Not too long ago, I was discussing TV shows with an acquaintance. At some point in the conversation, she mentioned her cable bill seemed kind of “high.”
“What, like a hundred bucks a month?” I inquired.
She thought for a moment and then dug around her desk. She handed over the current month’s bill and my jaw quite literally dropped when I saw it. Two hundred and five dollars.
“But what exactly are you paying for? Do you even watch all these channels?”
“Oh, no,” she said. “Mostly just whatever’s on ABC or Fox and stuff. But, I mean, it’s cable. How do you watch TV without cable?”
A couple of decades ago, that was a good question. Modern technology has raced ahead, however, and there are plenty of options for watching TV shows that don’t involve shelling out money to a cable company! Certainly, if you are okay with paying $200 or more a month for TV, I suppose you can keep on trucking, but for those of us who are looking to save on TV, there are options.
The most common option is using on-demand streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu. These companies contract with the license holders of TV shows, past and current, and upload them to their websites. You pay $7-10 a month for access to those websites, and you can watch whatever they have uploaded, at your leisure, an unlimited amount of times. They may not have every single show you’d like to watch, and many currently airing shows only upload the past 5-10 episodes, so you might not be able to binge watch an entire series. However, paying $120 per year is far cheaper than paying that same amount—or more!—per month.
Before all broadcasting went digital, many people used “bunny ear” antennas to get basic cable channels on their TV for free. Those old bunny ears won’t work anymore, but the good news is that digital antennas are absolutely a thing. You can pick one up for about $40, plug it into your TV, and bam, you have all your local stations and the big broadcast stations like ABC, CBS, PBS, etc. $40 can be a bit much for some people as an upfront cost, but then again, you have no recurring monthly costs after that, and you can watch most current shows as they air.
I may not have consumer debt, but sometimes I have consumer guilt. It’s that feeling that I should have more than I do. I have a career, a family, and I’m at an age where I should have accumulated nicer stuff. But I haven’t. Yet I sit down in front of the evening television shows and feel bad. I don’t see a group of people I can relate to. Sometimes I see a group of people who are worse off than I am financially, yet have an amazing home, new car, and name brand clothes. It’s enough to make some people go into debt to compete with an imaginary family. What am I doing so wrong that I am so far behind? Oh yes! I’m not going into debt for clothes, new cars, and a home I know I can’t afford. Not all television shows are like this though. There are a few that can and do come across financially realistic.
How I Met Your Mother
If you are single and feel a need to relate to a television group, try How I Met Your Mother. People lose jobs, lose apartments, and have horrible apartments. Characters have financial flaws such as credit card debt and live with the consequences of those decisions. One of the character even has a beat up car with a tape stuck in the tape deck. There are career changes, moves, and family problems. There are even business ventures that just don’t work out. You may find the plot funny and sometimes bizarre, but you won’t feel behind financially because they have the same financial issues that we sometimes do.
I love this show when I feel like I’m just not getting anywhere financially. This is a family with three kids. The power is out. They buy items on sale. Laundry is all over the house. There were even instant mashed potato flakes at thanksgiving dinner. Not only that, but they are putting a child through college, have used the fun money for living expenses, and had to drive the church van as a family car for a while. Yet these people are happy and live an everyday life. This doesn’t make me feel consumer guilt at all.
This is a show about siblings that went on very different walks in life. One sister starts the show moving in with her parents with her two teenage children, works in a bar, and feels bad because of her life choices and how they are affecting her children. The younger brother lives on a house boat. Once again real life problems when it comes to finances, from job loss to biting off more than one can chew financially. Even the nice homes come with an emotional price. I would recommend this show as well.
I’m so annoyed. Cable is ridiculously expensive and most of the shows I want to watch anyway are on network television. Fortunately for many years they’ve offered their shows the day after airing free to watch on their websites. Well, some of them now require a cable subscription to log-in to watch their shows! For network televisions?! Not happening.
