How Nielsen Saved My Family Hundreds of Dollars

This year, we were invited to participate with Nielsen to write down the TV shows we watch each week for a small compensation. We keep a TV diary, writing down the shows we watch each week and this contributes to those Nielsen Ratings you’re hearing about for TV networks.

We don’t watch a lot of TV, but we do watch a few shows like Burn Notice and Psych pretty diligently. We were glad to offer a ratings boost to the shows we watch. It was fun filling out the booklet each week and then looking back at what we watched.

After the first week, we discovered we watched shows on broadcast networks and very few cable networks – some on USA, a few on Food Network, and an occasional Discovery channel show. After a few more weeks, we confirmed our suspicions and decided to make a few changes.

We dropped our cable subscription, but kept high speed Internet. We added an HDTV antenna to receive over the air HD signals from the broadcast networks (ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, PBS and a few others). We also hooked up an old laptop to the TV and watch most of our TV on Hulu.com. Sure, we miss a few shows, but if we want, we can usually catch up on those shows on DVD at the end of a season and most of them we can find online. Our Internet Service Providers offers ESPN3.com, so we can watch a lot of sporting events online at no cost.

You don’t need to be a Nielsen family to achieve what we did and save $60 a month (over $700 a year!), just keep a log of what you watch for a few weeks and if you discover you watch few shows on cable, consider dropping your cable subscription and save hundreds of dollars a year!

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