How to save money on TV, Internet and phone? Use these services to stay connected

Here we go again ... BOTH Cox Communications and Direct TV have recently increased their rates.

Why the increase? Both companies state these increases are due to them having to pay more for the content and video services. Ultimately, those increased expenses get passed on to the customer.

Cox Communications said they increased their Internet speeds 100 percent over the past year, which resulted in the rate increase.

What can you do to save money? First, you need to do what is best for your pocket book.

I decided this past summer I have had enough of the rate increases and I changed how I watch TV. I still have Cox high speed Internet access and that runs me about $52.99. I was able to save a few dollars by locking that rate in for two years. I went from paying over $100 a month for basic cable and Internet to just $52.99 for Internet service only.

What about home phone service? Lots of people have cut their home phone service and solely use their mobile phones. However, if you don't have a cell phone, then this is a great option to continue to receive calls at home for very little money.

Three years ago I canceled my home phone service and purchased Ooma . It's a device that hooks up to your high-speed Internet service and allows you to still make phone calls.

Ooma is a voice over IP box that costs from $119 to $169 depending on the model. It looks like a lot of money upfront, but you will get that upfront cost back in months because the actual phone service is free. All you have to pay for is the taxes and fees you already pay with your current bill every month. Learn more about Ooma on abc15.com.

To save money on my TV service, I purchased a Wingard Flatwave antenna. Both Winegard Flatwave and Mohu Leaf  got the best reviews in terms of finding over-the-air channels. Both antennas cost less than $90.

With a little online research, it's possible to find the antennas for as low as $40. Walmart and Amazon are great sites to look for. I personally own both brands and get great reception of my local channels: 3, 5, 10, 12 and 15.

Generic antennas do exist at an ever cheaper cost, however, the quality and reliability of the signal can be pretty rough.

I also have a monthly subscription to both Netflix and Hulu, which together costs me less than $20 a month. I get all of my favorite TV shows and movies on-demand. Plus, I can watch it on my computer, TV, mobile phone or tablet.

Purchasing Roku or Apple TV can help you stream Netflix and Hulu, among other services, right on your television.

What's the cost? It's $52.99 for high-speed Internet access, $16 for streaming services (Netflix and Hulu) and the Ooma phone service is only $3.47 per month.

What about DVR services? There are devices that are making that possible, however, I'm still testing out a few of them. One is called Simple TV, which claims to allows you to record shows from an antenna. How well does it work? Stay with Smart Shopper on ABC15 to find out.

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