Entertainment is an Important Part of a Well-Balanced Lifestyle! Don’t let Anyone Tell You Otherwise!
Entertainment is essential to a well balanced life. It doesn’t take a sage viking elder level of wisdom to realize that all work and no play make Jack a dull boy. We all need a way to wind down at the end of a long work day. After you’ve gotten your workout in, you deserve some time to kick back and relax, maybe catch one of your favorite shows, or the local ballgame on the television, have a brew and unwind from a long day.
There’s nothing wrong with watching television in and of itself. I see a lot of people in the personal development circles bash television programming and try to tell people that they should never watch anything at all and just get rid of their television for a better life. I’m not going to get preachy and tell you what you should and should not watch. I enjoy some popular television programs, play the occasional video game, and I enjoy watching the local ballgame when I have an afternoon to myself as well. In my experience, cutting out all media type entertainment is far too drastic to be reasonable long term. There is wisdom in balance, and going the way of cutting these things out of our lives entirely is as unwise as consuming too much entertainment.
However, just because there’s nothing inherently wrong with watching television, or playing video games or any other media for that matter, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t take a step back and apply our True Viking Wisdom analysis to what we’re actually getting out of our subscription packages, and if there’s any way at all we can be more efficient with our hard earned dollars.
How Much Am I Actually Spending to Watch My Favorite Programs?
Most people subscribe to a cable or satellite television entertainment package in order to watch what they want to watch. In my area, my go to option is Comcast, which I’ve been with for years. I finally decided to take a hard look at all my cash expenses with a more critical eye and figure out where I could streamline things. After running a quick look at my bills at the end of the month, I realized that I was spending a little over $150 dollars a month on a cable and internet service package. I was also subscribed to a few other services at the time, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime (which had just started providing shows and movies), and a couple other minor niche channel services that I enjoyed watching. Throw in the occasional sports package during seasons where I played fantasy football, and after doing a hard look at what I was actually spending, it was moving closer to $210 dollars a month for everything. That’s a little over $2,500 a year!
Doing this quick review of what everything was actually costing me was eye opening and I encourage everyone to take a look at what they’re paying for as an exercise too. I was shocked as thought I was spending more along the lines of $100 a month and never realized all the rate increases and add on packages I subscribed to over the years had gotten me to over double what I had thought I was spending. I quickly decided to take a look at ways to lower my bills and still enjoy what I wanted to watch. Here are some things that I did, that you may want to try as well.
Get Your Equipment Costs Down!
I took a hard look at my Comcast bills to try to see why I was paying over $150 dollars when I had remembered the package only costing me $95 at one point. One of the things that I noticed was that I was being charged for an extra cable box I wasn’t using, as well as the modem I used for internet. This was adding $20 dollars to my bill. I immediately packaged up both pieces of equipment and took them back to the Comcast store and asked them to remove the charges as I would buy my own cable modem.
I looked online and found that Amazon sells all kinds of modems and I highly recommend that you buy one of the many models that are offered. If you do nothing else but return your modem and start using your own, you will save $10 dollars a month in most cases on the rental fee. My modem paid for itself in around six months and is still saving me more money every month. Also make sure that you return any equipment that you don’t use. I had a box that I wasn’t using that I was apparently being charged for. Take them back to your provider and stop paying for things that you aren’t using! Paying for something you aren’t using is not wise at all.
Negotiate Your Bill Down. One Call Can Save You Hundreds a Year and You’ll Keep Everything!
The next thing I wanted to take a look at, was why my cable and internet bundle had gone up forty dollars a month in two years. I called up Comcast and told them that I wanted to figure out how to save money on my cable bill. I was able to work with the agent to get a promotional rate applied to my account which took my bill down another forty dollars a month. I then asked them if I could remove some of the channels that I wasn’t watching and get a more basic plan. I wasn’t watching all these channels anyway, so by getting rid of them, I wasn’t going to lose anything at all except a bloated payment.
Well, it turns out that it never hurts to ask, because they took me to a mid-tier plan that had all the channels that I liked, faster internet, and free HBO (hello Game of Thrones!) all for another twenty dollars less on top of the promotional savings. I told the agent to SIGN ME UP! One 15 minute call had saved me another $700 dollars a year, and I had actually gotten more for my money!
The bottom line is that it never hurts to call up your provider and see what they can offer you. They do not want to lose your business, so you can get incredible savings if you just ask.
Stop Paying Money for Services that Don’t Actually Add Anything Over What You’re Already Getting!
I was feeling pretty good about knocking $900 a year off my entertainment bills and actually getting more entertainment than I started with. But I decided it wasn’t quite time to rest yet. I mentioned that it isn’t wise to pay for things that you don’t use, but is is even less wise to pay for things twice! I took a hard look at my Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime packages. I paid around $100 a year for each service.
It’s easy to miss these types of bills because they are only $10 or so a month, but you shouldn’t ignore them! I spent about a half hour going through the list of programming available on each option and found out that a lot of the offerings on each plan were very similar and there was a ton of overlap.
I don’t like wasting money on things that don’t add value to my life, and after figuring out that Netflix and Hulu were pretty similar to Amazon Prime’s offerings, it was time to cut the subscription services to the both of them. Amazon Prime remains a better value to me for the money due to the free shipping and all the other perks, so it was the wise choice.
Seriously, if you don’t have Amazon Prime, you need to seriously take a look at it. Here’s a promotional link for a free 30-day trial that you can use!
I will likely dedicate a future post to how to get the most value out of Amazon Prime, as it is truly a great service that I use for so many things. It pays for itself many times over.
After deciding to stick with Amazon Prime services, unsubscribing to Netflix and Hulu saved me another $20 a month that wasn’t adding any value to my life. Taken all together, my True Viking Wisdom style investigation of my entertainment expenses managed to free up a bit over $1,100 a year in my entertainment budget, and I didn’t even lose a thing! The best part was, this only took maybe an hour of my time to execute. I don’t know about you, but I sure don’t make $1,100 at work, so I think that was a very wise use of an hour.
Putting it All Together!
I hope that everyone reading this takes a good look at what they’re spending on entertainment. I hadn’t realized that my spending had creeped up so much over the years and was surprised when I took a hard look at my billing statements. Everyone’s situation is different, but taking a good hard look at what you’re paying, and making a phone call or two can save you some serious cash. $1,100 a year basically pays my electrical bill each year, and I made no sacrifices to free this money up. I think that everyone has a bit of money they can free up as well!
I hope this helps you out! I’ll have a follow up article on how I saved even MORE money on entertainment, kept the things I liked to watch, and got out from underneath the cable bill once and for all! Keep watching for it!