Media at Home – Money Matters

August 23, 2012

With the increase in recent years of media options, particularly following the digital switch over there has never been so many ways to spend out on home entertainment and communications.

Do you need a digital TV package? Many homes pay out for digital TV, internet connection, landlines and mobile phones, but are all of these things necessary when money is tight? And if they are, are you getting the best deal?

How often do you find yourself (or even more annoyingly someone else in your household) channel hopping and moaning ‘there is nothing on TV’? There are now hundreds of different TV channels available to us. The UK is spending more and more time watching and (it seems) complaining about TV. According to the Broadcaster’s Audience Research Board the statistics show that ‘the amount we watch is increasing: the BARB average for all ages (including children) is 28 hours a week, which is three hours more than in 2001, not including the TV we now watch on equipment other than our TV sets’ . The cost comparison between paying for a subscription and buying a freeview box is roughly a £30 monthly fee for your TV package or a £30 one off fee.

Do you need a landline? And a mobile phone subscription? How many calls do you make on your landline? Does it work out cheaper than using your mobile? Perhaps surprisingly, this isn’t always the case. Equally consider whether you use all the texts and minutes you pay your mobile phone provider for. If you use if infrequently perhaps a pay as you go account would be more cost effective.

Do you need at home broadband connection? According to the Office of National statistics 77 per cent of households in the UK have internet access with 45 per cent of Internet users using a mobile phone to connect to the Internet. This begs the question do you need to pay for internet access and a mobile? There are now public spaces in which you can use the internet free of charge. Try your local library, local coffee shops, or even the pub.

If you answered yes to all of the above questions, then the next thing to consider is are you getting the best deal? You may have multiple subscriptions for different services which mean that you are overpaying for the services. You may be paying for more channels, more minutes, or more megs than you use. Here is where keeping your invoices and usage records is invaluable. Try visiting the Independent Digital Advice website for guidance. Phone up your current provider and re-negotiate. Contact competitor firms and see if you can get a better deal. Don’t overpay for services you don’t need or want.

And finally, do you need a magazine or online subscription? Magazine subscriptions are a great deal if you would definitely buy each edition individually. They represent a great saving for money. But if you have a subscription and are barely glancing at the publication or website is it right to pay for it? Could that £20, £50 or £100 per year be better spent elsewhere?