Yesterday I wrote about a necessity in everyone’s budget – food. Today I’m focusing on a non-necessity: entertainment. That covers tons of things, depending on your tastes – concerts, golf, amusement parks, etc. But the entertainment almost everyone has is TV. According to an NBC News story, Americans shelled out an average of $99 a month in 2016. Fortune.com’s website listed the average at $103 a month. That comes out to about $1,200 a year!
Last year, I really dug into the cost of all the TV options in our area:
This year’s options are pretty much the same, albeit with higher prices. Last year I really put in a good plug for using OTA (over-the-air) television, and mentioned the indoor style antenna (mohu leaf for as little as $40, winegard for a little more). They work well if you don’t have a lot of trees or buildings to block the tv station signals, and have tv stations fairly close. This summer we decided to go one better, and bolted a Clearstream-4 antenna with a 70-mile range to our roof. We were astonished to see that we could get 37 channels on a clear day, up from 20 channels on our indoor antenna. Obviously, some of them are what I call “junk channels”, so I blocked those on our TV settings. The antenna costs $123 online at Amazon as of today’s date:
(Note: don’t get the one that is only $99, as it doesn’t have the parts to bolt it to your roof.)
Every network has a main channel that is broadcast in 1080 high resolution:
CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS, ION, and FOX
plus two sub-channels in standard definition that air older tv shows and movies. Here are some examples:
Comet (classic sci-fi)
Justice (crime shows)
Cozi (family shows from the ’70s)
Escape (forensics, FBI)
Antenna tv (60’s shows)
Worldview (news from around the world)
So my recommendations for home entertainment are about the same as last year:
Get rid of cable/satellite tv!
Subscription tv will just keep bleeding your wallet. Try an outdoor antenna or maybe even no tv at all.
Check out DVDs from your local library.
Most libraries have at least some movies and tv shows on DVD available to check out free. Just don’t bring them back late.
Re-watch the DVDs that you already own.
Most people have them stashed about the house, watched once and then forgotten.
Swap DVDs with family and friends.
Just remember to return them as soon as possible and in good condition.
Branch out into other forms of entertainment that are free.
Writing, board games, listening to free podcasts, walking/jogging, etc.