Over the past five years, the economic downturn and financial sludge we’ve found ourselves in has had a tendency to make the things we actually need more expensive, and the things we don’t need much cheaper. That’s good news for those of us who’ve managed to maintain a reasonable income and cash flow through this entire economic ordeal.
It means that TVs, computer, video games and other forms of pure entertainment are much more affordable than they used to be.
Besides, how many people do you know that have opted to give up their entertainment in the face of economic difficulty? Probably not many, as we’re blessed to live in a society where, despite the economic troubles we face, we’re still capable of maintaining a high standard of living.
So essentially we’ve decided that regardless of the economy, we’re still going to spend money on the things we want. Since that’s the prevailing approach, the internet offers some mechanisms that we can actually save money in the area of entertainment
Let’s identify a few areas of electronics, and the corresponding internet based solutions that can save us a lot of money.
1. TV Subscriptions: Netflix — The internet is slowly but surely replacing television. It’s strange to think about, but it’s happening and it will continue to become more and more practical to get your television viewing experience through your internet connection instead of a cable company.
If we spring for Apple TV and a Netflix subscription, we’re cutting that part of our bill down by a pretty substantial percentage, especially if we’re paying for internet to begin with.
Let’s do the monthly price comparison:
DirecTV or Cable Subscription: $80/month
Netflix Subscription: $8 /month
High Speed Internet: $50/month
Even if you include the cost of the internet connection (which you would have been paying anyway), you still come in well under your cable bill. Since so many devices now have Netflix applications, it’s like having a TV subscription for $8 a month and being able to get as many receivers as you want.
Unless you’re concerned about live TV and getting to see the latest shows right when they’re released, a Netflix subscription and an app or two might be the way to go.
2. Home Phone Service: Ooma — Home phone service is cheaper now than it used to be, but can still run you around $20 or $25 every month. I’d prefer to pay $3 a month.
The Ooma home phone system, like Netflix, piggybacks off of your internet connection by using voice over IP technology and providing you with a high quality home phone based off of your internet connection. The device itself can be had on Amazon for less than $150, and the $3 per month is just for taxes.
Home Phone Service like Vonage or Comcast: $25 /month
Ooma VOIP: $3 /month
So you’ll save at least $20 every month by not going with a home phone subscription. A lot of people don’t even use a home phone anymore, but it is a nice safety feature for your home, especially if you have kids. If you’ve got a solid internet connection, don’t pay for another expensive monthly service that is basically a more primitive form of DSL.
3. Movies and Gaming: Amazon.com — Having independent sellers on Amazon means that you’ve got a ton of people trying to unload their old (or new) videos games and movies for next to nothing. Depending on the title, you can expect a fairly steep discount compared to in-store prices which will usually look something like this:
In-Store Video Game Titles: $30-$60
Amazon Used Video Game Titles: $5-$25
In-Store Movie Titles: $15-$30
Amazon Used Movie Titles: $0.99-$10
Now of course prices will vary based on how new the title is, and what its long standing popularity might be. However you’re still almost always better off ordering this type of thing on Amazon instead of going into Wal-Mart or Target and picking it up off the shelf.
Take a look at your entertainment budget and consider how and where you’re spending your money. Odds are you’ll be able to transition to an internet-based solution and save yourself a lot of money on a monthly basis.
The internet is a big part of why entertainment and information have become cheaper and more freely accessible over the years. We need to take full advantage of that while costs are still low.
Omar Maxwell is a professional blogger that provides consumers with financial information and advice. He writes for Pure Checks, a Check Printing Company that provides a wide variety of check designs.