Cut the Cable

In full disclosure, cutting cable is NOT new to me and my husband. In fact, since my first apartment stopped providing free basic cable, I haven’t had cable. I waste just as much time now watching TV. The upside? I watch what I want, when I want! I typically get to skip the commercials – more on that later. Plus! I only spend between $52.88-$65.98 per month to watch everything I want!! (Costs vary based on what we use that month.)

Here’s the cost breakdown:

  • High Speed Internet – $41.97
  • CBS All Access (commercial-free plan) – $10.91
  • Netflix DVD – $13.10

The best deal we found on internet was 30 Mbps for $41.97/month. This allows us to stream HD video feed through our Roku (streaming device) while still using internet on our phones or tablet. Admittedly, there is an up-front investment, but once you have the basics your monthly cost is as customizable as you and your budget. This is where you need to start:

  1. Find an affordable internet plan with a speed of at least 12 Mbps.
  2. Buy a quality digital antenna. We’ve had this one for 3 years, and my parents bought one when they ditched cable. These have great signal! Mohu Leaf now offers 30-mile and 50-mile range antennas.
  3. Buy a Roku or other streaming device. (Chromecast & Amazon Fire Stick would work just as well. With Roku Stick, Roku 3 & Roku Premiere you are sure to find an option in your budget.)
  4. Subscribe to the channels you want! (I’ve listed some of the most popular below.)
    1. Netflix – $9.99 (The Standard plan allows you to watch on 2 screens which makes it perfect to split with another family. Set up separate profiles and, viola! It’s like you have your own account!)
    2. Hulu Plus – $7.99 & up (If you want to stream from a channel on your device, then you’ll need to pay for a plan. Click here to receive your first 2 weeks, FREE! However, we recently ditched Hulu Plus in an effort to save even more. Buy an HDMI Cable, like this one from Amazon Basics, for less than one month of Hulu. Simply plug your laptop into the TV and go! Hello savings!)
    3. CBS All Access – $5.99 & up (For our favorites like NCIS, NCIS New Orleans and The Big Bang Theory, this is a must on our list. We even splurge for the commercial free plan. They offer a free trial too!)
    4. Sling TV –  $20.00 & up (Not willing to part with The Food Network, History Channel or ESPN? This is the option for you! They have highly-customizable options with over 150 available channels. Some have on-demand viewing, but other are live-stream only. Olympics? Sounds like a great time to subscribe for one month. You can come and go as you please. Don’t pay for TV if you’re not going to use it.)
    5. Netflix DVD – $4.99 & up (Here’s another one of my favorites, but we only subscribe once we have a list of movies to catch up on. We subscribe to the $11.99/month plan. This allows us to watch 2 movies a weekend, mail them back on Monday and have new movie to watch by Thursday or Friday, all month long. On average we do watch 8 movies a month when we are subscribing. The total for that plan is equal to renting 8 movies on Redbox. The big exception? We don’t have to remember to take the movie back or make an extra trip, we can plan out all the movies for the month at one time AND they get delivered and picked up from the mailbox! If we forget to mail them back on Monday? We don’t get charged extra, and we still have movies in by the weekend. Return 2 DVDs a day late with Redbox and you’ve paid for half a month… I recommend thinking long and hard about this one, but remember you can cancel temporarily until there are more new movies to watch!)

Now you know what you need to go cable-free! Trust me, you’ll like being the one at work giggling when your co-workers are talking about their $200+ cable/internet bill. Don’t spend any more than you have to!

 

This blog contains affiliate links from which I may receive monetary compensation. I assure you that I only recommend the products I use, personally, for me and my family. Full disclosure policy here.

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A Season of Growth

I truly find hope and peace in gardening. Watching my plants grow, blossom and even yield a small harvest is beautiful. While we lost our initial herbs in a bad storm that turned over our greenhouse and threw our plants all around, we’ve replaced them. Our plants are THRIVING! I’m going to let the pictures speak for themselves on this one. I hope you’re all enjoying this season as much as we are.

