Hey, if TV relaxes you, watch it. I just think that too often people THINK it relaxes them when really they’d be more relaxed taking a shower or reading a book.

But if you get a kick out of a program, watch it. Just make sure it’s a good one, like a Jets game :) or The Colbert Report.

Steve

Nicholson January 20, 2011 at 1:14 am

Watching tv, movies or videos is one of the alternative ways to relax… isn’t it?

Mark Westwood September 8, 2011 at 3:05 pm

I live in Southern California, so I am fortunate to have a lot of available channels. Nearly 100 digital channels for free. All the regular channels, plus their sub channels. Many of which aren’t seen by those tethered to cable or dish. Included are This TV, A Classic Movie Channel, United Sports Network, Live Well, Antenna TV, and MeTV both with old favorite classic shows, not to mention three cartoon channels, and more. Recently I helped out a friend by house sitting and watching their dog while on vacation. I actually missed my antenna TV. While all the special cable channels were playing infomercials, my old antenna stations were playing actual programming.

I have also coupled a Roku netgear box hooked via my wireless internet to my TV to provide Netflix, Hulu Plus, Crackle, EPIX, and Newscaster to give me 1000′s of other choices. Newscaster gives me the best of CNN, MSNBC, FOX, and all the other news shows, plus their daily updates. I have become so passionate about this that I have made a website about it at SoCalFreeTV.com. It’s amazing how many people just don’t know about Free over the air digital TV. I have hooked up at least a dozen of my neighbors in my mobile home park, and many times I do it at no charge using their old equipment, and maybe buying some new stuff as well.

I usually get reimbursed plus a little tip from those I know. For strangers I try to keep the price as low as possible. Often times I find whole families in front of blank TV sets because they can’t afford cable and they no longer have it. Younger people just have never lived in an era where antennas were used to pick up TV over the air so they always ask if it’s legal. Older people still remember the static TV of the past, and that is no longer the case with digital. You either have it or you don’t. Nonetheless, those who have tried it in my area are delighted so save the hundreds of dollars or more a year.

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