television http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/7637/all en-US Jack Bauer Never Buys Anything — How TVs Frugalest Characters Get by With Less http://www.wisebread.com/jack-bauer-never-buys-anything-how-tvs-frugalest-characters-get-by-with-less <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/jack-bauer-never-buys-anything-how-tvs-frugalest-characters-get-by-with-less" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/watching-tv-460592517-small.jpg" alt="watching tv" title="watching tv" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Saving is not a common trait among television characters. It's more common to see people spending money on frivolous goods than using a coupon. But there are a number of television characters that appear to having the saving money thing down pat. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-surprising-life-and-money-lessons-from-will-ferrell-movies?ref=seealso">8 Surprising Life and Finance Lessons From Will Ferrell</a>)</p> <p>Here's a look at nine television characters who wave their thrifty flag proudly.</p> <h2>1. Jack Bauer (&quot;24&quot;)</h2> <p>You can't live off the grid for four years without knowing how to stretch a dollar. In many ways, he's living the dream. No mortgage, no car payments, no credit cards. There's a lot that we don't know about how Jack's been getting by, but we do know he wears the same outfit everyday and always seems to be able to get a ride to wherever he needs to go. We also never see him eat or drink, so he's probably saving money in that area.</p> <p>Granted, Jack is probably a bit of a moocher, and there are times when he's just taken stuff through force when he could have just asked nicely. But that's hardly the worst of his crimes.</p> <h2>2. Scooby-Doo and the Gang</h2> <p>The conventional advice on car ownership is to drive your vehicle until it dies, and this group has certainly squeezed a lot of mileage out of the old Mystery Machine. Scooby appears to be content with a diet of low-cost Scooby snacks, while everyone else is fine eating at whatever side-of-the-road diner they find. Their choices of lodging are often a bit sketchy, but surely offer low nightly rates. Like Jack Bauer, this crew is happy wearing the same clothing every day.</p> <h2>3. Max Black and Caroline Channing (&quot;Two Broke Girls&quot;)</h2> <p>This is a show about two poor roommates working to try and save enough money ($250,000, initially) to open a cupcake shop. The show has several good financial lessons, chiefly the idea of having a specific financial goal and working towards it.</p> <p>Also, there are some good messages about the value of hard work and taking advantage of opportunities. In last year's season finale, the duo agreed to clean a nasty, once-hidden section of the diner to make some extra money. After they began work, they discovered a window that would eventually serve as the opening to their new shop.</p> <h2>4. Walter White (&quot;Breaking Bad&quot;)</h2> <p>The man amassed tens of millions of dollars, but he was forced to maintain the guise of the out-of-work schoolteacher. He lived in a humble Albuquerque tract home and drove a Pontiac Aztec for much of the show's run. His clothes may have been straight out of an old Sears catalog. He even saved money on haircuts by shaving his head, even when he wasn't getting chemo treatments.</p> <h2>5. Ben Matlock (&quot;Matlock&quot;)</h2> <p>Forget $5,000 suits. The powder blue special served this successful country lawyer just fine. Matlock has a known fondness for hot dogs, not prime rib. In a crossover episode with &quot;Diagnosis Murder,&quot; it is explained that Matlock's thriftiness may stem from the sting of <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0090481/trivia">a bad investment in eight-track tapes</a>.</p> <h2>6. George Constanza (&quot;Seinfeld&quot;)</h2> <p>This is a man whose desire to save a buck led to him selecting cheap envelopes (for wedding invitations!) with toxic glue that eventually killed his fiancee. In another episode, George insists on seeking out a lower price for a massage chair to be given to a friend.</p> <p>&quot;I'll sniff out a deal,&quot; he says. &quot;I have a sixth sense.&quot;</p> <p>To which Jerry replies: &quot;Cheapness&hellip; is not a sense.&quot;</p> <p>We agree. It's a way of life.</p> <h2>7. Danny Tanner (&quot;Full House&quot;)</h2> <p>He's a single dad taking care of three daughters living in a house in San Francisco, one of the most expensive cities in the country. Oh, and he has to help support his freeloading best friend and brother-in-law. You can hear the bemused exasperation in his voice during this exchange with his eldest daughter, D.J.:</p> <p>D.J.: &quot;We hit the big sale at the Fashion Mart. Everything is half off.&quot;</p> <p>Danny: &quot;Of course that doesn't save me any money 'cause you'll just buy twice as much stuff, right?&quot;</p> <p>D.J.: &quot;I like your attitude.&quot;</p> <h2>8. Ron Swanson (&quot;Parks and Recreation&quot;)</h2> <p>I've written about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-personal-finance-lessons-from-parks-and-recreation">the greatness of Ron Swanson</a> frequently in this space. He knows the value of making things himself, whether it be a child's crib or a wedding ring. He appears to only spend money on good breakfasts, steaks, and scotch. His favorite store is a place called &quot;Food N' Stuff,&quot; and he advocates for only the cheapest haircuts (high and tight, buzz cut, or crew cut).