Myer Lemon Tree

From left to right: Pineapple Plant, Cherry Tomato Plant & Jalapeño Plant

 

Left: Zucchini Plant (about to be moved to the big garden); Right: Cantaloupe Plant

 

From left to right: Jack o’ Lantern Pumpkins, Green Beans & Corn

Baby ear of corn ^_^

 

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Currently blooming day-lilies & dahlias

 

This blog contains affiliate links from which I may receive monetary compensation. I assure you that I only recommend the products I use, personally, for me and my family. Full disclosure policy here.

DIY Un-Paper Towels

I’ve mentioned before how I wanted some of these, but it hasn’t been in the cards to purchase any. However, while perusing the fabric aisles at Wal-Mart I found some plain cotton fabric on super-sale! I got 2 yards for like $4 and some odd cents. For under $5 I made 24 un-paper towels. Wanting to make some of your own? Here’s how:

Pre-wash AND dry your fabric. Mamma taught me well. If you don’t pre-wash and pre-dry the fabric you can end up with some seriously funky seams the first time they get washed and dried…

Once your fabric is washed, lay it out on a work surface. Cut the fabric into 12×12 inch squares. Here are my favorite tools for working on crafty fabric projects:

Fiskars 3-Piece Rotary Cutting Set (I bought this set 3 years ago, and it’s been tried and true for many projects.)

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Now, if you have a LOT more patience than me, you can pin your hems. But for those of you who want to work smarter not harder, fold the edges in twice and iron the edges down. This is enough to hold it while you sew. Fold in one side, iron, next side, iron and repeat until all four sides are ironed. I recommend ironing all of the pieces at once and then moving onto sewing. My eager little self wasted time and electricity bouncing between ironing and sewing on the first few.

 

Now all you need to do is find a cute little basket or tin to keep them near your sink. We still use traditional paper towels for really nasty messes, but we have used way less than half a roll in the month since I made these.

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This blog contains affiliate links from which I may receive monetary compensation. I assure you that I only recommend the products I use, personally, for me and my family. Full disclosure policy here.

No Bake Cookies

These cookies are a childhood memory. I have long loved these cookies! The bakery department at a local grocery store sells these beauties, for a pretty penny! $4.00 for a 1/4 of a batch doesn’t sit very well with my frugal self.

Someone at work brought a couple of these cookies in with their lunch. Naturally, I had to make some…

As the name says, you don’t have to bake these cookies. Instead, you make a simple fudge on the stove, and then mix in the remaining ingredients.  To make the fudge part, combine butter, sugar, milk and cocoa powder in a large saucepan. On medium-high heat bring these ingredients to a boil. Using a candy thermometer, bring these ingredients to 220 degrees.

(Here’s how fudge works. Not hot enough? You’re fudge never sets, stays sticky and you need a bathe after each cookie. Right temperature? The fudge hardens to form a firm cookie with enough strength to hold together. Too hot? You’re going to have a cookie that crumbles and crumbles into a mess. Reaching the correct temperature is very important in getting a perfect cookie, EVERY time!)

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The fudge mixture will come to a roaring boil before it reaches 220 degrees.

Once you’ve reached 220 degrees, remove the pan from heat. Stir in the peanut butter, vanilla and quick oats.  Spoon out your cookies onto a wax paper lined cookie sheet. You pick the size? Giant or two-bite sized? Refrigerate the cookies until set, enjoy!

From me to you, lick the spoon clean. 🙂 It’s as magical as warm Rice Krispie Treats. Yum!

No Bake Cookies

  • Servings: 3 Dozen
  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ C. Sugar
  • ¼ C. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • ½ C. Milk
  • ½ C. Butter
  • 3 C. Quick Oats
  • ¼ C. Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1 t. Vanilla Extract

Directions

  1. Boil together sugar, cocoa powder, milk and butter in a large sauce pan.
  2. Bring the simple fudge to a boil, stirring frequently, until it reaches 220 degrees.
  3. Remove from heat.
  4. Stir in peanut butter, vanilla and quick oats.
  5. Scoop out onto wax paper-lined cookie sheet.
  6. Refrigerate until set.

 

This blog contains affiliate links from which I may receive monetary compensation. I assure you that I only recommend the products I use, personally, for me and my family. Full disclosure policy here.