As single parents, keeping kids engaged without allowing the TV to become a babysitter is a key issue. No matter the age of the child, too much TV can lead to problems such as obesity, inattention, lack of creativity, isolation, etc.
Some may say that TV is what you make it. There are plenty of educational programs and kid-centered shows that promote activity, logical thinking, creativity, and interaction. While that may be true, often times paying for cable can be a major budget buster. Shelling out in excess of $100 per month on cable and internet is not an option for many.
But, sometimes the 10 minutes of solitude placing a child in front of PBS or a YouTube channel can bring is priceless. So what’s a parent to do? Skip the bill and be on constant call as your child’s entertainer, or dish out the cash and forgive yourself for letting the TV be a babysitter for a while? Don’t despair! There are solutions. Read on to see how to manage the cost of TV without feeling guilty.
There is no doubt that TV can offer quality programs somewhere mixed in with all the other garbage that abounds. But do you have to pay several hundred dollars to access it? No! You can either pay for internet and indulge in the free shows online, or buy a digital antenna to receive local shows and broadcasts, at no cost other than its price. Perhaps a combination of the two will suffice, and/or adding a service like Netflix or Hulu will help ease the pain.
Purchasing a SmartTV allows you to easily access numerous shows and services through their embedded apps. Currently, you can buy a reasonably priced SmartTV for less than $100. Once you have that, buying a digital antenna gives you access to local stations and tons more, depending on your broadcast area, at no additional cost. You’d be surprised what’s available. If you live in a city with good signals and in a home where the TV can be placed near a window, indoor digital antennas can often be purchased for under $25. They simply need to be plugged into the SmartTV and voila! Cable problem solved.
With that in place, you can consider adding a service such as Netflix or Hulu. They are both reasonably priced and give you access to immeasurable amounts of content for you, the kids, and the family as a whole. The price of their service is typically under $20 per month. Some people have found success in using items such as the Amazon Firestick, Amazon Prime, and other streaming services. The key is to search for the option that best suits your needs and budget.
Finally, another benefit of the SmartTV is that you can access videos on YouTube and broadcast them on your TV screen. This means that you can watch educational programs, exercise shows, and the latest viral videos, for free, on TV. It’s a win-win! Additionally, many other apps come on SmartTVs that have their own content such as free movie channels and local content. This is a plus not only to keep your kids from driving you crazy while at home, but also to allow you to catch up on the latest news or binge-worthy shows, once they are fast asleep.
The cost savings will allow for more restful nights and you’ll still be able to enjoy screen time with the kids at home.
The takeaway? Being a single parent does not mean you have to give up on life’s luxuries, it just forces you to find creative solutions. While TV is not my first choice for keeping kids engaged, in reality, it is helpful to have in order to get a brief reprieve. We’ll explore other ways to entertain your child on a budget in the near future. Until then….
Happy Saving! Live Well!
So how do you manage the cost of TV in your home? What are some hacks that you have found helpful? Please share in the comments below.