</p> <p>Swanson talks a lot about slashing government spending in Pawnee, Indiana, and he no-doubt practices cost-cutting in his personal life, too. Channel your inner Swanson, and you'll likely find yourself on a more stable financial path.</p> <h2>9. Adam Braverman (&quot;Parenthood&quot;)</h2> <p>He and his family live in a sizable house in Berkeley, CA. He has a special needs son and a wife who's battled cancer. Oh, and his daughter goes to Cornell. All this, and we're to believe that he's getting by on whatever money he brings in from running a recording studio with his brother. It's entirely possible that the Bravermans are in debt up to their eyeballs and on the verge of bankruptcy. But I choose to believe they are getting by because Adam has found some ways to save money along the way.</p> <p>When he and brother Crosby open the recording studio, it is Adam who crunches the numbers to see if it can work. And when Crosby comes to him seeking money to remediate mold in his house, Adam flatly says no. (A more fiscally irresponsible person would have caved to the pressure of helping out a family member.) Perhaps Adam learned a thing or two from his gruff father, Zeke, who's always insisted on doing his own car and home repairs.</p> <p><em>Any frugal TV characters I've missed? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jack-bauer-never-buys-anything-how-tvs-frugalest-characters-get-by-with-less" class="sharethis-link" title="Jack Bauer Never Buys Anything — How TVs Frugalest Characters Get by With Less" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Entertainment frugality television thrift Mon, 02 Jun 2014 14:00:52 +0000 Tim Lemke 1141163 at http://www.wisebread.com Which Online Services Are Worth Paying For? http://www.wisebread.com/which-online-services-are-worth-paying-for <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/which-online-services-are-worth-paying-for" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/6976099786_d53bee7252_z.jpg" alt="Woman at a computer" title="Woman at a computer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="163" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The internet has a bevy of entertainment and information, mostly for free. The majority of websites offer a small amount of entertainment at no cost, and more for a nominal fee. And although the record industry and television industry seem to be suffering for it, we consumers are coming out on top. Below is a list of consumer-driven websites like Hulu and Spotify, as well as content-driven websites like Vimeo and Flickr. The question for each website is simple &mdash; is paying for online content worth it? I've detailed the pluses and minuses so you can figure out what's worthwhile for you. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/new-ways-to-listen-to-music-for-free-or-cheap">New Ways to Listen to Music for Free or Cheap</a>)</p> <h2>1. Hulu</h2> <p>Since <a href="http://www.hulu.com/">Hulu</a> launched, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cutting-the-cable-cord-has-more-than-financial-benefits">I haven&rsquo;t paid for cable</a>. There&rsquo;s no point &mdash; almost everything I want to watch is on there, and most is free. <a href="http://www.hulu.com/plus">Hulu</a><a href="http://www.hulu.com/plus"> Plus</a> was introduced two years ago, and its content boasts old-school television shows and feature films. Thanks to Hulu Plus, I&rsquo;ve spent the last week revisiting my favorite television shows like &quot;3rd Rock From the Sun&quot; and &quot;Doogie Howser.&quot; Unfortunately, their movie selection is scarce. They claim to have deals with Miramax and the Criterion collection, but most movies offered are terrible, one-star films that never made it to the big screen. Their television shows are better, but still not as good as Netflix&rsquo;s selection. Hulu Plus has a lot of Korean and Spanish-language programs too, but Netflix has more of an instant selection, and it costs the same. Also, even with Hulu Plus, there is still advertising, and with Netflix there is none. But don&rsquo;t forget &mdash; Netflix has yesterday&rsquo;s television shows; Hulu has today&rsquo;s.</p> <p>Hulu Plus: $7.99/month</p> <h2>2. Spotify</h2> <p>If you haven&rsquo;t heard of <a href="http://www.spotify.com/us/">Spotify</a>&nbsp;and are only annoyed by the constant Facebook updates, you&rsquo;re actually missing a whole world of awesome music, for free. Spotify is a desktop application with occasional ads between songs. However, if you want unlimited music no matter where you are, even when you're without an internet connection, that&rsquo;ll cost you money. Out of their two options, the <a href="http://www.spotify.com/us/get-spotify/unlimited/">unlimited</a> account is cheaper, featuring unlimited music without ads. The <a href="http://www.spotify.com/us/get-spotify/premium/">premium</a> account, however, is the clincher &mdash; on top of no advertising, you can play music on your mobile phone and offline. There is also advanced sound quality (320 kbps) and the ability to play music <a href="http://www.spotify.com/us/about/features/around-the-house/">anywhere in the house</a>. Overall, Spotify Premium is worth it if you have a smartphone.