Saving Money, Spend to Save

Spend To Save: HDTV Antenna

As I write this post, I’m currently sitting on my couch watching an episode of Survivor.

Some people may think T.V. is a waste of time, and many in the financial independence world don’t even have a T.V.

They are probably on to something.

At best watching T.V. is a time suck, and at worst it can become an addiction.

However, if you’re like me and like to catch the occasional Survivor episode or SEC football game, then let me tell you about the awesomeness that is an HDTV Antenna.


The HDTV Antenna is a small contraption that usually hangs in your window and then also plugs into your T.V.’s HDMI and cable ports. If you live within 50 to 100 miles of a decent sized city, you can typically get access to over 30 channels, including networks like ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, PBS, and many more. Want to know the best part about this setup?

You get access to all of these channels for FREE!

You read that right. Once you purchase the HDTV Antenna, you have access to 30+ high definition television channels for absolutely free.

I realize that I sound like one of those late night infomercial folks right now, but this product has saved me so much money that it was so worth the purchase.

So how will purchasing an HDTV Antenna help you save money?

According to the Leichtman Research Group, in 2016 the average American cable bill was $103.00 per month.

Now let’s say that you enjoy T.V., and you currently have a $103.00 cable bill. Let’s assume that you get tired of paying for tons of channels you don’t use, and wasting money on crazy fees. You decide to spend $50.00 for an HDTV Antenna and enjoy free T.V.

Check out the chart below to see how much you would save:

In just one year, you would save over $1,200.

After 5 years, you would save $6,000.

After 10 years, you would save over $12,000.

After 15 years, you would save over $18,000.

Using an average wage estimate of $21.90, the U.S average hourly wage as of February 2017, and assuming a typical 40 hour work week, not paying for cable for 15 years would save you over 21 weeks of work.

Think about that. In 15 years, you would spend 21 FULL WEEKS of work just to pay for T.V.

And that’s not even including increases in the cable bill or taxes that are taken out of your hourly wage.

Now, let’s get even deeper.

Let’s assume that you take the $103.00 per month that you didn’t spend on cable, and instead invested that into the stock market, earning an average of 7% interest per year.

In just one year, you would save over $1,200.

After 5 years, you would save over $7,000.

After 10 years, you would save almost $18,000.

At the end of 15 years, you would have over $32,500.00.

THIRTY TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS! Just by not paying for T.V. and investing that money in the stock market.

Again, if we use a $21.90 hourly wage and a typical 40 hour work week, paying for cable for 15 years instead of investing the money instead would cost you the equivalent of 32 weeks of work.

Now I know this scenario isn’t perfect. The way we consume live T.V. is already changing, and T.V. as we know it may not even be around in 15 years.

Yet, there is truth to my hypothetical situation, and if you love T.V. you could purchase this little gadget, cut the cable, and amass over $32,000 within 15 years. That would be the equivalent of saving over a half of a year of work just by being thoughtful about consuming media.

Even if you added in Netflix or Hulu in order to catch some of your favorite shows that might not be available over the air, you would come out far ahead of paying for cable each month.

Do you still have cable? How do you typically consume T.V.? What other ways creative ways have you used to save some cash every month? Let me know in the comments.

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