Need Alternatives to Cable? Feeling Exploited When You See the Bill?

Need Alternatives to Cable? Feeling Exploited When You See the Bill?

Need Alternatives to Cable?

I Felt Exploited When I came home to my Cable Bill!

Six weeks ago I came home from work and opened my cable bill.  Wow! I got such a lump in my stomach. Then I got hopping mad. It had gone up $30. It went from $148 (which I thought was outrageous) to $176. As I often tell you guys, I am a senior citizen living on social security and a part time job. No way I was paying this bill. To be perfectly honest, I couldn’t pay this bill even if I wanted to!

Alternatives to Cable Cut the Cable Cord

This email contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission (at no additional cost to you.)

I don’t know why I haven’t tried to do something about this sooner. It just kind of crept up on me. I did write a post about cutting my TV cable in 2014 but I was testing an antenna that didn’t work for me, so I just gave up. My bills had always been about $100 per month for TV and internet up until a few years ago. Then technology started with WiFi internet and high definition TV. The prices crept up with $5 here and $10 there. By 2014 I was paying $117. In 2015 my bill was $127.50. In March of 2016 my bill was $142.82. And that was with a “so called” bundled package.

Then Spectrum bought Time Warner and the proverbial “sh–” hit the fan.

When you see their commercials that say – Welcome to a new day! Wonderful things are coming! – DO NOT BELIEVE THEM. First I had to get a new internet modem because the one I had didn’t work with the new Spectrum. Now I didn’t have to pay for it as it was just an exchange. But they wouldn’t send anyone out to me to install it unless I paid $45. I did go get it from one of their offices but I had to get help on the telephone for an hour to install it. Turns out someone at that office messed up my account order. Then I finally got them to give me a promotional price which never got posted to my bill because another service rep messed that up. Since then I have talked to over a dozen other people that have also cancelled their accounts with Spectrum for the very same experiences.

That’s when I decided I had to take action. I got lots of opinions from friends that had already dropped out of the TV cable community. They were happy with their choice of cable alternatives. It’s a new and different way to watch television but it works. This is the way the younger generations are watching. I truly believe that as their generation grows they won’t even know what cable television was. It’s like they don’t know what a dial up telephone is now!

Here’s what I did.

I did a lot of talking with others about what they installed. Everyone did the streaming with Netflix and Hulu. A lot of people also had Sling TV. All fine with me. But I needed my local news and network stations. Some people said they did without or read their news. I just wasn’t happy with that. Most people installed antennas on their TVs. So I decided to try that once more. Note: I did these things before I actually cancelled my cable service. It’s good to make sure you will be happy with your new alternatives to cable.

Step 1 – the antenna

I went to Best Buy click for antennas (or you could go to any store that sells televisions and accessories) and picked the salesperson’s mind to learn about antennas. I knew from my previous experience that receiving signals from ABC was a problem for my location. So I bought two different antennas to test. They were both Amplified HD Antennas but one had a range of 45 miles and the other had a range of 60 miles and was more expensive at $69.99. I think I really bought that one because I liked the shape. It would fit in more with my living room. They were not hard to install at all. But remember that after you have attached it to the TV you must go into your television settings and re-scan all the channels. Also, you have to test different places where you aim the antennas to get the strongest signals. This took me about a week to find my “sweet spots”.

Alternative to Cable HD TV Antennas

On the whole, I have gotten excellent reception. I won’t say that I never get some buffering but it’s maybe once every couple weeks for a minute or two. I will say that I got a lot more when I had my TV cable cord hooked up! There was so much that I had to call the company several times a year to complain.

Step 2 – streaming

I was excited about streaming. I already had Netflix on my iPad and was excited that I could watch shows on the larger screens of my televisions. One note about streaming – you must have a high definition television. It doesn’t have to be new. One of my televisions is at least 10 years old. You also must have WiFi internet in your house. That’s how the streaming sticks get their signals. This has nothing to do with the antennas that you just installed. In fact, when you want to switch from regular TV to streaming you will have to locate the “source” button on your TV remote and change the source to HDMI or HTML depending on which connection you used on the back of your TV.

Alternatives to Cable are Amazon Fire TV Streaming Sticks

Step 3 – Setting up.

Again, I purchased two different sticks and I got them online at Amazon. One had 75% more processing power and more memory and resolution than the other. This more expensive one I used on my larger TV because it has more functions available. Click here for more information. Also, the price was $89.99 and Amazon offered 5 payments of $18.00 per month. I was all over that! However, the larger one did not have any cords included. I think that would be because you can use an Ethernet cord, which you would already have from the cable service, or you could hook it up with an HDMI cord which I did already have from something else in the house.

The smaller of the two fire sticks I liked very much and installed it on a small TV in my bedroom. I don’t watch very much television in there so it is perfect. It cost $39.99. Click here to find out about that one.

They were not hard to hook up at all. Just follow the directions for plugging the stick on the back of the TV in the appropriate spot. Some prompts will come up for set up. That’s where you will connect your WiFi and enter your WiFi password. You will have a screen come up that looks like a big app store you would see on your cell phone. You can click on apps you’re interested in and download them the same way.

Netflix or Hulu are not necessary but they have a lot of content. I find them easier to find shows to watch. If you would like them, they do cost money. I went online via my laptop and set my accounts up through there. You will have to give them your credit card info and set up a user name and password for each. When you download them on your TV you will sign in with them. Netflix costs $7.99 per month.  Hulu costs $7.99 per month with commercials. You can upgrade to $11.99 for commercial free which I did after a couple weeks. The commercials drove me nuts.

What now?

