It's usually one of the first things cut out of the picture, cable. Whether digital, satellite, fiber optic or plain old analog descrambler it can add up to a lot of money on a monthly basis. Sure, a lot of cable providers offer discounts and sales for combining your service with broadband telephone and internet. But in the long run, you're still spending unnecessary dough. Sales are only cost effective if it's something you actually need and use on a regular basis.
Sure, you may watch a lot of TV. But do you need it? If you can afford it, this isn't a problem. Nothing is a problem if you can afford it. This is why there are people with weekend homes and summer cars. But if you're poor, yeah, well, catch you later HBO.
A lot of the Western World is programmed to run on TV, though. How do you cope, and legally at that?
Here's a couple of ideas:
- If you're a couch potato who suddenly finds itself jammed through a french fry slicer, try getting another job. It sucks, I know. But a lot of large retailers and food service providers hire all throughout the year for a large variety of hours. If you do this, you're not only cutting down spending but you're also increasing your income, even if you work a meager 8 hours a week, that's a $100 dollars every two, even at minimum wage.
- Get a library card. I could (and likely will.. later) write a whole article on the wonders of the library, both to those in debt and out of. Libraries are free, in every town within the United States and more often than not, you have access to more than one. By default you can receive a completely free membership to the library in the town or city you live in. But what if you live in some backwater community where the library isn't so hot? Most often than not you can also apply to become a member of a library within the town or city you work in, also. Just remember to bring a pay stub as proof.
Are you rolling your eyes? Read books? Who does that? Well, if books aren't your forte most libraries offer a selection of up to date magazines as well. Still not interested? What about DVDs? Yes, whether documentary or action-thriller your home town library probably has a collection of their own. Granted, you won't be checking out with a free copy of a new release but it's better than shelling out 10 bucks at Blockbuster. Or 50 dollars a month for digital cable.
- My situation is unique, but you can make it work for you. I required a broadband connection in order to to my job efficiently. So, put it to good use! You can find a surprising amount of video entertainment online, for free, completely legal.
- Google Video (with some searching)
- NBC.com (offers everything from Heroes to Jay Leno, completely free.)
- ABC.com (ditto)
- Fox.com (double ditto)
- CBS.com (triple ditto)
- Google Video (with some searching)
- Don't care for public places? Try reading some free, public domain ebooks. Everything from Poe, to Dickens to Elliot.
- Have you ever visited a large bookstore? The type that have big comfy chairs, tables and cafes inside them? Typically most megamart variety bookstores host club meetings on a weekly basis. Most often than not these clubs cost nothing but time. Regardless of what your interests may be, chances are you'll be able to find one or two that pique your interest. Whether it is Dungeons and Dragons or knitting.
- Like to write? Know a little bit about something that others might enjoy learning? Start a blog, create an AdSense account and get to work. Granted, it won't earn you much if you're planning on using it casually as a time killer, but hey, you never know. Potential income is a great motivator to increase one's writing ability.
- Play games. Have a room mate, girlfriend, boyfriend or gimp? Have any board games? It sounds kind of corny, but so long as you already own the board game, you might as well put it to some use! Set it up. Establish a game night.
- Join a MeetUp that won't require you to shell out cash. Great ideas are book (remember, library), hiking, bicycling (so long as you already own a bicycle), freegan, creative writing, and historical groups.
If you have any ideas, feel free to share them in the comments section.