The SmartyPig Blog

How Cord-Cutting Your Television Will Save You Money

Cable TV providers are warily eyeing a new form of media consumption that’s proving popular with the viewing public, especially Millennials looking to save a few dollars. By “cutting the cord” – weaning themselves from their cable TV subscriptions – regular people can avoid having to shell out for expensive equipment rentals and hundreds of channels that they don’t watch. With the proliferation of Internet streaming video sites, publicly available time-shifting and streaming hardware, and HD-quality, over-the-air broadcasts, there are plenty of options for crafting a customized package of channels and movies.

Although cord-cutting usually requires an initial upfront investment in the appropriate hardware, it delivers long-term savings. Streaming services usually charge only around $10 a month while delivering more content than most people could ever watch. Even a combination of several such services and à la carte content is typically much cheaper than typical cable or satellite TV fees. If you’re having trouble saving up money or would just like overall resources and tools to save money, SmartyPig can help. Using the money you’ve saved from cord cutting to reach your financial goals can be a big help in the long run and SmartyPig will aid you through the process.

Cord-cutting allows each individual to come up with a personally tailored solution based upon his or her own preferences. You have many vendors, products and services to choose from, including:

ChromeCast

The ChromeCast by Google plugs into the HDMI port of your TV and streams video from your mobile device or your computer to the television. Although it’s a bit light on features, the ChromeCast costs only about $35, making it one of the cheapest hardware options available.

SlingTV

SlingTV, brought to us by Dish, is a video service that provides a package of regular cable programming for $20 per month. Although this is pretty pricey compared to other streaming video services, SlingTV is compatible with a wide array of hardware and is one of the few vendors that offers ESPN and ESPN2 standard.

Roku

Roku manufactures set-top boxes, which can tie your whole streaming infrastructure together into one easy-to-use control scheme. The Roku 2 unit is highly regarded within the industry. For $69, you get compatibility with the most popular streaming services, a convenient interface and even a remote control.

AT&T and DirecTV

AT&T and DirecTV are teaming up to offer not one but three separate packages of streaming video, including an ad-based option that will be completely free. These new solutions are billed as not requiring a lengthy commitment. While details are a bit hazy at present, we can expect more info to be released ahead of the launch sometime between October and December this year.

Netflix

Perhaps the king of online, on-demand media, Netflix streams television shows, movies and other content to millions of users around the world. Besides carrying selections from some of the top firms in the entertainment industry, Netflix also offers its own highly regarded, original productions. You can get all this for a low monthly price of around $10.

Hulu

Hulu offers a broad range of streaming programming although its library is not as vast as that of Netflix. Advantages include the ability to watch completely for free if you’re willing to sit through ads and many primetime shows available for viewing the day after they air.

Amazon Prime

For a yearly charge of $100, you can access movies, classic television programs and exclusive Amazon content. You can also, for an additional fee, buy or rent individual TV episodes or seasons. As part of your Prime membership, you’ll receive free, two-day shipping on your orders from Amazon’s immense catalog of merchandise.

Cord-cutting can be part of an overall plan to save money without decreasing your quality of life. Even as you reduce your television expenses, you can learn how to save more by checking out the TV programs recommended for this purpose at the SmartyPig blog. SmartyPig focuses on helping you achieve your financial goals, and it even offers pointers on how to minimize your bills while acting in an ecologically friendly way.

 

Today’s guest post by featured blogger, Maria Ramos.

Trim Your Wedding Pricetag

Wedding goals are really big here at the Pig. You know what else is big? The cost of throwing a wedding these days. If you could cut some corners, why wouldn’t you? The smart folks at Yahoo Finance discuss this month how to trim your wedding costs with 7 simple tips. Let’s discuss.

I love cake. But I also love saving money, and wedding cakes can cost upwards of $6 a SLICE. You read that right. Why not use a decoy cake? Or cupcakes? Another big ticket wedding item is flowers. Be careful to select flowers in season, and if you can, go right to the wholesaler. Keep your guest list in check by considering a destination wedding, or using the “6 month rule” and only inviting guests you’ve seen or spoken to in the last 6 months. Lastly, choose any day but Saturday. Friday weddings are all the rage right now.

Wishing you successful saving…and wedding planning, too!

Sarah Foss, SmartyPig’s Media Mad Woman, sfoss@SmartyPig.com

 

How Are You Using Your SmartyPig?

