Frugal Living 
66
comments

How to Cancel Your Cable TV Service

Stranded Broken TelevisionWant to find a hundred bucks a month in savings without giving up all that much? Cancel your cable television service. That sounds absolutely crazy, right? When people look to trim the fat from the budgets, they often don’t think to cut out their cable television because it almost feels like a utility. Along with your electricity, your water, and your telephone is your television and internet. Who can live in this day and age without those necessities?

But it’s not that crazy. It’s not that crazy and thousands of people are doing this because of all the free video content on the Internet. Forget the homebrew shows that had their start on the Internet, I mean major broadcasting networks putting the shows on TV for free.

In this post, I’ll describe an approach to finding out if canceling your cable TV service is the right move.

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 Personal Finance 
15
comments

Best Hard Working American Reality TV Shows

I hate reality televisions shows that follow tragically complicated celebrities, or just straight up follows tragically complicated civilians, because they’re exercises in schedenfreud. It’s entertainment because you’re reveling in the misery of others! I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here is basically a farce built around the popularity of these types of shows. I have nothing against the people on the shows or the people who watch them, I’m just not a fan.

But I do like reality television. In fact, I would say I love reality television, just not the Real World/Road Rules-type of reality show… more like the Dirty Jobs variety. I think that a lot of jobs in America, hard working, back breaking, and hand numbing jobs deserve a bit of the spotlight so I’m going to list the best hard working American reality television shows that I enjoy. This list is in no particular order.

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 Frugal Living 
20
comments

Cut the Cable: Ways to Save Money on Television and Movies

In today’s world, the cost of entertainment is high. However, it is also one of the things people are still willing to spend money on. A television, for example, is nearly seen as a necessity in American households. Did you know, though, that there are ways to watch television shows and movies without paying for cable or satellite service? You can use the following tips to save big time on quality entertainment.

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 The Home 
8
comments

DirectTV Satellite Television Deals

If you hate your cable television, you might want to give satellite providers like DirectTV a look. My friends recently moved into a newly constructed home and discovered they had only one option when it came to cable television – dreaded Comcast. It turns out that in Baltimore, MD, Comcast has a monopoly on cable television service because they “made an agreement with the city” (in other words, Comcast pays the city for the right to offer cable). Until recently, Comcast was one of my only options for cable too, until Verizon FiOS came to town and began snatching up all Comcast’s disgruntled customers.

Rather than go back to Comcast, a company many of us hated dealing with, my friends looked at their options. They decided to go with DirectTV and their satellite television service, in part because they offer NFL Sunday Ticket. For what it’s worth, DirectTV was named #1 in Customer Satisfaction among national cable and satellite TV providers by the University of Michigan Business School in their 2008 American Customer Satisfaction Index.

They have many different packages but the one my friend Jeremy recommends is their PLUS HD + DVR Package, which has 200+ channels and 95 HD channels for only $49.99 a month (normally $72.99 a month). Included in the package is a Free DVR HD DVR Upgrade, which will save you a few dollars. He was planning on getting the NFL Sunday Ticket package so HD was a must, but the PLUS DVR package, which is ten dollars less, is the same number of channels just minus the HD channels (and the HD DVR of course).

Here is the full package line-up or give them a call at 866-277-2216 and they can explain it to you if this mish-mash of terms and explanations is a little confusing:

Name # Channels Promo $/Month Regular $/Month Savings
Premier Package 265+ $81.99 $104.99 $23
20 premium movie channels & 35 sports channels
Plus HD + DVR Package 200+ $49.99 $72.99 $23
Free HD DVR upgrade
Plus DVR Package 200+ $39.99 $62.99 $23
HBO, Showtime, & Starz for 3 months
Choice XTRA Package 200+ $34.99 $57.99 $23
HBO, Showtime, & Starz for 3 months, free DVR or HD DVR receiver
Choice Package 150+ $29.99 $52.99 $23
Family Package 45+ $29.99 $29.99 $0

The deals aren’t too shabby and my friend Jeremy seems to be pretty pleased with his experience thus far. You’ll also want to take advantage of their DirecTV referral program, which will save you a few bucks off your first year’s service.

If you have any experience with DirectTV, please share them in the comments.


 Personal Finance 
2
comments

Effective Complaining: Hit Credit Cards, Not Banks

Stop ComplainingOn Sunday, I reviewed Gotcha Capitalism, a powerful and comprehensive guide for consumers, and gave it glowing reviews. Today, I want to talk about a couple stats Bob Sullivan shares with the reader about complaining to companies and success rates (Keep in mind that the book was published in 2007).

The point of the section was to illustrate that the places where you are more likely to succeed are exactly the places that people don’t try. The success rate at a grocery store is 57.1% but only 14% of people ever try, whereas the success rate with a television company is an abysmal 20.2% yet 84% of people complain. If you want to make the most out of your time, go after credit card companies. Ask to have fees removed, refunded, or waived because you’re such an awesome customer.

Here are the numbers:

  1. Credit card companies: 64.6% success rate
  2. Airlines: 60.0% success rate
  3. Grocery stores: 57.1% success rate
  4. Retirement: 52.2% success rate
  5. Internet: 51.5% success rate
  6. Hotels: 37.0% success rate
  7. Banks: 33.3% success rate
  8. Insurance: 28.9% success rate
  9. Cell Phones: 26.8% success rate
  10. Television: 20.2% success rate

Here are the rates at which people actually complained:

  1. Television: 84% complaint rate
  2. Credit card companies: 79% complaint rate
  3. Cell Phones: 71% complaint rate
  4. Hotels: 54.0% complaint rate
  5. Insurance: 38% complaint rate
  6. Internet: 33% complaint rate
  7. Retirement: 23% complaint rate
  8. Banks: 18% complaint rate
  9. Airlines: 15% complaint rate
  10. Grocery stores: 14% complaint rate

If you have all the time in the world, complain to everyone! :)

(Photo by aturkus)


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