Thank you NBC for realizing that the advertising revenue you gain from providing your shows free online is much more valuable than any deal you could make with cable or satellite companies.
Speaking of watching shows for FREE on NBC, check out their new show: Growing Up Fisher Tuesdays at 9:30/8:30c
A Thrifty Diva is not just frugal, she’s a DIVA too. As a diva she knows how to make the most of life on a budget. She never looks “cheap” and keeps her look classy. That means knowing the difference between when it’s a good idea to spend less and when a “splurge” is actually a worthwhile investment.
What worthwhile splurge am I talking about today?
A Good Bra
A bad bra will instantly take your look to frumpy-ville. And no matter how good a bra is, if it fits wrong it’ll make you look frumpy. While it’s tempting to just buy any bra at a good price, you’ll pay for it in other ways you wish you hadn’t.
I learned this the hard way. I spent far too long wearing uncomfortable, ill-fitting bras due to budget woes limiting my bra choices. My posture suffered. I was much less inclined to work out due to the discomfort (even my sports bra was all wrong for me). I certainly didn’t… well, look as good as I could’ve if you know what I mean. And what’s most sad, I had no idea a better bra would make all of the difference. I thought I had no choice but to be that uncomfortable! Then finally I got fed up and figured there had to be a better bra out there.
Getting fitted can be helpful and you can get a free no-purchase necessary bra-fitting at stores like Dillards. After I figured out what I needed for my figure, I couldn’t quite let go of my thrifty side. Between clearance racks and special sales at department stores, plus shopping the local outlet center, I discovered good bras that didn’t break the bank! Albeit a bit more of an investment, but well worth the price in exchange for everyday comfort.
Still need help? There are bra experts out there! Like on the new show “Double Divas” which premieres Thursday, January 10 (10/9c) on Lifetime.
“Double Divas” follows LiviRae owners, bra experts, and best friends Molly Hopkins Cynthia Richards. These southern belles use their natural talents to help women with any and all intimate apparel needs. The show is essentially light hearted entertainment to um… “lift” your spirits. 😉 And along the way you’ll understand better the importance of a good bra.
Have you made the terrible mistake of wearing a cheap bra? Or the wrong size of bra? What bra-tastrophes have you committed?
If you’re like me and have ditched the cable… but still enjoy some TV time, you may want to get a Roku for Christmas. This handy little gadget streams free TV (or your paid Netflix, Hulu Plus, etc. accounts) to your television so you can skip the little laptop screen and enjoy TV on the TV again.
We got to chat with the stars of the show, Vanessa Marano (Bay Kennish) and Katie Leclerc (Daphne Vasquez)!
Switched at Birth has so many fans. What has been your favorite experience or reaction from one of the fans?
Vanessa Marano: Katie, you want to take that?
Katie Leclerc: Sure, yes. I have to tell you, I Tweet and I love Twitter. It’s just the immediate response that is so readily accessible. I love going on and we’ll get comments from fans that are small mementos like, ‘I learned how to be patient with my deaf cousin because of Switched at Birth’, or big mementos like, ‘I understand the importance of and the need for interpreters so I changed my major to ASL because of Switched at Birth’. I mean, it’s a very broad spectrum, but I think the response has just been overwhelmingly positive and I understand why. When we working on it, I think all of us felt like we were doing something that was special and important. Now that those fans have kind of responded similarly, I’m just proud to be a part of it and thankful to have been along for the ride.
Vanessa Marano: Katie and I both did a signing at Planet Hollywood in New York and it was amazing to see the hearing fans and the deaf fans; how many of them there were and to see them together and to see each community that there is not necessarily a divide between, but both joining a program for different reasons and similar reasons. I think that that’s been the most amazing thing is that we have such a colorful group of fans because they’re hearing, they’re deaf, they’re teenage, they’re mothers, they’re male – a lot of them which is surprising. And I think that that’s great.
With such a broad range of fans, what do you think is the connecting thread that this show seems to connect with so many different people?