</p> <p>Spotify Unlimited: $4.99/month<br /> Spotify Premium: $9.99/month</p> <h2>3. Pandora</h2> <p>Where Spotify is perfect for finally listening to that band that your ex-boyfriend gushed about for your entire relationship, <a href="http://www.pandora.com/">Pandora</a> is good for listening to the bands that sound like your favorite bands. Pandora has far more commercials, but their upgraded account is far cheaper. What <a href="http://www.pandora.com/one">Pandora</a><a href="http://www.pandora.com/one">One</a> promises: no ads, higher-quality audio (but at 192kbps, still not as good as Spotify Premium), a desktop application, and the ability to listen for five hours straight without interruption. Pandora&rsquo;s free set-up makes you click on occasion to prove you&rsquo;re still there. Pandora One is perfect for playing in businesses &mdash; there is variety instantly built in.</p> <p>Pandora One: $36/year, $3.99/month</p> <h2>4. Vimeo</h2> <p><a href="http://vimeo.com/">Vimeo</a> is the go-to for all aspiring (and a ton of accomplished) filmmakers. Better than YouTube, it gives users a chance to really connect with other users, rather than just uploading a cat video and getting a pop record out of it. The disadvantages of a regular Vimeo account aren&rsquo;t terrible; after uploading the video, your video is &ldquo;queued&rdquo; to convert and you have uploading limits in regards to size and quality. But with <a href="https://vimeo.com/plus">Vimeo Plus</a>, you jump ahead of the line, straight to converting. You also have the ability to upload as many HD videos as you want; create an unlimited amount of groups, channels, and albums; get discounts for products, and more. Simply put, if you&rsquo;re someone who likes producing high-quality video, Vimeo Plus is for you, but if you&rsquo;re there for the community, stick to a regular account.</p> <p>Vimeo Plus: $59.95/year</p> <h2>5. Flickr</h2> <p><a href="http://www.flickr.com/">Flickr</a> has been my picture sharing service of choice since Yahoo was popular. Once I started traveling, I started paying for their Pro account. Now, Google&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=1&amp;ved=0CGIQFjAA&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fpicasa.google.com%2F&amp;ei=3v_sT8KOIoOs8QTOpaSIDQ&amp;usg=AFQjCNHHrKCEwrKaKrze1K3hvtv5sDtBsw&amp;sig2=8DmNKhhHKtZuxlzj2huc6g">Picasa</a> exists, and Facebook has expanded their upload limits, but I still pay for the Pro account. Why? Truthfully, I&rsquo;m not sure. Perhaps it&rsquo;s laziness. Flickr doesn&rsquo;t make it easy to upload and sort pictures, where Picasa has a desktop application that helps you edit pictures on your computer, which is easier than uploading then sorting. Also, Picasa is free for up to 1GB of storage, but the additional storage prices <a href="http://support.google.com/picasa/bin/answer.py?hl=en-GB&amp;answer=39567">vary</a>. To me, <a href="http://www.advancedphotography.net/flickr-picasa-web-albums/">the</a><a href="http://www.advancedphotography.net/flickr-picasa-web-albums/"> main difference between the two</a> is the same as the difference between Vimeo and YouTube (also owned by Google) &mdash; Picasa reaches a broader audience, whereas Flickr is for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-awesome-money-making-hobbies">professional photographers</a> (or those who think they are, like me).</p> <p>Flickr Pro: $24.95/year</p> <h2>6. LinkedIn</h2> <p>Unless you&rsquo;re a photographer or filmmaker, <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/">LinkedIn</a> might be the best way to advance your career. LinkedIn is a great way to put yourself out there, but connecting options are limited. You can send messages to some, but <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/mnyfe/subscriptionv2?displayProducts=&amp;family=general&amp;commpare_acct=">upgraded accounts</a> give you more search results, expanded profiles, and more. If you&rsquo;re recruiting, there are special packages for your company as well. It works the same as personal accounts, but instead of finding potential employers, you&rsquo;re able to find potential employees. Although I haven&rsquo;t personally <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/standout-stuff-to-put-on-your-resume">used LinkedIn to advance my career</a>, I do have friends who use it for work functions and networking, and after looking it over more, I'll be doing the same.</p> <p>Premium prices vary</p> <p><em>What do you think? Is it worth it to pay for online content?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-online-services-are-worth-paying-for" class="sharethis-link" title="Which Online Services Are Worth Paying For?