At the moment, our coffee table is adorned with a pretty fan-like arrangement of magazines, newspapers, and whatever else we get in the mail. As glad as we are to have something that our guests can listlessly flip through when they visit, the sad truth is that we're never going to finish last week's Sunday paper.
Think Of What You Use, Not What You Wish You Used.
If you only watch one movie per month on your unlimited Netflix account or use your magazine and newspaper pile primarily as an end table, it's time to clean house. Here's our test:
• Do you use your subscription to the max more than 80% of the time? This means reading the whole issue of that magazine or renting the maximum number of DVDs from Netflix.
• Do you mostly read this magazine in waiting rooms?
• Can you get the same content online for free?
If you don't fully use your subscription, mostly read your magazines in waiting rooms where you could read someone else's copy, or could find the same or similar content online, we think you should consider ditching your subscription.
Alternatives To Traditional TV.
According to an AdAge article quoting the CEO of internet TV service Boxee, "60% of broadcast TV is available online free in some form, and 10% of cable TV." Even if your cable bill is bundled with internet, dropping the cable portion could lead to savings as high as $70 per month.
We leave the choice up to you, but here are some nontraditional television options:
Hulu. This is the most comprehensive way to watch TV online. The site carries thousands of current primetime shows (30 Rock, Community, Glee, Modern Family, and, yes, The Daily Show). It also carries older shows (Bewitched, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The A-Team), movies, and sports.
SetJam & Clicker. Pretty much every network has its own site with full episodes, but what if you can't remember what network The Good Wife is on? Check out these online viewing guides and search engines. They'll point you in the right direction.
Netflix.This disc-in-the-mail site also allows you to stream movies to your computer commercial-free. For $9 per month, you can get unlimited streaming.
Boxee. This service aggregates video and other media sources like Hulu, Netflix, MLB.TV, Comedy Central, Pandora, Last.fm, Flickr, and even your own music and video files. The downloadable Boxee software is free.
iTunes.You can also pay for your favorite shows on iTunes when they're not available online for free. Even paying occasionally is still cheaper than cable.
If you can't bear to downsize from that big TV screen to a computer, you don't have to. All you have to do is connect your television to the internet.
- Check to see if your magazines and newspapers have a similar online version for free.
- List out all of your subscriptions, from magazines to newspapers to online subscriptions. Keep the ones you genuinely read and cancel the rest.
- Calculate how much you'll save per year based on these cancellations. Update your budget to reflect your new savings