Vanessa Marano: I think it’s because it’s so relatable. There’s a character for everybody to relate to. You’re a Daphne, you’re a Bay, you’re a Kathryn, you’re a Regina, you’re a John, you’re a Toby, and you’re an Emmett. I think that what really resonates with people is that there are so many story lines and to top it off, you’re learning about culture and community that a lot of people weren’t introduced to beforehand.
Did you miss the Project Runway Season 10 Finale last night? No worry! It’s available to watch for free on MyLifetime.com.
before you click away to see the last episode, be sure to watch our interview with Nina Garcia. It’ll only take a couple of minutes. 😉
I love what you wear on the show. How do you choose what to wear on Project Runway?
Nina Garcia: I choose what I feel comfortable wearing, and what will look good on TV. I try to keep in mind what looks good on TV and makes me feel comfortable, which not always goes hand-in-hand, but I try my best.
Have you ever had times when the guest judge is not helpful or maybe even make the judging process harder?
Nina Garcia: Yes that has happened. I will not name names but some guest judges come on and they decide to not really speak their mind or they—what can I say they are skeptical about really hurting peoples’ feelings, but this is a show where it’s about giving them constructive criticism. It’s about helping them through your observations. I’ve never been of the school to tell them something just to help ease the blow. You are there to really help them, mentor them, help them grow, and some judges feel very uncomfortable with doing that.
It wouldn’t be Project Runway without Tim Gunn! Tonight the Season 10 Finale premieres at 9/8 central, and the winner will be revealed. If you miss it on TV you can watch it for free on Friday on MyLifetime.com.
Yesterday Style Savings Sarah chatted with Tim about Season 10 and has shared that interview here with us.
Do you think the challenges on Project Runway are getting more demanding on the designers each season?
Tim Gunn: No… I don’t think the challenges are more demanding. I will say the dramatic turn for me, and it’s been true the last several seasons but especially this past one, the challenges are getting shorter. This season (I think I’m correct) with the exception of one challenge (the last one) they were all one day challenges, and Heidi will occasionally talk to me off camera and ask, “Why doesn’t this work any better?” And my response is give them more time. I mean it’s really a matter of time more than anything else.
I mean I think that they’re all very demanding, all the challenges, and I make my experience with each season of designers … this to my experience teaching and every semester I would have a whole new group of students with different DNA and different chemistry among them as a group, and that’s what you just don’t know when we launch a season of the show. You just don’t know how the designers are going to respond to the challenges, how they’re going to respond to the ever increasing level of exhaustion both physical, emotion, creative, and mental exhaustion. It’s really daunting.
On the one hand the longer they stay on the show hurray congratulations. On the other hand can I please go home? It’s really very demanding.
Tim Gunn: Is your perception that the challenges have become more difficult?
Thrifty Divas: Not so much the challenges, the time crunch. It just seems like they’re shorter and shorter.
Tim Gunn: Oh yeah. And I actually am quite serious about it. I always say to the designers this challenge begins and ends at Mood. If you can’t fashion work for me you don’t have what you need or the ingredients aren’t correct you’re really in trouble, and it’s harder to pull out of that.
Thrifty Divas: I guess you’re going to have to make sure the next designers know that very well.
Tim Gunn: Well, actually I had a very serious talk with them the first time we went to Mood (this seasons group of designers) about … issues having to do with time constraints and materials. I mean for instance why if you’ve never use a silk chamois before why would you choose it? I mean it’s incredibly difficult to work with. Work with things that you’re familiar with and that you feel you have command over as opposed to things that are ruling you and dictating to you. It just doesn’t make any sense to me.
Thrifty Divas:Thank you Tim for your insights on everything. I love you on Project Runway! It wouldn’t be Project Runway without you.
Tim Gunn:Aww… thank you, Sarah. Well, I’ll tell you as long as there’s Project Runway, I’ll be there. Even if I’m in a wheel chair or an iron lung.