We are constantly struggling with balancing our finances, trying to save money for our next big project. (Currently, ours is eventually buying a house…eep!)

We’ve figured out that making big, sweeping changes often doesn’t work. We don’t anticipate potential complications or we give up because the change is just too difficult (aka extreme couponing or avoiding clothing purchases). So we’ve been striving to make small, manageable changes that are easily to evolve as time goes on and our requirements change.

A few things that have worked:
1. Starting an ING savings plan that automatically deducts a fixed amount of $ from our checking account each week, automatic savings! You don’t miss it when you didn’t even realize you had the cash to begin with.

2. Cutting out coffee shops and brewing at home. The savings add up amazingly fast.

3. Get rid of pricey Cable TV packages. You literally save $50 or more a month…minimum!

To expand on #3, most cable providers charge upwards of $130 for internet and TV service. Throw in a phone and you’re closer to $160 and that’s with the most basic of TV packages. If you’re not addicted to sports, live TV and news shows…there’s another option! (Sports fans can also take advantage of this, never fear).

Can your cable company and only keep the internet service. That brings your bill down to roughly $50-60 on average (and if you sign up for a contract you can probably negotiate it down a bit more). If you have an internet ready TV, just pick the apps you use and away you go. Hulu plus is only $7.99 per month and has most major network TV shows readily available only one day after they air. Netflix has several affordable options if you want to expand your selection, especially for older TV series and movies.

For those without an internet ready TV (or those who want an easier to navigate menu and a few more viewing options) purchase an Apple TV for $99 (one time fee to purchase the box). You can hook this up to your TV and stream movies, Huluplus, Netflix, sports, youTube and much, much more.  Essentially anything you can get via iTunes, you can now view on your television.

For a grand total of roughly $70 per month (in most cases, at least half of your current bill) you get a huge selection for your viewing pleasure. Not a bad deal!

At the end of the day, you also feel a bit better for sticking it to those crazy cable companies.

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