Sunday, January 5, 2014

Streaming Media and Why It Isn't The Most Frugal Option

   Based on my time spent reading numerous PF blogs and articles over the last few years I have noticed a very popular trend among the bloggers and their readers. Many cable-cutters also adopt this same trend. Dumping the over priced cable packages many of us blindly paid month in and month out has saved many hundreds of dolla's that's for sure. I cut my cable when I moved into an apartment with a roommate back in April 2012 and haven't looked back since.

   The next step for most cable cutters is to sign up for the popular Netflix or Hulu Plus services which generally run around $8 per month. These services are an excellent value for the content they provide and the lack of commercials (an excellent and very frugal by-product since it helps reduce the urge to spend). Sure, $8 a month isn't a significant expense by any stretch, and even signing up for both to get maximum content would only net you around $16 or so a month.

  What's the big deal you say? Well, assuming an average rate of return of 8% over ten years if you invested that $16 per month you are talking about just under $3,000. Not a lot sure, but certainly significant. As an accountant I had to resort to numbers, it's in my nature.

  If you want to keep tabs on your favorite shows and movies, I would recommend you consider your local library. Its "free" since you pay for it through your taxes, so why not enjoy the benefits. Many libraries have copies of the current popular movies and TV shows so you can still binge-watch that season of Breaking Bad like you could on Netflix. My local library even has shows that I can't get on Netflix. Of course, another option is to invite yourself over to your friend's house to watch these shows on their DVR which can be a fun social event. You might as well capitalize on your friend's cable-paying misery.