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jennifer-holder">Jennifer Holder</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Entertainment Technology hulu LinkedIn online content photography spotify television Fri, 29 Jun 2012 23:48:08 +0000 Jennifer Holder 937047 at http://www.wisebread.com Massive List of Things to Do While Watching TV http://www.wisebread.com/massive-list-of-things-to-do-while-watching-tv <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/massive-list-of-things-to-do-while-watching-tv" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/watching_TV_0.jpg" alt="Kids watching TV" title="Kids watching TV" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Even the most riveting TV shows plague you with time-sucking commercials every few minutes, and very rarely does any TV-watching session require all your brain power or leave you feeling truly satisfied or productive. Here&rsquo;s a massive list of things you can do while watching TV (and some more concentrated activities that you can fit in during the commercials) that will keep you productive, fit, balanced, and moving forward in your life. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-alternatives-to-cable-tv-that-will-keep-you-entertained">8 Alternatives to Cable TV That Will Keep You Entertained</a>)</p> <ol> <li>Snuggle.</li> <li>Organize and log your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/dealing-with-tax-deductible-receipts-quickly-and-easily">tax-deductible receipts</a>.</li> <li>Open your mail.</li> <li>Organize dresser and kitchen drawers &mdash; one at a time.</li> <li>Pay bills.</li> <li>Water the plants.</li> <li>Play with pets.</li> <li>Write a letter to somebody you haven&rsquo;t been in touch with for way too long.</li> <li>Arrange flowers.</li> <li>Mend holes in your clothing.</li> <li>Make use of your <a href="http://community.careonecredit.com/b/life_balance/archive/2011/04/14/8-things-to-do-with-mismatched-socks.aspx">mismatched socks</a>.</li> <li>Sharpen knives.</li> <li>Make a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-do-with-used-corks-including-making-money-with-them">cork board</a>.</li> <li>Make &mdash; and enjoy &mdash; your own <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-by-rekindling-the-art-of-reusing-your-stuff">hot pack</a>.</li> <li>Clip coupons.</li> <li>Organize CD and DVD collections. (Do your DVDs and CDs end up in the wrong cases? Now is your chance to fix it).</li> <li>Stretch.</li> <li>Groom pets.</li> <li>Give yourself a manicure and/or pedicure.</li> <li>Create a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/vision-boards-dream-big-play-with-pictures-and-watch-your-life-change">vision board</a>.</li> <li>Plant a window-box herb garden.</li> <li>Soak your feet.</li> <li>Defrag your computer.</li> <li>Forward this post to somebody who watches too much TV.</li> <li>Ponder <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/feeling-stuck-100-ways-to-change-your-life">100 ways to change your life</a>.</li> <li>Make this year&rsquo;s Christmas presents.</li> <li><a href="http://www.theprofessionalhobo.com/2011/06/preparing-for-the-no-baggage-challenge/">Clean out your purse</a>.</li> <li>See if you can actually prepare a meal just as quickly as they&rsquo;re cooking it on the cooking show you&rsquo;re watching.</li> <li>Rearrange your furniture.</li> <li>Breathe.</li> <li>Lift weights.</li> <li>Twitter.</li> <li>Clean your plant&rsquo;s leaves (using <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paint-a-room-and-wash-your-face-more-uses-for-powdered-milk-than-you-ever-imagined">powdered milk</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/curing-warts-removing-splinters-and-19-other-bizarre-uses-for-banana-peels">banana peels</a>, or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/19-money-saving-uses-for-mouthwash">mouthwash</a>).</li> <li>Brainstorm.</li> <li>Give (or get) a massage.</li> <li>Wax your legs/arms/etc.</li> <li>Vacuum.</li> <li>Scrub coffee stains off your mugs with baking soda.</li> <li>Prepare lunch for the next work day.</li> <li>Revamp your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/standout-stuff-to-put-on-your-resume">LinkedIn profile</a>.</li> <li>Make lists.</li> <li>Flip through magazines.</li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-to-drink-more-water">Drink water</a>.</li> <li>Eat a meal.</li> <li>Write out grocery lists.</li> <li>Accumulate <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-travel-hacking-cartel-fly-around-the-world-for-almost-free">frequent flyer miles</a> for your next vacation.</li> <li>Exercise.</li> <li>Play with social media.</li> <li>Have a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-a-laptop-computer">laptop</a> handy to research quirky concepts that you see on TV.</li> <li>Tweak your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/resume-quirks-to-embrace-and-avoid">resume</a>.</li> <li>Research your next vacation.</li> <li>Prepare a meal.</li> <li>Sort through photographs.</li> <li>Arts and crafts.</li> <li>Write to-do lists.</li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-clean-silver-naturally">Polish the silverware</a>.</li> <li>Journal.</li> <li>Water the plants.</li> <li>Make a scrapbook.</li> <li>Ironing.</li> </ol> <p>Here are some more bite-sized tasks you can take on during the commercial breaks. In some cases, using the commercials to time these activities (like sit-ups) can make them more palatable and reduce the discipline required.</p> <ol start="61"> <li>Wash dishes.</li> <li>Clean the house &mdash; two minutes at a time. (See if you can get a whole room done by the end of your show).