Many in the FI/RE community would say that life is for living and not for watching others live their lives on TV, but I think that we would all admit that there are some evenings when we just want to slump on the sofa for a couple of hours. For me that is usually a Friday and Saturday night.
Having watched many YouTube videos about saving money often one of the suggestions is to ‘cut cable’, which for us Brits is getting rid of Sky. In this household we have never had anything but Freeview. I am old enough to remember when we just had three channels and the picture was in black and white, so Freeview seems to provide an amazing number of programmes to watch.
For those of you who currently have Sky I expect you are thinking, ‘But there isn’t enough to watch on Freeview’. My answer to that is you just have to look harder. Instead of switching on and randomly flicking through the channels when you’re feeling bored, you have to be slightly more strategic about your viewing.
I am a bit of a planning freak and as part of my weekly routine each Saturday I have started looking at the television schedules. I look through all those where I think that am likely to find something that I would like to watch. For example, we are fans of the Scandinavian crime dramas broadcast on a Saturday evening, so I always check what BBC Four is showing.
We rarely watch anything live, especially if it is on a channel with adverts. Usually we just watch a programme a couple of days after it is broadcast, but one idea is that by setting the PVR to record your favourite programme you can create your own box sets, if that’s your thing.
As well as the Scandinavian crime dramas we also enjoy a good film. We’re not cinema goers though and just tend to watch the films that are shown on the television. I trawl through the Film 4 schedule to see what’s coming up in the following week, but I have also found that the BBC sometimes show films around midnight, by which time I have been in bed for a couple of hours. If I didn’t go through the schedule I would never just come across these.
I am sure that some of you are screaming at the screen saying, ‘But Sam, we use iPlayer’ or other catchup channels. Firstly, I would say that unless you know that you have missed something you wouldn’t search for it on catchup TV. You could scroll through and see what’s been on I suppose and then choose a programme to watch. The trouble with catchup is that the programmes don’t last forever and you may just miss something you might have wanted to watch. My reluctance to use iPlayer comes from the fact that the only way that we can watch it on our TV is using our DVD player due to updates to the system and our unwillingness to shell out money on more up to date technology. Unfortunately the system is very slow and we spend time just watching that little circle go round or occasionally it stops altogether and we have to reboot. I think that there is the option to plug the laptop into the TV, but we haven’t tried that yet and haven’t had to as it is all sitting on the PVR just waiting to be watched, without the possibility of the BBC deleting it or the system crashing.
I am not suggesting that you spend your entire life watching television, as there are so many other great activities to spend your precious time on, but if you’re thinking of cutting Sky and are worried that you won’t find enough to keep you occupied on Freeview I would encourage you to think again. You may be able to save yourself some money and still be able to enjoy those evenings in front of the TV!