Money Matters: Getting Rid of the Cable Bill

An antenna that cost $8.99 saves me over $500 a year

I never thought of myself as a big tv watcher, but when faced with the decision on whether or not to set up cable in our new apartment, I realized just how much television mattered to me. In today's world everything is on the Internet and access to the Internet is usually never more then an arms reach away. Even at apartments in the past where I had cable, I found myself watching most tv programs online and nearly all of my news consumption was done online. It wouldn't be a big deal to severe my ties with cable altogether then right? Except when making the decision it felt like agony. I had an emotional connection with viewing tv in real time; it felt as if watching whatever was broadcast on a given channel at a given time some how connected me to the outside world. I would see the same shows and commercials that anyone else in the area would see turning to that channel. It provided a sense of exploration and connectedness. Somehow through my relationship with the cable programming I felt I had organic social interaction, something I so sorely miss these days with most of my friends living in far away cities or being generally busy with life (it happens with us all). Is it sad that with so many ways to be engaged, entertained, and artifically connected to one another through social media sites, that the most natural feeling connection I have to the outside world is through cable? Such is life in the Information Age. 

Despite this emotional connection to cable, I couldn't justify the high monthly premiums for even the most 'basic' cable packages (FYI basic now means over 100 channels). All I really needed for my cable fix was the true basics like ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX. I heard there was a way to get those channels for free,  but I was a bit sceptical, worrying that something illegal had to be done to access them, like free riding off your neighbors service or something. I have a great fear/reverence for authority so I knew I wouldn't be capable of doing anything like that, but surprisingly after some research I found a completely legal way to access free cable. All it takes is a digital tv and an antenna and you're ready to go. We bought this antenna from Ocean Reef Electronics through Amazon for $8.99 and we have access to 27 channels. Minus the cost of the antenna, it works out to be a $531 savings for the year! What channels you can access and how good your reception is varies based on your location, but there is a website called antennaweb.org that allows you to find out what channels you can access in your area. With the purchase of a cheap antenna, I get to have my emotional connection to the tv and not break the bank. 

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