</li> <li>Meditate.</li> <li>Alternate doing sit-ups and push-ups constantly through each commercial break.</li> <li>Read.</li> </ol> <p>Finally, I asked people on Facebook and Twitter what they do while they watch TV, and here are a few of their responses:</p> <ol start="66"> <li>Eat popcorn.</li> <li>Crossword or Sudoku puzzles.</li> <li>Knit.</li> <li>Facebook.</li> <li>Play with iPhone.</li> <li>Make out.</li> <li>Answer emails.</li> <li>Surf the web.</li> <li>Throw a ball for the dog.</li> <li>Think about how the TV show could have been written better.</li> <li>Contemplate how to get back that time later.</li> <li>According to my wife, mostly snore.</li> </ol> <p>And my favorite:</p> <ol start="78"> <li>Um&hellip;watch TV????</li> </ol> <p><em>What do you do while watching TV?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/massive-list-of-things-to-do-while-watching-tv" class="sharethis-link" title="Massive List of Things to Do While Watching TV" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Entertainment Lifestyle Productivity free time television things to do Wed, 06 Jul 2011 10:36:32 +0000 Nora Dunn 607410 at http://www.wisebread.com Looking at Your Expenses with New Eyes http://www.wisebread.com/looking-at-your-expenses-with-new-eyes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/looking-at-your-expenses-with-new-eyes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2548505837_6453ceda04_m.jpg" alt="cable box and remote" title="Comcast cable stuff" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="240" height="180" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p> <meta http-equiv="CONTENT-TYPE" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" /><br /> <title></title><br /> <meta name="GENERATOR" content="OpenOffice.org 2.4 (Win32)" /></p> <style type="text/css"> <!-- @page { size: 8.5in 11in; margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } --><!-- @page { size: 8.5in 11in; margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } --> </style></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">A lot of people think that banks have high security, but the most fortified brick-and-mortar institution in my town is the local Comcast office. This is where you have to go to drop off broken cable boxes or pay your bill if it's late and you don't want your service turned off. The clerks work behind a thick shield of bullet-proof glass, and there are two-sided, bullet-proof boxes at every station for transferring equipment. Surveillance cameras are placed in the corners of the room, and a large poster by the door makes it easy to estimate your height as you leave the building with that bag of loot.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">One day, after a couple of visits, I finally asked why there was so much security. I was told that the office takes in ridiculous amounts of cash each day. Enough to make it a more attractive target than many gas stations and convenience stores. Why so much? Well, to understand that, you have to spend some time waiting in line. If you watch carefully, at least fifty percent of the people in line ahead of you will be there for two purposes. One, to pay their overdue cable bill in cash, and two, to argue with the clerk about some aspect of the bill that they find unfair. For this reason, it's a good idea to go to there when you're in the mood for people-watching, as opposed to running late for something important.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Cable television isn't a life necessity. There's no bullet proof glass (as far as I know) at the local supermarket where you can pay your heating bill in cash at the last minute. But apparently people are willing to spend their last dollar on cable. As a case in point, last time I was at the Comcast office, dropping off a spare second cable box that no one was using anymore, a gentleman in front of me in line went to the window and offered to pay $150 in cash on his past due account, which was $495. That brought his balance down to $345. He then asked what his charges would be for his next bill. &ldquo;You have $345 outstanding,&rdquo; the clerk said.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">&ldquo;No, I just want to know what the new charges will be on the next bill,&rdquo; he answered</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">&ldquo;One hundred ninety-five,&rdquo; she told him. He nodded, put away his receipt, and left.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">This seems incredible to me. Obviously he can't afford $195/month for cable, or he wouldn't be so far behind on his charges. What kind of service even costs that much? Is there a cable package that cleans your house and polishes your silver while you watch? And he couldn't even pay the equivalent of one month's charges after running up a $500 tab. He paid just enough to keep the cable turned on for another month, but anyone with eyes could see this was a terrible financial choice he was making.