Cutting the Cord – Is it worth it?

Cord cutting has been a hot topic for a while now, in the cable sense that is. Every year it seems we would sit and watch that bill get higher and higher. It didn’t matter if we had cable or one of the dish companies, they all did the same. And let’s not forget the premium cable channels with their great shows! In these money-conscious days, we now live in, we are always looking for ways to save a bit of hard earned money.

 

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Have you thought about cutting the cord? Looking for a way to live more simply? See some pointers here to go cable free!

After paying way too much for way too long, we talked about what we could do to cut the cord. We moved up into the North GA mountains, after getting tired of the city hustle and bustle. While it definitely has its perks, we certainly had to learn some alternative options for things.  One of the biggest ones was the lack of decent cable service. With only 1 provider here, we were stuck, not only with mediocre service but at a premium price! We decided to go with DirectTV and hoped it would be a good choice for us.


DirectTV works out OK here. However we can get some wicked weather from time to time, and that can definitely affect your viewing time. One of my biggest pet peeves with it, or most of the services out there? Why the heck do we have to pay for so many channels that we will NEVER watch? There are hundreds of them, and we watch MAYBE only 10-15 of them, so why the high price for all the others? There really should be an option to let you pick a la carte, in my opinion. That, along with the high cost, definitely contributed to our decision to attempt the cord cutting, for sure.

The First Stages of Cutting the Cord.

So we began our research, looking into what our options might be if we decided to dive right into it. It turns out there are so many more options than we had even imagined! First of all, how about local channels? While we don’t watch a ton of local tv, there are times we check some shows out. Due to that, we began our look out for an antenna. Of course, like I mentioned, we are living in the mountains, with lots of trees. Because of this, we tried several different antennas, about 5 or more. Not a single one of them gave us more than 3 – 4 channels. And the only ones we got were Home Shopping and different Telemundo channels. So we decided to give up on that.

Because we have Netflix and Amazon Prime, we were less concerned about some things. But there are some shows we like that we couldn’t find on either one or at least not current episodes. I’d already binge-watched all of The Walking Dead that was available on Netflix. There are also a couple of other shows I started on Netflix, and then got caught up to DVR. Because of that, I needed certain channels!


Streaming Devices?

Of course, I had some knowledge of those streaming devices that are out there. Neither one of us was super familiar with any of them, so we started researching. There are SO many out there! Luckily my husband is a strong researcher. After looking over all different makes and models, we finally ended up with the Roku 3. It’s a great little streamer, and it even came with a free trial for Sling, which gave us some locals. But that only lasted 7 days, then we would have to pay monthly. And several of the apps had that same little snag. It seems many of the major networks had some form of one, but they are were going to add up fees.

After doing the math, looking at all the add-on fees we were about to start incurring, we realized we weren’t going to save much at all if any. Yes, I could have given up some of my shows I like, and probably should have. But it’s not like I watch a ton of TV, there are just a few I enjoy and don’t want to stop watching. We do love the Roku, however!

So did we cut the cord?

Not entirely. We DID get rid of all of the satellite boxes from the bedrooms, which included ours, the guest bedroom, and my stepdaughter’s room when she is with us. We also cut our package down to pretty much the minimum that still left me The Walking Dead. She got a Google Chromecast since she’s not much on TV, but YouTube and games. We got a 2nd Roku for our bedroom, which is great for streaming audio or general channels as background noise. Because we don’t have a whole lot of guests over, we haven’t decided on what to do with that television yet, but we will. One of the funniest things about it all is we now watch so much more TV (well it’s almost always on as background noise) and we even leave it streaming for the dogs when we are not home with them.

Have you cut the cord? Are you thinking about it?

I’d love to hear successes or even the unsuccessful attempts!

Are you thinking about cutting the cord? Simplifying your life? Saving extra money?? Read how we started the cable free living!

12 Smartphone Apps I Can’t Live Without

Our smartphones have truly changed our lives. Does anyone even remember when phones were just for calling people? I think my dad is the only person around who still feels that way! We rely on them for so much more than that now. I’ve decided to share with you some of my absolute favorite apps. I am certain I’m not the only one who lives with my phone in my hand. Maybe you know of and use all of these already. Or maybe you’ll find some new ones to try!

This post may contain affiliate links. I never promote anything I don’t stand behind. To read my disclosure policy, click here.

 

Check out some of the great smartphone apps I can't live without!

News/Sports/Weather Apps:

    • Fox News App – I tend to stick with Fox for my news. They just seem to be the most balanced of the big networks, in my opinion of course. I can turn the alerts on or off and stream live video from it. It’s simple and to the point, which is one of the reasons I like this one over some other apps.
    • Flipboard – When I finally moved over to Android from Apple, this came pre-installed on my first phone. I wasn’t too sure about it until I looked into it a bit more. I love that you can add topics and really personalize it around what you want to see.
    • ESPN Scorecenter – Since I AM a lover of sports, and I’m not local to my favorite teams, this app comes in handy! I can check in on schedules, scores, news, etc. I can even “watch” GameCast play by play on some games.
    • The Weather Channel – While this one is not necessarily on of my favorites, I do need my weather app! I actually have the widget on my home screen. I check this app multiple times a day, not only for local weather but other places too.

Best Buy Smartphone Apps

 

Reference/Utility Apps:

  •  Evernote – I’m surprised I haven’t had this longer. I just found out about it a few months ago. This little app is a lifesaver! It’s great for jotting down ideas, making lists, and so much more. I love that I can sync it with my laptop too!
  • Whitepages – For some reason, I have been getting a lot of SPAM calls lately. I have pretty much given up answering any number I don’t recognize, and this app helps me determine if it’s a valid call or not.
  • Dictionary.com – My favorite little thing about this app is the word of the day notification I get each morning. There is an option to listen to the words if you are unfamiliar with the pronunciation. I also use it to look up alternate words from time to time.
  • IMDb – I am a sucker for seeing someone on TV or in a movie and trying to remember where I’ve seen them before. This app is great for that, but also for looking up other film/television things.
  • iPeriod – Let’s face it, I’m not always on the ball with remembering that special time. This app helps me track it, and can even set up notifications to let you know when it’s a few days out. No one likes to find it out the hard way, am I right ladies?

