When trying to increase savings, cutting spending is the easier part of the equation. Increasing income is the more difficult one, and it takes some thoughtful planning.
I started with the easiest part of my budget to decrease: TV. Back in Chicago, I could use the roof antenna on my house or even just a set of “rabbit ears” to watch free digital television. As soon as I got the TV set up here in Napa, I found that the low-tech antenna didn’t work at all. I was able to tune in exactly one channel that evening, and that was it. The next day I wasn’t able to get that channel up on the TV at all.
Since I was already getting AT&T Uverse internet set up, I just amended the order to get TV set up, too. I really dislike paying for TV, but I’m also not willing to get by without any local stations. And so I started down the rabbit-hole of pay TV, which seems to quickly escalate into more and more expensive packages.
I chose to splurge a bit by paying for a TV package that included more than just the basic channels. I was interested in a program on Starz (Outlander) and the only way to get Starz was to purchase a package tier that included a bunch of other channels that I never planned to watch. I thought I’d cancel the package after I met the minimum timeframe (one year) and could just absorb the cost until then.
A month later I found myself upgrading to the next tier up that included HBO and Showtime. It was offered to me as a promotion which was going to add only a tad more to the monthly bill. The addition of these premium channels is tempting when there are programs in which you want to indulge. People have raved about Game of Thrones for years, but I hadn’t been able to watch it. With the addition of those premium channels, I could watch all the past episodes of Game of Thrones AND Penny Dreadful (another guilty pleasure only available on Showtime) using their apps on the Roku.
A Roku? Oh, yeah, I also purchased a Roku so I could watch streaming Netflix and Amazon Prime. I had a wealth of entertainment options at that point: an abundance of TV channels, plus two streaming services. I binge watched Outlander with Starz On Demand through UVerse, and did the same with Game of Thrones using Roku’s HBO app and Penny Dreadful using Roku’s Showtime app, so I was ready for the new season releases.
Yes, cutting my TV-watching costs was definitely an easy way to cut my monthly expenditures. I had completed the contract and was free to make changes. I decided to give free TV another chance by purchasing two highly-rated in-house HD antennas. Neither one worked (not even one channel came through!) so I returned the antennas and gave AT&T a call. By changing to the least expensive UVerse TV package, I’ve reduced my bill by $100 a month. (Sadly, there will be no Starz available with this lowest tier package.)
While I’m missing the seemingly endless smorgasbord of viewing options, this was an easy cut to make. The rest will be take a bit more diligence on my behalf.