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I'm not real comfortable making judgments on other people when I don't know the whole story, so I got to thinking. What are my blind spots? What do I maybe spend $200/month on that others would consider excessive? Chances are my overall family budget is greater than his, and includes luxuries that he would find excessive. Maybe he would think my pets are a waste of money. Maybe he would disapprove of my habit of driving decent cars and eating organic foods. Maybe he would frown on my SUV. (A lot of people would, but you try taking two mastiffs on vacation in a Toyota hatchback.) The truth is, if someone were standing behind me, watching me make all of my purchases, I would probably squirm a bit.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">So, for me, there are two take-home lessons here. One is that entertainment in the form of cable television is very important to some people, to the point that they will take the last of their grocery money to the local Comcast office at the end of the month, instead of using it on groceries. We should all respect a force of nature this powerful. Second, that managing your money is always subject to personal priorities, and those priorities vary between individuals. Maybe the mythical $4 latte is really worth $4 to someone who really treasures that Starbucks run each morning. Maybe it is the one thing keeping him sane. The real question is do we know what our priorities are and how much they are costing us? What would our choices look like if they were examined with fresh eyes?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/looking-at-your-expenses-with-new-eyes" class="sharethis-link" title="Looking at Your Expenses with New Eyes" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/catherine-shaffer">Catherine Shaffer</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Finance Frugal Living Budgeting cable television utilities Wed, 18 Feb 2009 15:41:18 +0000 Catherine Shaffer 2851 at http://www.wisebread.com Stop Paying For Cable Television But Keep Up With Your Favorite Shows http://www.wisebread.com/stop-paying-for-cable-television-but-keep-up-with-your-favorite-shows <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/stop-paying-for-cable-television-but-keep-up-with-your-favorite-shows" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/tv%20internet.jpg" alt="tv on internet" title="tv on internet" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="199" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Cable and satellite television subscriptions are expensive.&nbsp; Let's face it &ndash; are you really watching 352 channels and listening to 50 music stations via your television each month to justify the monthly fee?&nbsp; Most of us have three or four shows we watch regularly, and then other tv watching time is in &ldquo;channel surf&rdquo; mode, stopping on anything that looks remotely interesting.&nbsp; Where I live, the least expensive option for cable television is $60 a month, and I'm positive I don't watch $60 a month worth of television &ndash; but I have three shows that I really like to watch and I can only see them if I pay for cable.</p> <p>Or so I thought!&nbsp; I've just discovered that I can watch most of the &ldquo;good&rdquo; stuff online!&nbsp; The major television networks broadcast many of their programs over the internet on their websites for free.&nbsp; You can even watch shows that are no longer on the air in some cases.&nbsp; The shows aren't always available for internet viewers the same day they are on television, but does it really matter if you're watching a Monday sitcom on Wednesday?</p> <p>Check this list to see if your favorite shows are broadcast online:<br /> 1.<a href="http://abc.go.com/">ABC</a>. <br /> 2.<a href="http://www.nbc.com/Video/">NBC</a>. <br /> 3.<a href="http://www.cbs.com/">CBS</a>. <br /> 4.<a href="http://www.fox.com">Fox</a>. <br /> 5.<a href="http://www.mylifetime.com/on-tv">Lifetime.</a> <br /> 6.<a href="http://www.aetv.com/">A&amp;E</a>. <br /> 7.<a href="http://www.mtv.com/ontv/">MTV</a>. <br /> 8.<a href="http://www.hgtv.com/full-episodes/package/index.html">HGTV</a>. <br /> 9.<a href="http://dsc.discovery.com/videos/">Discovery Channel.</a> (Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, and TLC) &nbsp;<br /> 10.<a href="http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/programs/">PBS</a>. </p> <p><a href="http://www.jdoqocy.com/click-2822544-10932227">Hulu.com</a> has a number of shows available from a variety of television networks.&nbsp; You can browse and watch for free, and even subscribe to your favorite shows to get updated whenever new episodes are added.</p> <p>If you're thinking the kids will be lost without the 24-hour cartoon stations, you can set them up with <a href="http://classiccartoons.blogspot.com/">Classic Cartoons</a>.</p> <p>In addition, many times you can find episodes of your favorite shows on <a href="http://www.youtube.com">Youtube.com</a>.&nbsp; Youtube is really not intended for uploading television shows (for copyright reasons) it doesn't seem to stop people from doing it.&nbsp; Search youtube.com for your favorite shows &ndash; you may have to watch more than one clip to get your full episode due to time limitations youtube.com places on uploaded videos, but it sure beats paying $60-$100 a month for cable television if you really only watch a handful of shows a month.