Coupons

During the past few weeks, I’ve delved into some other areas of money-saving for households and families. While I always will be devoted to focusing on groceries and coupons, I also am interested in exploring ways to save on other household expenses, and television is one of those areas where the ways one can save on programming just might surprise you.

I have quite a few friends and acquaintances who canceled cable or satellite television services because of rising costs, choosing to solely stream their content instead. One afternoon, a friend came by to pick her son up, and she commented how nice it was that our sons could watch a sports game together, adding “we don’t have live television; we just stream.”

I told her the game the boys were watching at the moment was a free, over-the-air signal coming in off our television antenna. She was surprised — and I, too, have been surprised at the number of people who simply don’t seem to be aware of the plethora of free digital television channels available all around the country via antenna reception.

I explained to my friend that aside from the cost of an antenna, she could be enjoying more than a hundred free channels of live, digital television — and I grabbed the remote and flipped through our television’s guide to show her some of the channels we receive. In addition to all of the major networks, we receive numerous classic television channels, movie channels and specialty channels focusing on everything from history to game shows to classic cars to home renovation.

While I absolutely understand cutting out pay television services, I also am enthusiastic about spreading the word about the number and kind of channels available free of charge. Our home’s antenna serves every television in the house, and the high-definition digital channels are clear and crisp.

The best news: Many television antennas are priced between $20 and $100, depending on the style you’d like. Once installed, you’ll be enjoying TV without a bill. The type of antenna best for your location will depend on how close your home is located to your nearest major broadcast market area. If you’re close, the small, compact indoor HDTV antenna might suffice. If you’re further away, an outdoor, rooftop or attic-mounted antenna is best.

Putting your television antenna as high as possible will also improve reception. We live about an hour outside Chicago, and we’re able to receive more than a hundred free television channels with our rooftop antenna. My daughter lives closer to a major city, and she’s able to receive just as many channels with a small, indoor antenna about the size of a cutting board. It sticks to the wall unobtrusively, where it’s mounted behind the television.

In addition to enjoying a variety of free television programming, I’m also a big believer in having access to broadcast TV to receive emergency broadcasts, especially about storms or weather. While many news networks are available to stream, it’s also convenient and comforting to be able to turn the TV on and receive live news.

Many major home improvement stores carry rooftop television antennas, and the smaller, indoor, mount styles are available both at general merchandise stores in the electronics department, as well as home stores. If you’re not sure which kind of antenna would be best for you, I recommend choosing a store with a good return policy so you can try different models. You might start with a smaller, less-expensive model and see if it is sufficient for your needs. These are, of course, easier to mount and set up, too.

To see what television channels are available over-the-air in your area, go to antennaweb.org or titantv.com.

Jill Cataldo, a coupon workshop instructor, writer and mother of three, never passes up a good deal. Learn more about Super-Couponing at her website, jillcataldo.com. Email your own couponing victories and questions to jill@ctwfeatures.com.

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