Money Management

How to Keep the Cost of Watching TV down

Watching television can be a really good past time for many people. It can keep us company, entertain us, get us together as a family and even teach us things. However, it can be costly to do so but there are ways that you can keep those costs down.

TV licence

If you want to watch live terrestrial television then you will need a television licence. This will cost a monthly amount of around £12 although it is cheaper if you have a black and white television or are visually impaired. You can watch some programs for free online after they have been broadcast but you still need a licence to watch anything that was broadcast by the BBC. If you watch the television using freeview, freesat, cable or satellite you will need to have a television licence.

Cable television

Some of the UK has access to television by cable. This means that you will be able to pay the company that provides the cable to view different channels. There are usually more channels available than on the free services but you may have to pay extra for them. They may have options where you can choose different channels for different prices. As you will have to pay for the TV licence as well, any costs you pay for the cable television will be extra to this.

Satellite television

Satellite television will also need a television licence and will enable you access to more channels. You will need to live in an area that can receive it and have a dish installed on your home which may not be allowed if you live in a listed building. You may also have a choice of paying more money for extra channels.

Online subscriptions

There is a growing trend of people getting online subscriptions for companies that will provide boxsets of programs as well as films to watch. These do not include normal terrestrial channels and so there is no need to have a TV licence to watch them. They are often cheaper than a TV licence as well.

It is important, once you are aware of your options, to think about what you want to do. You might be paying for lots of different channels and it is wise to think about whether you really need to be paying as much as you are. You need to think about how much you can afford to start with and then you will be able to work out whether you can afford several of these options or just the one. It can be tempting to watch all of the things that your friends and family watch so that you can chat to them about it. This is where you can end up spending more money than you can afford. It is not worth struggling with money or even getting a loan from somewhere like just so that you can watch a few programs on the television. Some will come onto other channels eventually anyway and with others you will probably not miss out that much if you have not watched them. You may even find that you are not a big fan once you watch the program anyway.

It can be easy to be tempted by offers though. You might be given a television package offer in with broadband and landline phone, for example and that could mean that you will be tempted to spend a bit more because those are cheaper. You might also be offered some free months or cheaper deals and it can be tempting to do it. The problem is that once you sign up to these channels you can get hooked to the programs that are on them. Then you will want to keep viewing and therefore you will need to keep paying out the money. You may also find pressure from other family members who might be in the same situation and want to watch things that will cost you more money. You may have to ask that they provide money towards the cost (particularly if they are older) if it is becoming a strain on the household budget. Otherwise you might have to suggest that they go without or watch them with friends and family instead of having it themselves.

You may think that you are not really paying out that much, but it is well worth investigating this. You might find that you are paying out a lot more money than you realise. If you add up the licence fee and the various subscriptions, you could be shocked by quite how much you are paying out. It could certainly be wise to make sure that you are aware and that you check to see whether you budget will allow this spending to continue. If not, you will have to prioritise which services you keep and which you get rid of.