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-paying-for-cable-television-but-keep-up-with-your-favorite-shows" class="sharethis-link" title="Stop Paying For Cable Television But Keep Up With Your Favorite Shows" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debbie-dragon">Debbie Dragon</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Frugal Living Art and Leisure cable tv lower cable costs save money on cable tv television Fri, 02 Jan 2009 09:06:32 +0000 Debbie Dragon 2676 at http://www.wisebread.com Life Without Television http://www.wisebread.com/life-without-tv <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/life-without-tv" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/TV.jpg" alt="" title="So long, television." class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="168" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I haven't owned a television in over 7 years. I haven't lived in a house with a set in over 5 years. I spend my days largely television-free, and I actually like it.</p> <p>This isn't to say that I don't watch some television shows over the internet. I have to get my Heroes fix somehow. But as someone with an addictive personality, I've found that keeping myself away from the boob tube has kept me happier and healthier.</p> <p>While saving money on a cable bill is a good impetus for some people to cut the cable, I already pay $30 a month for internet, and cable wouldn't cost me that much more; a mere $5.</p> <p>For me, it's not about the money; at least, not directly. It is about the following:</p> <h2>1. Time not spent watching really stupid crap</h2> <p>I'm the kind of person who can veg in front of the television for hours. I'll come home from work, plop down in front of the TV, and before I know it, it's midnight, and I'm rapidly losing IQ points watching local news &mdash; nothing is worse than local television personalities. And that's just with basic television! I shudder to think what would become of me if I had something like HBO. I'd become one with the couch, literally, within a few days.</p> <h2>2. I live by my own schedule</h2> <p>Not having a glowing television beckoning to me allows me the freedom to, say, go on longer walks in the afternoon with my dogs. What's the rush to get back inside? There are no shows that I need to watch. I frequently run into neighbors while strolling around the block who would <strong><em>love to chat</em></strong>, but have to get back to the house before Ghost Whisperer (or whatever) comes on. Sure, you could argue that I could still live by my own schedule if I had a TiVo or other DVR, but the truth is, I'd still be a slave to the shows I recorded. Back when I used to watch TV regularly, I would get so incredibly grumpy if I couldn't make time to see my favorite shows. I don't do that anymore.</p> <h2>3. The joys of radio</h2> <p>I've always liked radio better than television, and I'm happy to live in an area where we have a good public radio station. I enjoy talk radio &mdash; news, interviews, stories. In the same way that books allow your imagination to run wild, radio gives you the words and the freedom to create scenes in your mind. I like that, and I appreciate being able to enjoy a medium that doesn't require more than one of my senses at a time. With the radio on, I can listen to the news and cook dinner without taking my eyes from the stove. I've listened to the presidential and vice presidential debates on the radio this year, and find it to be a more than adequate way to take it all in. (Mind you, I did miss all of the Palin-winks and the frighteningly bright-white Biden teeth, but still.)</p> <h2>4. The joys of reading</h2> <p>I used to enjoy falling asleep in front of the television, but since I don't have one, I like to read in bed until I'm sleepy. Usually, I don't get more than a half hour of reading in before I start to doze off, but I can get through one book a month that way.</p> <h2>5. The joys of the internet</h2> <p>I love the internet &mdash; it's where I get the majority of my news, entertainment, and extracurricular writing. I can watch movies online through Netflix or <a href="http://www.jdoqocy.com/click-2822544-10932227">Hulu</a>, or on my DVD player in my laptop. I've never been one to tout the big screen experience &mdash; to me, seeing a movie on a small screen is just as rewarding as seeing it at the theater. However, watching a movie on my laptop while lounging in bed is not nearly as comfy as watching one on a television from my couch. The result is that while I do catch some TV shows, I watch many fewer than I actually would if I had a TV set up in my living room.</p> <h2>6. No remote controls</h2> <p>I used to get frustrated with my mother's refusal to accept new technology, but I have to admit that the multitude of remote controls in your average living room is baffling to me. Every time I watch a movie at my sister's house, setting up the television, DVD player, and sound system ends up feeling as complicated as performing a live concert. Remote controls are passed around the room like batons as we try to get the picture, balance, and volume JUST right. And one of the remotes is ALWAYS missing. In my house, I don't have a single remote control. Hey, it's hard enough to find my shoes and keys in the morning.