6 Ways To Tighten Your Tech Budget, But Still Stay Connected & Entertained

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On a tight budget? When times require a little tightening of the budgetary belt, one of the best places to look to cut is in the category of extraneous home entertainment costs. But everyone still wants to keep options available to sit back and relax to some entertainment occasionally. Here are six steps you can take to cut down on your expenses without sacrificing your enjoyment.

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Ditch the Expensive Cable Plan
If you're on the fence about cutting cable, read through our helpful guide to walk you through the pros and cons of ditching cable. Streaming TV is definitely here to stay, and there are great ways to find what's available and where it's playing online. If you can't live without cable TV, at least stop paying for your expensive monthly cable box rental and purchase a cheap over the air antenna. Perhaps even ask yourself if you can survive without TV at all!

Stop Buying Movies
The writing has been on the wall for physical media for quite some time, yet many of us just can't quite let go of our media collections. But since many of us are leaving cable subscription, it might be time to migrate over to streaming services and pare down your media collection (a great opportunity to sell it for a little extra cash). Highest quality playback still requires discs at this time, and latest releases are not always immediately available online (though this is becoming increasingly not true), but there's always Netflix or Redbox for occasional affordable disc rentals. 

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Stop Buying Music and Stream It!
Online streaming music is everywhere. Yes, commercials are part of the agreement when you stream free, but honestly there aren't actually that many commercials on Pandora, Rdio, Spotify, or other alternatives. It's not like the olden days of radio where you had to hunt around for something to listen to, there's pretty much a streaming station or playlist for every musical taste out there.

Take Advantage of Rebates
Government and utility companies often offer rebates for energy efficient appliances and devices. Before you buy, check around to see who's offering what kind of discounts if any. For example: Pepco provides the electricity in our area and they provide up to $2,750 in rebates with the ENERGY STAR program.

Be a Smart Consumer
Most important for anyone on a budget is to eliminate/limit impulse purchases. Buy smart and don't be swayed by every little iDevice that gets marketed as the next best thing. In instances when you do need to purchase electronics or appliances, consider buying last year's models. Usually year to year changes between models are modest to moderate. This is especially true with HDTV sets, where prices between last year's model can be hundreds of dollars cheaper than the latest release.

Slim Down The Cell Phone Service
We're not necessarily saying you have to completely ditch the cell phone, but paying thousands of dollars a year for a mobile device can cost a decent percentage of income across a year. Considering moving away from a contract agreement and moving over to a prepaid service to stop hemorrhaging money each month.

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(Images: Shutterstock/Jakub Shutterstock/Roland IJdemaChris Perez, Gregory Han, as linked above)