I am really enjoying my new way to watch television. Do I miss anything about cable? Yes – I miss the CLOCK on the front of the box you had to have!! Funny huh? So I put a clock in my living room. Plus it takes some patience to get the hang of operating the remotes for the streaming sticks. They are small and I need glasses to see them. A small price to pay for the $100 per month I’m saving.

So now when I say “Welcome to a new day! Wonderful things are coming!” It has a completely new and different meaning!!!

Cut the TV Cable? Not sure!

Cut the TV Cable?

Cut the TV cable. After cutting so much on my grocery bills, I was really pumped to cut my TV cable bill.  After all, I only watch a few channels anyway. Someone told me about a really cool antenna called Mohu, that I could install inside my attic and get HD channels. I liked the idea because where I live, I cannot install anything on my roof. I looked up their on site reviews and overall they were good with just a few smaller complaints. Everyone said they got around 20 channels and they were wonderful HD quality.Cut the Cable, cutting the TV cable cord

It did cost $149 but I planned on saving $43 per month. That’s good, right? So I save up my money and ordered it. Hint – always buy directly from the manufacturer on things you are trying out. That’s the only way you will get a full warranty. I had 30 days to return it if I didn’t like it for any reason. If I did like it, it has a full year warranty.

So I received it. I was excited!! However after it was installed I only received 8 channels. The channels I did get were great HD quality.  I could not receive ABC which is the one I watch the most. Even called the company and they tried to help me but I just couldn’t get it. Maybe it was something in my area but that was a deal breaker for me. So I did send it back.

If you think you want to cut the cable also consider that if you do get a lot of channels you probably will have to get another service to stream movies and shows that are on the channels you lost. Those services are not free. Netflix is $8 per month and there is talk of a price increase. Hulu is also about $8 per month. The new Amazon Fire costs about $99. And these costs are per each TV.

So I’m back on my cable. I’m happy with it. I will just find another expense to cut out of my budget.

UPDATE 3/4/2017 – I finally did it!! I cut my cable TV cord! I used a combination of HD TV antennas and streaming services. To read my step by step process, please click this link to my new post – Alternatives to Cable.

Hooray! Grocery Price Comparison Part 3!

grocerywomanI finally made it to Target to check out what my friend told me about their pricing. I found ground beef at $5.49/lb. However it was on sale that day for $4.66. I think that’s what she was talking about. I also checked ground pork and pork chops. They were $4.99/lb. on sale for $4.24/lb. Their round steak and chuck steak was $5.99/lb. The meats did look like very good quality however it was not a big department. None of the departments were very big. I’m sure grocery is a convenience add on for Target. Things for shoppers to pick up while really are there shopping for items in the rest of the store. Crazy enough though, their prices were very good on the snacks. The produce was terrible. It looked really old. I wouldn’t even try that. So I guess look into the Target in your area. You might find some good deals. As I don’t buy much meat, I probably won’t go there just for groceries.

My conclusion is that I will be going to Wal-Mart first. What I don’t find there I will go to my smaller regional grocery. Not bothering with Kroger. They didn’t have enough lower priced items for me to go there.

So here’s my plan of action which I did last week. Go online (or use your newspaper, I don’t get one) to coupons.com. It doesn’t take long at all, probably 10 minutes each week. Clip the coupons you want. Now here’s the trick! DON’T USE THEM RIGHT AWAY! Most times if there is a coupon, the item will be on sale in a couple weeks. You can save them by expiration date so you can keep track of them. So wait to catch the item on sale, then use the coupon with the sale. Another tip, you can use a store coupon plus a manufacture’s coupon at the same time. If you work it right you can buy an item on sale with two coupons and pay next to nothing for it. Another tip, which happened to me last week, if there’s a vendor’s representative in the aisle stocking his items, be friendly and talk to them! They carry coupons with them to give to customers. I ran into two different reps and they gave me coupons on the spot!

My shopping trip to Wal-Mart last week using my plan saved me $36.00.  For the entire month I saved $72.33 off my grocery bill. And I am just getting started. I haven’t even concentrated on the couponing and the sale items!

So I wish you all good luck in cutting your grocery bill!! Next stops for me are the cell phone and the TV cable bills. I’ve already started on them!

[contact-form][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Website’ type=’url’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]

 

Comparing Grocery Prices (part 2)

grocerywomanIn my last post I compared prices  with my small regional grocery that has 215 stores and Wal-Mart that has 11,000 stores. That was a real eye opener.

This week I went to my larger national grocery store, Kroger, that has 3,700 stores.  Surely they would be much less than my smaller grocery with all that buying power, right? Nope. Out of 50 items that I compared, Kroger was less than my other grocery and Wal-Mart only on 5 items! And not very much on each item, on average 30 – 40 cents. This is not enough to make me switch to them.  Now I just read an article on comparisons between Kroger and Wal-Mart written by Cheapisms.com and although they agree that Wal-Mart beats Kroger prices, there were other factors to consider. A lot of people that commented said that they didn’t like shopping at Wal-Mart because the stores were dirty and the employees were not nice and too few to even find for any assistance. I didn’t find that at the one in my area. It was very clean and there was always someone walking around if I had a question. The article also cited Kroger’s loyalty card benefits and sales.  My small grocery has a great fuel perks program that beats Kroger’s hands down.  And although Wal-Mart doesn’t have a big weekly sales flyer, I found plenty of items on sale in the store, along with plenty of coupons to be found online.   So I guess the upshot would be for you to check things out if you are trying to trim your budget.

Next I want to check out Target. I never even thought of them for groceries but a good friend of mine just told me that she has switched from Kroger to Target.  Especially for the meats! I’ll let you know!

[contact-form][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Website’ type=’url’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]

12