I’m saving to save! – Patrick

Our family of 4 is looking at ways to save for a family vacation abroad. Checking out SmartyPig.com! @nerdmominFL

I’ve used SP to save for furniture, vacations, emergency savings, & working on a down payment! – @CassRMorris

Just requested the last of the funds in my SmartyPig account. Time to buy my ticket home from London! It’s like the trip is real now, lol. – @CharmingGoats

Save Money and Protect Your Home With DIY Security Systems

It’s important for you to feel safe and secure in your own home but sometimes having security systems installed by professionals can cost way more than you’d like to pay. Luckily enough, with advanced technology in this modern world, multiple do-it-yourself systems exist – even those that allow you to control it remotely through your smartphone. More home security resources and details can be found on various websites, helping you make financially responsible decisions. Protecting your home doesn’t have to cost a fortune but if you’re saving up to invest in a fancier and more efficient system, using SmartyPig can help you reach your financial goals. However, in the meantime, it may be smart to research some of the DIY systems on the market right now.

The Piper Night Vision Alarm System

The Piper Night Vision Alarm System is a camera-based system that detects sound or motion and sends an email, text or notification to your Android or iOS smartphone. You can then view your home through the night vision camera that provides a 180 degree pan view, tilts and zooms to show you your home in HD. It also has two way audio and gives you the option of sounding a 105dB siren. It is connected to other smart devices in your home by Z-Wave and comes with a backup battery in case of a power outage.

iSmartAlarm System

In addition to the camera, door and window sensors, the iSmartAlarm system offer keychain remote tags and night vision cameras. The setup including the camera is $349 and only $293 on Amazon – one of the retailers that works with SmartyPig and adds 11 percent to your savings to increase your buying power when you reach your goal. iSmart also allows you to include other emergency contacts giving them control over the system as well.

The Canary All In One System

Some advantages to the Canary All In One is its sleek design, built in smart sensors and its night vision camera. For $199, not only does it stream your surveillance video but also monitors temperature, humidity, air quality and motions within your home. It includes learning technology that learn to respond to your habits over time. It offers a sharp video of 1080 pixels that is triggered by motion and capture video for up to 12 hours for free.

The Viper Home System

You may be familiar with Viper car alarms and remote starters but now, Viper also offers a home security system with the reliable performance they are known for. The starter kit comes with a smart control hub, a motion detector and a sensor with a battery backup system. For an extra monthly fee, they provide live video streams of your house. The hub plugs into the router and the accessories communicate through a wireless signal. You can even include your car security in the setup.

Scout Home System

The Scout Hub is a completely customizable DIY system. You are able to pick out any compatible devices to work with Scout, giving you the freedom of choice. Although Scout only sells four accessories, it’s a solid starter kit for those who just want the basics. It has an attractive design, offers professional monitoring and works with other manufacturer products including Amazon Echo and Nest.

When you are ready to secure your home and protect your family members, start by considering what DIY systems have to offer. Buying a system that can give you control over your entire home has great appeal. Who wouldn’t want to save on utilities, turn on lights, open the garage door, or even answer the doorbell while away from your home? SmartyPig also shares money saving advice and perspective on their website. If you are thinking about making your home smarter and saving on energy cost, check out this blog post at SmartyPig and review others while you are there.

 

It’s Not Just the Bride and Groom

 

saving for the wedding

 

It’s no surprise to anyone that planning a wedding this day in age is incredibly expensive. It’s no wonder so many brides and grooms elope or opt for small, at home parties and ceremonies. Seeing as it is one of the most celebrated days of our lives, most throw a great party and intern spend a great amount of money. But what about those of us who are simply attending the wedding? Well, costs for us are up to. And in a big way.

A recent Yahoo Finance article notes that on average it costs $703 dollars just to ATTEND a wedding in 2016. That doesn’t begin to cover what it costs to throw, or be in a wedding. This number is up a whopping 5% from 2015 and doesn’t seem to be decreasing anytime soon. If you have a lot of weddings on your calendar this summer it’s time to start saving with SmartyPig. Wedding goals are one of our biggest categories and when it’s time to cash out you could be receiving cash back from travel partners or the stores that are holding the couples gift registry. It’s a win-win for everyone at the party.

Wishing you successful saving.

Sarah Foss, SmartyPig’s Media Mad Woman, SFoss@SmartyPig.com

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