It’s Frugal Friday again. Woo hoo! And since it’s been a long week and all I want to do is vegetate in front of a movie for a couple of hours and recharge my battery, I’m going to confess something that shocks a lot of people: I have two kids â€“ tweens â€“ and I don’t get ANY cable TV. Okay, I get the basic ($8 a month) package because I have to. But that’s it. There is nothing on there except local educational programming (and educational is a term I use very loosely there.)
Are my kids living in some strange social experiment that’s void of modern cultural references and bad TV? Heck, no. They are some of the most media savvy kids I know. Also, I’m a movie fanatic and I’m addicted to several TV series. But, as a cheapskate parent, I almost never go to the movies. I even hate going to video rental stores so much I haven’t been in one in two years.
How is it possible that all these facts live together in the same house? Our house is a Mecca of free on-demand content. Finding stuff to watch is part of the adventure. Here’s are a few of our current favorites.
We get Netflix. Tweaking the Netflix.com queue is an ongoing family battle â€“ a form of entertainment even. But with our Netflix account — any Netflix account — comes unlimited “Watch Instantly” content. All of it is free and streams through a computer. We frequently connect a laptop to the TV or projector but we also invested in a $99 NetFlix Player by Roku. This is a terrific device that sits next to the router, delivers content to our TV without a computer, and speeds everything up.
We love Hulu.com. Why wait till something comes on TV and watch only one measly episode? We dial up whatever we are in the mood for. We can try out a new show and, if we love it, watch the whole season. There are commercials. And you can’t fast-forward them. But there aren’t very many and they are very modern and you can vote on them. Here is a taste (Episode 1, season 1 of Firefly. It’s longâ€¦but fun.
If we can’t find what we want on Hulu.com, we head over to Fancast.com. Used to be, the only reason we got cable was to watch the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Now we pay for Internet, maintain a wireless network, and watch whatever we please, whenever we please. Life is sweet. Have a great weekend. But before you leave, laugh (really hard!):