Sunday, January 13, 2013

Ersatz Cable - When it's time to say goodbye...

One of the items on our list of "luxury" costs lately was cable. We were paying for dozens of channels that we never watched, and we constantly missed our favorite shows due to scheduling (read: naptime / bedtime) conflicts anyhow. So, we cut the cord.

Luckily, there's a fantastic alternative to cable these days: streaming TV. For $50, we bought a Roku box that sits neatly on our TV stand. It connects to our wireless and, with a mere $8 Netflix subscription, will stream almost any TV show to our tube. Granted, you're always a season behind, but as long as you don't read the spoilers on Facebook, you're golden. I've been watching all sorts of shows that I've never had the time or ability to watch: Heroes, Mad Men, Downton Abbey, Parenthood, Portlandia...not to mention plenty of great movies.

  1. Watch any time you want, day or night (or naptime)! Press pause at any moment!
  2. No commercials.
  3. Only $8 a month for TV, miniseries, and movies!
  4. Netflix offers a tremendous number of streaming foreign and independent films and shows.

  1. Shows release episodes a season behind.
  2. Not all shows on all networks are available.
  3. There are few new releases of movies (but you can rent them through the Roku by using for a few bucks).
  4. A one-time $50 purchase for the Roku box.
Bottom Line: 

Streaming TV is a fantastic substitute for cable. Because we already bought a subscription to Netflix, cutting cable is saving us upwards of $30 a month. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Okay, it's time to buckle down. I have officially been a "SAHM" for 9 months now, and it has been the most wonderful time of my life. It took some getting used to, don't get me wrong. I've been a working girl for my entire adult life, so being confined to the house (so to speak) was a bit rough for the first few months. Slowly, I began to really get into it. Now, I cook more interesting meals, make a game of saving money on groceries, take time to handmake gifts, create Pinterest projects galore, and take oodles of photos of my little man.

But March is approaching. It's the time of year that most out-of-work teachers start thinking about re-applying to schools. Do I want to go back to work and hand my baby over to a childcare provider? No way! Can we afford it (outside of a Ramen-noodle-ever-night budget) if I don't? That is the million-dollar question.

Starting now, I am dedicating myself to saving as much money as possible so that I can stay home with my little boy for another year. This blog will keep me honest. I will chronicle my budget, my purchases, and my forays into the land of "cheap". And this isn't one of those blogs that offers pithy solutions such as, "stop buying a Starbucks coffee on the way to work every day." Puh-lease. We are way past $4 coffees. We're into co-op veggie baskets, cutting cable, and scouring the Sunday paper for coupons. Oh, "I save money by buying clothes at Target", you say? No, no, no. We're finding baby's new shoes at the Goodwill, friends.

Join me on my journey to ultimate frugality as I make do with what I've got...and love every minute of it.