How to Slash Your Monthly Expenses

You can pay for TV, Internet access and anti-virus protection or you can get them free. Here’s how to slash your monthly subscription fees.


“Game of Thrones” may be entertaining, but is it worth the $100 or more you may be shelling out for cable each month?

According to the Leichtman Research Group, the average pay-TV subscription service cost $99.10 a month in 2015, up 39 percent from 2010. Meanwhile, if The NPD Group is right, you may be on track to spend more than $200 a month for the privilege of watching television in 2020.

If that sounds outrageous to you, it’s time to cut your cable bill. And while you’re at it, slash other monthly expenses from your budget as well. In fact, a little bill trimming could put an extra $1,000 in your pocket this year. Here’s how.

Cable or satellite TV

Let’s start with the big one: your television service. Now, I know paying to watch TV seems to be the American way. After all, the Leichtman Research Group found 83 percent of all households pay for some form of TV service.

So I get it if you think pulling the plug is a bit radical. But it is also smart. If you have an HDTV and a roof antenna, you can get free over-the-air channels with a picture quality that puts standard-definition cable TV to shame.

In addition, if you have a newer TV, Blu-Ray player or gaming system and a high-speed Internet connection, you can use these streaming services for a fraction of the price:

There may be a slight delay in watching new shows, but ask yourself whether it is really worth $1,200 a year just so you can be in the know for the office water cooler conversation?

If you are ready to cut the cable, you will be in great company. See: TV Viewers Cutting the Cord in Big Numbers.

And for more information, check out:

Internet

Next to television, Internet is the other big monthly expense for many families.

If you are a basic Internet user and simply need service to check your email and Facebook, you may want to check out the ultra-cheap Internet available through FreedomPop and NetZero.

With Freedom Pop, you can get up to 500MB of free wireless service each month at 3G and 4G speeds, while NetZero offers a paid DSL hook-up. Both have pricing plans that vary depending on your location, but they have historically been only a fraction of what you’d pay other providers.

For more, check out this popular post: You Can Now Get Free Internet at Home and Away.

If you have a tiered data plan with Verizon Wireless, you can use your phone as a tethered hot spot for free. The company settled a complaint with the FCC in 2012 and agreed not to charge these customers for hot-spot access. Depending on your plan, you might need to download a third-party app first.

If you are grandfathered into Verizon’s old unlimited data plan, you’re out of luck with the free hot-spot service. However, you can pay $30 a month for 4 gigabytes of hot spot access, and that may be cheaper than what you are currently paying for DSL or cable. Other mobile carriers offer their own hot-spot plans as well.

Finally, if your kids qualify for the National School Lunch Program, you can get $9.95 Internet access through Comcast’s Internet Essentials. The company is also piloting cheap Internet programs for Pell Grant recipients enrolled in eligible community colleges as well as those age 62 or older who receive public assistance and live in Boston, San Francisco County or Palm Beach County, Florida.

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