One of the non-frugal amenities we have is satellite television. We live in a rural area, which means the nearest Blockbuster is 50 miles away. When I look at the ratio of cost to hours of entertainment, I find my satellite to be a huge bargain.
When our ten-year-old VCR died last summer, we faced a decision. We had a lot of children’s videos our son loved, plus a few classics we enjoyed. We already have two DVD players, so we just wanted to get another VCR so we could play the videos we had. Well, you can’t buy JUST a VCR anymore… you have to buy a VCR/DVD player combo (for upwards of $70). We didn’t want another DVD player. A relative gave us an old VCR he wasn’t using, but that died shortly after we got it.
Then we started to hear people talk about their DVRs (Digital Video Recorders). A DVR allows you to do all kinds of neat things from pausing and rewinding live television to recording a whole season of your favorite shows. It sounded really neat, but I balked at the $6/month addition to my satellite bill. Finally my tech-savvy husband convinced me it was the way to go.
And now that we’ve had it for 6 months, I truly know it was a GREAT decision for us.
First of all, we have saved a ton of money on movie rentals and pay-per-view movies. Our satellite provider had a couple of “Free premium movie channel” weekends, and we used our DVR to record lots of movies we had wanted to see, but hadn’t gotten around to renting. We now have hours of free movies to watch.
Because I can record my favorite shows and watch them when I want to, I am no longer slave to the television. I can also fast forward over the commercials, which means I am no longer tempted by products. (And I snack less because I don’t run to the fridge during the commercials!).
I’m also able to learn more about personal finance. I use my DVR to search and record financial shows. I love being able to watch The Dave Ramsey Show, and the Suze Orman Show, while I clip coupons or pay bills.
The biggest savings has been in children’s programming. My son LOVES Thomas & Friends, Bob the Builder, and Curious George. Thanks to our DVR, we have an extensive library of his favorite shows. I recently saw Bob the Builder DVDs on sale at Target. One episode was $5.50…. Well, we have more than a dozen episodes on our DVR… which means that just in children’s programming alone, our DVR has paid for itself for the year.