Austerity Measures -- Suggestions?

Discussion in 'Dancers Anonymous' started by pygmalion, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Didn't really know what to call this thread, since I really want to ask about how to save money on cable/satellite TV service. But I can see this thread growing beyond cable TV, so austerity measures it is.

    DS and I had a serious talk about money over the holiday break. Money is okay and we certainly have enough for everything we need and then some. But there are a few budget line items where I think we're getting fleeced, cash-wise. And a penny saved is a penny earned, so I'm examining our budget to see where we can save some cash.

    Cable TV is job one. Where we live, you could conceivably do without cable altogether, since there are plenty of local channels. That's not my goal, though, since I'm pretty sure I'd die without Law and Order SVU. OTOH, the cable package we have is ridiculously expensive -- everything from soup to nuts, plus a few premium channels.

    Any suggestions on how we can save cash but still have at least a basic cable line-up? Right ATM, I'm thinking of cutting back to basic cable, then adding Hulu Plus ($8 a month.)
  2. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    Hulu plus, and Netflix... all 14 seasons of your show are on Hulu plus... I find that no cable at all (just my on roof antenna) gives me all I need). If you look at the price you are paying for basic cable, you could have an antenna installed for about 4 months of basic, and then you are in profit mode.
  3. bia

    bia Active Member

    I'm no help as far as your specific question, because my vote is for what you've ruled out. I like life without cable, as a rule. Local channels plus (only recently) Netflix keeps us on the couch plenty. We miss some sports that we'd like to see on cable, but other than that, every trip to a cable tv just reinforces that it's a whole lot of nothing on. I bet you could figure out an on-demand source for SVU (Hulu Plus, Netflix, Amazon Prime, one time purchase of all dvds?), if that's the only thing tying you to your cable bill.

    ETA: Bailamos beat me to it.
    pygmalion and Bailamosdance like this.
  4. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Amazon offers streaming video?

    ETA: Oh my goodness! They sure do. Didn't know that. Thanks for the tip! :)
  5. bia

    bia Active Member

    yup. There's a subscription thing, plus pay-per-view for other higher-demand things. I don't know how the selection compares to other streaming sources, but could be worth investigating.
  6. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member


    I was just over there. I will definitely do some comparison shopping. Having two streaming video services would probably defeat the purpose of trying to save cash, but I will definitely pick one. It's nice to have choices. :)
  7. bia

    bia Active Member

    If you do decide to ditch the cable, you can also hold off on top-of-the-house antenna installation until you're sure you need it. That'll get you the best reception of the most channels, of course, but amplified rabbit ears could be enough -- they are for us.
  8. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    Hulu plus is $9.95 a month.
  9. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Well that was easy. But I would still welcome any other suggestions folks have -- intro specials, combo deals, loyalty rewards, airline miles. Whatever you got, bring it. :)

    Also, any other ideas you've implemented in the cash saving department (not just cable TV) would be more than welcome. DS and I have a goal to save enough cash to finance an extra vacation for us this year. I think is very doable. Every little bit helps.
    Bailamosdance likes this.
  10. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member


    Thanks. I'm pretty sure that Hulu offers a free introductory week. I may check that out, to get a better feel for what DS and I will actually watch.
    Bailamosdance likes this.
  11. JudeMorrigan

    JudeMorrigan Well-Known Member

    For me, the single biggest budgetary line item that has actual give in it* (particularly since I got rid of my satellite tv a while back as well) is food. It's fairly stupid on my part. I'm a perfectly decent home cook, which means that for the most part, making my own food is cheaper, healthier AND tastier than eating out ... but I still do the latter more often than I should. And even within the realm of cooking my own food, there's always room in my own budget to trim a bit of fat. So to speak.

    * Well, ok. I suppose my pro-am lessons and competitions are technically the biggest place where I could cut back. But that's just not going to happen to any significant extent right now.
  12. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Believe me. I did not expect anybody to sign up for cutting back on dance lessons. lol.
    JudeMorrigan likes this.
  13. bia

    bia Active Member

    One that you know and are probably already doing -- attention to the thermostat, especially in the summer (for Texas). I am amazed at how cold many people keep their summertime houses. We don't deprive ourselves of comfortable temperatures, but we make sure that that comfort is dependent on season-appropriate clothing. Based on the utility bill estimates that the previous owners of our house gave us when we bought, I think we spend about half as much as they did on summertime electricity.
  14. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member


    I do this to the extent possible; a programmable thermostat helps. DS, OTOH, can be the opposite of helpful. He likes the house cold. This works out well in the winter, in the summer not so much. We're working on it though.
  15. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member


    This is true for me, too, although it's not so much eating out that is the issue. (Pay no attention to the Chinese food delivery man behind the curtain!)

    My biggest food-expense-related issue is with going grocery shopping without planning. I tend to go to the store most days and, when I get there, I buy what I need, but I also *often* ending making impulse purchases of things I don't need. If I planned ahead and went once a week (or even less frequently,) that would be one opportunity a week for impulse purchases, rather than six or seven. Not saying that the goal is NO impulse purchases. I couldn't possibly plan for everything even if I wanted to. But I have to say that the more time I spend in stores, the more money I spend. And it's easy to rationalize spending too much, if it's on food, a "necessity."
  16. Purr

    Purr Well-Known Member

    I tried going with cable once. I lasted about a week before I called the cable company to restart with just basic cable.

    I discontinued the long distance service on my land line, as I can make long distance calls on my cell phone.

    I keep a close watch on the thermostat. In the winter, generally I turn the heat off or way down at night, and during the day at best it's around 70 degrees. If no one's home, the temperature will be lower. In the summer, I don't run the air conditionining unless it's really hot. Most of the time I can get by with the ceiling fans and the cross ventilation between the sunroom sliding doors and the main door. Or, I'll pull down the fan from the attic.

    I go grocery shopping once a week, with a shopping list and a box of organized coupons from Sunday's newspaper.

    I called the newspaper when I received my yearly bill that I thought was a little high, and I was thinking of cutting back on my service. The representative gave me a special promotion rate for a year so I'd keep the daily service. It never hurts to ask.
  17. Purr

    Purr Well-Known Member

    I earn reward points on my Sears Mastercard, which I redeem for gift cards or merchandise on the Sears rewards website.

    I also use my K-Mart rewards card when I shop at K-Mart and Sears, and the rewards card earns money which can be used toward future purchases Yesterday when I bought a Land's End jacket, I applied about $4.40 of rewards money towards the jacket. FYI, the jacket was originally $60, then marked down, then 40% off the mark down price. With the $4.40 added, I ended up paying a little over $21 for the jacket.

    Another savings is buying gift cards at Kroger or Giant Eagle, which runs nice promotions toward fuel purchases. Kroger sometimes has quadruple gift card points, and that's when I stock up on gift cards for places I'll shop anyway.
  18. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Other than the Sunday paper on the weeks where the front page advertises that there'll be a lot of coupons in the insert, I don't buy print newspapers anymore. I have a digital subscription to the local paper, which is one third the price of a paper copy. On the weeks when I do buy the Sunday paper, I almost always use enough coupons to at least cover the cost of the paper. (Not hard to do. The Sunday paper costs $3.00)

    I also get a lot of my news from non-local papers online. Most give access to the major headlines for free.
  19. Purr

    Purr Well-Known Member

    Another austerity measure I do is pack my own lunch for work, instead of buying it. I draw the line at making hot tea at work, though; it's easier, and less messy, to just buy a large tea at cafeteria. I don't want to deal with dirty tea cups at work.
  20. Purr

    Purr Well-Known Member

    You might want to look into websites like Groupon, which offers a lot of specials.

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