</p> <h2>The Downside</h2> <p>I never know what people are talking about when they make inside jokes featuring plotlines from The Office or South Park. I don't watch these shows online because they don't interest me, but if I had a TV, I probably would watch them. So then I would know what people were talking about. But then again, I'd probably never leave the house.</p> <p>I eventually have to explain why I never have a grasp of pop culture, and I hate sounding like one of those self-righteous jerks who never watches TV. I don't avoid TV to be more high-falutin' than other people &mdash; it's just better for me, overall, if I don't.</p> <p>I can't invite people over to watch TV; this is a big season for debate parties, and I can't host one, because no one wants to sit around the radio with me and imagine how angry John McCain looks. Also, watching television or a movie is a nice way to end a date, but I have to skip that and go straight to the making-out part. Awk-ward.</p> <p>I almost never see commercials. And commercials are a lot smarter than they used to be. The internet-TV commercials are exceptionally tame.</p> <p>A picture paints a thousand words. Sometimes, descriptions of events simply can't tell the story the way footage of a suicide bombing or a miraculous rescue after a natural disaster can.</p> <p><em><strong>Do Wise Bread readers watch TV? Do you think it's worthwhile for you and your family?</strong></em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/life-without-tv" class="sharethis-link" title="Life Without Television" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/frugal-living">Frugal Living articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Frugal Living Lifestyle Technology hobbies Internet movies netflix reading television time consuming tv weight loss Wed, 08 Oct 2008 00:26:44 +0000 Andrea Karim 2469 at http://www.wisebread.com More Free Television Online - Hulu.com - UPDATE: Invites Available for Wise Bread Readers! http://www.wisebread.com/more-free-television-online-hulu-com <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/more-free-television-online-hulu-com" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/hulu.jpg" alt="hulu" title="hulu" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="250" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Recently many TV networks have been showing their current shows online with limited commercial interruption. Every network seems to have their own streaming and ad system with varying amounts of content and quality. Hulu.com is a combined effort of NBC and Fox and it currently has hundreds of episodes and clips from the two networks and many shows from Sony Entertainment and other networks. Today I took it for a spin.</p> <p>The site has a very clean interface and once you sign in you can choose to add any amount of shows and clips to your playlist. Then you can play them all by clicking &quot;Play&quot; in the &quot;Your playlist&quot; dropdown. You can search shows by name or category and there is a good selection of old and new shows. Some old shows have full seasons online, and I started watching the quirky Fox comedy called Arrested Development.</p> <p>The quality of the player is quite good compared to some of the other network players. The resolution is not high definition, but it is better than YouTube. The sound quality is above average and never stalled on my connection. Each episode of the 22 minute comedy I was watching had three very short commercials and I barely noticed them. One of the commercials was at the end of the show so it did not even interrupt my show. So overall the viewing experience is great. After you finish watching a show you have the option to buy it, but I think the purchasing option is not functional right now.</p> <p>The best part about Hulu is that it has many cable shows for free. For example, select episodes of my favorite obsessive compulsive detective Monk are available! There are also a few old movies available. In addition to Arrested Development, I have added the entire series of Firefly and the classic Battlestar Galatica to my list. I think I will be glued to this site for many hours to come.</p> <p>Right now Hulu is still in beta and you need an invite to join. When you sign up you will get ten more invites to send out so I started <a href="/forums/deals-coupons/official-hulu-invite-thread-1219.html" target="_blank">this thread in the forums</a> so that we can share our invites. Unfortunately, it is only available to those in the United States right now, but hopefully in the future the videos will stream in other nations, too. Have fun watching!</p> <p>Update: Gerritt Hoekman from Hulu was nice enough to provide Wise Bread with 500 invites for our readers!&nbsp; <a href="http://www.hulu.com/beta/wisebread" target="_blank">Click here</a> to get your free invites.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/more-free-television-online-hulu-com" class="sharethis-link" title="More Free Television Online - Hulu.com - UPDATE: Invites Available for Wise Bread Readers!" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Technology Art and Leisure free tv hulu shows television Sat, 23 Feb 2008 08:01:35 +0000 Xin Lu 1833 at http://www.wisebread.com