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Everyday Cheapskate

Posted on Wednesday, September 23, 2015 at 11:35 am

Have you given yourself that $1,400 after-tax raise?


everyday cheapskate - mary huntmary hunt

If there’s one thing that I love about my loyal readers, it’s how responsive you are. Sometimes you like what you read, other times not so much. Now and then, you simply need more information. But, no matter what, I can always count on hearing from you. Which brings me to a previous column I wrote on pulling the plug on subscription TV. It brought a huge response.

According to NPD Group, the average TV bill is $123 per month — more than $1,400 a year. For many, that’s money that could be better used to build an emergency fund or pay off debt. No wonder that column struck a chord with so many readers.

The most-asked question had to do with the need for an antenna to receive free, local HD broadcasting. Which kind? Which one works best?

As I was fielding your messages, my husband and I were in the process of relocating. We did it! In April, we moved from California to northern Colorado, about 20 miles north of Denver. What a change from big city life in Orange County to living in the country. Our little village boasts a population of just 18,000. And what a perfect opportunity to test antennas to find the best way to enjoy free TV and quality programming in our new location.

To say there are many choices when it comes to TV antennas would be quite an understatement. But not to worry. I’ve done all the testing so you won’t have to.

The antennas that worked for us in California couldn’t do the job in our new, more remote area. My new testing ground was the basement of our new home, where my husband has set up his workout area.

Could there be a more challenging place to get great TV reception than underground, against a concrete wall, out in the boonies?

I’m happy to report that I found an antenna that’s up to the job and boy is it amazing.

FlatWave Amped Indoor Amplified HDTV Antenna by Winegard gets my vote for the best option — and at less than $50. If you’re ready to pull the plug, this is a one-time purchase that will save you lots in the long run, giving you the equivalent of a huge raise with money you can stop sending to your cable or satellite company every month.

With this antenna, we get every HD broadcast channel from the Denver area and even a few from Wyoming. The picture quality is fabulous with very few — if any — dropouts. And here’s the funny thing: the FlatWave antenna is jammed behind a water pipe, up against a subterranean concrete wall — nowhere close to a window. And it works like a champ!

With all of the local HD quality programming available to us for free plus Netflix, Hulu (about $16 per month for both) and Amazon Prime ($99 a year), plus a streaming box such as Roku, we’re set with more TV and movie entertainment than we have time to watch. For more info about the products and services mentioned in this column, please visit