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Money/Shopping Apps:

  • ibotta – This app is awesome. If you aren’t using yet, click and sign up. It’s super easy and payments go right into Paypal. I’ve had it for a few years, but only recently started using it more and more. You browse available rebates, click to add them to your list, buy the item, scan the barcode and receipt and the money is yours! It’s awesome to get cash back on things I’m already buying, and I love this app for that reason.
  • Walmart – Living in a small rural town, this is the only “grocery” store we have unless we drive to the next town. So it’s primarily where we do most of our shopping. The Savings Catcher part of this app has been great. All you do is scan your receipt, then wait. It searches nearby “competitors” and will refund you the difference if it finds a lower price. You can then load it onto an e-gift card, and you’re all set!
  • Swagbucks – I can’t preach enough about SB! I have 3 different SB apps on my phone, and I love that I can earn just by letting the videos play on the watch app. I can take surveys on the go, even online shopping to earn cash back. All by just going through the app. I’ve posted about Swagbucks before, and I really did pay for the holidays this year by using it!
  •  Retail Me Not – I use this one pretty often when I’m searching coupons. I love that I can use it in-store, and online. They usually have something for almost anything you’re looking for! I’ve managed to save some good money using the coupons from here. I am all for a good deal whenever I can get one!

 

Photography Apps:

Of course, I need photo apps for all the social media sharing out there, right? And there are a TON, but I’ve narrowed it down to a few of my faves, only wishing Canva would hurry up with their Android version!

  • Prisma – I simply love this app. It makes your photos turn into paintings. There are so many filters and you can dial them back as much as you want. You will end up with absolutely gorgeous photos.
  • Aviary – This is one of my favorites for straight up editing. It’s simple to use, has great filters, and produces some great pictures. I’ve been using it for quite a while, and I still seem to end up going back to it, even after I’ve tried others.
  • WordSwag – This is one of the few apps I’ve paid for. I tend to stick to the freebies. However, I do like this one for its layouts, fonts, and cool features. Not only can you make your fancy quotes and such, it will show you the “Twitter preview” area in the square template you’re probably using for Instagram!

There are many more apps than that out there. Certainly, I have more on my phone as well. I left out the basics, (all the social media ones, etc). These are some of my favorites that I use more often than any others, except those darn social media ones!

What apps are you loving right now? I’d love to hear about them in the comments?

 

Check out my this list of 12 apps that I can't live without! Shopping, making money, getting news, staying organized and more!

10 Date Night Ideas – on the cheap!

Date nights are fun, right? With all the working, cooking, housekeeping, and fixing things, it’s nice to just let it all go for a night. However, as we all know, it can get expensive. Even those of us without children have our expenses too. From car payments to utility bills and mortgages, we all have things we pay for. Why not still enjoy date night, but on a budget, or even better, FREE! There are lots of things you can do around town, or even in your own home that still count. I’m going to share some ideas for some low cost, even free things that will still feel like a nice night with your loved one.

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FREE Date Ideas:

  1. Make a nice dinner… TOGETHER. Get both of you involved in preparing some delicious meal together, and you will be amazed at how it brings you together. Then sit by a nice candle lit table and enjoy with a glass of wine.
  2. Go for a walk. Getting outside together and enjoying the sun or breeze is a great way to enjoy each other. And it’s free! Even watching the stars together can be a wonderful way to spend an evening.
  3. Clear off that DVR! How many things are recorded on there that you just haven’t seemed to watch yet? Catch up on all your recordings, while snuggled up in your PJs. It’s like a Netflix marathon, minus the Netflix!
  4. Give each other a massage. Hey, you don’t have to be a licensed masseuse to do so, just do what you’re good at. Maybe it’s a foot rub, a back rub, etc. It’ll be a nice way to help each other unwind and relax.
  5. Soak in a hot bath together. Not all of us are fortunate to have a hot tub at home, (although it is on our list to upgrade in the near future). Break out that wine again, draw a hot bath, add some bubbles to it, and relax.

Inexpensive Date Night Ideas:

  1.  Rent a movie and lay out a blanket on the floor. Red Box is always a cheap option, or maybe you pay for premium cable. (We do not, we semi cut the cord, and are working on going all the way with it) Have a little movie night indoor picnic.
  2. Go out for ice cream. Save on dinner by cooking at home, then splurge a little on dessert. If you’re lucky, there’s a nice little local place around, or you can even hit up a Dairy Queen if that’s all you have around. Get a small cone, and you won’t spend too much!
  3. Hit up your local farmer’s market. It’ll be nice to have local fresh ingredients when you go to do the at home cooking date!
  4. Head to the local thrift store. You never know what kinds of goodies you can find there! Maybe something you’ve been wanting to add to the home decor. Maybe you will find a fantastic new outfit to wear next time you splurge on date night!
  5. Go out to support your local high school. Check out a football game, choir concert, band concert, or even play. Some of those are free I’m sure, but even if there is a charge, it’ll be a small one, plus you’ll be supporting your local community.

There are so many things you can do for free or not a lot of cash and still enjoy quality time with your significant other. It doesn’t always have to be expensive dinners and fancy things. It’s about being together and having quality time, right? What are some of your other date night ideas on the cheap? I’d love to hear some!

10 Date Night ideas on a budget!