When I moved out, I had no idea what I was doing. What did I need and what did I want? What was considered a good deal? And how was I going to make it all fit in my budget? The average American spends $2,482 on entertainment alone, and I knew that was not going to be me.
What I Need vs What I Want
As a standard millennial, the first item on my list was wifi. If I had that, there really wasn’t much else that I needed. Or so I thought. I spend a lot of my time watching things, whether it’s soccer, DVDs, or the newest Netflix special. But I didn’t need the cable. Having 66+ home improvement channels was great, but I started noticing entertainment packages at apartments that were almost $100 a month. The package was appealing because everything was so easy and convenient. All the work had already been done. However, I felt that there had to be a better (and cheaper) way to do this.
Finding the Best Product at the Best Price
A word of caution: I spent DAYS researching what would be best. I wanted to make sure that I was getting a great product at an even better price. This required a lot of phone calls and time on the internet. Not every apartment complex allows for that, and I was lucky that mine did.
There are many companies that will bundle (cut you a deal if you buy their internet with cable or anything else they sell), and costs typically end up cheaper. For me, every dollar matters. The extra $10 I spent monthly to keep channels I never watched was ten more dollars I could use on food. So, I cut the cable. I picked the most basic plan for wifi, since I don’t game or do heavy amounts of streaming, and started shopping around. There are many websites that can break it down for you, but I talked to the people at my apartment to see what worked best, and also to see what was available. A deal that isn’t available to you does not matter.
I ended up calling the internet companies and asking what benefits they could offer me since it was my first year. I ended up with a package that was $40 for the first year, and the price would change after that (I called them at the end of that year, and they gave me a bundled package for $50, instead of paying $60 for JUST internet. Go figure). They also offered me a modem that would be $10 a month. That alone totalled to $120 a year, and once again, I knew I could do it better. I researched the modems that would work with my service, and then the ones that would be the fastest in my price range. Then, I went to Facebook Marketplace and started looking around. After 2 hours, I got my modem for $25.
Entertainment and Streaming
At this point, I had already cut the cable. Everything I watched could be found on Netflix, Hulu, and on channel specific pages online. The online pages were free, but it was time to pick a side for streaming. I will be completely honest, I am a Hulu person. I like that they have shows that are still on the air, along with previous seasons. Also, I love cooking shows, and they seem to have a deal with Food Network. Now, I had an additional $10 that I was saving every month after Netflix.
I soon had a hole in my heart without “Friends” playing in the background while I washed dishes. I took to the streets (Facebook Marketplace) and got a Blu-ray DVD player for $4. It also came with an illegal copy of “The Little Mermaid,” so I can’t complain much. I have found that buying movies secondhand is hit or miss. If you go to a thrift store or Craigslist, make sure the disc is ACTUALLY in the case, and that there are not too many scratches on the back. Stores like FYE typically have a great policy on returns if the disc does not work, but they may or may not have what you want.
Believe in Yourself
In today’s world, there are too many options. It can be overwhelming, and it can be hard to hear yourself when people are trying to tell you what you need. I am a firm believer that opportunity is always there, and sometimes you just have to ask. In these instances, a little more research and time helped me save money on things that I deemed necessary. Get what you deserve at a price that works for you.